Lightning Bug discuss the influences behind new album ‘A Colour of the Sky’
Lightning Bug have been around for nearly a decade, making ethereal dreampop informed by many of the usual influences but powered by Audrey Kang's excellent songwriting and clear, soothing vocals. With a new lineup adding extra juice, the band signed to Fat Possum, and recorded much of A Colour of the Sky live. (A first for the band.) "Songs in the past sometimes felt muddled, or I felt lost where to take them," Audrey said. "But for this one, each song felt like a whole entity from conception." A Color of the Sky is Lightning Bug's most focused, enchanting record yet which also finds them figuring out their own sound. You can still hear touchstones here and there -- "The Right Thing is Hard to Do" nods to both Mazzy Star and Robin Guthrie's Heaven or Las Vegas shimmer -- but mostly they just sound like themselves, weaving layers of guitar, strings, mellotron, and harmonies into an enchanting, melodic haze. You can listen to the whole thing below.
We asked the band about the inspirations behind A Color of the Sky and they gave a list of 10 that includes music (J Dilla, Talk Talk, Boards of Canada), as well as spiritual, natural, environmental and social influences. The whole band contributed to the list and you can read that below.
LIGHTNING BUG - INSPIRATIONS BEHIND 'A COLOUR OF THE SKY'
Tao Te Ching
Little seeds of wisdom that I gleaned from the Tao Te Ching are buried throughout A Color of the Sky. I found a lot of peace when reading that text. Most of its concepts are direct contradictions of what we’re encouraged to value and pursue in modern society. I think it’s a great thing to revisit when you feel stuck in one place in your head. - Audrey
Instruments evoking/emulating bird calls are in pretty much every song, from the whistling finches of "The Return," the screaming seagulls of "The Right Thing Is Hard To Do," the cry of the loon in "A Color of the Sky," and the coo of the mourning dove in "The Flash." -Audrey
Donuts by J Dilla
Listened to Donuts a lot before writing this record. Love how he created an entire world that you can enter and exit at any point in the larger loop. Each song feels like a zone. Also love the collage of sounds that weave in and out. -Audrey
Having heard the demos I was really excited to make something that felt open and wide. I think after two albums we had worked up enough confidence to be more bare. - Kevin
The new line-up
As the first album with this line-up, it was of course influenced by Dane and Vince. We recorded this album much more live, and Dane and Vince added a chaos factor we have not previously known. -Kevin
Talk Talk (Spirit of Eden, Laughing Stock)
The freedom and raw energy of those Talk Talk albums were very present in our minds for whatever reason. I think the fact that they were able to capture such a wild energy with such an open sound was something akin to what we were after. -Band
The house and surrounding environment
The house we recorded in upstate (NY) had its own personality that seeped into the record. It felt quite isolated. Lots of snow and sky and trees surrounding us. -Kevin
To double what Kevin said, I was inspired by the group of people and the environment that we put ourselves in as well as the ideas that came forward during that time. If Audrey wanted a song to feel like we were driving down the road at the beginning of a journey, I then became inspired by the shapes of the trees along the road. -Dane
Boards of Canada
BoC makes music that sounds like it comes from a world where history went down a slightly different track than the one we're on now. Thank you Hexagon Sun. -Vince
After playing music and recording all day we'd cook dinner together. Cooking and making music as an ensemble actually require similar sensibilities. -Band
Presenting familiar concepts in strange forms
Was really keen on finding new angles, physically and metaphysically. -Logan