We recently met up with Lights in LA – the amazing musician, singer, and songwriter. She is also an avid gamer and we talked about her music and passion for gaming.
Photography by Marvin Scott Jarrett.
How did you get involved in the world of “gaming?”
The first games I played were Donkey Kong and Super Mario on my old PC. That segued into Zelda, Golden Eye and Super Mario Bros on N64 and then I started playing WoW. During my time playing Warcraft I met a lot of other gamers through guilds and raids, since no one I actually knew was a gamer. That led me into console gaming which is my primary gaming now but established my passion for RPG-style fantasy and adventure games.
You recently released your music video “Giants” – Tell us a little bit about the meaning behind your music.
I like to poeticize my emotional shit so a lot of my songs have a bit of a dark side, even if they may seem happy or uplifting. Giants is no different. In essence this song is about being controlled and dreaming of escaping it, imagining a way out, a better world where you’re bigger than it all. Though this song is written about a very pivotal story development in the comic counterpart of Skin&Earth, it is also a very real idea for me.
What helps you with your writing process?
In the past I’ve had to internalize and work through everything I’m going through in order to hash it out in song form, so it’s been actually pretty good for me mentally. With this record, because I had the story line from the comic to work from, it was easier than ever to launch right into a topic because it was dictated at the beginning of the session. The hardest part of writing is coming up with what to write about and this concept record project eliminated that challenge. The next step then is establishing the mood and starting to build a track with the producer that fits the vibe, and once there are some nice sounds going you are basically teleported into the song and you just have to put it together.
Tell us a little bit about your comics “Skin&Earth.” What inspired this idea?
I’ve always loved the medium and it was within my skill set to accomplish. Four records in you want to try something different, so making an album/comic became my next big dream. I was also looking for a way to talk about things I never really felt like I could say and the main character of the story, En, in her hopeless world, became my conduit for that.
What helped create the world within Skin&Earth?
It’s sort of a combination of my infatuation with dystopian fiction and the realities of our actual world. The story takes place in the last city on earth, hundreds of years after the rest of the world was lost to famine and plague. Yet humanity still hasn’t figured out how to eliminate corporate greed and classism, and the wealthy side of the wall continues to take and take and pollute what’s left of this oasis until nothing is left. As a result, everyone exists in an impending doom state so they numb themselves and turn to extreme methods to cope. I needed to create a world that was hopeless in order for the deeper storyline to make sense.
Tell us more about Enaia Jin?
She is definitely a reflection of myself, aesthetically and personality wise. I always tell people they can get to know me a bit by reading the comic based on her dialogue and how she reacts to things. In this hopeless world she manages to keep her head up because she has a little fire of hope, despite the darkness around her. Everything in her world tries to take it away from her but however naive as it may be, she tries to keep it alive by surrounding herself in little things that make her happy. But her fragile hope only lasts so long under certain pressures.
Your Proudest Moment?
I honestly think it was when Blizzard named an in-game item after me in World of Warcraft. “Poxleitner Leggings of Lights”. Holy paladin legs. I pretty much felt I could die happy after that. I played WoW for six years so it was a huge honor.
If you could tour with any artist – dead or alive – who would it be?
Probably Blondie. Amazing songs, such a fun vibe, and would love to hang with Debbie Harry.
Last song you purchased?
“Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran. Such a good song!
Any silly rituals before you go on stage?
We always do a shot, group hug and a quick chant.
What are your go to games? Why?
The one I’ll go back to the most is Diablo III because it’s an ongoing thing, it doesn’t have an end. My ideal night in is me and my husband couch co-opping on hardcore with a pint of ice-cream. I’ll play through a good game in a couple of weeks though on my own when I have the time. The most recent ones I really enjoyed this year were Horizon Zero Dawn, Uncharted 4, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Last of Us, and Life if Strange. I enjoy the escape that games provide, the way it keeps your mind open. I get a lot of ideas from games, I find them super inspiring creatively and very immersive entertainment.
Have you met any interesting people in the gaming industry?
I have a tattoo of the Twin Blade of the Phoenix from WoW on my forearm. A number of years back I got a tour of the Blizzard headquarters and met the guy that created that very weapon; it was kind of a surreal moment.
What is it about the DRKN brand that you connect with?
I like military style clothes and there’s a bit of that in some of the DRKN looks, I find it really empowering and has a lot of practical details like thumbholes (I always have to make my own) and interesting pockets. I like that it’s gamer wear but amped up to look more high end. Gamer wear is comfy and a lot of times oversized because you’re spending a lot of time literally sitting in one spot. DRKN does all that but with a punch of fashion.
We love your style – what or who inspires your everyday look?
What I wear really affects how I feel, especially on stage. I like feeling sexually empowered, but also a bit like I’m about to raid a tomb. So yeah, a little of Lara Croft with the short shorts and the boots, and a little anime with the bright hair and interesting tops, and a little apocalyptic because I’d like to think I could be a survivor.
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
The comic counterpart of Skin&Earth is still mid roll out, the last issue will be here in December. So stay on that to see where the story goes. I’ll also be putting out a video that will accompany every issue, so far there are four videos out that bring the story to life in some capacity. We have a lot of touring coming up for 2018 so stay tuned for that as well!
Lights was photographed in the following pieces:
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