Interview: Lights Resolve
Lights Resolve are a three-piece alternative rock band from Long Island, New York, consisting of members Matthew Reich (vocals/guitar), Neal Saini (drums), and Luke Daniels (bass). They were one of Rolling Stone’s “Breakout Bands” and were named “Unsigned Band of the Month” by Alternative Press. Their debut album ‘Feel You’re Different’ is available on itunes and on their website.
Photo: by Carl Timpone
Venture: How did Lights Resolve form?
Lights Resolve: When our singer from our last band quit on us, we banded together, literally, to form what would become Lights Resolve. At first we had auditioned singers with the songs we were writing, but nothing fit right, so I started singing myself. Bless my band mates for putting up with a less than adequate voice for the first year or so!
V: What is the meaning behind your band name?
LR: Instead of a meaning, it was more of a positive combination of words. We were working through a difficult situation for everyone involved and we needed some positive vision to put our collective spirit over the edge.
V: Do you find that it’s more difficult to perform with only 3 guys onstage and would you ever consider adding another band member?
LR: It’s definitely a challenge, especially after the last record we made. The simultaneous demands on the vocals and the guitar are extremely taxing. You have to pick and choose what works best within the context of a live set. Our buddy RyRy has been joining us on auxiliary guitar for select sets and we’re super grateful.
V: You guys have released three EPs and your first full length album ‘Feel You’re Different’ debuted last year. What has the response been from both fans and critics?
LR: There has always been a multi-layered approach to our music. It has always been guitar/drum/bass-driven and has always been shot directly from the hip in an honest way. The thing that changes between songs/EPs/LPs has been the different shading/attitude we have given to each song. I think our latest effort was more aggressive and expansive than its predecessor; however, there are elements of each EP in our debut LP. The response has been mixed as we really decided to push ourselves and what we were capable of, we expected our listeners to go on a journey with us. Some have fallen behind, but most have stayed onboard and we have also picked up a bunch of new listeners from Feel You’re Different. All you can expect from Lights Resolve is that you will always get something different and nothing will be exactly rehashed or what you may be expecting; that is one thing that will never change, our forward vision.
V: For ‘Feel You’re Different’, you guys worked with producer Mike Sapone, who has also worked with other Long Island bands Brand New and Taking Back Sunday. How would you say that your music differs from theirs?
LR: I believe Brand New and Taking Back Sunday are great bands. They grew out of a scene that was big on LI in the early 2000s. The bands had a great conglomerate to accelerate each band to higher levels artistically and commercially. After the hype of Long Island wore off, bands were left to fend for themselves as there was no ‘scene’ left. Now we are all on our own for our type of music and there is no scene that we fit directly in to. This is either a blessing or a curse… I’m still trying to figure out which. In terms of their sound I think we exhibit elements from both bands. Brand New has never repeated itself and has always pushed themselves to new places that made them grow as artists. Taking Back Sunday has managed to stay relevant with their catchy tunes and unpredictable, tireless live shows. I would like to think we can certainly learn a thing or five from each of them.
V: What was the vision behind ‘Feel You’re Different’?
LR: We set out on a major project to put all of our feelings together in one cohesive package that highlighted each band members’ strengths and exaggerated the collective traits of the band to the max. We enlisted Mike Sapone to help shape our vision and we’re very proud of our final product. The title of the album actually comes from our song “Dreaming of Love” which is an older song that was not on the album. When I was writing “Dreaming of Love” I didn’t quite understand what the opening lyrics would mean to me in the coming year or two. Since then it has transformed itself into a multi-layered statement, call to action and existential discussion in my head. It seemed to make sense as an album title with all of the lyrical and musical content on the record and it also tied our prior work in somehow, even though the sound may have changed a bit.
V: What is the writing process like for you?
LR: Most times we will start jamming something together, bashing it out in the band room. After that I’ll take it home and try to turn it into more than a jam, listening to what my melodies were and seeing if I can make out any of my primally screamed lyrics. I believe I’m always trying to get something out, I just need to find out and research what it is sometimes.
V: Your album cover for ‘Feel You’re Different’ is very interesting. Can you explain the creative vision behind it?
LR: I worked with our friend Carl Timpone on the album cover…we had been brainstorming and trial’ing different ideas for a matter of months. One day we decided to go out and buy a ton of mirrors to bury on the beach, each portraying a different perspective. We also decided to have a certain stock/faceless character levitating in the middle of it all. What does it mean to you? I’m very excited that Matt Pinfield recently got his hands on it and said it was hands down the best album cover he’s seen all year. Check out the limited edition vinyl album cover with silver ink printing that we just released as well!
V: Which do you prefer more: performing onstage or recording?
LR: They each have their own great rewards. Performing is more immediate gratification while recording is a lengthier process that is very satisfying at the end of the journey and at select moments along the way. If I had to pick, I would say performing because of the instant human connection with my bandmates and with our audience.
V: What message do you hope to convey through your music?
LR: World peace? …or for an equally trite answer: Real efforts usually pay off way more than contrived attempts. Artists – be real. Fans – appreciate sad musicians who are creating real art.
V: Are you currently working on anything and what can we expect in the near future from Lights Resolve?
LR: We have DeLunaFest coming up next weekend in Pensacola, FL where we’ll be performing alongside Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Bad Brains, etc. Needless to say we’re very excited. After that we have a hometown bash in NYC at The Gramercy Theatre with our friends in Ghostwolf, Exes of Evil & Bad Suns. I would expect some new material to surface at the top of next year. We’re just starting to get our brains, hearts and mentalities in shape for something new and different.