Hanging out with hippies in a New Mexico hot spring isn’t the first place you might picture Canadian electropoop singer-songwriter Lights — finding inspiration for her week-old new disc, Little Machines.
The 27-year-old songstress — born Valerie Poxleitner– had a case of writer’s block due to increased expectations after the release of her 2009 debut, The Listening, her 2011 sophomore album, Siberia, and its 2012 acoustic version.
So she set off for Taos, N.M., last August to get her mojo back.
“It was like, ‘This is your third (studio) record, you need to one up yourself every time, and you need to do something better than you’ve ever done,’ ” said Lights, seated beside a tray of her signature Cactus in the Valley nachos (named after a Siberia song) at Sneaky Dee’s restaurant in Toronto.
“And then when it doesn’t all flow immediately, I get really down on myself … And then I found out I was pregnant, it was an interesting moment because then I was presented with a crossroads and you have to decide, especially feeling low on my creative talents, if I wanted to keep going with music or if I wanted to take some time and just be a mom. I was THIS close to feeling like I wouldn’t be a musician anymore.”
After painting, writing poetry, reading and listening to the music of other female artists including Patti Smith, Kate Bush, Cyndi Lauper and Bjork, Lights decided last August to rent an off-the-grid house for a week in an Earthship community in Taos all by herself at five months pregnant. (Her husband is Blessthefall frontman Beau Bokan; their daughter Rocket was born this past February).
“It’s otherwordly,” said Lights of the experience. “You not consuming any energy, it’s carbon zero. I think it’s an invention that’s going to change the world. My dad’s an architect, my mom’s a hippie, and that’s how I know about it.”
Lights ended up writing three songs for Little Machines in Taos including Portal and Don’t Go Home Without Me.
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