Interview by Si Smith
Oh, finally after so much time we’re able to unveil this little musical jewel. Here we present you a special interview with Farrah West, the singer of this melodic rock supergroup/project that features members of Within Temptation, Fates Warning and Threshold. People we’re not talking about some random débutants, you got me?
First of all, thank you for this interview and welcome to the Femme Metal webzine.
Thanks, it’s lovely to meet you!
At first glance League of Lights is quite an eclectic mix of characters, featuring as it does members and ex members of Threshold, Fates Warning and Within Temptation. How on earth did this remarkable cast of characters come together?
We just picked the people who felt right for the project! Rich already knew Ruud Jolie from Within Temptation through his work with Threshold and they got on really well so it was an easy choice, and we knew of Mark Zonder from his drumming on Fates Warning and Chroma Key records and loved his unique sound.
When you set out to record this debut record, what specific sound did you have in mind for the band? Are there any direct influences you would quote?
We intended to make a melodic rock album, combining the best of both of us. We’re both really into bands like Shinedown, Nickelback, Evanescence and Lacuna Coil but also love mellower artists like Chroma Key and Lene Marlin, so we wanted to find some middle ground between those artists where we’d belong.
The lyrics of the album all seem to be very positive in their outlook. Are you all positive people in general or is there a darker side to the band? What kind of things get you down, for example?
We are pretty positive people and we like to look at things in their best light. What gets me down? I’d say bad manners and bad weather are a bit of a downer. I’m a big fan of sunshine and happy people!
Your first official review back in April said “This ought to do well”. How much do you consider reviews of your album by the press? What kind of fan feedback do you get for the band?
We are always really interested to hear press and fan feedback. We’ve been so pleased at the response to our debut, it would’ve been awful if nobody liked it! A lot of fans of the bands that Rich, Ruud and Mark are in have enjoyed hearing a different side to their playing, and a lot of people have appreciated the positive lyrics. We’ve had some lovely comments about those.
Ruud also released his debut solo album at the same time as yours. How has he found it splitting his time between all of his musical ventures?
I think he manages amazingly. Within Temptation are still touring, they tour in bursts though so it gives him time to work on other projects in between.
As a band it sounds like you have really got your sound together for the recording. Is the line-up a permanent one, or is this a more fluid and dynamic band based around you and Richard?
We’re hoping to keep on working with the amazing musicians that featured on our debut, but we’ve also started including more artists for the second album. We’re not ready to announce who yet, but the recordings are sounding great.
Given that the other musicians have their own commitments will we see any live performances of this material?
We hope so, we did have a support tour lined up for the end of last year but unfortunately it didn’t work out. We’re hoping that this year we’ll get out on the road & start to play the songs live.
The album begins in upbeat fashion with your longest song “I’m Alive”. The initial impact is that your voice is very clear in its prononciations and intonations. How did your own singing career begin?
I started singing when I was really tiny – my parents have an embarrassing picture of me singing my heart out while sitting on the potty! When I was in my teens I started singing in church and after I met Rich began singing in the studio.
The ideas such as “eternity” and “my spirit will carry on” imply a spiritual worldview, especially the quote from a hymn “my chains fell off, my heart was free”. How deep are the spiritual beliefs of the band influencing the music?
Our spiritual beliefs are deep held & I imagine will always influence what we write and sing about. I think you write best when you express what is most dear to you and I love to sing songs that are positive and life giving.
Many of the songs rely heavily on keyboard melodies and textures. How easy was it to decide how “heavy” you wanted the band to be, and did you all agree?
It wasn’t easy at all! We actually were aiming for a heavier sounding album, but for some reason it took us a while before we found our sound. The tracks for our new album are already a lot heavier than before and we’re really excited about them!
“Last Sunset” sings out “I don’t want to go without fulfilling my purpose here”. What would you say is the “purpose” of League of Lights? What are your plans for the future of the band?
I’d say our purpose for League of Lights is to make powerful and beautiful music with a message of faith, hope and love. I hope we’ve managed to achieve that! Our plans for the rest of this year are to record our second album and to get a record deal. We self-released the first album which was a good experience, but now we’re talking to some labels to take everything to a much greater level. We’re hoping to get out on the road and start doing some live shows, hopefully some summer festivals.
“Ambertown” doesn’t seem to represent a real town in the song. Could you explain the concept to us?
“Ambertown”’s a song about being in a place where you have to make a choice about which way to go, how the direction you choose can define your whole destiny and who you are.
“Heaven Sent a Star” is definitely my favourite song on the album. It speaks to those who have been crushed, captive and broken. Your emotional performance suggests there may be some personal experience here?
LOL, you sing about what you know right! We wanted to convey that whatever the circumstances look like you are loved.
Finally, may I thank you for making such an uplifting album! Have you a final message for any potential fans out there?
We hope you love the album, we’ve put the opening track up on our website. We hope to bring you more music soon and see you on the road. We’re look forward to sharing our exciting news about upcoming collaborations and announcing about the new album soon too. Thanks again for the interview!
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