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INTERVIEW: State Lights

Hi Joe, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

● Great! We’ve had a busy year. We released our last single ‘Peace Will Come’ in February and went on tour around Ireland supporting it. It was a really great experience. We’ve just released our new single ‘Freedom’ and right now we’re concentrating on gigging as much as we can whilst also writing and recording new songs.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Freedom”?

● ‘Freedom’ is a song about a relationship that has just broken down and you’re in a bad place following that. But you can’t cry forever, you have to move on and live life for yourself and not for another person. The song is saying “I’m my own person, I’m going to live life on my own terms”.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?

● I wrote the music for ‘Freedom’ about 3 years ago, when I was listening to a lot of dance music. I thought it’d be an interesting experiment to try and combine the sonic characteristics of what I was listening to at the time, which was mainly stuff by Avicii and Calvin Harris, with the sound of State Lights, which is heavily influenced by Stadium Rock and New Wave. So I went into my studio and after a couple of hours, came out with ‘Freedom’. I sent it to Shobsy and that evening he had written the lyrics for it, and everything fell into place.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

● Yes! We have actually already released the video for ‘Freedom’, it can be viewed on our Youtube channel. It was directed by our close friend and creative collaborator, Peter Barnes. We decided to not include any performance shots of the full band in the video, as we wanted it to focus on the story of the song. We were delighted with how it turned out and the whole video process was very fulfilling.

How was the recording and writing process?

● It was wonderful and interesting process! As I mentioned, the song was written some time ago. It took awhile for us to be fully won over by the song, actually, as it presented fairly new sounds to the band. Music is interesting like that, more specifically when you’re writing your own music. You can over-analyse every note, beat and lyric and really become disillusioned with your song. It’s not necessarily insecurity; it’s more so thinking about what is the absolute best version of this song. Sometimes those thoughts weigh heavily on you and can destroy or delay your creativity. It’s fairly ironic that on a song named ‘Freedom’ we had this kind of trouble! With all that being said, we eventually completely fell in love with the song. We quickly arranged some time to record it in my studio, where we produced the song entirely by ourselves. After that, we went to Mark Needham for mixing, he’s done stuff with The Killers, Imagine Dragons and P!nk. Then we worked with Ted Jensen on mastering the track. We’re super happy with how it all came out.

What role does Dublin play in your writing?

● Dublin has an inevitable role in our writing. It’s the city in which we’re based, it’s the atmosphere that surrounds us. This is the world we know, and it’s changed a lot in the last couple of years. Ireland, in general, has changed. Our culture is becoming a more free thinking and open one, and that in itself is inspiring and really encouraging to us.

What is it about the 80s that you find so fascinating?

● I think it was just one of the best decades of music ever. It was also one of the cheesiest, lets get that straight! But there was so much progression in music at that time, with artists like U2, The Smiths and The Cure discovering their respective sounds. The delays, the reverbs, the chorused guitars, it was all starting to happen! The 80’s was the real birth of synth-oriented pop music too, and that’s been a major influence on us.

How Kygo and Coldplay has influence your writing?

● Bands that play around with the sound of stadium rock or arena rock are very influential to us, so naturally Coldplay fall into that category. They’re one of the biggest bands in the world and reach for the sky in their songs. Their song ‘A Sky Full of Stars” was very seminal to me going into writing ‘Freedom’. It showed me that you could do this “stadium dance” thing. Tim Bergling (Avicii) actually produced that song, too. Kygo has been a newly found influence. He’s really blazed his own trail within the dance pop world, creating extremely bright and vibrant productions. So in that sense, his music was very much a reference for ‘Freedom’.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

● Yes! We’ll have another single out by the end of the year. Right now we’re not sure what it’ll be, we have a couple of songs floating around that we think could be good choices. Next year it’s in our plans to release something more substantial. Whether that be an EP or a full album, I don’t know. We have 3 albums worth of songs at the moment, so we’re not short of options!

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

● For the next single, we’ll probably release it around October time. There’s a song called ‘Lonely’, which is the current frontrunner for the next single.

Any plans to hit the road?

● We’ve been kept busy this summer with lots of gigs and travelling around Ireland. We’re hoping to keep that going for the rest of the year. There may be another tour in the pipeline.

What else is happening next in State Lights’ world?

● We’re coming towards the end of festival season in Ireland, and we’re playing our biggest festival to date soon! We’ll be performing at Electric Picnic on 2 seperate days, the Saturday and the Sunday. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get and we are so excited about it! We’re also keeping busy with a few radio appearances here and there supporting ‘Freedom’, as well as continuing to write and record. It’s a busy time to be in State Lights but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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