Interview: In Lights

Pop-punk band In Lights will be releasing their debut EP Running With Scissors this Friday and with the tracks they’ve released so far, it’s anticipated that this will be an absolute banger. Originally starting out as an internet project, it’s incredible to see how the online space has allowed musicians to collaborate with one another – even if they live in an entirely different country. Giving us some insights on the band, we had the opportunity to speak with vocalist Tanner MayDay on the band’s formation, the recording process of the EP and their plans for the rest of the year.

Congratulations on the material In Lights have released so far. I love the sound that you’re going for as well. It’s pop-punk that I’ve listened to but you’ve got such a deep vocal range; it’s really nice to hear that instead of a high-pitched vocalist normally found in other pop-punk bands. How do you feel about the EP in general?

I’m very excited for it honestly because we’ve had these songs ready for a while. Ilya [Turov, guitar] contacted me a year ago in April and we had them ready in like demo-phase. Right away we started tracking them. We had to set everything up so I’ve been listening to these songs for over a year now so I’m super excited for them to get released.

I think it’s really interesting that you and Ilya sort of collaborated on the internet. When Ilya reached out to you, how did you feel knowing that you had a musician that sort of had the same vision when it came to making In Lights happen as a band?

It was really cool ’cause I was in a band previous to In Lights and we’d just broken up and I was looking for something to do. I was making tonnes of demos, trying to find the sound that I wanted and he contacted me and sent a few demos over. Instantly, I loved it – it was exactly what I was looking for. We talked for a while and I realised he had the same mindset as me and knew immediately that I wanted to make music with Ilya. He’s such an amazing writer and he has the same music taste; everything fit so perfectly.

He had four tracks pre-produced as well and he sent those over. When you were making the EP, did that make the creative process a lot easier for you guys?

It cut out the whole arguing process because there was nothing to argue about ’cause they were done. It sucked because I didn’t get to write a lot but I did get to write the bridge for two of the tracks. It was cool because it definitely added a whole new flair to it. When we took it over to Josh [Buckner] for production, he added a lot of the synth and other weird things which kinda helped shape the sound.

When you were recording the EP, was Ilya there? Or did you contact each other via the internet?

It was all over the internet. Josh is in Indiana and I’m based in Ohio. Ilya recorded guitar and everything else in Kazakstan and I recorded vocals in my house. It was all then sent to Josh and he produced everything [laughs].

In light of the EP, what did Josh bring to the table when it came to mixing and mastering all the tracks? 

It’s weird because we all bring something different. Josh is the producer and he works with record producer Joey Sturgis who’s worked with a lot of big fucking bands like Asking Alexandria and We Came As Romans. Ilya brings early 2000s Sum 41 vibes. I bring more of like a weird Panic! At The Disco side to it and Josh brings the whole metalcore field; it’s heavy but very melodic and pop-punk. It made this very weird thing we instantly fell in love with.

What feedback have you gotten for the songs you’ve released so far? 

It’s often fairly positive and that makes me very happy because it’s definitely sort of nerve-wracking releasing something that you love into the universe of very negative things [chuckles]. We were afraid people weren’t going to like it. They really liked the fact that my voice didn’t fit that high-pitched range and that was something I was very happy with because I just recently got comfortable singing with my voice.

I know that you guys are currently working on a debut record as well. How’s that going for you?

That’s a little bit different because now we have the arguing. We have all of us writing and Ilya is still doing a lot of the writing. Isaac [Orue, guitar] and Grant [Hermann, drums] are new members that we got in. Grant is gonna be doing the drums. I did a lot of the drums on the EP because I play drums and I knew how to write a lot of that. We have a lot more vibes and just different inspirations brought into it so it’s still going to have the same sound as the EP but it’s definitely gonna have a different sound.

Of course, now that you’re collaborating with another two extra members as well, obviously everyone’s input is going towards this debut record. Is that a particular challenge for you guys or are you on the same sort of page when it comes to creating this sound that you’re trying to develop?

The challenging part is that we’re definitely butting heads a lot but I think the actual sound itself is great. I think one thing people can expect from us throughout the years is that things are gonna change drastically and each record will have a whole new feel. The EP was supposed to be an album but we just didn’t have all the money and all the things that we needed to make an album so this album is pretty much an extension of the EP. It’s definitely gonna have a more band feel to it.

When are you hoping to release it?

We’re gonna be busting our asses especially me because Ilya has already recorded his parts already. This month we’re trying to get everything done for this album. It’s funny because anyone you talk to, they’ll be like ‘your first record you have forever to make’ but we’re gonna try and get this out as quickly as possible. We can’t give an exact date yet because we really want management or labels behind it so we don’t release this record independently.

What are you guys hoping to do for the rest of the year?

We’re gonna be playing a lot of shows; hopefully getting on some tours. Personally, my biggest goal is getting us management and a label. Hopefully we can get Ilya from his little land over there so we can start touring and start doing things as a band because we’ve played shows but he’s still over at Kazakstan so we haven’t done shows with him yet.

Would he consider moving to the U.S?

I don’t know. I hope he will. I’m totally fine with him staying with me or anything. I don’t think he’ll have a problem with staying here. The idea that we have is we’re trying to be a fairly busy band and especially with music today, you constantly have to put things out. The rest of the year is gonna be touring; we’re just gonna be constantly working so who knows [laughs].


Running With Scissors will be available for release July 1