Before the last leg of her acoustic tour kicks off in Seattle, Canadian singer-songwriter Lights plans to enjoy a little quality time with her family, checking out the Game of Thrones exhibit at the Science Fiction Museum. We recently chatted about tattoos, Siberia Acoustic, and singing with her husband. Lights plays the Neptune Theatre this Thursday (6/13).
I watched an interview in which you said you were learning to tattoo. Is that something you’re still working on? Absolutely! It’s a really cool elemental art, especially when it’s influencing and accenting the human body, making it more beautiful. My tattoo artist is taking me on as an apprentice. There are a lot of technicalities with tattooing, so it’s going to be a long time before I tattoo anybody [laughs].
Does art influence your music at all? Absolutely, especially on Siberia, a lot of the inspiration came from fantasy art. There’s an artist named Clyde Caldwell. He does “Magic the Gathering” which features images of empowered warrior women. It’s an otherworldly thing, and you want to create a soundtrack to this other world. The art plays a big part in terms of bringing you to another place, which is where you need to go when you’re creating music. You can’t be in reality because there’s nothing inspiring about reality [laughs], so it helps you take yourself to another place, alongside the real life influences. You mix the two, and it creates something really special.
When did you start thinking about doing an acoustic version of 2011’s Siberia ? Believe it or not, the minute Siberia was written. The initial intention was to put an acoustic out with the full-length. In early 2011, I went to a cottage in Southern Ontario and demoed the whole thing. Some of them, like “Flux and Flow,” are very dynamic and to capture that acoustically is a challenge, so when it didn’t end up being released at the same time, I realized how thankful I was because all of two years were spent perfecting them. It was better than I could’ve imagined.
Did any song stand out in a new way? The acoustic versions sometimes bring out something you’ve never heard before, like “Flux and Flow,” and “Peace Sign.” Suddenly, you can hear every word, and it’s not about the cool sounds and energy, it’s about the words and how they’re resonating with you. It brought a whole new level of power to these songs.
“Peace Sign” is one of three new features on Siberia Acoustic . What was the process of reworking those songs for a second voice? Initially, I recorded everything. I hit up a bunch of friends, Adam [Young] from Owl City, Max [Kerman] from Arkells. With “Peace Sign,” I teamed with Béatrice Martin of Coeur de pirate, I was a big fan of hers. We talked about her translating some of the song into French, and that became something really special because you have to rewrite the song so the same sentiment is achieved. It was a really amazing process, really flattering to see your song converted into another language.
Were there any nerves because of the intimate setting of the acoustic shows? I get less nervous for acoustic shows than for full band. There’s a freedom to be spontaneous, and if you make a mistake, it’s more endearing if you play over it and communicate with the crowd. It feels like you’re playing with a bunch of friends.
You’re featured on Blessthefall’s upcoming album, Hollow Bodies. Was that the first time you’ve worked with your husband, Btf vocalist Beau Bokan? This is the first time in a professional setting that we’ve done something together. It was a blast. The record sounds great, and I’m excited for people to hear it. They’re doing some cool things on this record, some really beautiful songs, so I think people will really like it.
What does the rest of the year look like for you? Finishing the acoustic tour and trying to get new songs going. That’s the way it’s been for the past six months, working the writing muscle and figuring out which record I want to make. Take my time. I think it’s important that you don’t force that stuff out.