Lights chats her new acoustic record and touring with The Mowgli's!

Lights
Lights

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.

It’s amazing.

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!
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Young Rival chats Interior Light!

Young Rival
Young Rival

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!

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LIVE REVIEW: The Struts at The Sinclair 10/25.

The Struts
The Struts
The British invasion has been something that has been happening in full force over the last two years or so both in mainstream radio and alternative. Large examples being Catfish and the Bottlemen, Bombay Bicycle Club and maybe the most radio friendly right now, The 1975. One band though that is just starting their journey in the states and skipped the step of playing a tiny room are The Struts!

We were able to catch their Boston date last week that had originally been in a club that only holds about 150 people but with that selling out that day, they were quickly moved to the much larger Sinclair which then quickly sold out as well. Despite the fact that the band has eight songs out and were on their first full US tour with their first appearance in Boston being that night, the band played for an hour and a half. As well as killing each track and including a cover or two, lead singer Luke Spiller had the crowd wrapped around his finger. The crowd roared at everything he said on stage and for the occasions he walked into the crowd, they were completely enamored with him.

The band brings back images of everyone from Queen down to The Libertines. Maybe they can be representing the latter even in the states since we haven’t been lucky enough to have them in the US. With a sold out tour under their belts and a recent relocation to LA, I’m sure we’ll be able to have them back soon in the states on tour. If their performance was any indication, this band will blow up and is sure to be on the level here that performers like Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and The 1975 are!
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Meet Big Wild.

Big Wild
Big Wild

Something new we’ve been doing at Music Remedy is featuring artists that are the ones that we’re really personally buzzing on. Maybe also something that you wouldn’t expect of us? One guy that stood out to us was electronic producer Big Wild. He’s got a few weeks on the road just coming off with Griz and now with Odesza and will still pretty new is sure to be lighting up the radio very soon. Big Wild took a minute from the road to answer a few questions for us. Check it out below!

What are the three touring essentials you must have with you while on the road to survive?

Hot coffee, flip flops, good headphones

You’ve been on tour with Griz and will be with  Odesza. How have these sets been going?

They've been going great! It's cool to see the different crowds that come in for both acts and for me to perform my music for them. There is such a diverse range of music lovers out there, it's a beautiful thing!

Your new original “Aftergold” has found a lot of success. Can you tell me a little of the story behind this track, how it was formed?

I wanted to make an overwhelmingly triumphant song that also had the ability to conjure up strong, positive imagery. It's ambiguous what exactly that imagery is, and I wanted it to be totally up to the listener. I had the initial idea for the song and when Odesza presented the idea to me about a Foreign Family release, I was more than happy to do it. We flipped through a couple different tracks of mine and finally settled on what is now Aftergold.

When did you first know you wanted to pursue music as a career? Was there a defining moment for you?

Within a year of producing I decided I wanted to do this for a living. I started producing when I was 13. There was no specific defining moment, just a gradual motivation and inspiration that made want to keep improving. I never had a drive like that for anything else so I realized this is something I should pursue as a career.

What was the first CD/Cassette you bought as a kid? What was the first concert you went to?

The first CD was either Pure Funk or this surf rock compilation album. I was into a lot of random music, but I can say that both of those cd's affected the way I make music today a lot! Seemingly small influences like that when you're young make an exponential impact when you're older. The first concert I went to was this Latin Metal band called Ill Nino at the Palladium in Worcester. I wasn't into metal music at all, but my good friend got free tickets and I wanted to see what was good with concerts. To put it lightly, it was a legendary experience.

What should we be looking for from you with in the next few months? 

Lots of original music, some big remixes, collaborations (vocalists and producers), and my tour with Odesza. I have some big plans for 2016 ;)

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The Young Wild chats touring with ZZ Ward as well as their upcomingdebut record!

The Young Wild
The Young Wild
This next interview was a long time coming but it’s a total treasure with The Young Wild, a band that you should definitely be keeping on your radars! The band just finished a hugely successful US run opening for ZZ Ward and as lead vocalist Bryan B. William told me in this new interview, the album is soon to come in 2016. Read our interview here and make sure to keep your eyes on this incredibly talented band! 

You’ve been constantly on the road this month and the single is coming out. Maybe the three things you must have with you while on the road to survive?

Well, our phones. It’s a boring answer but it’s very important. Otherwise, we can’t yelp where good coffee is or we don’t know where we’re going so our phones are very important. I’d say like socks, like clean socks. People underestimate that. That’s really important. So phone, socks and like a toolbox. That’s just something crucial if you have to fix something like your trailer or gear. So kind of like a little Handyman slash Handywoman tool set.



