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Wednesday, February 28th
The Hot Sweat
Four Year Strong
Hana Pestle
Lights Resolve.  What can I possibly say? I conducted this interview several weeks back and during the time of writing/transcribing I had started to follow Lights Resolve on Twitter (@lightsresolve), this has allowed me to be a “fly on the wall” during their journey of “making a record”. I’ll start off being a bit personal.  For each of us, music can be a very intimate and individual choice; and for me each interview with an up and coming artist/musician, it becomes that much more personal with the ebb and flow of our interaction and conversation; either walking away disappointed or knowing that “this band” is headed for greatness.  Interviews aren’t always with bands I’ve been a fan of prior, so for this, I was extremely happy to spend the time speaking with Matt Reich, frontman of Lights Resolve. Over the last year, my interest has percolated to a full bodied enthusiast and preacher of “drink the juice”.  Lyrically Lights Resolve inspires, musically uplifting and open, the progression and pace of their sound is uniquely addicting, with their ability to blend the sounds of ambient, pop, rock, with other original beats and distinctive choruses, the mixture will make the die-hard rocker and pop-tune lover stand hand in hand. 

Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me about what’s been going on with Lights Resolve, Just to make clear it’s only gonna be you, Matt, the others aren’t availableSo I missed you guys when you came out to Los Angeles last year, but that was before though…
Before you were bit by the bug (laughs), the last time we were out there was a year ago on tour with The Used, which was awesome, L.A., Bakersfield, San Francisco, a bunch of cities in Cali, San Diego.  There was a bunch of (smaller markets) too, it’s cool because the kids actually go more crazy, cause there’s nothing to do there.  Anytime a band that they love comes to town they go ape shit, it’s all this pent up energy, those shows (can be) way cooler than the (big city) shows.

I’ve been asking this for a while…when do you think you
’ll make it out west again?  Because I know your fans, including myself are dying to see your live show.
What we’re focused on right now, at the moment is writing a new record as soon as where done with that we can start making the rounds.

When do you expect to be done (with the record)?
We don’t know just because, the music just keeps on getting better that we’re writing, so it’s like why stop at this point. It keeps on taking different turns and twists and we keep on finding ourselves in different situations…like we went in isolation for a week at a house in upstate New York, in the Catskills where there’s no cell phones no Internet or anything and...great stuff came out of that.  Back in March we went down to Florida and did the same thing, we went to the Poconos one time, it’s just experiencing different stuff and the new music is coming out awesome we’re gonna keep doing that and demoing until we have the right material for a record and we’re gonna get our asses out there and start touring.

Let me back track a little bit here for those fans who don’
t know your history. From what I understand, you lost your lead singer, you (Matt) took some singing lessons and bam…in 2006 you became Lights Resolve - how has that journey been for you?  How did if effect your music?
It was the ultimate breakdown and build-up. When our old singer left the band we were, uh, I don’t know what you could say here, but we were left holding our dicks in our hands.  We were at a loss, and we weren’t sure where to go with it. So we just said why not start a new band?  It will be about friendships. That’s what ultimately broke up the last band, all of us, the three of us were friends but with the lead singer none of us were getting along with him and he ended up leaving.  We tried to repair the situation but it was irreparable at the time…so we decided we wanted to start a new band because we all, we’re not giving up on music. We had come as far, with the other band, were we had a single on the radio, we were doing huge festivals.  It was a really good time, but this time around we have to put the friendship before the music and that’s just gonna be way more important.  So that’s how we started out this band and we said every one's gonna be on the same page all the time, everyone is going to be completely open with one another to the point where you could stand in front of each other, and basically stand naked and everybody knows everything about the other people involved.  Everyone knows everybodys moods and everybodys aware of every situation.

So that’s how we started out Lights Resolve, there was me (Matt), Neal –The drummer, and our old bass player Sherman. So we did that for about 2 years.  Actually before that we didn’t know if I was gonna sing because I had never sang before, we were actually auditioning other lead singers. We couldn’t find anybody to fit the bill, so that was the discovery of when, through auditioning that, I was singing better than them. We realized very quickly and I started taking vocal lessons and just worked my ass off every day for a the better part of a year and a half and I still do today, but it was extremely intense during that year and a half where I was just starting from scratch.

So basically you didn’t know you had it in you.
(Laughs) No, I really had no idea, you know I had played guitar somewhat confidently and moved from lead guitar to rhythm guitar at the same time and being the only guitar player.  Now, I’m finding my voice with the guitar as well as finding my actual physical voice and that wasn’t an easy process.  It’s like learning how to sing and finding out where your voice fits in the world, not easy at all, especially because I started much later than most people.  Most singers start when they’re really young and I started when I had already been through the ringer, but I’m not that old (laughs).

