Photo by Michael Cooper
Tulsa’s Native Lights present you with driving, dense, and intricate pop. The band boasts members of Oklahoma greats Unwed Sailor, and Ester Drang – bands that produced some of my favorite records of the 2000s.
Fans of either band will be pleased to know that Unwed Sailor’s emotional dexterity, and Ester Drang’s dark and moody synth pop are on full display in Native Lights. The band’s new songs weight you down while hovering over you.
Catch their first Fayetteville show on Wednesday, July 30 at The Lightbulb Club.
I talked to bassist Johnathon Ford and what happened next will not surprise you.
Who: Native Lights / Fire Retarded / Pagiins
When: 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Where: The Lightbulb Club, 19 N. Block Ave.
More: $5 / Facebook event
Give us a band history – How did Native Lights begin? How does it work out with band members also being in Unwed Sailor and Ester Drang?
Native Lights began in 2009. It’s basically the age-old story of a few friends getting together to make music that they want to hear.
We had all played music together for years in other bands, so it made sense to come together to form this new musical outlet.
We wanted to do something a bit more darker and heavier than our other bands, so Native Lights came out of that desire.
The incestuous band situation actually works out really well. Like I said before, we have played together for so long in other bands, so it really helps us lock in and write together fluidly. We all trust each other musically and that is a golden ticket.
Let’s talk about the upcoming record – How did the songs happen? Where did you record? Is there a release date?
The songs for the new record happened rather quickly. We recorded the album in an abandoned cattle auction house in Hominy, Oklahoma in the middle of November.
We had to rig up the electricity just to get the recording equipment running and our amps working. There was no heat in the building so we basically froze our asses off for a week. We slept in the building for that week as well.
It honestly got pretty depressing. Sometimes you just have to push your limits to get the best possible output.
We mixed the album with Kevin Ratterman in Louisville KY at La La Land this past March. The tentative release date is January or February 2015.
What has inspired you to write music lately?
Bryce (Chambers) has been experimenting with some heavier tunings. The tunings have gotten heavier but the music is getting a little lighter if that makes sense. The newer songs are taking on a bit more of a pop element while keeping the heavy bottom end intact.
We’ve been listening to a lot of The House of Love lately. There will be a House of Love cover in the near future.
How has Tulsa affected you as an artist? Anything specific to Oklahoma that enables the band?
We all live in Tulsa so that makes it easier for us to practice and play together. Tulsa’s central location in the country makes it easier to go out on tour. The cost of living is pretty low here as well. All of those characteristics make it fairly easy to function as a band here.
Any guilty pleasures you’d like to admit for the first time?
I must say I love the New Order song, “Guilt Is A Useless Emotion.”
Unwed Sailor have played a lot in Fayetteville -Any stories worth sharing? What do you like about playing here?
Man, there are so many stories.
Ghosts moving beer cans in front of my eyes, throwing lawn furniture around, haunted houses, beer theft, shopping at Clunk Records, and waking up in the morning on a bench somewhere downtown.
Fayetteville has some crazy energy in the air. I’ve never been able to put my finger on it, but I always look forward to what the city will bring.
What can we expect at the show? What are your plans for 2014?
You can expect to hear most of our new album live at the show. We will be playing some even newer songs as well.
The plan for the rest of 2014 is to continue writing for the next record, touring, and preparing for the release of the new album in 2015.