Interview met Amber Webber (Lightning Dust)

achtergrond: concertavond 28 november 2019

Na een relatieve stilte van zes jaar perste het Canadese Lightning Dust met Spectre een nieuw album uit hun creatieve cloaca. Om dat te vieren daalt het bliksemstof op 28 november neder in Het Bos om daar aan een sterk staaltje sfeerschepping te doen met hun spookachtige, onheilspellende, maar even goed wonderschone songs die steunen op een psychedelische ruggengraat van synth- en folkwervels. De ideale gelegenheid om opperstrot Amber Webber eens aan de tand te voelen, dacht Bosmedewerker Tomas Serrien.

Congrats with your new album 'Spectre'. It's been a while! 'Fantasy' was released in 2013. Is there a particular reason why it took 6 years to make this fourth record?

We were busy making records and touring with Black Mountain. Also Josh plays drums in Destroyer and they did a bunch of touring over that time. I also went back to school studying gerontology for a bit of that. Also, sometimes inspiration takes longer than you think.

Can you tell us something about choosing 'Spectre' as the title for the new album? Does it refer to the haunting sound of your music?

It was actually taken from one of our favourite Royal Trux songs, 'The Spectre'. We thought it suited the vibe of the album. This album has a haunting feeling for sure. I sing a lot about souls that haunt me and about death, literally and symbolically.

Minimal electronics and rhythmic patterns are still an important part of the sound of Lightning Dust, but when I listen to 'Spectre' in comparison with 'Fantasy', the arrangements are subtler in a way. The new sound is closer to the album 'Infinite Light' from 2009: a personal, more singer-songwriter style of music. Was it a conscious choice to go back to a more intimate sound?

Yes, we were both craving a real band sound. Touring ‘Fantasy’ was difficult for us because we love playing with other musicians and feeding off their energy on stage. Playing with drum tracks halted that freedom. Plus, for me personally I'm not as interested in electronic music - it was more of a phase for me.

Are there events had an important influence in making this new album?

I'd say it was feelings that made this record, rather than actual events. It was a feeling of isolation and sadness - this was partly from the state the world is in, like Trump and the increasing number of natural disasters, but also from the strangeness of leaving the music world for a bit. Not knowing what direction to head in and an overall feeling of disconnection from the world around me. In hindsight all this was a blessing because it allowed me to write this record unhinged.

In a recent interview you said that 'Spectre' is 'for all the women warriors that have been battling throughout life looking for a place to express themselves that feels inclusive and inspiring.' What kind of battles are you referring to?

Women are under represented as artists in mainstream culture. Unlike men, most women have to fit into this tiny glittery airbrushed photoshopped box with a ticking time bomb to be considered relevant or marketable. However, if you look close enough there are all kinds of amazing art being made by women. This art is what inspires me to continue creating. I hope Spectre inspires other women artists trying to find their coven.

'Spectre' has some guest appearances. 'A Pretty Picture' features Stephen Malkmus and 'Competitive Depression' features Dan Bejar. Can you tell something about these collaborations?

Dan Bejar is a close friend and lives next to the studio we recorded Spectre at, so we lured him in with some red wine and sweet-talked him into singing.
Stephen Malkmus came out to record the first version of the Purple Mountains album a couple of years ago. He played guitar, Josh played drums and I sang a bit on that record. We all became pals after that experience. Stephen offered to throw some guitar down when he heard we were recording, so of course we took him up on it.

What can we expect of your setup for the concert at Het Bos? Are there any important differences in comparison with earlier tours?

We are so excited to be back in Europe after not touring Lightning Dust over there for 5 years. We have so many songs to choose from. I feel our live set is now nicely curated. It's a combo of full band tunes with bass, drums, guitar synth/piano and a few that are just Josh and I playing minimal two piece arrangements.

How is the music scene in Vancouver these days? Are there some new bands we definitely have to check out?

The Vancouver scene is always surprising me with great new bands. Right now I'm very into Sandstorm (AC/DC meets Judas Priest - with an awesome female badass drummer), KCAR (rad female punk), Diamond Cafe (prince vibes) , Bored Decor (fun spazzy punk that's so fun to dance to), and Ashley Shadow (my sister’s project, it's so dark and beautiful)

What are the plans for the near future?

After the European tour we plan on heading to Mexico City and Oaxaca City to play some shows. We love Mexico so much, especially Oaxaca. We're also in the early stages of setting up some USA/Canada tours.

Thank you! And see you at Het Bos on the 28th of November!

Thanks so much for the interview, was a pleasure!