There is no such thing as idle time for Canadian singer-songwriter Lights Poxleitner-Bokan. The always-creating songstress, who goes simply by Lights, has four studio LPs to her name, a handful of acoustic EPs, a comic book series and a soon-to-be-developed live action TV show. Her most recent release, 2017’s Skin & Earth, marked the launch of an entirely new creative universe. Now, Lights is dropping hints on social media that another acoustic record is on the horizon, even as she hits the road with Young the Giant across the U.S. and Canada.
The Skin & Earth album served as a companion piece to a comic and graphic novel, lyrically following the narrative and characters of the story. Lights took it a step further while promoting the album, recreating the universe on Instagram with interactive maps and character profiles. She hid Easter eggs and album teasers for fans to find. A world tour followed the album’s release, again incorporating the visuals and characters into the set.
On Instagram, she’s posted images of herself in a desert and other exotic and desolate locales armed with just an acoustic guitar, a microphone and a laptop.
“It’s pretty involved,” Lights said about recording. “In order to make it feel like it’s part of the world that I’ve built, I’m seeking out locations from the corresponding locations within the comic where that song will take place and actually recording in that environment.”
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As she’s done with each of her past studio releases, the acoustic albums serve as a bookend to the eras, allowing Lights to both reimagine the songs in new ways from which they were originally recorded and to present them in the stripped-down arrangements by which the songs were first conceived. Lights added an additional degree of difficulty to the recording process by setting out to record the songs in the environments in which they occur in the story. One of those locations was a mountaintop, where she tracked “Skydiving.”
“We found this really epic cliff where we were filming and tracking,” Lights said. “You can hear the environment … and it’s just a way to make you feel like you’re there.”
Lights led the recording and produced the album herself.
“It’s been fun,” she said of the added workload. “I’m producing and engineering all of it, plus balancing it out with building in environment sounds, which I’ve never done before.”
Lights began her songwriting career at young age, but benefitted from growing up in the prime of the developing internet age, using all of the digital tools at her disposal to connect with fans and get her music heard. Posting original songs and covers to YouTube and creating LiveJournal blog posts helped Lights to build a loyal internet following early on. That success helped garner the attention of labels, and ultimately her first major label release The Listening in 2006. Even before Earth, Lights blended the worlds of art and music, mixing in her love of drawing and creating to develop art pieces and merchandise items that further combined her worlds.
Follow writer Mike DeWald at Twitter.com/mike_dewald.