Starting out the set with the current single Love Me, the band played a large part of their set before even saying a few words to the audience which Matt Healy mentioned, saying ‘Sorry that first bit of the show, we’re really serious we don’t talk to anyone’. Personally, I love when bands stick to the music and don’t need to base their sets of off witty banter (sometimes they do this beautifully though like The Struts show we covered but they do only have eight songs). These shows have been mentioned as a road test for the new material that is to come on the next full length record but the guys did perform really all of the material they have released with a fair blend of the new. My favorite one to look out for in the new is ‘She’s American’, an incredibly bouncy track that will get anyone moving.
The vibe of the band is really strong on this show and was my favorite performance from the band yet. They clearly have their rhythm down but the break from the road definitely did them good. They were more relaxed on stage. The one thing that I didn’t really like is that they were slow lulls in the set and then instantly upbeat. I think if the set was mixed up a lot more, it would have been a more high energy set. At points, it felt very sleepy and could show in the crowd. This audience was filled with diehard fans though and it didn’t affect them very much. They perked up right away when a fan favorite’s opening notes were heard.
A favorite moment for me was when front man Healy said ‘Ladies and Gentlemen I love you. This song’s about me’ and jumped into ‘Falling For You’ which got the biggest crowd reaction yet in the set. Ending the regular set on Robbers and Girls, the guys walked off stage to return for their encore to the chant of ‘Sex! Sex! Sex!’ instead of the normal one more song. After playing their hit Medicine, they went into Chocolate and Sex with Matty yelling ‘Until then we’ve got two more songs I bet you can’t fucking guess what they are’ which made the crowd go while. With this tour being the band’s last tour in smaller clubs, I’m glad we were able to catch them play to a sold out crowd and only hope to see this band explode as they rightfully deserve and already have begun to.
Lately I’ve been feeling like the Canadian Ambassador for the music scene in Boston and I am one hundred percent okay with that. It’s been a lot of the boys but Saturday night, I sat down with a lady that has been killing it in both countries and around the world for the last ten years or so, Lights! She is currently about half way into an incredible US run, including selling out Boston that night.
Her latest record, Little Machines, has had much acclaim and produced several big hits with Lights also winning a Juno (otherwise known as a Canadian grammy) for the record. In my chat with her, she told me about the acoustic record that her and her band have been working on as well as the fact that she has a good storage of new material that she has been working on. Read our new one below and if you’ve been sleeping under a rock, quickly put this lady into your music rotation. Lights is incredibly talented and completely deserving of her success!
A soft one to start, I know you’ve been doing this tour for a while. I know it’s been a minute since you’ve been in the Boston, the tour is going really well having sold out dates. How has it been going so far for you?
Oh it’s been so fun. I think this set that we’re doing on this tour is my favorite that we’ve done so far. There’s a bit of all the records in it and there’s a huge dynamic in it. We have these really cool surreal moments and these really super intimate moments and that makes the journey for me go by really quickly and that’s when you know you’re having fun I guess.
Maybe how has it been to kind of return and play to these crowds? You have steadily toured the states which a lot of Canadian artists don’t do. You did have a little bit of a break you know obviously you had your daughter which is kind of a big thing.
Yeah I haven’t had a break since I had her (laughs). Since I’ve had her, we’ve been on three US tours, four I guess. So a lot of these cities we were in, if we weren’t here last fall, we were here in February and March playing shows as well. So it’s kind of amazing to be able to come back once or even twice, three times in a year, and people are still coming to the shows. That’s pretty special. I mean it’s a grind. We’re out most of the year but I get to see a lot of familiar faces and meet new people every time we come through. Boston is actually one of my favorite places to play. The Boston date of the last tour which was a year ago was my favorite show of that tour. It was amazing so I’m excited to play tonight.
Then you pretty steadily release new music and Little Machines is just over a year old. There was a lot of success with it, you won a Juno for it. Maybe are you currently working on a new record or do you think that’s still something that’s a little bit away?
I’ve been writing a lot. I’ve been filling the time that I’ve had in-between tours and promo with writing so I think I have two albums worth of material. I think it’s just important to keep the muscle going because I’ve learned that the hard way the last time around. I toured without writing then when I got back into it, the muscle was out of shape and I went into this severe bout of writer’s block and the story unfolds from there but to counter that this time, I’ve just been writing a lot. In all the spaces in-between but actually in terms of releases coming up, we have an incredible stripped down acoustic version of Little Machines waiting to come out. I can’t wait for people to hear it. It’s a selection of songs that you wouldn’t the least expect to be turned into acoustic versions on the record. We brought in a string quartet, we brought the band in to sort of play these late night drunken versions of the songs. It’s one of my most powerful pieces I think. I can’t wait for people to hear it. Next few months, next few months!
