Coachella 2015: Lights Talks Festival Highlights, Indio Sunsets & New Music
Lights made her Coachella debut on Saturday (April 11). It also happened to be the Canadian’s 28th birthday and she soon had the packed Gobi tent heaving with an extra-special set full of old favorites and tracks from third LP Little Machines. We caught up with the synth-pop siren earlier in the day and she opened up about her experience at the desert festival.
We chatted about the acts she most wanted to see, the advantages of attending music festivals as a mother and the magical Indio sunset. Lights also opened up about where she is at with new music and revealed that she’s feeling particularly experimental at the moment. Find out more below.
Why has it taken so long for you to perform at Coachella?
I’ve been waiting for a long time. Actually, I’ve been meaning to go for a long time. It just happened — the first time I get to play and it’s my birthday!
Thank you. I couldn’t ask for a better day right now.
Do you have any special surprises in your set?
I just want to show people what we do best and play some of our best songs, and try to show people that have never seen us before what we’ve got at this point, because there’s a lot of people here who don’t know who I am. The best thing about these festivals is to play for people that wouldn’t normally come to your show, and show them what you’re made of. That’s kind of what it’s about today.
Did you have a chance to see any acts yesterday?
I got a chance to see a bit of Azealia Banks, love her, and The War On Drugs. I really love them as well. That was all I got to catch yesterday, but it was cool. I was just kind of taking in the festival. It was really beautiful, especially at night.
Is there anyone that you’re going to check out after your set today?
I want to see FKA Twigs. She’s playing later tonight and RATATAT’s playing later tonight, so I’m looking forward to them. I can’t wait to see The Weeknd. I’m really looking forward to that.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen at Coachella so far?
The most intriguing part for me so far is all the really interesting moving art installations around the festival. You don’t see that everywhere. It’s pretty unique to this festival. It’s really inspiring. You just walk around, and there’s all these really interesting neon lights, and you walk into an area of huge lampshades and you feel like you’re Alice in Wonderland. It’s pretty cool.
Do you think being out in the desert adds another dimension to the festival?
Yeah. It’s beautiful every day. You don’t ever have to deal with mud or rain, which can really put a kibosh on a good day at a festival. The sunset is unreal. I think that’s become part of the Coachella background — palm trees in front of a striking sunset. I caught it last night, and it was pretty surreal. It was really nice.
Will you mostly perform songs from Little Machines?
There will be a little bit of mixing everything. I think it kind of comes down to picking a taste of everything, but the most energized live songs. There could be a really great song that just doesn’t come across well live, and so it kind of comes down to our experience live, picking the ones that are the most fun — basically just making a really great 45 minutes.
Where are you in the creative process? Are you focussing on touring or working on new music?
It’s kind of a mix. We’re still on a pretty heavy tour cycle for Little Machines. There’s a lot of festivals this summer, and then going into another major tour this fall. In the little gaps we’re doing lot of writing, so you try to balance it out. If you miss out on those gaps, then you end up having to work for a couple years and being like, you have no material, and have to go rush something out. Yeah, it’s all about balance.
Can you talk about the sound of your next album?
Right now, I’m in a good place, because I feel like we just put out Little Machines. I’m really proud of the record. At this point, being creative, I feel really open and inspired, because there is no rush and there’s no sort of goal sound. I think it’s the kind of time where you can experiment and figure out what you want to do next, instead of feeling forced to figure it out right away. That’s been fun. There’s been a lot of experimentation, and being inspired by what we’ve been doing live.
Will you continue with the synth sound or will you add a little bit more rock into the mix?
I don’t know. That’s a good question. I think I’m at the place in my life where I can just as a person feel like I can make any kind of music I want. I don’t feel like I need to be trapped into any specific genre, but I do love the limitless possibilities that putting a synth in can create. It just creates beautiful ambience that can determine whatever mood you want. But to put synths in doesn’t necessarily mean it’s electronic. I feel like, it’s interesting you bring it up, because I feel just so inspired by a lot of different things right now that I’m just creating all kind of different sounds.
Is it different coming to a festival like this as a mom?
Yeah, for sure. Walking around Coachella yesterday, I had my little baby with me and it’s like, you can’t go out there and get shitfaced and go dancing in the dance tent. It’s a totally different experience at the festival. I’m experiencing everything from a sober perspective. It’s beautiful in other ways.
I think if I were out there in the crowd, just out of my mind, it would be probably really fun, but a different kind of fun. I get to be with my family, and I get to be walking around in the sun with my little one, and doing a show, and experiencing everything around me, in a very present mind. That’s pretty priceless. I’ll never forget it.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done at a festival in the past?
I remember I went to a festival and it just started pouring, and there was mud everywhere. You end up just getting — You take your shoes off, you walk around and you’re covered in mud. It’s this total free spirit feeling that you are just filthy, and having so much fun. That’s one of my favorite memories — just being covered in mud and just enjoying the ability to be covered in mud.
Last question. Do you have a favorite festival?
This has been quite an experience for me — beautiful surroundings, just great music. I think this is for sure one of the most well put-together festivals I’ve ever been to. We also have one in Canada called Osheaga in Montreal. That’s an awesome festival. That one would be a really close second for me. We played that a couple years ago. I would say it’s like Canada’s Coachella.
Did you see Lights’ Coachella set? Let us know in the comments below.
[All photos by Josh Fogel].
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