Photo Credit: Ila Meens
It wasn’t long ago, last week to be exact, that Lightning Dust dropped their new album Spectre. We talked about all of the changes that led them to this record, going back to school, and even what’s to come as they prepare for a run on the road!
Kendra: When you parted ways with Black Mountain and Lightning Dust started to come to light, were you worried about being sort of artistically stuck in your past in terms of style and sound?
Josh: Not at all. I’ve made a career of shape-shifting personally, as a musician and producer, and actually, a lot of it has happened just within the context of Lightning Dust. We conceived this band as an ever-changing sonic landscape, with the threads of Amber’s voice, a melody-based songwriting style, and space around the elements remaining the constants. Our challenge is to shift, learn and present each song as a world of its own. We look to the future.
Kendra: Amber, you’ve said Spectre is for the warrior women out there. Love that and it’s made me want the rest of this record ASAP. With that, what women come to mind when you think about the end result?
Amber: I wanted to give women an album they could listen to that might help them to just feel all the feelings for a bit and to know they’re not alone. My hope is that it inspires other women to keep at their art and to pay zero mind to the male-dominated industry that wants a cut of our narrative.
Kendra: You’re a warrior yourself! Last year you went back to school, something I’m on the fence about right now. How did being back in the classroom aid your creative process for Spectre?
Amber: Well I can say with confidence that school is not my thing. I got great grades and learned a ton, but sitting in a classroom all day is torture. Being in school made me feel detached from my previous music career long enough to gain perspective and re-enter that world with a whole new approach to making art. Something I desperately needed. So, all in all — I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Kendra: From leaving one band to start another to going back to school, you’ve gone through a myriad of changes in the past couple of years. Which is an underlying theme of the record, our need for change. Why do you feel change is not only a necessity but inevitable in the human experience?
Amber: I’ve always struggled with change; I’m not good at it. I feel like it’s so necessary though – there’s nothing more depressing to me than staying in a bad situation for security or out of fear. Change is a huge theme for this album. I tried to explore the hardships of change – when our minds resist it and the battle that ensues between logic and emotion. I took from my own experiences but also from the world around me. Older adults losing their autonomy, friends leaving their jobs, even global warming.
Kendra: Let’s talk about “Led Astray.” Who came up with the concept for the video with the haunting yet cute smoking ghost?
Josh: This was all the brain-offspring of Justin Gradin, the director. He’s a very unique guy, and he has a visual aesthetic that not many can touch, or could even envision. I think he draws his vision from subconscious mining for the most part — so his videos end up being dream-like, non-linear narratives that draw heavily on a world of kitsch and nostalgia — but often in a perverse or even scary way. Shout out here to Peter Bagge, the cinematographer, though, for bringing it to life!
Kendra: This is probably one of the most relatable songs on the new album because we’ve all been there, led astray by our minds into the darkest of places. How do you personally get back on the right track after your mind takes over like that?
Amber: That’s tough, I’m still figuring that out. I think wandering into these dark places is just part of being human. It’s rough out there. I think the most we can hope for is when we emerge from these places there’s someone waiting with a plate of pasta and a kind smile.
Kendra: With the new album out October 4, what are your plans as we roll deeper into 2019 and soon into 2020? Touring?
Josh: In November, we’re playing some shows here in BC, then jumping over to Europe for nearly a month from Nov 21-Dec 13. America is proving a harder nut to crack, but we’ll be planning some limited runs in the US, Mexico, and Canada in 2020!
Lightning Dust Tour Dates:
11/8 – Nanaimo, BC @ White Room
11/9 – Victoria, BC @ Upstairs Cabaret
11/13 – Vancouver, BC @ Fox Cabaret
11/21- Amsterdam, NL @ Bitterzoet
11/22 – Liege, BE @ La Zone
11/23 – London, UK @ Corsica Studios
11/24 – Liverpool, UK @ 24 Kitchen Street
11/25 – Glasgow, UK @ Broadcast
11/26 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
11/28 – Antwerp, BE @ Het Bos
12/04 – Munich, DE @ Feierwerk
12/08 – Copenhagen, DK @ VEGA
12/09 – Leipzig, DE @ UT Connewitz
12/10 – Berlin, DE @ PRIVATCLUB Berlin
12/12 – Groningen, NL @ Vera Groningen
12/13 – Utrecht, NL @ EKKO