Right, I know what you mean though, let me tell you, it was meant to be, you sound great, the band sounds great and I’m looking forward to what you have coming in the future.
Nice, I’m still not there with my voice, I’m still trying to figure it out, new developments each day, like, oh, this is how I’m supposed to do this. Because in the beginning it’s all the mechanics and so you gotta get the basic (fundamentals) down before you can start getting creative and figuring it out, exactly what (your range) is, the different approaches, so I’m in the process of figuring that out right now which is really cool and I think it’s making for awesome stuff in these new songs.

Let’s talk about your stage show, I’m always reading how fabulous they are, and watching videos….is one of you more creative in that sense as far as what the stage show will be?  Particularly speaking of your relationship with Tattfoo Tan; the visualization of it, is that you guys, or do you leave that up to whoever you’re dealing with?
In the Tattfoo case, we were doing a photo shoot with our friend Sean O’Kane, who’s just a good friend who’s done a bunch of our photo shoots for us and we always try to do something creative, and I guess something that others aren’t doing.  We were just walking around…Brooklyn and we just got done with some creative stuff we were proud of and we were calling it a day and then we ran into this wall covered with all these different, they were these equal boxes, where each of them were a different color and it just intrigued us right away especially since I was, at the same time, wearing a shirt that had the same kind of thing on it, It was just happenstance we came across this wall with the same exact thing.  It was kinda providence right there. So, everyone took a different meaning to it, we just had to get in front of this and shoot some of it. At the end of the day, let’s make something out of this.  It just translated into something way bigger than you could imagine for each of us and what it meant to us.  We ended up contacting, we found out who was responsible for making that wall, and it turned out there was this guy Tatfoo, who is this Malaysian artist, who moved to New York. We ended up getting in contact with him and he ended up liking the music, so it worked out really well.  He came down to a show, we hung out with him and then we said let’s do something together.  Everybody was brainstorming ideas; we came up with the visualizations with one of the songs using the wall he created.  That kinda of became, that started things off getting everyone in the creative mind.

Do you thing that’s something you’ll continue to do?
I think that was a one off with him, we went off to do other photo shoots with him, he got us all creative.  He has this huge block out space studio in Staten Island, he invited us out there for the day with his wife we ended up getting really creative and did some shoots with him. Stuff I hadn’t seen before, he opened up a different part of our minds.  We’re always looking to expand and do new stuff that we’re excited about, approach differently, because when you do the same stuff over and over again, it gets stale.  So we’re always about moving forward, trying to freak out our audience one stunt at a time.

Besides the three of you, is there anyone else that you work with? Perhaps, other producers? Who else, if anyone is contributing to your sound, your music?
Basically we all get together and we write all the music and then once that’s done we can put our egos aside and let somebody else step in and say maybe this part should be different or this part should be there and that’s usually our friend Ryan who is the guitar player from The Urgency who’s been a friend for a long time, we grew up in the same scene, we trust him with letting him produce all the demo’s we’ve had so far, also our manager Alex is pretty influential in getting ideas off the ground; saying - This is good, or focus on this – so it’s a collaborative effort; which is for the best, because when you do stuff by yourself it can become indulgent and ego maniacal.

So perhaps in the future would you like to branch out and work with named producers? Or continue to keep in all in the family so to speak.
We’re kinda figuring out right now what we’re gonna do for this record.  I know that we’re demoing with Ryan in June, I guess we’re gonna see what happens from there.  Everybody wants what’s best for the band, I think that’s where everyones heads are at.  Again the band is not about egos, the people we work with aren’t about ego’s either…and that could mean just keeping it in the family. I’m sure whatever happens the family will still be involved no matter what, at some level.  We’ve made that clear from day one.  We’re associated with some pretty loyal guys.

It could be hard to want to break away from that, because you’re so comfortable and you trust each other too, trust is a really big issue I’m sure.
Yeah it is, but you also have to open your heart to other people because other can change the way you think also for the better, you’ve also gotta put yourself out there a little bit I think.  If you’re an artistic person you wanna keep (that going).

