Canadian beauty, Lights, (born Valerie Anne Poxleitne) took time out from her non-stop touring to sit down with us and answer some questions – but these weren’t just any questions, we took to Twitter to ask fans what they wanted her to talk about. The response was overwhelming.
However, when sitting down with the 25-year-old electro-pop star, Lights seemed the furthest from overwhelmed. There had already been a plethora of fans lined outside New York City's Irving Plaza – some whom had even started chanting “Lights” over and over, knowing the show was still five hours away. Lights’ response to the madness? “I love my fans, they’re some of the most dedicated people out there.” Judging from the hundreds of questions that plagued Twitter, it's safe to say they love her too. Below are just a handful of the different ones that poured in.
Joonbug: First off – Happy belated Birthday! What’s the coolest gift you’ve received?
LIGHTS: Thank you! The best stuff I got was from fans, definitely. We also had a show that night and my entire crew brought out a cake and put cake on my face, that was funny. It was right on stage. It was really cute. Aside from that, I was given two katanas from separate people. One is a replica from a manga I read called Bleach, and then someone brought me a black and red katana. They’re Samurai swords, and I collect weapons so those were pretty amazing. Then today someone actually gave me all the paperwork for a star named after me. Which I mean, that is an incredible gift to get. Those were a few that stood out, definitely.
JB: What’s your favorite thing to do while you’re in New York City?
LIGHTS: Walk around! Walking around is the best. And the shopping is awesome, I mean pick any chain store you have somewhere else and the stuff is always better in the New York one. And just kind of people watching, I mean you can walk from one part of Manhattan to the other end and you just see so many different people and city genres. It’s just a lot to see and a lot to take in.
JB: You’re touring non-stop lately. It literally seems like you get three days off then you’re back on the road. What have been some of your best experiences on tour?
LIGHTS: Aside from getting to play music every night for a living which is amazing, we have a great crew. We all live together on the bus, so you know we’re around each other all the time. We recently just got a double-disco ball, a hazer, lights, so the bus parties are insane. We just kind of put some bangers on and dance around, it’s awesome.
JB: And is there anything in particular you like to do keep yourself from going crazy?
LIGHTS: The worst thing you can do for yourself is to let yourself be bored during the slow times. Exercising creativity is important. This time around I brought paints with me on tour. Last year I released a series of four paintings, so I’ve been taking advantage of getting more done on tour. And I brought my tattoo machines. I’m learning how to tattoo right now, mostly oranges. [laughs]
JB: Has there ever been a song that’s been hard to play live, personally? And one of your favorite songs to perform live?
LIGHTS: Not necessarily – I mean I like to spin all my music so the result is something positive. Even songs that came from a sad place like “Savior” or “Last Thing on Your Mind” I like to write it in a way where it reminds you of coming out of it I guess. And the song "Last Thing on Your Mind" is probably the one that, if I’m having a hard day, brings me closest to emotion – not in a bad way but it’s just a reminder. I remember one time in particular a few years ago we were playing a show and the line up were some heavy metal bands and we were getting bottles thrown at us and dodging bottles. I mean it was a really intense show, I didn’t think we’d get through it but we did and at the end my team came onstage and announced that my single had gone gold. So it was like all these emotions coming over me and I was trying to sing this song, that was a weird batch of emotions. But lately “Flux and Flow” has been one of my favorites to play live.
JB: It’s no secret how connected you stay with fans – whether it be on Twitter, after shows, the LIGHTS army, etc. No matter how much your career has taken off and expanded. Do you feel like it’s really important to have that connection regardless of how hard it may become?
LIGHTS: It is important. I mean it does get harder to accommodate more people as your growth continues, but I’ll always try my best because it is important to me. A) It keeps me grounded, you should never get to the point where you feel like you’re on a pedestal because that’s not logical. That’s when you lose sight of reality. So it keeps everyone at the same level which is important, and B) just giving people a story to take away from each show besides just the show. As the venues get bigger it does get harder so I try to find other ways to do it whether it’s hearing what they want through social media or whatnot. There’s a song I recorded and just put on Youtube called “In the Dark I See” and people had been asking for it so I released a live session on iTunes and put it on there for them. I mean, just making sure they feel like I always hear them, that’s important to me.
JB: I saw recently on your Twitter page that you mentioned something about being mistaken for a groupie backstage. Do you feel like there are still certain barriers for women in music?
LIGHTS: For sure there is. There’s always this assumption that you aren’t the musician. I wrote that because I was playing in Houston at the venue, it was my show, and my fiancé came out. He and I are walking back into the venue and the security guard looks at my fiancé and goes, “hey dude, she can’t be back here without a pass.” And I mean he’s a musician too, so the guard just assumed he was the one and not me. I just hope that immediate assumption about women changes as more women come up in this industry.
JB: How did you handle that?
LIGHTS: I said, “well, this is my show.” The guy felt really bad. You have to try not to get too upset in those situations, just kind of take it as a chance to prove you can really rock and hope that they are complete believers in the end. I just hope people learn with time.
JB: Would you ever considering writing songs for other artists?
LIGHTS: I’ve written for a TV show called “Instant Star” and a few other things but the reality is as an artist, I’m always saving the best for myself. And it’s tricky to pour your heart into something that isn’t really for you. When you write for someone else you have to treat it as if it’s your own, but if I’m going to do that then I’m going to keep the song. I think in time I may write for other people but for now, I’m putting the best into my own work.
JB: If you could collaborate with any artist; dead, alive, or fictional, who would it be?
LIGHTS: Oh, fictional! Let’s just go with the Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain from World of Warcraft. That would be cool.
JB: Have you thought about the third album at all, or when you’d begin work on it?
LIGHTS: Probably next year, this year still has a ton of touring because Siberia has only been out six months, so maybe next year after we’re done. I find it tricky to write on the road, to be honest. You have to be in the right headspace, especially if you’re preparing for the next phase of music to come. You can’t usher in the next phase when the current phase is still there.
Photo courtesy of TheSoundAlarm.com