Written by Johnny Papan
VANCOUVER – Skin and Earth is the fourth release to come from Canadian-born synthpop artist: Lights. The album is an exploration from her traditional upbeat pop-style to a matured, darker subject matter while still implementing nightclub grooves and atmospheric soundscapes. Accompanying the new record is a complementary comic series set in a post-apocalyptic world where its main character, Enaia, is set on an empowering journey to find strength in a climate of oppression.
“The basic story is this young woman who sinks into a deep, dark place in her life. Within this darkness she meets a friend who becomes the good and evil on her shoulders,” explains Lights, who also wrote and illustrated the entire comic series. “En is forced to look within herself to find her own strength and hope within her darkness. I think this story is really important because I’ve dealt with depression in the past, I think a lot of people have, and it feels the same for all of us. I think people shouldn’t look at depression and think it’s because they’re weak or because they’re different from somebody else or because they think they’re just not smart enough to overcome it. It’s about how you find your own strength, how you find your own hope. Everybody has their own path and usually we have to go through darkness in order to get to the good stuff.”
The story expressed in the album and comic serves as much more than just a simple tale. Lights states that Skin and Earth also aided her expedition into uncharted lyrical territory, singing about formally untouched subjects such as anger, frustration and sex.
“I wanted to be able to write about these things but felt like I couldn’t because I didn’t have the conduit to say it. It was probably this weird self afflicted syndrome where you think you have to say what people want you to say. Lights has always been positive and uplifting and that’s always been the sort of music I’ve written. I think I got sort of stuck in that.”
Lights continues: “That was one of the reasons why I wanted to write the comic and the story to go with it. I couldn’t say these other things, but I could say them through this character. I’m just like any other person, I get angry, I have my own issues, my own flaws, and being able to use another character to speak through on all those things makes it a little bit easier. It provided me an opportunity to write about things I never wrote about. That was really nice because you’ve had your fourth record, you’ve said everything you thought you could say and then another door opens. It feels amazing.“
Lights confirms that her main character, Enaia, is a reflection of herself inside of an extreme version of our real world. Taking place on the Last City on Earth, Enaia was born on the poor side of a dividing wall, resulting in mistreatment from the wealthy. The state of the planet in this story, according to Lights, is a nod to the way we treat our environment in reality and what could happen if we continue to abuse Mother Earth the way we do.
With her father being a Green Architect, Lights has a strong passion for the environment. She has partnered with Plus1 so that $1.00 dollar from every ticket sold on her tour will be donated to climate movements: GRiD Alternatives in the U.S. and Equiterre in Canada.
The upcoming tour is anticipated to be Lights’ biggest production, performing the best of her releases thus far accompanied by visual imagery and storytelling linked to her new record. If the album and comic aren’t enough, Lights also wants to bring attention to her immersive Instagram account: @skinandearthworld where you can fully explore the Last City on Earth.
Lights opens her tour at the Vogue Theatre (Vancouver) on January 30 and 31. She will also play MacEwan Hall (Calgary) on March 27 and the Winspear Centre (Edmonton) on March 29.lights, MacEwan Hall, The Vogue Theatre, Winspear Centre