Lights (The Wiltern)

The Wiltern | Los Angeles, CA | December 11, 2015 | Photos: ZB Images

She was Valerie Anne Poxleitner at birth, but since the age of 18 the world has known the Ontario, Canada native as LIGHTS. It’s a name that actually befits her because, while she may be slight in stature, there’s a deep brightness about her along with a calm warmth behind those expressive dark eyes.

Released: September 23, 2014

The backstage area of the Wiltern is well lit and spacious which is a good thing: there’s a tiny bundle of energy by the name of Rocket bouncing around. Also known as LIGHTS’ daughter, with three shows left on the tour, Rocket’s now a tour veteran having been on the road with her mom the entire time and I think we just heard her interpretation of “Let It Go.” Here’s to bringing up the next generation of musicians and music fans proper.

Little Machines is LIGHTS’ third full length album as well as her escorting fans along a heartfelt indie and electro pop journey. So here we are with a couple of hours to go before she and her band take the stage. The year is winding down: we chat about that, photos are taken and respect is given to that AMAZING lion tattoo on her right forearm which she called her “homage to Aslan [The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe] and everything that a lion embodies.”

High Voltage: 2015: How’s it been?
Lights: Insane. Busiest year of my life! Starting with the release date of Little Machines last September, it’s been nonstop. I’ve been home like three and a half weeks the whole year.

High Voltage: So how’s the tour, this particular tour, gone?
Lights: So fun. I think this is my favorite set we’ve ever had. The sweetest flow. At this point in my career, I feel like I’ve mastered the journey you want to take somebody on, for a live show. I know that music is such a powerful escape and that’s why I got into in the first place. It takes you somewhere that’s very surreal. I think that there’s an art to that journey when you play a live show. Take them though all the emotions. Make them laugh and cry and freak out and get angry. That’s kind of how the show feels. There’s like every moment in there for everybody.

High Voltage: I think I’ve heard you talk about how you were looking forward to this particular set, the stage design, and all that. What is it about this set up?
Lights:  I think it’s the first time I’ve put this amount of effort into the set, the stage set and the lighting rig, to make something unique. It’s something that creates moments. Up until very recently I was always just like, let’s play the show from front to back. At this point it’s kind of like, what’s going to look good on social media. When people want to share the show, what’s going to create a change, have a different set, so there’s something refreshing that comes in. What’s going to create mystery? Finding interesting moments through the set that make the show interesting, from front to back. This is the first time I’ve really explored that.

High Voltage: You’re not a tame performer.
Lights: No. (laughs)

High Voltage: You got this big ass stage to work with.
Lights:  Yeah. I’m probably going to be way out of breathe tonight…but I’m excited.

High Voltage: At the end of this year, what do you do?
Lights: When we get home in a few days, I’m going to finish building a studio at home. I’m really excited about it. We reworked some of our garage space into an awesome studio. I’m going to sit down and write and build up my first, real home studio. We’ve been working with really portable setups that travel so much.

High Voltage: Do you think, in the long run, you would prefer to record at home?
Lights: I think it’ll always be a mix. I love being on the road. Talk to me when I’m 50 and that will probably change, but I love touring. I love writing and I would love to produce bands some day.

High Voltage: Really?
Lights: There’s a seriously lackage of female producers in this industry. I would like to be one of the few working to that.

High Voltage: Have you produced anybody else, so far?
Lights: No. I’ve produced, like, friends’ songs and demos and stuff. I’ve produced my own demos and actually some of my early stuff that was on my first EP. I have a lot of ideas for production but, I think, when it comes to technicalities and having the right amount of gear, I just haven’t had the time to set that up. I’m really going to invest some time in building that up so I can have mixes and recordings and quality that rivals what’s out there. It’s totally possible.

High Voltage: At the end of this tour I know you already have some UK dates?
Lights: Yeah. We have UK dates right after the PARAHOY! cruise. Paramore does a cruise every year. It’ll be awesome: CHVRCHES and X Ambassadors. So fun. So excited.

High Voltage: That would be a cool tour: Paramore, Lights.
Lights: Yeah, I know! On a cruise to Cozumel, Mexico?

High Voltage: That doesn’t suck.
Lights: I don’t like boats, but I’m down to get over that fear, for this!