LIGHTS: WE WERE HERE TOUR
Chase Atlantic, DCF
Mon · February 19, 2018
Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pmMercy Lounge
$19.00 - $139.00
This event is 18 and over
Lights has partnered with PLUS1so that $1 from every ticket will go to support Grid Alternatives and their work bringing accessible
renewable energy technology and job training to underserved communities (www.gridalternatives.org)
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Then came En, short for Enaia, a fictional character from a fictional world created in Lights’ imagination that is not altogether different from herself. Throughout a year long process, she began secretly working on an unprecedented idea writing and drawing her own comic book based around this alter ego of sorts. And on top of that, just to make things more difficult – an album to coincide with the whole thing.
Thus came Skin&Earth, the Canadian singer’s fourth record and her most open and vulnerable to date. “In the past, Lights wouldn’t write about being angry or Lights wouldn’t write a song about fighting or Lights wouldn’t write about sex,” she says. “So En is me in another dimension, and I was able to write about all the things that I never wrote about before.”
The setting for Skin&Earth revolves around the last city left in a post-apocalyptic world that is lost to famine & plague, devoid of hope. A super corporation called Tempest runs everything from the media to the water rations to the schools. “There’s a lot of commentary in the story about how we’ve taken and taken and taken until there’s nothing left and that’s how this apocalypse has happened and that’s why they’re in this last bastion of humanity.” The environment being a topic close to Lights’ heart, she states, “It was awesome. It was freeing.” She continues, “That’s the whole vibe of the record and the comic. This meandering search for hope in a hopeless world that you really never know what you’re gonna get. You really never know what’s gonna happen until the end.”
Lights received advice from comic heavy hitting friends the likes of Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Runaways), Jamie McKelvie (The Wicked + The Divine) and G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel) on the project. Initially wanting Vaughan to write the book, she says “He reminded me that I’m a writer already. He gave me the faith in myself to believe I could do it.”
She seemingly transcended through to a new level of creativity while working on Skin&Earth. “Once you open that part of your brain, you open the floodgates and it never ends. From that day on, a year and a half ago, it has never ended. My mind is constantly flowing with ideas. And I’ve never been more creative or inspired and I’ve never had more faith in myself to actually accomplish something.”
Growing up with Calvin and Hobbes, Herman and The Far Side, Lights has been a lifelong fan of comics including current favorites like Saga, Pretty Deadly, Bitch Planet, and The Wicked + The Divine which all star or are created by other strong women. Comics have even influenced her music all the way back to her first record, The Listening, with her character Captain Lights. “It’s always made its way into my aesthetic and the way my art is. But never to this degree.”
The album form of Skin&Earth also brings help from some of music’s brightest including Corin Roddick of Purity Ring, Big Data and Josh Dun of Twenty One Pilots. “Everything that happened on this record was really fun and natural and felt like we were all working towards the same goal,” she says. “It was this organic mutual fan-ship kind of thing that brought it all together.” She continues, “This is the most fun I’ve had doing a record. I’ve never felt that I understood a record more and I’ve never felt like I understood a reason for a record more.”
Each track weaves effortlessly between topics of hope, hopelessness and romance including the anthemic first single “Giants” and the gloomy “New Fears” where she says “The sound is generated by the mood of that chapter. Chapter 5 is very moody and dark and the song emulates that.” New themes began to emerge for Lights during the writing process as well for this album. “There’s a song on the record called “Savage” and there’s anger in it – I’ve never written like that before,” she says.
For advice on how to consume the Skin&Earth record and comic book combo, Lights suggests that “they’re better absorbed separately and each of them augments the other. So you can listen to a song on its own and it’s something completely standalone. And then you can read the comic on its own and it’s standalone as well. But when you put them together and you start to connect the dots, there’s something so much deeper there.”
Ultimately for Lights, the most important takeaway from the story of Skin&Earth is of a young woman entranced by a spirit that she and she alone must overcome. “This is based on internal, emotional stress and turmoil – stuff that I’ve dealt with and stuff that a lot of people have dealt with. I’ve always believed that all those battles can be fought and you come out of this stronger. And that was the foundation of the story,” she says. “At the end of the day, if nothing else, I want people, especially young women, to see in this character a little bit of themselves – see that an ordinary person can do amazing things and fight battles nobody else can see, and there’s no shame in that. In fact, there’s a lot of beauty in it.”
THIS DELICATE BALANCE QUIETLY TRANSFORMED THE GROUP—MITCHEL CAVE, CLINTON CAVE, AND CHRISTIAN ANTHONY—INTO A VERITABLE SENSATION DOWN UNDER WHILE STILL IN THEIR TEENS. SINCE FORMING IN 2011, THE BOYS HAVE PACKED MULTIPLE HEADLINE TOURS ACROSS AUSTRALIA, AMASSED AN IMPRESSIVE DIGITAL FOOTPRINT OF FOLLOWERS, RELEASED TWO SUCCESSFUL INDEPENDENT EPS, DALLIANCE  AND NOSTALGIA , AND SPAWNED A VIRAL SINGLE WITH “FRIENDS,” WHICH GARNERED AN INCREDIBLY LARGE COUNT OF SPOTIFY PLAYS.
