When electro-rock sensation Lights first hit the music scene in 2008, she was just a songwriter with a synth and a dream. Her name may have been pluralized but Lights Poxleitner was a one-woman show who played and programmed her own instruments and sang her own lyrics.
This admirable self-reliance is rare in pop—in fact, Lights, signed a publishing deal at 16 and began writing songs for other artists—but after her 2008 self-titled debut EP (precocious enough to earn her a best new artist Juno) and gold-selling full-length follow-up The Listening, Lights was ready to open herself up to collaborations on her unexpectedly experimental album Siberia. And by choosing such leftfield collaborators as live electronic outfit Holy Fuck and rising rapper Shad, she also opened up her sound.
“It’s a huge step,” she readily admits. “For a year after my first record, I was confused and searching. I was writing all over the place and not finding anything that was essentially different. But after tour last year I was turned onto dubstep.” The genre’s grimy beats and sonic minimalism influenced the creation of Siberia, if not necessarily shaping the music itself (though she does pay homage with a dubstep drop on “Fourth Dimension.”)
Rather, dubstep led Lights away from the “perfection” of her past work. “Everything was tuned and timed just right. The new stuff is raw and gritty but still pop with a focus on the melodies. It’s the marriage of those two that make it really different and unlike anything I’ve ever done before.”
This dirtier direction came from collaborating with Holy Fuck, a fellow Juno-winning, electronic-influenced Canadian act who she met when both played the dance stage at last year’s Reading and Leeds festivals in the UK. Impressed by their “grime and grit,” she decided to see what might happen when she infused her pop sensibilities with their experimental tendencies.
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