Raise Your Weapon — LIGHTS and Deadmau5 at the Juno Awards
Can we just take a second to appreciate how well her voice suits this song?
Also, this woman can BELT.
Raise Your Weapon (Live Cover) by LIGHTS
The Varsity Theater, MN
(starts at 0:50)
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LIGHTS has been a member of Canada’s elite for years. After winning “Best New Artist” at the 2009 Junos for her electronic-splashed, self-made pop tracks, the red carpet seemed to roll straight from her feet. She recorded her LP Siberia with Holy Fuck and Shad, and she recently wound up in the biggest Canadian spotlight there is: the one with Deadmau5.
But impressive bio aside, LIGHTS is blessed with some majorly fun facts. Few pop singers can boast a missionary, globe-trotting upbringing, a gamer obsession, and sick tattoos. The result is an intelligent, rounded, and highly inked artist who is way more than the sum of her looks. For these reasons and more, we had a chat.
From an outsider’s view it seems like you’re really really ready to pop. Do you feel ready to break? When do you know you’ve made it?
It’s really hard to say. It’s been a slow build. I put my first thing out a number of years ago, before that I was writing for years. It’s never happened overnight, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. When you’re young I know they say you’ve made it when you’ve been on the cover of a magazine, but publications come and go, the publications even get bigger and those come and go. It doesn’t mean anything really. It all depends on who sees it and who’s been moved. It’s been a series of triumphs, and anything that happens won’t be too big or small. All I know is I’m ready for it.
Following your press since 2009, you’ve taken some sharp turns. What kind of image do you want to project?
Hmm, it’s kind of hard to peg yourself. I have always just been the way that I want to be. I don’t particularly think my music is for any specific type of person, you have adults, nerds, jock guys…I don’t sit there with a demo in mind.
Are you still a gamer?
Yes. It’s something that’s always there, a getaway, an escape. It’s an inspiration too. Same with music, same with art. People making a vision that’s helping the onlooker get away for a few minutes. That’s why you listen to a song that you love, or get into Sky Room or World of Warcraft. is like that. it’s the only thing you can do that can make you forget about everything for a few minutes.
Does it creep you out when gamer guys talk about you?
Unless they say it to my face, I don’t really care. One of the things I learned about this industry is not to go digging online too much.
Tell me about your tattoos. How many pieces are there? What aesthetic do you go for?
They’re a bunch of separate pieces that I’ve collected over the past seven years. Each one is indicative of a certain point in my life, a bookmark of that time. One of the first big pieces is WonderWoman fighting off this big giant like she’s unstoppable. It’s a reminder of the great things you can do being small. The one on my forearm is a reference to World of Warcraft. It’s the Twin Blade of the Phoenix, which is a weapon I carry around with me. There’s something empowering about female warriors, about being armed. It’s important to go into anything on your guard. A lion is on my left forearm, a beastmaster, also based on World of Warcraft. I like game references because they’re beautiful, and tattoos are great at accentuating curves.
Which one hurt the most?
Probably under the bicep. And the ribs.
It seems to be all the rage these days for kids of missionaries to grow up and get famous. What’s your story?
I was raised a missionary kid. I was home-schooled, my parents raised me with the idea that you can be anything you want. You can be a musician, an astronaut, and I really felt it. A lot of it was the result of being a home-schooled kid and not being under the influence of other kids. In terms of religion, I have faith. I know what I believe in, and it’s important to let that influence your art, but not in a way that’s preachy to people. I’m not in this industry to preach.
Are your parents supportive?
Yes, very much. My dad is living vicariously through me. He has a little music room in his house. He’s an architect but, he reminds me that if you love it you gotta do it…
Looking back and visiting my extended family in Germany and Austria, I didn’t meet any musical people, so I wonder where it all comes from. The only one is my dad, so you wonder if it skipped like seven. It makes it something special, like it’s from another dimension.
What was it like being on stage with Deadmau5?
It was a long time coming. I’ve been a fan of his for years. We started chit-chatting awhile back, nothing ever came of it. But two weeks before the Junos he hit me up and said ‘Hey you wanna sing on this track?’ I was really excited.
What was it like to sing in front of that enormous crowd?
It was definitely something new! It wasn’t my song, it was a collaboration in a huge setting when half the country is watching…it’s nervewracking. It’s just a beautiful song. And it’s a big electronic moment for Canada right now.
As for where electronic music is right now, it’s bigger than ever in Canada. It’s kind of being accepted in the mainstream in ways it hasn’t before with people like Deadmau5.
How did the Holy Fuck collaboration come about?
We were both playing the same festival in the UK, so we met overseas. We were playing the same stage. It wasn’t at that moment that I knew they were good for the record. It wasn’t until my manager’s suggestion, he was kinda hearing me talk about how I wanted things to go heavier for the record, and he said ‘Why don’t you try something with Holy Fuck?’ It was cool, we jammed in their dining room! The sounds that paved the way out for the record came out of that.
What pop artists are you into?
It’s hard to say because there are so many artists. I mean, what is pop? Skrillex is pop right now. Indie rock is pop. Arcade Fire is pop. It’s about finding the artists you like and gleaning what you can from it. Right now I’m big into M83. Some of their songs are so catchy.
You talk about dubstep and electronics but your sound is distinctly pop. What do you like about pop music?
If you love the nature of good songwriting, there are so many tricks around making a good, formatted song. That’s the challenge of songwriting, and that’s pop. It’s trickier than people give it credit for. You have to stay within the limits, but still make it original make it new, and that’s what excites me about pop.
One of the New.Music.Live. team’s favourite moments from this year’s JUNO Awards was Lights’ performance with Deadmau5. It was amazing and we couldn’t have dreamed up a better collaboration. When we caught up with Lights on the red carpet she seemed as excited as we were. And come on. Didn’t she look beautiful?
Plus, she gave a little insight into how stressful wedding planning is! Check out this clip!
Song Of The Day : #7 (April 2nd 2012)
Raise Your Weapon
Deadmau5 ft. LIGHTS — Raise Your Weapon
Live @ the Junos on April 1st, 2012
So Lights and Deadmau5 are apparently having a show together. Why can’t I go?
The Juno Awards are almost here and some exciting news was just announced! Not only is Lights nominated for Pop Album of the Year, she will also be hitting the stage and performing “Raise Your Weapon” with Deadmau5 on April 1st! Get stoked!