HOWEVER, THEIR SHARED AMBITION ALWAYS EXCEEDED THE CONFINES OF THE BEDROOM STUDIO WHERE THEY INITIALLY RECORDED. “WHILE ALL OF OUR FRIENDS WERE DOING GAP YEARS AND FINDING THEMSELVES, WE WERE WORKING ON GETTING THE WORLD TO NOTICE US,” ADMITS MITCHEL. “WE MADE THIS AGREEMENT WITHIN THE BAND THAT WE WEREN’T JUST GOING TO STAY IN AUSTRALIA. WE WANTED TO SIGN TO AN INTERNATIONAL LABEL, AND WE WOULDN’T STOP UNTIL THAT HAPPENED.”
“WHAT WE WERE DOING WAS DIFFERENT FOR AUSTRALIA,” ADDS CHRISTIAN. “IT FELT LIKE WE WERE THE ONLY ONES PUTTING OUT MUSIC THAT WE PRODUCED AND MADE ENTIRELY BY OURSELVES. THAT’S THE PROCESS. IT’S REAL.”
THAT SPIRIT CAUGHT THE ATTENTION OF THE MADDEN BROTHERS DURING 2015. MULTIPLE MEETINGS IN AUSTRALIA FOLLOWED, AND THE THREE-PIECE SIGNED WITH THE INDUSTRY ICON’S MUSIC COMPANY, MDDN. IN 2016, CHASE ATLANTIC FLEW TO LOS ANGELES SCORING A DEAL WITH WARNER BROS. RECORDS.
“THE MADDENS LOCKED US AWAY IN A BURBANK STUDIO FOR THREE MONTHS AND THREW AWAY THE KEY. WE REALLY GOT TO PRESERVE THAT ORGANIC SOUND,” SAYS CLINTON.
WITHOUT OUTSIDE INFLUENCES, THE THREE-PIECE PRODUCED, PLAYED, AND RECORDED EVERY NOTE, INCLUDING SAXOPHONE. ALONG THE WAY, THEY HONED AND FINE-TUNED A DEFINITIVE STYLE EQUALLY REVERENT OF TAME IMPALA AND SKRILLEX AS IT IS OF THE WEEKND AND TRAVI$ SCOTT.
“TO US, PRODUCTION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING,” MITCHEL GOES ON. “IT’S THE MOST CRITICAL ELEMENT OF CREATIVITY. WE PUSH OURSELVES TO FURTHER WHAT WE CAN DO EVERY DAY, WHETHER IT’S PRODUCING OR PLAYING. WE REALLY FOUND OUR MUSICAL IDENTITY THIS PAST YEAR.”
NOW, CHASE ATLANTIC ROARS TO LIFE ON THE FIRST SINGLE “CHURCH.” GLITCHY SYNTHS BLIP IN THE BACKGROUND AS MITCHEL’S BREATHY VOICE HAUNTS AND HYPNOTIZES. BELLS RING WHILE THE HOOK—“I’M ABOUT TO TAKE YOU BACK TO CHURCH”—SIMPLY SEDUCES. “IT’S VERY FORWARD, SEXUAL, AND AGGRESSIVE,” EXPLAINS MITCHEL. “THE LYRICS ARE SEXUALIZING RELIGION IN A WAY, AND THE SONG ENDS UP BEING THE COMPLETE AND TOTAL OPPOSITE OF WHAT CHURCH REALLY MEANS TO MOST PEOPLE.”
ELSEWHERE ON THE RECORD, THE AIRY “INTO IT” TEMPERS A DOWNTEMPO GROOVE WITH AN UNSHAKABLE REFRAIN BEFORE A JAZZ-Y SAXOPHONE SOLO TAKES THE SPOTLIGHT. “IT REPRESENTS THE TRANSITION INTO A NEW, MORE INTENSE LIFESTYLE,” SAYS CHRISTIAN. “YOU’RE ACKNOWLEDGING THAT THIS SOMETHING YOU’RE INTO AND CAN ROLL WITH. IT’S OUR STORY.”
MEANWHILE, “RIGHT HERE” URGES FOR A CARPE DIEM MOMENT WITHIN A RELATIONSHIP. “IT BASICALLY SAYS, ‘FUCK EVERYBODY ELSE. IT’S JUST YOU AND ME’,” MITCHEL REVEALS. “ALL THAT MATTERS IS THE TWO OF US IN THIS MOMENT.”
ULTIMATELY, CHASE ATLANTIC FORGE A LASTING CONNECTION THROUGH THAT HONESTY.
“THE ONE THING WE WANT PEOPLE TO TAKE AWAY FROM THE MUSIC IS THIS ELEMENT OF REALLY FEELING THEMSELVES,” MITCHEL LEAVES OFF. “A SONG CAN MAKE YOU GO, ‘FUCK YEAH,’ AND YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT IT AND SINGING IT ALL DAY. YOU’RE NOT LEFT UNDERWHELMED. YOU’RE OVERWHELMED. WE WANT THAT.”
“AND WORLD DOMINATION,” AGREES CLINTON.
1 Cannery Row
Nashville, TN, 37203