If you have access to the internet, you probably should have heard of Phoenix-based producer LightsOverLA by now. And if you have half an ear for good dance music, then you already know that all he fucking does is turn out banger after banger. For the uninitiated, LightsOverLA is actually one Stormy Logan, a former metal musician who has now turned his considerable talents onto electronic music. Wielding only an Axiom 25 midi controller and Ableton, he’s been making Hypem chart-topping music for a year and a half now. We were lucky enough to talk to him recently – check it out, along with a couple fantastic tracks, below.
Upside Sounds: Hey man, thanks for doing this! Let’s start off with some background stuff. So we know that you used to be in a touring metal band before LOLA started off, but I don’t think many people would really describe your music nowadays as metal-esque. Why the change? At heart, are you still a headbanger or have you been converted to the dance world for good?
LightsOverLA: I will always love metal! Metal was apart of who I was growing up. Bands like Pantera and Megadeth shaped me as a kid and even to this day I listen to those bands. I actually FINALLY got to meet the drummer and bass player of Pantera at NAMM last week so that was awesome! Don’t get me wrong, I still rock out to metal. I just don’t actively go to shows as much as I used to. I had the opportunity to tour with some of my favorite metal and hardcore bands for years, so after doing that for a while I felt like I needed something new. I just really enjoy the futuristic sounds and ideas of electronic music.
US: You’ve been playing at some pretty large events lately, do you consider yourself more of a producer or a DJ now? Which do you like doing more and why?
LightsOverLA: I never really thought of myself as much of a DJ per say. I have never used CD’s and honestly I really don’t know how to do the “traditional” DJ thing. I use a lot of controllers and try to make my set as “live” as I can. My background comes from playing live and touring so I want to bring that into electronic music as much as I can. As far as being a producer I love it and I love spending time in the studio. But, in the end, I do this because I want to travel and see the world haha!
US: I think one of your biggest appeals is that its really difficult to typecast your music. You really jump around genres and present something new every time. Do you feel like there is any common element to all of your music or do you pretty much just go with whatever you feel like at the time?
LightsOverLA: I just do what I feel like honestly. I like so many different styles of music and I feel like this day in age if your not producing every genre your kinda behind. I’ve always liked producers like Diplo and Deadmau5 because they can do so many different things and appeal to so many different types of people. I enjoy changing stuff up because I figured that if I never get bored with my music, then hopefully the average listener won’t get bored either.
US: How do you pick which songs you want to remix? What’s your creative process there?
LightsOverLA: It is so random, I kinda just lurk around until I find a track I enjoy and then drop it in Ableton and see what happens. Damn near every remix I have done was usually written in a few hours, they just come together really fast. I usually know within the first 30 minutes if I am not feeling a track or not and if I take more than a few weeks doing a remix I probably wont get it done.
US: When you’re doing a remix, do you purposefully try to change the vibe of the original or do you think a good remix should stay true to the original’s soul?
LightsOverLA: I think some of the songs I remix just need that extra push to be club ready. I get a little bit of slack for not doing that much on a lot of my remixes, but then again some of those tracks have done really well for me. I’ve done most remixes without stems and just messed around with the original tracks, so there’s only so much I can do with a fully mixed song. On the other hand, when I get the stems on a track I really like to take the remix to the next level. So a little bit of both I guess!
US: Of all the tracks you’ve produced, which is your favorite to spin at live shows? How about any track made by anyone?
LightsOverLA: As far as LOLA tracks go, I really like the Shinichi Osawa remix as well as the Two Door Cinema Club one. As far as other people, I’m really enjoying Skism right now along with Dillon Francis. But most of all, I love some of the stuff I’ve been producing with my other project AT DAWN WE RAGE.
US: Speaking of which, can you tell us more about At Dawn We Rage? Why’d you feel the need to start another project?
LightsOverLA: I think to some people I just look like a remix-only artist, so I started another project to let people know I don’t just do one thing. I’ve been producing dubstep under the ADWR name for a few months now and found that in that short amount of time the remixes have been really well received. I decided to just take it to the next level and start a label under the same name. It’s a whole collective of sorts that includes a production/live side, a record label, and an apparel side. The plan is to have an all-in-one style powerhouse where we can basically do anything we want under the ADWR name including writing music and playing live shows. We just got distribution through Beatport, iTunes, Juno, and other online stores. In a few weeks, we should be coming out with our first release.
US: Can’t wait to hear it! Who else do you think we should be on the lookout for in 2011? Who’s going to blow up the fastest?
LightsOverLA: I think 2011 is gonna have a ton of break out artists. I think its gonna be a year where dubstep gets even bigger and electronic music becomes more technical. Producers like Porter Robinson and Lucky Date are doing some really cool things with electro and then bands like Modestep are taking dubstep to a live platform, which is what I am planning on doing with AT DAWN WE RAGE as well.
US: Lets say tomorrow you find a magic lamp and a genie comes out and offers you the opportunity to collaborate with any artist on the planet. Who are you choosing?
LightsOverLA: I would definitely collab with Deadmau5, that dude is a huge influence to me on the producer level and I just wanna know how he makes his tracks sound so amazing. He’s just one of the first artists that really got me into electronic music. I know that makes me sound like every other kid right now because everyone is listening to the mau5. But whatever haha!
US: So what’s the plan for LightsOverLA from here? Can we get some tour dates, specifically to St. Louis?
LightsOverLA: Right now I am working on a EP that will be released on Beatport via my own label in the next few months. I know I have been saying that forever but I am so picky about what I release for LOLA. That said, I am planning on doing a ton of touring for 2011, including a full US tour. If there are any promoters out there, hit me up!
US: Last question: If you had to encapsulate your philosophy on music into one sentence, what would it be?
LightsOverLA: Always think ahead and be a leader not a follower.
A big thanks to LightsOverLA for doing the interview and letting us his peek into his head! If you liked what you heard and saw here, find out more about LOLA on his website or follow him on facebook and soundcloud! Also, be sure to stay up to date with the At Dawn We Rage project on their website, facebook , and soundcloud!