The story of Headlights starts in an old, two-story farmhouse just outside of Champaign, IL. Nestled between corn and soybean fields, and within view of encroaching industry â a freight train line, a FedEx plant, and the local mall visible from the 2nd floor window â this farmhouse was the site where the band wrote and recorded its sophomore full length album, Some Racing, Some Stopping. To fully understand what went into the album, one must first understand what led up to ... (continued)
The story of Headlights starts in an old, two-story farmhouse just outside of Champaign, IL. Nestled between corn and soybean fields, and within view of encroaching industry â a freight train line, a FedEx plant, and the local mall visible from the 2nd floor window â this farmhouse was the site where the band wrote and recorded its sophomore full length album, Some Racing, Some Stopping. To fully understand what went into the album, one must first understand what led up to it. Since its formation in 2004, the band has toured virtually nonstop, playing over 300 shows in the past two and a half years in support of both its debut Enemies EP and its stunning 2006 full length, Kill Them With Kindness. It was a remarkable achievement, but ultimately Headlights members Tristan Wraight, Erin Fein, and Brett Sanderson needed a break. So in the Spring of 2007, Fein and Sanderson moved into Wraight's farmhouse, and leisurely, little by little, the trio started to write. This time they wanted something different from the live-based approach to writing and recording that had led to the obsessively crafted takes on Kill Them With Kindness. This time they wanted something more natural, more immediate, more spontaneous. Now working from home, without the pressures of studio timeframes and a ticking hourly rate, the band was free to write and record as they saw fit. The songs were recorded as they were written, and many of the tracks that were used were first takes. Based around Wraight's acoustic guitar and Fein's keyboards, the songs on Some Racing, Some Stopping purposefully lack much of the spacey atmospherics that define the band's earlier work. Instead, the album, which is self-produced with drummer Sanderson manning the boards, is steeped in a classic pop sensibility, reminiscent of the '60s, Brill Building song craft, and Phil Spector production. Songs like the chiming, harmonic "Catch Them All," the light and airy "Cherry Tulips," the solemn "January," and the driving, string-touched "Market Girl" are evidence of an album that is more focused, and, in a sense, more simplistic than any of the band's past work. Headlights took some time out to talk to us here at The405. Check it! Just for our readers at home, can you tell us who you are, where you're from and how and when the band got together? Hey there, we're a band called Headlights, and we're from Champaign-Urbana, IL, home of Hal 3000. The band got together in 2004. Erin, Tristan, and I had been in bands together in the past, but wanted to make a fresh start as a new group, and here we are. Did you have any initial aims with regards to the sound you wanted to create or their content when you formed the band? i think there was certainly a general aesthetic in mind. We all really love pop music, so i think we're pretty grounded in that context. On the other hand, we also like psych rock, folk and some electronic stuff, and we've never been afraid to experiment with those elements. Where or form whom do you draw your inspirations when writing new lyrics and music? Does the music you listen to affect the music you make? Well, i don't write the lyrics, but i can say that Erin and Tristan never make it a point to write about politics or 'issues.' I think they mainly draw inspiration from what happens to be going on in their lives at that moment. As far as music goes, of course we draw inspiration from whatever we're listening to at the time. It's kind of fun to be inspired by someone you admire and try to take something they do and make it your own. How did the name "Headlights" come about? Well, we were originally called 'Enemies.' About six hours before we printed our first EP, our label called and said that name had already been taken, so we needed another name. I guess we just thought Headlights sounded cool. I still love the name 'Enemies' though, hence the name of our first EP - 'The Enemies EP' Has your writing process changed since the early days? Yes and no. We've always toured quite a bit, so the first EP and the first full-length we did (Kill Them With Kindness) were very hashed out in the live setting before we started recording at all. We pretty much went into a studio, banged out our parts, and called it a day. For our second record (Some Racing, Some Stopping), we smashed that idea and decided to record ourselves as we wrote. Most of those songs, we had never even played as a band before we recorded them. Right now, we're in the middle of recording our third record, and are trying to incorporate the best of both of those philosophies. What spurred you into wanting to compile a Remixes Album? To do something like suggests that as a band, you are fairly confident that it will be receive well by your fans. Was this the case? I kind of ran with the ball on that one. It was something that I thought would be just kind of a cool thing to do. I've done most of the recording for Headlights, so i had all the tracks on hand, and i wanted to see what our friends would do with them. It was always intended to be a limited release so selling a ton wasn't a requirement. How would you describe your music to a first time listener? melodic headphone pop I've noticed that occasionally in your songs there is a swapping of lead vocals between Tristan and Erin. I personally love this diversity in your music. Is this simply natural progression in your music to utilize both of your vocal skills or is it done to avoid being pigeon holed as a singular female fronted band that would take away recognition from other members of the band? It was always meant to be a dual vocal lead band from the start. Erin and Tristan both write songs, so it's natural that they both sing. Also, boy/girl harmonies are awesome! What do you do to avoid a musical writers block? listen to lots of great music! And finally, where do you hope to see the band in 3 years time, in terms of doing new projects (e.g side projects) and any other personal aspirations you each have in life? We'd be perfectly happy getting to the point where we could just do this for a living. we're not there yet, but there's always hope when writing a new record that this one will push you a little closer to that goal. we're keeping our fingers crossed . . . Be sure to check out more from Headlights by checking out their Official Myspace here!!!