QUICKIE OF THE WEEK: A short interview with Saul & Richard (Dead Lights)

written by Marko Jakob

Pix666: Hello guys. Thanks for your time. How are you doing these days, are you alive and well?

Richard: Alive and well. Although the Covid-situation is making a life in arts quite difficult and it‘s not always easy to stay positive. Fortunately with Dead Lights we have been able to work from a distance (we live in different countries) and complete a lot of songs!

Saul: Still breathing and very much looking forward to seeing the other side of this pandemic, it’s not been easy.

Pix666: Your band is still quite new – you formed Dead Lights last year. Please introduce your band to the readers in a few short sentences. How did you get to know each other as a band, what was your inspiration to become musicians? What kind of music does Dead Lights make?

I met Saul when we were both playing with our respective other bands on a festival in London. I really liked his voice and stage presence. When I wanted to start a purely electronic project a year later, I was looking for a good vocalist and remembered Saul. So I contacted him and as it happens he was also planning to start a similar project! So we joined forces and refined our sound in the first months. Since we are also both producers, we can record and mix seperately in our own studios and combine our ideas very well.

Saul: I think Richard summed it up perfectly. It was great timing with respect to us both starting electronic projects at the exact same time, some might even call it fate! The Elder Gods of synth willed us to be, praise be to Gary Numan and his holy Minimoog Model D!

Pix666: You have already been quite busy in the first year – 2 EP’s with a total of 6 songs and 3 video clips saw the light of day. How satisfied are you with what you have achieved so far and how fast is the fanbase growing?

It is quite amazing what happened in one year, and especially a year like this! For a brand new act to have such a start in such a weird time asks for commitment and a lot of creativity in the way you present yourself. Fortunately we are also quite handy with video filming and editing, so all our skills were employed! Hahaha! We managed to create 3 videos in which we recorded ourselves seperately and we both did the video editing and postproduction. In fact, since the beginning of Dead Lights, we have never been able to see each other in person!

The feedback so far has been overwhelming, with lots of DJs spinning our tracks, and our fanbase is growing quickly.

Saul: I couldn’t be happier with the reception Dead Lights has received so far! Our music seems to be reaching people, and those people have been giving us very positive feedback. It’s a pretty strange time to be launching a new band so we were unsure how quickly word would spread, especially due to us not being able to perform live as of yet, but I think Dead Lights has exceeded our expectations.

Pix666: In a few weeks your debut album will be released. What will fans expect, in which versions can you buy the album, and above all, can you already pre-order it somewhere?

Yes, we‘ve just completed our debut album! It contains 9 new tracks (on top of the 6 songs from the previously released EPs). I think it‘s a well balanced album with – of course – several new dance-orientated tracks, but also some more downtempo tunes that go a bit darker. But it‘s a continuation of the sound we presented on the EPs: Sleazy, dirty electronic popsongs with an industrial edge.

The pre-order will start end of April. It will of course be available as digital download, but also physical. If you buy the CD, you will get the 2 EPs as bonus tracks. And if you buy the 2LP (on double white vinyl with black splatters!), you will get the new album on LP1, and the 2 EPs on LP2. The vinyl version also includes exclusive extended versions of the tracks The Host and Ice Queen. Maybe there will also be limited packages available incl. t-shirt. It will all be revealed by the end of April.

Saul: You can expect a sound so immense it might become responsible for levelling entire cities! We’ve got 15 tracks in total, so it’s a huge album with plenty of back for your buck. It’s a dark and filthy journey into the depths of hard-edged electronic music; melodic, yet heavy and huge. We like to call it “death pop”! I think people will also be pleasantly surprised to hear how many of our influences shine through, and what those influences are – we’ve definitely carved out our own sound with this record.

Pix666: You signed to the German label Cold Transmission Music? What advantages do you hope to gain from this deal and how did the contact with Germany come about?

Richard: I already knew Andreas and Suzy via another band, and they already knew a lot of my music. Cold Transmission Music has been a driving force from the start, encouraging and helping us build a (online) presence and fanbase while we are living in a world without live concerts.