The band appears to be getting much love in the trades – you’ve seemed to have exploded on scene of late having a chance now at the Warped Tour – when did you get word of that?  How did it go down?
What happened was, Alternative Press, a publication contacted us because we’ve been an AP & R band – which highlights up and coming bands in their magazine, they had featured us, I think it was back in February or maybe March, yes it was March and they decided to have all these AP & R bands have a shot at Warped Tour so we’re hoping we end up getting that, because that would be awesome.  We haven’t done it (Warped) as Lights Resolve but he had done it with my last band, so it’s a great experience with all the kids out there, our whole fan base is there.  It’s just a great place to connect with people.  You get to meet everyone and everybody is in the same position, everybody sweating their balls off, everybody is as miserable as possible and as happy as possible on the same day.  So it’s a good time.
*Since this interview Lights Resolve did win a spot on the Warped Tour – to perform in Boston, MA on July 21

Well, I hope it happens for you – it’d be huge.
We just got off the heels of Bamboozle which was very successful for us, and we actually got a write up in Rolling Stone about it, which called us one of the 6 breakout bands of Bamboozle, so we were extremely proud and surprised, we were so happy to have so many people out there all supporting us.

You’ve had much success with your 2 released EP’s Prelude and Currency – Your fans, they expect to hear this sound from you that they love so much, how far off is what you’re currently developing?  Is it so much more different? In other words, is what you’re working on right now a departure of your current sound?
It is, it’s different, but I would say - Oh my God what happened to Lights Resolve - I think that our fans are gonna appreciate the difference like way more than if we stayed the same, that how I’m with bands at least, I want bands to move forward I don’t want them to say in a freeze frame; because that’s just, it seems like they’re just giving up not moving forward and just sitting on their success .

Yeah, unfortunately some bands do that (sit on their success).
Yeah, it could go either way, there are some bands that just go completely out there, but that’s not what we’re doing, we’re just fine tuning stuff, like I said, I’m still finding my voice.  We had just come into a new bass player, The Duke, and he’s finding his place in the band this time around, doing background vocals.  Neal is exploring new stuff on the drums, it’s just making for a better band in general, we’re getting tighter as a band, which always produces better music, unless you’re like the Rolling Stones and you hate each other but you play music anyway, that’s not this band, that’s not this band (laughs).

I guess after a certain point after you’ve reached much success you don’t really have a choice right? I mean I guess you always have a choice, but you know what I mean.
I always looked at the model of U2 as a band I wanted to be like, where you could actually, it seems like they’re actually having fun and enjoying each other’s presence when they ‘re on stage playing, even though they’ve been together for the past 30 years or whatever, and that’s something I’ve always admired. I always wanted to be a part of my band.

You’ve toured with some pretty awesome bands, for instance, The Used…what other bands would you like to tour with?
We actually just got hooked up with a really good booking agent right before SXSW, he’s encouraging us to write a lot right now.  We’re trying to figure out where we have a place in the music world in terms of bands to tour with because we have a bunch or rock elements and bunch of pop & ambient elements, it’s kinda all over the place.  So we’ve gotta see where we fit the best, also whoever likes the band and who would want to take us out and tour with us.

I have to ask this, because I read this somewhere, that you crash at fan’s houses?  Is that true?
We do, we do whatever, we’re not signed to a label right now, so where kinda self sufficient.  Where trying to make ends meet and trying to spend our money as wisely as possible. At the same time we really want to connect with our fans, so it works out for everybody, the fans are just so generous, we have so much that we owe them that we have to make this music really good.  Everybody makes us cookies, let’s us use their house, everything that you can possibly imagine people have done for us, and we really have to give them back with the music. Just doing stuff for other people, like a stuff we’ve been doing recently has been just posting little stuff on Twitter saying, you know, like the first person that responds to this, we’re gonna you a phone call from us, so we’ve been calling fans, talking to them and getting their take on what we’re doing.  There’s just so much more stuff you can do now that the Internet is around, new stuff is being developed. We just feel closer to our fans than we ever have before. So we’re happy to stay with them.

How do you go about making sure something like that is the right fit? Making sure someone isn’t crazy (laughs).
Well usually , I don’t know, I mean you just gotta trust people, I think a lot of people are hesitant to trust and I think we’re all really trusting people right away, which could be our downfall in the end, um, I think that was John Lennon’s downfall, he was all nice with Mark David Chapman and then he got shot down because of it.  I think that there’s something to be said about trusting people in general instead of this red alert that the media puts a spin on everything. I think that people need to open up their hearts and as artists that’s what we do in our music so why shouldn’t we do it in the real world too.

I guess its lead by example.

Well, that’s it, I think this is pretty good, casual convo, I like it.  Thank you so much for your time and I look forward to hearing your new music.

To check out Lights Resolve visit www.lightsresolve.com. 

Rachel DodsonAnn Frohoff is a staff writer in the West/Southwest region at Musiqtone. You can reach her at annfrohoff@musiqtone.com.

(C) 2009 Musiqtone. All Rights Reserved. Any part of this interview cannot be used without written express consent from both the representatives of Lights Resolve and Musiqtone.
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