I came across the Dark Lights after doing an interview for Rachel Ho at UK Indie Touring back in May. She happened to be in a band that I picked out of a number of acts that are affiliated with UKIT and we now look forward to seeing their first live show for quite some time.
-How did you come up with the band name?
Our original singer cam up with it back in Adelaide. Hopefully it reflects the sound we have.
-It would be good to now more about how you formed and how you stayed together even though half the band were in Australia and the other in London?
The nature of doing it across 2 countries has meant needing to be flexible with the line up. Saying that, whoever has been in the band has always been living in the same place at the same time. The band started back in Adelaide in 2009 as a 4 piece, and then 3 of us moved to London (Matt, Alan & myself) and then 2 Londoners (Paul & Paul) joined. This was the line up we had for the EP. Now the line up has changed again, so there are only Matt & I left, and we've had Tristan from Birmingham and Francisco from Lisbon. We are all based in London and plan to stay that way for the forseable future. On the one hand its great to keep the same members in a band, but changes can keep things fresh and it’s the nature of playing music when its so hard to generate income from it. Plus it gives an international flavour :)
-What was it like recording your songs thousands of miles away from each other? Would you recommend this to other bands that want to form, but cant be together in person?
The nature of recording these days is you don't have to be in the same place or country to get things done. We recorded all the guitars and programming and guitars back in Adelaide when we were living there and once in London the Pauls added their vocal and drum parts. Then we sent everything back to our American friend John DeMichele based in Adelaide to get it mixed and mastered and corresponded via email to get the final tweaks done. Whilst it is a great experience to lock yourselves down into a studio for several weeks (or months if you have the budget) to record a release, its an expensive exercise that isn't that flexible. If you can do as much as you can yourselves, then being in different countries or working on a project a different times aren't barriers to getting the job done.
-Who writes the lyrics and is there a general feel/theme running through them? Has this been influenced by any bands or inspirations?
The lyrics have been shared by several members. The lyrics off the EP were predominantly written by our old drummer Paul, and were inspired by the phonetics the singer Paul came up with when writing the melodies and the general feel of the music. Our new singer Tristan has a slightly different process and writes lyrics and melodies in conjunction with each other. I think he writes based on his own personal experiences… but I could be making that up!
-Are there any dates in your up and coming October tour that your are most looking forward to and why?
Looking forward to them all! But we haven't played Birmingham before, and that's Tristan's home town so should be a good one!
-If you could change one thing or do one thing better what would it be?
Earn more money from music to make it sustainable, rather than running at a loss.
-What are your hopes and aspirations for the future?
Keeping it simple - write good songs, have a great live performance and play good shows, build a strong fan base.
-What advice would you give new artists? (could be related to enow topics)
Are you aware of any organisations that can offer help and support?
Check out UK Indie Touring which I run. There are loads of interviews and articles on there about different people and organisations helping emerging and indie artists.
How to get gigs
Here are my tips:
Make sure you have a good online presence & presentation - ie good recording, professional photos and a decent bio. Look at your online presence (ie website, Facebook etc) and ask yourself "Would someone want to book this?"
Do your research - after a while you get to know the good venues and promoters - and the bad ones! (I won't name and shame;).
Go out to gigs yourself and get to know other bands with a similar vibe.
I'm a big advocate of bands working together to put own their owns shows too. Its more work, but more rewarding.
If you can, tour outside your area and gig swap with local bands so you can cross promote.
Be great at what you do and promote your shows as hard as you can to get people to come. Then venues/promoters will want to rebook you and the word will get out.
Here's some more tips that I've got on the UK Indie Touring blog
-Name some up and coming bands that you recommend people check out?
Christa Vi - Christa is a good friend of ours who has an awesome voice and writes great folk / electronica tunes.
Coroner for the Police - We're touring with these Mancunian guys in October. They play some awesome bluesey rawk.
Also should check out The Colours, Foxx on Fire, Vetoes, The Graveltones, Dark Shaft, Free Control, Tall Tales… to name a few.
-If i asked you to provide a nonsensical response to a question that i hadn't even thought of yet, what would your answer be?
There are no longer tigers chasing us, but some times you can feel like a deer in the headlights. Run!
-Thanks for that and anything else you would like to share about your band…..doesn't have to make any sense at all……
Coffee. Tattoos. Coopers Pale Ale. Small spaces.
You can check out more about The Dark Lights by clicking on their name link and check out the Youtube Video below.