INTERVIEW: Lights & Bridges
Hi Tom, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’ve been good-busy, thanks!
Can you talk to us more about your single “Tears of Gold”?
Did any event inspire you to write this song?
Not one event really, more a realization over the last decade of how vulnerable and transient everything in this life is. And, therefore, all the more precious and worth savoring. Part of it is the ebbs and flows of friendships and intimate relationships. Another part is the larger changes in our human society and on the planet. These current times are very challenging and too easy to see the end of our world as we’ve known it.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
Our friend Hope Youngblood, of Youngblood Media, made the video for us, so I’ll give you her own words:
“The filming was done in a sort of live action stop motion photography. We listened to the song as we shot over and over and tried to find the openness that the song allows.
Is the love for person or place? Nature or memory?
The use of stop motion changes the sense of time, that with the color tone gives the video a nostalgic feel.
It was unseasonably cold the day we shot, in the quiet of Fort Tyron park NY, on my much loved Canon 5d, but it was so much fun to shoot!”
The single comes off your new self-titled album – why naming the record after the band?
It felt right, as the debut release, to be all about the band name. And no album titles volunteered.
How was the recording and writing process?
The songs on the Lights & Bridges EP span a 12 year period. Outside The Wall being oldest (2004) and Superball the youngest (2016). Most of the EP was written and recorded in New York, though it was all reworked and finished in LA.
For example: I wrote Tears Of Gold around the opening guitar part and went about crafting the melody to harmonize the ascending and descending notes, as well as the sustaining ones. About a year later came the chorus part. The song is intentionally simple and spacious to allow room for the emotion I was after.
I recorded the song in Brooklyn in 2013 in my basement studio in Park Slope. It sat on the shelf until I moved out to LA in 2015. I struck up a great friendship with Alan Parson’s bass player, Guy Erez, who is a fantastic producer. He loved the music and offered to produce the EP. Keeping the original guitar part, we rerecorded the vocals and added bass in his studio.
Then in mixing, we worked with Brian Yaskulka at Secret World Studios, who brilliantly modeled the sound I got in the original version, while adding some magic of his own to finish it up.
Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than working on your own original material?
I’m collaborating more and more these days and I love it. It gets me out of my lonesome self-propelled compression chamber and I can be freer in ways. Not completely responsible, which is refreshing, and I learn a lot from who I’m working with.
When I work alone I’m very focused and push myself through the process to get the ideas out clearly. There I am in complete control. It is the axis of my existence, really, and every time is a continuing practice to let the creativity flow easier with more joy.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Tears Of Gold is set billions of years into the future when all life as we know it is gone. Earth is gone. The Sun is gone. Our galaxy has morphed and shifted, ever so slightly, colder and quieter without us. All that remains, whispering between the stars, is the echo of human longing for one another.
The melody and lyrics just came sort of fused together as I stayed as true as I could to articulating this feeling of space and loss and wanting.
Superball – Lyrics written with LA poet, Rich Ferguson. This song was inspired by Rich’s poem of the same title. I heard the melody right away, then began editing and arranging verses to fit a song, adding a few lines of my own. The guitar part took some work, but came nicely.
It’s an observation of natural cycles with some more human longing thrown in. Also in there is envy, arrogance and the rise and fall of just about everything.
Outside The Wall – Inspiration came while playing for a hospice patient in Brooklyn. As a music therapist for the terminally ill, spending so much time with the dying gave me this perspective that life is simultaneously a shared and an isolating experience.
“Meet me outside the wall” is transcendence, whether it’s from a frustrated, desperate existence to inspired fulfillment, from mortality to the divine or from holding on to letting go.
Lemonade recounts a difficult time for my wife and I in our last years in NY before moving to LA. Trying and failing to have a baby for 2 years while fighting unrelated, unforgiving legal battles, plus going broke on both ends, was living with soul aching, heart-wrenching disappointment monthly, compounded by having to suffer attack blows from immature, self-victimized phonies with a shyster lawyer.
It was challenging beyond measure, but we stayed true to ourselves and the lemons life gave us did not make us bitter, but strengthened what was important making the sweet parts even stronger. Now our beautiful baby girl is turning 3 and a half.
Any plans to hit the road?
No plans yet, but stay tuned. We will be live.
What else is happening next in Lights & Bridges´ world?
Our song Lemonade got a feature in new indie cinema favorite Gala & Godfrey, so we’re excited about that upcoming release on Amazon and iTunes this February 1st.
Currently writing new material for a follow up EP this year and in the process of making videos for Superball and Lemonade.