Next few months? And that’s something you’ve done before. I know you did the acoustic tour, an acoustic release. Is that something you think you’ll continue to do in the future considering what you’ve done with it so far?
Yeah! The reason I did it in the first place was because fans wanted it. I would do stripped down versions because it was easier for in store appearances or radio visits or whatever it may be but fans really gravitated towards the intimate version of the song as well as the full version. So that was why I put out the first acoustic EP in the first place but then I kind of set this precedent of putting out acoustic versions of all my stuff. So this time around, I really wanted to do something like that but with a different twist on it and that’s why it’s sort of stripped down. It’s these different versions of it that are really light and kind of emotive and cool. That is an important aspect for me because as a songwriter, you want your song to be able to shine no matter what it’s dressed up. Whether it’s full of smoke and lights and all the keyboards and bass and drum or stripped down and just one on one. If a song can shine that way, you know you have a powerful piece. I actually experimented this time around with taking the ones that you would least expect to be turned into slow versions and making them into an entirely new song. It’s kind of cool because a song like Up We Go, I think that was the one that had the biggest transformation because the full version is like an anthem. The stripped down version becomes this really sad song and it’s amazing how a lyric can take on a new meaning.
That’s really amazing.
Yeah, I can’t wait for people to hear it.
And you’ve been doing this for so long. Like you said you experienced a pretty severe writer’s block and you’ve written several records now. You’ve obviously experienced a lot these past few years being in a different position then you were when you started performing as Lights. Life happened.
Yeah (laughs) as it does with all of us.
Yeah, exactly. You grow up but do you think the writing process even though you’ve been doing this for so long, do you think it still changes sometimes? Do you think you go about it differently?
Yeah, I mean I think ultimately the way I build a song is the same but my flexibility with the different people I can write with or the different situations or the different things I can draw from has evolved and changed or maybe expanded since the beginning. I used to only be able to write on my own or with one or two other people that I knew very closely because I’m very intimate with my music and it comes from a very personal place. But over the years, you learn your strengths and you know how to bring that into a scenario, into so many different scenarios and still be productive in the process. So I think that for the most part, the writing process is still the same but I’ve just learned how to get more out of my time because as you get older, you have more responsibilities I guess.
Certainly and do you think it will still be a while, I mean we talked about the acoustic record that you’re doing, but new material-wise. Will it still be a while since you’ll know be deciding what you want to put on that record, the direction you want to go with?
Yeah, I mean the gap everybody likes between records is two years. With the last record, it was three because I ran into some issues but the hope is obviously for something new next year but who knows? The world of music especially in terms of the sales side of things and the consumption of the music is changing so much that I don’t know if it really matters. As long as you have stuff there for people and that it’s good, that’s all that matters to me. I’m not going to rush something just so I can have it out next fall but that’s always when people want something. If it’s ready and I feel like it’s right, it will be next fall but who knows.
Take your time, your fans are pretty dedicated. I think they’ll stick by your side.
Yeah and I feel very lucky. This tour has proven that to me because some people will come up to me and be like man, I’ve been a fan of you since the Myspace days ten years ago and I’m like fuck that’s been a long time. It’s been a long run. We’ve been going very strongly and I’m lucky that this is my job and that I’m still here and that some of these fans have been with me for ten years and people have not left my side. So it makes it feel really amazing.
That must be insane though.
I mean you’re obviously a hard worker and you’ve been doing this for a very long time to have the same fans still be here.
It’s powerful. I would never take it granted for any minute. I mean they invest so much of their lives into what I do and I feel lucky for that.
Perfect then to end it off, you did talk obviously earlier about the acoustic record and you are working on new material but you still have a good portion to go in this run. Maybe what’s coming up? Do you think you’re going to keep on touring, take time off to work on this record?
Well, we’re going to finish out this tour which is about another month. A little bit less than a month. I think a few dates are going to come in but we’ve confirmed the Parahoy cruise for March which is going to be amazing. Cruise with friends’ bands like X Ambassadors, Chvrches and Paramore and hopefully we’ll go back to the UK after that for a little bit. Then maybe kind of hunker down and work on the new stuff pretty hard but yeah there’s still a bit more of touring left to go even though we’ve been out for literally a year. It’s the power of the record I think. It’s something I’m really proud of and it’s been keeping us on the road straight so may as well keep going with it!
A few days ago, I was able to have a chat with the indie rock Canadian band Young Rival where lead singer Aron gave me a in depth look into their brand new record Interior Light. The record only dropped two weeks ago on October 16th and was their first record back after a brief hiatus for the band. In this time, Aron also created a solo record but like Dave Monks talked about in an interview with us it only allowed him to have a new energy for this new record with his main squeeze, Young Rival.