Saul: I think we’re already reaping the rewards from Cold Transmissions Music’s input and support, they’ve been extremely supportive and have worked very hard to help our music reach the ears of people who can spread the word. Once we’re able to perform live there will be even more fruits to bear from our partnership. The future is bright for Dead Lights!

Pix666: You are dressed and made up very strikingly and extravagantly. How important is appearance for you as artists?

For me there are no real borders between the different disciplines and art forms. One flows into another, it‘s all a part of who I am and what I want to express. It can manifest itself in a song, or in an installation work in a museum, or in a graphic poster or a video. Or in a costume, or make-up. With Dead Lights we have – for ourselves at least – a very clear idea of what we want to communicate. And communication does not only happen with songs, every materialization of the concept has to ‚fit‘. As artists, we are conveying a certain feeling, a state of mind, and that doesn‘t stop at ‚sound‘.

Saul: I’ve always emphasised a strong visual presence in every musical project I’ve ever been a part of, visuals are just another facet of the music I make; representing sound in a visual medium. I also feel it adds to the escapism of music, it suits some genres more than others, and I think Dead Lights music has an “other-worldly” quality that lends itself very well to an outlandish visual element.

Pix666: Do you have a team around you that takes care of clothes, hair and make-up, or do you (still) do it all yourself?

Richard: We have people who help us, but most of it we do ourselves.

Saul: Yeah, we have friends and partners who help us with photo-shoots and video-shoots, but I do my own make-up.

Pix666: The pandemic unfortunately still has us in its grip, in Germany we are even in a lockdown again. Nevertheless, are Dead Lights already planning some concerts for the album release or a tour later in the year?

Richard: We are very eager to hit the stages with Dead Lights! The whle live concept is already in my head and it will be awesome! But since it is all still extremely uncertain due to the restrictions, we decided until now to focus on making the album. We‘ll be booking shows as soon as it will be realistic to assume that they will not have to be rescheduled.

It‘s a bit weird to create dance music like this in a time when all venues are closed, but I believe that there is still a craving for new music and I‘m still hopeful that one day we will be able to party together again!

Pix666: What is the current situation in the UK and especially the mood among the people?

Saul: I imagine the situation and mood here in the UK is the same as it is everywhere else in Europe; everyone is fed up and wants life to return to normal again! I’m hopeful that we have seen the worst of the pandemic, but these new strains keep appearing so I’m remaining pessimistic – I got my hopes up last autumn and that didn’t turn out too well. Fingers crossed 2021 ends on a good note for everyone!

Pix666: Another question… are there any big problems for British artists after the UK leaves the EU? At least I can imagine that it won’t be as easy as before to deliver merch to the rest of Europe.

Richard: We have one member who still lives in the EU 😉 , so I think we can find a way to work around it. But what I hear from colleagues from the UK, it is quite dramatic.

Saul: The whole thing is a confusing mess! The full effects of Brexit have yet to be felt, especially by touring artists as we’ve been in lockdown, so I really don’t know how badly this is going to effect the ease of travel between EU countries for us. We’ll see in due time, but I’m sure we can overcome any hurdles this nonsense throws in our way – if not, Richard will be playing Dead Lights shows by his lonesome! Haha!

Pix666: As a musician, you certainly spend most of your time creating music – but what else do you do in your free time when you want to get your mind off things – are there any interesting hobbies that you pursue? 😊

Richard: Nope.. No hobbies for me. 🙂 Just creating music and other forms of art.

Saul: I have a couple little hobbies, but they’re not very interesting so I’ll spare you the boredom by not going into any detail! Sometimes I even bore myself…

Pix666: Do you have any other news, that you would like to share with the fans?   

Just wanted to say a big thank you to all the people – like yourselves! – that support us!

Saul: Many thanks for everyone’s awesome support thus far! Our journey has only just begun and it’s been wonderful to have you all here with us from the start! I can’t wait for you all to hear our debut album, it’s a bit of a monster so I hope you’re well prepared! I recommend listening to it in a bomb shelter, normal civilian structures won’t be able to withstand the earth-shattering beats and bass!!!

Pix666: Thank you very much for the interesting answers – Good luck with your debut album and stay healthy!!!



photos © Dead Lights