Big Zach on More Than Lights' new album, back-to-back Cabooze Shows
Hip-Hop band More Than Lights have been on one of the most impressive live show tears in recent memory. Along with selling out the Fine Line and 7th Street Entry, the group has also become a show-stealing staple of the festival circuit. To celebrate the release of their new album Sights & Sounds on September 25, the group will be playing back-to-back shows at the Cabooze on October 5 and 6.
Gimme Noise spoke to MC Big Zach about the new album and bringing their Sights & Sounds to festivals.
You're one of the few artists in hip-hop whose releases in different groups outnumbers your own solo material. What draws you to the group dynamic?
I think when you make music with somebody, your soul communicates with them. I think it's like love, when you collaborate it feels like something deeper than friendship. You have something to show from hanging out with this person.
After developing such a reputation for your live show, do you feel your performances dictated the sound of this album?
Yes, and on this record in particular because I feel we've had a lot of people tell us our records are OK, but the live show doesn't translate. There's a song on the new record called "I Speak Jive" where we have a bass solo and a bunch of guitar solos and I think we nailed it, making the song feel live.
Were there any other difference between recording your previous releases and this new album?
Yeah, on this one we tried to put Natalie, the female singer, and our guitarist out front. I think we got about six guitar solos. The reason behind that is because, regionally,and locally, we hadn't got a lot of press because the press looked at us as just Kanser with a band. So, we put them out front and tried to rap around them.
With all the complications that come from being in a seven piece band, what's the writing process like for each song?
That one's complicated because I don't think there's one song on the record that has full contributions from everyone. Like, two of us will get together, come up with an idea and they might come up with a chorus. Other times one person will have a strong idea, and we'll try to follow them. I wish I had a clever answer for that, but it's kind of just spontaneous. It's a little strange being in a band where we come together [and] make music that doesn't sound like any of our exact sounds.
Why do you think More Than Lights lends itself to the festival circuit so well?
Just because of fun. Those kids, in the midwest festival circuit, that shit doesn't have a certain type of music, it just has a certain fun vibe. We like to have fun in a similar manner. Just losing yourself, having fun and enjoying life in a different way.
What made you decide to do back-to-back parties at the Cabooze?
We sold out the Fine Line and we sold the Cabooze, and both times, when the doors sell out and there's a little celebration, in my mind I felt like we're losing money. And not only are we losing money, but if someone jumped in a car and drove to come to your show and can't get in, who knows if they're even coming back? I don't think we're big enough to sell out both nights, and I'd rather have everyone who wants to come get in. Everyone who wants to come be a part of our release party, I want to come and be a part of it.
On the new album there's a lot of party vibes, a lot of chill vibes, but also a socially conscious element. What's do you think is the secret to balancing those elements out?
The balance is hard because sometimes we're bringing the fun so hard, we don't know when to make you stop and think. But, we also didn't want our music to be completely empty. The first song that comes in says "we are more than words, we take action" and when we finished the song, our keyboard player Josh was like "I know that that sounds good, but since you put that on the record, we need to do something this year like a show for charity because we can't just be "more than words."
More than Lights performs at the Cabooze on Friday, October 5 and Saturday October 6. 18+, $12, 9 p.m.
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