The new record is definitely a new move for the band but it’s a great listen and definitely a great step for this talented trio. Currently you can find them on the road with fellow Canadians Born Ruffians and the promise is made to be back on the road very soon. Find our new one with Aron below and definitely pick up this new record! I will always have a soft spot for Canadian rock, it’s in this little Boston via Montreal’s blood.
To start it off, the three touring essentials you must have while on the road?
I have to have my phone really. The DS is happening, the boys all need to have the DS. I’m pretty easy on tour, I’m pretty easily entertained. I don’t know if there are three things that I travel with.
Then maybe how has this time been going in the states with Born Ruffians, obviously a fellow Canadian band and your record is so new. How has the tour been so far?
How have the shows been so far? Yeah they’ve been great. We’ve been having a lot of fun. We’re all good buddies and traveling together, we’ve been having a great time.
Perfect, and then the new record Interior Light it just came out on the 16th. I know there was a brief hiatus so it’s been about three years since the last record. How do you feel it’s been going over even though it’s so new?
Oh we’re super stoked to kind of get it out there and to start pushing it. The hiatus was interesting in that we were just kind of really dialing in on what we’re doing, trying different writing techniques and really developing songs a lot more than we had ever before in the past. So yeah we’re just really excited to get it out there. Get it rolling and working hard. It’s been going great.
And are they all fresh songs? Are some like from the past few years? How did you go about that writing?
They’re actually quite fresh, yeah. We kind of just made a record that was kind of a contemporary feel for us personally. Yeah, we didn’t really drag too much from old sessions into it. It was just kind of like let’s make a record together and develop some new ideas. Come at this from a different angle and push it.
And do you think because of that, the writing process do you feel it’s changed? Is it one person, more collective? Do you think there was a big change?
The writing process? The writing process changed quite a bit. I ended up doing a solo record not too long ago and I learned a lot about just developing ideas in a studio, how to make an idea really come to fruition and make sense. I feel like oftentimes, a good idea can be lost if the production isn’t right and that can go both ways too. I kind of turned a mediocre idea with production into something that could be very interesting. So I think that in learning more about how to achieve certain dynamics in the studio, we were able to kind of work our demos in a new way where we’d sort of take them home and develop them. Kind of deconstruct them more and put them back together in a way that we had never done in the past. We kind of really worked the material in a way that we hadn’t done previously. So it’s kind of a new way for us to go about writing.
Just kind of reeling back to how you said you did do a solo album. I interviewed Dave Monks recently obviously from Tokyo Police Club also being a Canadian band. He said it was kind of therapeutic to do a solo record. For the ideas that he maybe just didn’t feel fit Tokyo Police Club. Is that how you kind of approached it, as kind of like an outlet? How was that experience for you?
The solo experience?
Yeah, I know he said it was like an outlet for his crazy.
Yeah, for sure. I feel like I kind of did it because I got to a point where I just needed a new outlet for writing because all the kind of projects I was involved in were pretty much all in the bag. Records were done. We were just kind of waiting on release dates and I just kind of took the opportunity and energy at the time. I still felt the need to keep pushing. I was feeling that I needed to write and be creative. I find it hard when there’s not an end in sight to be creative. So with the solo record, I talked to the guys and I kind of wanted to see how they would feel about it and they were into it. So yeah, I just kind of went for it. I learned a ton and I think that learning curve kind of brought a lot to where this new record kind of came together.
Perfect, then maybe considering the brief little break you guys took, do you think it will be something where you’ll be back on tour pretty soon? Maybe even coming back to the states pretty quickly, do you think it’s still going to be a while? Kind of what’s the plan for Young Rival?
I think we’re just going to try to keep touring. We’re going to head over to Europe. We’re going to push this record probably for quite some time. We’ll be writing. I love writing. I really enjoy that aspect of being in a band. It’s probably my favorite aspect. Putting ideas together and just seeing ideas come to fruition, you know. So we’re always writing and trying to put together new ideas but right now, the focus is definitely pushing this record, touring as much as possible.
Perfect, then maybe a soft one to kind of end it off, for you time is obviously a little crazy right now. The first CD or first cassette you can remember buying as a kid then the first concert you can remember going to?
The first like big concert I went to was strangely enough the Weezer reunion when they came back with the Green album and they did pretty much everything off the Blue album. It was amazing. I was in high school and was all about Weezer at that time and the first CD that I bought I think it might have been Stone Temple Pilots Purple. Taking it way back!