Interview with Gowanus Rocks Stars: Lightouts
The waters of the Canal move based on three things: the tide coming in from the bay, the flushing tunnel, and the loud rock blasting from the Lightouts rehearsal space. With a hint of the Cure, a powerful dash of loud guitar, and generous sprinkling of catchy lyrics, Lightouts sound is rippling across Brooklyn. The two man group that practices in Gowanus area are acting as a beacon for what some have called an early 90′s revival. GYFO had a change to speak with the two dapper gentlemen behind the group, Gavin Rhodes and Greg Nelson, and we got the 411 on their music, the Gowanus Canal, and what one really needs to survive a Zombie Apocalypse!
Can you explain your music to the 10-year-old versions of yourselves?
Gavin: Um… let’s see…loud guitars!
Greg: We couldn’t say a glorious return of ’90′s guitar rock’ cause the 10-year-old version of ourselves would be in the 80′s…. What was I into at that time?…Michael Jackson… [Bon Jovi’s] Slippery When Wet…. I think [maybe]… loud guitar… with pop beats!
Gavin: I was too into Men at Work when I was 10! …maybe [it’s] hipster hair-metal without the wankering and without the long hair. That’d be a start…. I was really into Def Leopard, and also into Journey…. This is before I discovered the Cure… the common thread… was always a pop sensibility.
Greg: My first two CDs ever were Appetite For Destruction and Bobby Brown’sDon’t be Cruel …. I could actually see [our music] being a merger of those two things. The loud guitars… and a lot of our recordings come from a drum machine….
The Gowanus Canal can have a strange affect on people (see Gowanus Pete), has the Gowanus affected your music and have you received any super powers from the Canal?
Gavin: We have a running [joke] to see as to who is going to take a dip in the Gowanus first! My office and where we practice overlooks the Gowanus…. I look at it everyday and honestly there are days when it doesn’t look bad…. In terms of influencing the music, I think the view from our practice space is a very prototypical view of Brooklyn; the Kentile Floors sign is right in front of us; we have the F moving around… and we have the water. We have all this other [stuff]… and to me it’s the essence of what this part of Brooklyn is like. It’s starkly industrial….
Greg: One thing about the space is that it is so empty. You’ve got other places that are industrial [in NYC], be it Williamsburg or Bushwick that are filled with people, but Gowanus is still empty! [Although] it feels strangely productive….As for superpowers… I guess you could put together a… suit out of the condoms that are floating down [the Canal] as some type of protective armor!
Garving: I think the Gowanus has given me to the superpower to play extra sloppy guitar solos!
Is there a specific thing that influenced your music?
Gavin: I’ve gone through tons of different musical eras in my life…. in a way it’s come full circle. I’ve been in plenty of bands where I’ve played the wrong music in the wrong time. [My previous bands] were a couple years too late playing something or ahead of the curb on playing a certain genre. For this project…I just wanted to play what [to me] sounded good, and it’s this really energetic, guitar oriented music…. As we started doing this we [began] seeing from Spin and Rolling Stone that there is a 90′s rock revival going on…. and we seem to be in the right place at the right time.
Greg: We’ve been… pigeon holed as 90′s guitar revivalist…. I’ve been playing for quite a while, different types of music, and now there’s this type of confidence in playing what we want to be playing and we are not playing it for any reason other than wanting to play it. So I am fine with [it] being called 90′s guitar, but in the same way there are so many influences…in there and we are so comfortable with the music call it whatever… it really doesn’t matter to me… I am just happy to play what we want to play.
Can you explain the deer on the Cover?
Gavin: It’s this artist George Boorujy.
Greg: George is an old friend of mine. I think [his art] ties in in many ways [toLightouts]. George’s art is realistic surrealism…. it has very realistic wildlife in it… that’s set against stark settings. It’s usually based on a white background, so that it’s the foreground your always see….
Gavin: ….[George] anthropomorphizes his animals, so that they look like realistic animals, but have a human gaze…. [it] has a similar cohesive feel to it, like out music….
What are the three things your listeners should take with them in case of a zombie apocalypse?
Gavin: One boat [with] easy egress to the Gowanus cause… Zombies can’t swim. So, Gowanus is a great escape route for anyone that lives near it.
Greg: A shotgun…
Gavin: What else? a boat, a shot gun…
Greg: The New Album! to be release [later this fall]!
Gavin: [For use] in the same way people use music in psychological warfare…[like we did] with Noriaga by playing music! If you had a megaphone hooked up to blast some Lightouts’ music you could successfully drive all the zombies away!
Greg: Maybe just the And It Comes And Goes guitar solo on repeat for about 16 hours!
Lightouts is fueled by two fun individuals that just wanna play rock and roll. Some people link their sound to a style from the past, but their music is creating a new form of pop that will surely redefine rock for the future.