2007 is looking to be the year it all kicks off for London based five piece Lights.Action! Having spent the last 12 months touring incessantly, recording their mini album and enjoying their first festival appearances, the band have had a financial shot in the arm this spring after winning backing from Slice The Pie – the website that enables artists to raise money directly from their fans to professionally record and release an album.
With the music industry in transition, and labels slashing their budgets – could this be the way forward to up and coming bands to get that vital foot in the door? Lights.Action!’s frontman Patrick Currier took some time off from working on their new album to give Dee Massey some insight into their Slice The Pie backing and the world of Lights.Action!
Hi! please can give us an introduction to who Lights. Action! are? where are you from, and how long have you been together?
Lights. Action! are a group of five incredibly determined, and possibly deranged outsiders from around the UK & US, who magnetised towards one another over the space of a few years. We had all been in different bands before and kind of knew of each other by reputation. (With the exception of Karl and Steve who I’d known for years.)
The line-up is myself (Patrick Currier) on vocals, Karl Bareham on guitar, Chris Moorhead on guitar and keys, Alex Leeder on bass, and Steve Durham on the drums.
How would you describe your sound to a Lights. Action! virgin?
Well, Lights. Action! are primarily a rock band, but our sound ranges from the epic to the much more dynamic and sublime; encompassing big riffs and lush electronic soundscapes backing catchy but heartfelt vocals.
Who are your main influences?
We are influenced by a lot of different types of music, something from every genre. Especially vocally really, as I try and draw from everything I hear and love in other people’s styles.
I would say that the most instantly obvious comparisons are with bands like The Killers, Foo Fighters, U2, but we bring in a lot of other elements like edgy Bloc Party Drums, Police style vocals, and Buckley inspired falsetto vocals. Our most recent stuff brings in a lot of more bluesy/rootsy influences. It’s basically a marriage of different styles: Something old & something new, something borrowed & something blue! It’s a real mix, but it works.
Your Mini-Album “All eyes to the morning sun” has just been released, can you tell us a little about it?
“All Eyes..” Is a sort of look back over the last year. It’s the first place where people can get a collected works of Lights. Action! that really shows where we began, and how we are changing. The title itself is all about hope and the start of a new day. It’s the first step on our journey as a band. It’s got some fan favourites as well as a few tracks which mix it up a little.
It includes your version of Imogen Heap’s song Hide & Seek – what was behind your decision to include that? Have she heard it yet?
Yeah, we decided to put that track on there because it was a big learning process for us arranging and changing that song. It really opened our minds to what we were capable of doing, with it still sounding like us. So the main reason was really to prove something to ourselves, that we were ballsy enough to take something that delicate and risky and put it on the record. A few people tried to sway us from putting it on there, but I think we were right to include it, and people seem to really respond to our version, which is great.
Has she heard it? I don’t know. I would love to know what she thinks of it, I know she is a rock fan, so I’m hoping she would appreciate the effort we put into making it different. I have a couple of close friends who are acquaintances of hers and I’m trying to get them to ‘accidentally’ get her to hear it.
With the music industry in such a hugely publicised transition, many major labels are cutting their rosters and the signing of bands is in decline. Budgets are being slashed and as a result lot’s of bands are going the DIY route and making records without the signing a ‘record deal’. Lights. Action! are no different and have become the latest band to win album funding through website SliceThePie.com – could you tell us a little about SLP and what’s it’s means for the band compared to signing a traditional record deal. How will it affect how you make, market and distribute your record?
Well, basically we had become sick of waiting for a company to jump on board for the band. We have been sort of talking to different A&R people for ages and ages now and we are not the kind of guys to sit around and wait for someone to say “go”. So we decided to take matters into our own hands and just “find” the funding from somewhere less traditional.
Ours came in the form of a website we’d heard about called Slicethepie.
The site, sort of breaks down the industry and puts it into the hands of the listeners and bands. So the listeners become A&R people, and they decide who gets financed but reviewing a band’s merit against that of others. It’s quite complex, but essentially a financing engine that finds good bands through it’s users, and gives them money to make a record.
It’s not heaps and heaps of money, but it’s enough for a resourceful band like ourselves to make a decent record. It also puts all of the decision making process in the hands of the band themselves. So, we answer to no one and we can make the record we want to make. Which is great for us, and will hopefully help us create a much better piece of art.
The flip side is, we have to run our band like businessmen as well, we do the budgets and the schedules and the sourcing of materials etc. It’s completely different to how band’s have run in the past. And you have to balance a lot more different stresses. We will have to market it ourselves, find licenses ourselves (if we choose to) and essentially be our own label. But ultimately I think it’s worth it.
You played Download and Leeds last year, how did you find playing the festivals?
Download was really amazing last year. We played in the afternoon to a pretty full tent of about 1000 people. I thought it was amazing that so many people would show up to see a fairly unknown band! And, considering that we are not a metal band, we’re a rock band, people were incredibly responsive.
I had been planning for years my first festival appearance, and it was incredible really. Leeds was great too, and it was cool that they allowed us to be on the unsigned stage when the majority of other acts were fairly local to that area.
Will you be heading out on the festival circuit again this year? What does the summer hold for you?
We will be doing some festivals this year, yes. We are confirmed for one so far, called ZooThousand. It’s got people like Mark Ronson, Dizzee Rascal & Funeral for A Friend Playing it. We’re really excited about it, mainly because it’s in some sort of massive wildlife park! We want to see the lions!
Other than that, we are touring right up into June. Then taking a break for a month to write and record our debut album. We’ll be doing this in various studios around London, and possibly even in a stately home or church as well! We’ll be doing this with acclaimed up and coming producer Richard Wilkinson. He’s a close friend of the band and really understands our ambition for this project.
You’ve been touring with Kids in Glass Houses, I was a Cub Scout and Boy Kill Boy amongst others, what’s the best and worst things about being on the road?
Well, playing live is obviously great for us, because that’s the natural environment of a rock band. It’s a chance to really connect with people on a personal level, and get responses first hand. It’s amazing to play to packed crowds, and sometimes it’s even more amazing to play to just 5-10 people, but completely convert every one of them, you know?
So yeah, obviously response is one of the best things. Getting people to actually care about the band etc. And then the next time you play there, seeing those people sing along. Those bits are great. Sometimes just the fact that you are hanging out with 4 of your close mates is a big highlight too.
The worst bits about touring are probably in not having money to eat all the time, sleeping on people’s floors, having to argue with promoters if they try and not pay you. All that stuff. I mean, crashing at random people’s houses is good in some ways because it forces you to make friends. But the problem with that is that everyone wants a band to come back to theirs and party and show them a great time, but half the time once you’ve finished a show you just want to chill out. [laughs]
What are your three essentials to take on tour?
Towel, Toothbrush & Telephone. The 3 T’s.
So why should our readers come see you guys live?
Well, firstly, we are a tight band and we rock. [laughs]
Secondly, they’ll get something that listening to a recording simply won’t give them… the dynamic part of our music which microphones can’t really capture.
Thirdly, I think that are part of a resurgence in real rock music which is about to happen, and I think that’s something to get excited about. Taking it back to honest, powerful live performance, and songs that really mean something to the band. It’s such a good time to get in at the ground level with bands like ours, because people can really take ownership of the music and get much more satisfaction out of it.
And lastly…could you give the Crossfire readers some words of wisdom?
Get a good job and work hard at it. Singing in a rock band is for mugs.
Cheers Patrick – and good luck with the album!