Jeremy Chan Photography
When we crashed the singer's intimate release party in Toronto, Lights told Spinner that she chalks up the direction of new record to letting go -- and letting people in.
"I used to be afraid to let people into the creative process," she told Spinner. "This record is such a great triumph because of the artistic talents that put their mark on the album."
Holy F---'s Brian Borcherdt kicked the night off with a subdued DJ set. His appearance was fitting given that he and bandmate Graham Walsh appear as guest producers on 'Siberia,' and receive co-writes for the title track, 'Everybody Breaks a Glass,' and the self-indulgent nine-minute closer, 'Day One.' Holy F--- make live electro music using analog gear and the group's signature distorted bass lines and digital feedback squelches add an edge to Lights' glossy electro pop. But despite these production bells and whistles, there's no disguising Lights' pop jones.
The lead-off single, 'Toes,' exemplifies an album that, while more visceral, is as every bit as hook-heavy as her debut. It's probably the most mainstream track ever associated with Holy F---, a band with the mother of all expletives in its name.
In fact, Borcherdt revealed that he's almost ready to embrace pop music.
"I'm having a weird love affair with pop music these days. I didn't pay much attention growing up and I didn't really listen to the radio, but I'm at a stage in my life when I hear a pop song on the radio and it doesn't make me wretch."
But don't hold your breath waiting for Holy F--- to transform into a full-time pop production team.
"We got to be the little helper elves, but it's still a Lights record," he said. "I'd rather be in the subtext, and if someone is curious and interested in beats and production, they'll find us in the footnotes."
Later, when Lights performed the track 'Everybody Breaks a Glass,' Vancouver-based rapper Shad, whose incisive flow appears on two album tracks, joined her on stage to drop a verse.
After teaming with the likes of Dallas Green, Hawksley Workman and Lisa Lobsinger and Brendan Canning of Broken Social Scene, Shad is no stranger to collaboration.
Before jumping up on stage, he told Spinner that playing nice with fellow musicians allows him to work outside of his comfort zone.
"Sometimes people will pitch me something that is exactly what I might do, but it doesn't interest me as much," he said.
As one of Canada' leading hip-hop artists, Shad often turns down collaboration requests. However, when Lights reached out, he jumped on board. Her open-mindedness and sheer talent piqued his interest.
"It's cool that Lights is down to try new things. I think she's an uncommonly gifted musician and a very talented and positive person," he said.
Lights' first record, 'The Listening,' won accolades around the world and secured the keytar-weilding Canuck high-profile slots on touring festivals such as Lilith Fair and V-Fest.
Lights wanted 'Siberia' to better compliment her energetic live shows.
"When I made this record I wanted to make songs that are fun to perform live," she said. "You spend a hell of a lot more time on stage than in the studio."