“I’ve only taken full control of my confidence over the last couple of years.”
Lights has just finished a run of shows in the UK, including her spellbinding debut performance at Slam Dunk Festival at the weekend, and she also hosted a panel at London's MCM Comic Con while she was this side of the pond, where she spoke about her first graphic novel 'Skin&Earth'.
The comic - six issues bound together - ties in with the album of the same name, and here Lights tells Eline Joling about recording seven stripped-back versions of the tracks, 'Skydiving', 'Until The Light', 'Savage', 'New Fears', 'We Were Here', 'Kicks' and 'Almost Had Me', from the 2017 record, in the respective "natural" atmospheres; cliff, truck cab, rain, bedroom, tunnel, river and desert.
The singer also opens about previously feeling like an "outcast" and how she has finally taken control of her "confidence".
On producing and mixing the album herself and the "whole new vibe" and intimacy the upcoming acoustic shows will have, Lights said:
We’re gonna have strings on stage, it’s a lot more intimate, I curse my face off to the show - but it’s really fun!
With the new acoustic record there’s a whole new vibe from the other acoustic record.
I produced and mixed it myself and everything was done in natural environments, mother nature is on the record, you know?
I’m looking to integrate elements of that production wise into the show, do different setups, and it’s an opportunity to do something different with the fans and make an intimate experience.
Watch the making of 'Skydiving':
Strings will become more prominent on this tour and anytime the singer takes a "risk" it's always worth it for the "pay off" if it works out, as she explained:
I had strings on the last acoustic tour as well but that was only six shows.
Now I was like, I wonder if I can expand it like more than three times that, who knows.
Every time you make a choice in music or in anything, it’s a risk, you decide to push yourself into the next zone.
You don’t know if it’s gonna pay off, but when it does, it’s nice.
The strings are arranged by Lights' friend Kevin Fox, a rock 'n' roll cellist, and the Canadian star would love to learn the process herself.
Every time I do an acoustic tour I bring him out.
I started out just using cello parts and then he would do arrangements for a quartet so we brought in a quartet.
I definitely don’t have that skillset yet, maybe I can learn.
The acoustic album also features three brand new songs, with lead single 'Lost Girls' released earlier this month, which is a "feminist anthem".
Lights said: I had so much fun making that ['Lost Girls'].
There’s three new songs on the acoustic records and then seven of 'Skin& Earth' recorded in natural locations.
Explaining how the song soundtracks the end of the comic, Lights said:
The three ones ['Lost Girls', 'Down Forever' and 'Tabs'] essentially were like songs I wrote alone in hotel rooms, but 'Lost Girls' was the song that was inspired by what would happen at the end of the comic.
At the end, the main character’s scene of liberation driving away into the wastelands, this is the song that would technically be playing.
But it’s also a feminist anthem, with all the bullshit that we take and finally we come out on top.
You feel this thing, you’re a little bit throbbing from it all, but you’re feeling good and I think there’s a vibe there, I feel it all the time.
A bit angry and bitter but still a little excited about what’s ahead and what we have control over, so much more than we ever did, especially in music.
The song comes from a really raw place, and Lights, 32, admits that it's only in the latter "couple of years" of her career that she has felt like she has had "full control of her confidence", as just like the song title suggests, she always felt like an outcast because of her "androgynous" style.
She shared: I feel in my life I have only taken full control of my confidence over the last couple of years.
We’re told growing up what we’re supposed to be, what we’re not supposed to be, there’s so many things coming at women trying to tell them what to be.
You get confused about what you really are.
It took me years to understand who I really was.
I felt quite androgynous for years and never really felt feminine enough and I always felt like I was kind of this outcast.
I think that when you really think about it, we all feel like that because we’re never really allowed to feel like we’re good enough.
I think things are changing now and it’s a song that reminds me of that.
It reminds me that that’s what we are actually, we are lost. That’s where we want to be. There’s nowhere else to be.
'Skin&Earth Acoustic' is released on July 12th via Fueled By Ramen.
Tickets for the North American tour can be found here.