Perfect, then maybe how have these dates been going for you considering the single is still very, very new? Maybe how have they been going this past month or so? Like how have the sets been going over?

Yeah! The song is pretty new in terms of the release date. Also for us, we started the tour in Dallas which previous to this tour, that was the farthest we had ever really traveled as a band on tour. So every town since then is a new experience. There are people seeing us for the first time rightfully so are there primarily to see ZZ Ward so we kind of have an opportunity to make our first impression with everyone. We’re also trying out a lot of new material so just in the sense of the song only being out for a couple of weeks, the band has only been together for a little over a year. Every town we go to and every audience we play for, is a whole new experience, a first new impression that we get to make. So yeah it feels like we’re cutting our teeth out here but we’ve had a lot of new experiences. We’re learning a lot from it.\



Like you said, the band formed just over a year ago, still very new. Maybe touring wise in particular, but is an EP or an album on the horizon or do you think it’s still going to be awhile? Kind of like focus on this single, what’s the plan?

Yeah I mean in terms of what we’re putting out, I’m not sure if that will be the last song we put out this year. We did spend a little over two months in the studio leading up to the tour starting so we are working on the first full length LP and the timing of the tour and working on the record really came together perfectly because we were able to take a lot of the new songs with us out on the road. I was thinking about it earlier. That first show we played, I’d say about eighty percent of the material that we performed, it was the first time we got to play it in front of a live audience. So the tour is really giving us an opportunity to test out all the new songs. See how they translate to being performed in front of a live audience. So yeah the tentative plan is to finish the tour. We get to end in San Diego in mid-October which is great. Then try to finish up the record and we’re kind of looking ahead to early next year to hopefully put out the first full length for The Young Wild.



Perfect and maybe can you just tell a little bit about the writing process. Is it like one person brings their own ideas or is it a more collective effort? Kind of how is it done for The Young Wild.

Yeah I mean what we’re planning to put on the record is sort of a lot of songs that I’ve written over the last year and a half. What I bring usually to the table is sort of the root form of the song. The lyrics and the structure. Melodies and progressions. When I’ve built a song to the point where it’s worth sharing, usually that’s when a conversation of everyone has a group starts and it becomes something where is it a Young Wild thing or not. Or how we could make it more of a Young Wild thing. We’re still a relatively new group and even in our way of like our process, we’re still developing so right now it’s kind of just being open as possible. We have different ways of approaching songs and different sort of flavors and things that we can add to them. There’s no real pre-conceived notions about our sound because we’ve only put out one song officially and everything else is kind of in development. Which is a really fun stage to be in as a band. Trying to really soak it in. Just like in the shows, we go out and we’re playing to a bunch of new people who don’t really have any expectations of us so we get to try and define that and really put on the best show possible. It’s the same with the songs. Trying to be open and when I feel like I’ve gotten to a certain point in just the initial writing stage, I try to really make it something that the band can identify with and it will work in front of an audience. It will have certain elements that all of us can really stand behind. Whether it be drum parts or synthesizers or programming or the lyric content which is like something that people definitely focus on more than anything else. Words, melodies, kind of the message. So yeah, that’s just kind of a peak into it. Brandon who is our drummer, we’re producing the record together and working with the label as well but we’re like really working on songs together and really trying to make it an experience, at least for me. I still like to listen to entire records when I have time. From the first track to the last. I’m trying to think of it as an experience. Not thirty seconds of this one. You shouldn’t go into an album feeling like you’re watching a fifteen second Instagram video bit. If you can, it’s pretty fun to try and listen to the whole thing and really wrap your mind around what the artist intended to communicate. That whole experience. So that’s something that Brandon and I are really getting to try for the first time and its super fun to do that.



That’s amazing and maybe a soft one to kind of end it off, with everything you guys have been doing. The first CD or first cassette you can remember ever buying as a kid and the first concert you can remember going to?

Yeah the first concert I think I went to was Michael Jackson when I was like seven or eight. That was the History tour. I have pretty vivid memories of that being my first show because it was such a spectacle. So that bill to this day is always the first thing I can remember seeing concert-wise. But like maybe the cooler like rock and roll answer would be like No Doubt. When I was a teenager and I was more interested in music and how people played it and like made it happen in front of an audience. Like that’s when I found I was really paying attention to how they made the show work. So yeah the No Doubt concert. Gwen Stefani. She rocked my world.

I think the first CD was Third Eye Blind like their self-titled record. That was the first one I think I bought with my own actual currency.

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