We had the good fortune of connecting with The Deadlights, who will be taking their show on the road with a Midwest tour this fall, and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi The Deadlights, why did you pursue a creative career?
Alex: While I’m a fan of McLuhan’s maxim that “art is whatever you can get away with,” my definition is a little more emotional. For me, art is the unique expression of a familiar medium to connect with other human beings. Music just happens to be the medium that resonates best with me, because it’s such a unique combination of performance and vulnerability. The level of empathy, fellowship, and humanity that an incredible piece of music can inspire in the listener continues to fascinate me. Or, failing that, I like people to have a good time singing, dancing, and occasionally muttering, “damn, that was a good solo.”
Nick: I knew from a young age that performance was something I wanted to do. I started playing music real young, and it was always around the house as my parents were musicians as well. My mom was a drummer as a kid, and then dove back in later in life. My father is a guitarist who owns a repair business, so I was always around the environment.
Justin: From a young age, I had always been interested in performance- as a kid, my awful jokes and off-key singing were constantly foisted upon my family members. Not that either of those things have improved on my end, but through playing in bands, the burden of being the recipient of these is spread among a larger audience (haha). When things go right, however, it is an incredibly exhilarating experience to see and hear an audience react positively to something you have been a part of creating.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Nick: The band is interesting. Like many musicians, once the world shut down in 2020 we turned to the internet. There wasn’t anything new there, nothing that wasn’t available to us that wasn’t there already, but people just started utilizing it more. Musicians began collaborating with one another across borders, and in many cases with people they didn’t know personally and had never met. This was how The Deadlights formed. We were a part of a massive cross-country collaboration, and after its success, the idea was planted to have a few of us continue on as a brand new band. Separated by three states, and without any physical interaction. It’s been surprisingly easy. Everyone is engaged, everyone is respectful, and gets along. And most importantly, everyone is creative!
Alex: I think the most obviously unique thing about us is that we’re a remote band. While Justin and I are old friends, as of this writing I’ve never met Nick or JP in person, and we all live in different places around the country. Making music under those circumstances during a pandemic has been challenging, but also unexpectedly rewarding in many ways. I like that we’ve been able to create music we’re all proud of without ever writing or recording in the same room, and turned it into an opportunity to have some fun with the conventions of how a band traditionally operates.
Justin: As mentioned by Nick and Alex, being a purely remote band has been both a challenge and an awesome opportunity to revamp how we operate as musicians and band mates. Having created an album’s worth of recordings together without a single rehearsal, gig, or even face-to-face interaction for the past year has been a wild experience; really only made possible by how awesome these guys are to work with.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Nick: Outside of the landmark spots, like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and some of the studios, I really enjoy the hidden gems the city has to offer. The lunch spots, or speak easy down the block. Those kinds of places mean more to me than some famous club so-and-so played at 60 years ago.
Alex: Since I don’t live in LA, I’d take them to hang out with Justin, Nick, and my best friend since we were in middle school together, Robert Downey Jr.
Justin: Wait a sec, Alex, you’ve never taken me to hang with RDJ! Come on, man! ….. As for LA spots, Salsa and Beer all the way- one of my favorite restaurants in LA. And of course we would have to see a show – like Nick mentioned, so many awesome venues throughout LA; Petie’s Place being one of my all-time favorites.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Alex: My parents, for always supporting my creative inclinations and being remarkably cool about music they hated echoing from my room. My music family, for continuing to help me to be a better musician, deliberately or otherwise. All the people who’ve shown an interest in listening to or watching me play over the years. And a special shout out to my cousin Dan for making me jealous of how cool he was and inspiring me to pick up a guitar in the first place.
Nick: I would like to thank all of the wonderful music teachers I’ve had over the years. It’s because of your guidance and encouragement that I took on the challenges of making it in this industry.
Justin: This sounds sappy, but honestly every person who has come to a show, bought a CD, shared songs with others through social media, and shown appreciation for the stuff my bands and I have done over the years has all meant a lot. Creating music in a vacuum wouldn’t be nearly the fulfilling endeavor it is when we get to share all this stuff with friends, family, and even total strangers.