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Q&A with LIGHTS

SNAPPER: What do you feel most inspires your music?
LIGHTS: The essential part of where my music comes from is moments of intense emotion, when you’re feeling super sad or super happy, it’s not just mediocre, you have these moments of intense emotion and the only way to capture them is through art and music. You catch it while it’s concentrated. I almost feel guilty for taking credit for some of my lyrics because I feel like it’s coming from somewhere else.

SNAPPER:You’re obviously very multitalented, with singing and drawing, which do you prefer?
LIGHTS: Music is definitely the main one. It’s easy to like the one you do the best, the most. Music happened to be the thing I spend the most time doing. My music abilities are a lot higher than my art abilities. Eventually I hope to put out a graphic novel or something. But at this point my music is the main one and is actually the most rewarding not only for myself emotionally, these shows, being on tour, seeing these people every night, introducing them to my music for the first time, is the most rewarding thing in the whole world.

SNAPPER: You’re from Canada, where in, exactly?
LIGHTS: That’s another confusing answer, I moved about twenty-five times. I lived overseas and stuff. My family lives in Vancouver and I live in Toronto currently. I was born in Northern Ontario, Shania Twain’s hometown, this tiny town in Northern Ontario, must be something in the water, music in the water.

SNAPPER: Have you tried different kinds of music before settling on the genre you’re in now?
LIGHTS: Oh yeah, so many different phases of music and it’s such a journey to figure out your place in music and when I was little I knew I wanted to be a musician, to be on stage, but you don’t think about what you’re going to be doing, not only so that the world can understand it, but so you can understand it too. You have to figure out your sound and what you want. I was in a metal band, I tried acoustic-urban stuff, I tried pop and piano rock. I was in a pop-punk band for a while.

SNAPPER: Were you the singer in all these bands?
LIGHTS: Not necessarily, I was electric guitar player in the metal band,  I tried my hand in everything and just finally landed on this sound, I was about to release an acoustic album, I realized I was not proud to show my friends my record and I felt that I couldn’t release this stuff if I couldn’t show my friends. A couple years back I wrote this song called February Air and I went to record it in the studio and said we’re not putting any organic elements in this song, we’re going to try something new and do this completely synthesized, completely with computer sounds and that’s how February Air came. And I realized this is awesome.

SNAPPER: Since you do everything yourself on a computer, do you do your sets alone live as well?
LIGHTS: No, there’s three of us. They don’t make the record they just play with me while I’m on stage. There’s a keyboard player and a drummer. Drums bring like a live element, because it is digitally made music and if you don’t have a drummer you lose that live element. For live shows you need a little bit more

SNAPPER: Do you have any help writing your music?
LIGHTS: I have to be alone to write the lyrics. I’ll write a song with one of the guys and get some concepts going, but then I have to go home to write the lyrics, lay down on my bed and come with lots of different lyrics and then boil it all down. I’m such a sucker for good honest lyrics

SNAPPER: Is Lights really your name or just a stage name?
LIGHTS: Lights is really my first name. My family calls me by my middle name, Valerie. But Lights really is my first name. The other night this girl came to me and was like I like your name, my name’s Morning Star, and I was like that’s the coolest thing. So my full name is actually Lights Valerie Poxleitner, which is Austrian.

SNAPPER: Do you play any other instruments?
LIGHTS: I can play pretty much anything, but not super good at just one thing, which I think is important for being able to play everything for your songs, I’ll play everything for my songs, like I’ll do the bass, and then play the drums, and so if you put me on a drumset, I can play it, but I probably won’t be so good. Guitar and keyboard are probably my best though.

SNAPPER:How does all the traveling effect you?
LIGHTS: Well it’s the story of my life, right, to just keep moving and moving and moving.
In fact when I’m on the road I feel like I get more done.