League of Lights
Every Monday we will be bringing you interviews with unsigned UK or Ireland artists for Independent Music Monday. Recently we caught up with Farrah from unsigned Surrey duo League of Lights to find out more…
Who is in the duo, how did you meet, where are you from and how did you come up with the duo name?
We’re a British duo, Richard West (Threshold) and singer Farrah West. We met in prison! Actually we both volunteered to help on a young offenders program to provide offenders an opportunity to get out of their cells. I didn’t know Rich very well before we did that, he used to look after me and make sure I was okay! We got together a few years later and we live in Surrey.
The name League of Lights came from the idea that we each carry a light inside, we hoped that our music and band would project that.
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
I grew up loving the harmony sounds of Wilson Philips and the Beach Boys and spent loads of time figuring out and singing all the parts. I also loved 90s pop and rock; a poster of Then Jericho graced my bedroom wall for quite a while! Nowadays I still love anything with vocal harmonies, Imogen Heap is brilliant. I love anything stretching from the heavy sounds of Nickelback to the classical sounds of Barber & Debussy. Really though I listen for songs that reach out and touch me, maybe with the story in the lyrics or the music that gives me goose bumps, I want to feel something when I listen.
Rich grew up listening to bands like Queen, Pink Floyd and Genesis, and he got his love for synths from artists like Gary Numan. And of course he’s also got a heavier side from his work with Threshold.
How would you describe your sound?
Slightly quirky and dramatic electronic rock with a bit of pop thrown in for good measure.
What is your latest release called and what was the influence behind it?
Our new album ‘In the in Between’ (released 27th September) came about and was titled to reflect what has been happening in our lives over the last few years. We’ve been making music together for a long time but had always really wanted to make a complete body of work. Sometimes there is just this need to create and we wanted to make something beautiful that reflected us and where we were at that moment. Life felt like it was getting away from us, we were so busy with other projects, caring for a poorly family and paying the bills. So ‘In the in Between’ was made in moments in between hospital visits and other music and non-music projects… sometimes when the rest of the world had gone quiet at 3am. Consequently we didn’t really aim for any particular genre, we wrote and recorded the songs that resonated the most when we wrote them. Sometimes Rich would write something on the piano and I’d say “please don’t use that for anything else I love it, let’s have it for League…“ so what came out really reflected and suited us style-wise and lyrically feels deeply personal. The album is full of harmonies, some rock, a bit of pop, lots of hooks and a good helping of drama!
What’s your local music scene like?
We live in the suburbs, so it’s relatively quiet other than open mic nights and a few pub gigs. London is only a few miles away though!
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
The album was released on 27th September, so at the moment our focus is on that. We have a festival planned for April next year and we’re in the process of sorting out more live gigs.
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
On our last album we were fortunate to work with some amazing artists such as Ruud Jolie (Within Temptation), Mark Zonder (ex-Fates Warning) and Jerry Meehan (Robbie Williams). Moving forward we’d love the chance to collaborate with someone like Imogen Heap, BT or Hans Zimmer!
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
Our first ever gig with League of Lights wasn’t planned by us and was very different. My Grandmother recommended us to her Salvation Army Corps and we were invited to perform a concert where we were joined on stage by a 20 piece brass band and a 40 voice choir! It was awesome! My Grandmother invited all her friends and they came early and sat in the front row. During the first 20 seconds or so when the full rock band and 20 piece brass section all blasted in for a dramatic start they all reached for their hearing aids to turn down the volume! I always felt a bit bad about that, it never occurred to me to give a warning beforehand!
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
We love music, we especially love the less run-of-the-mill songs that catch you off guard and speak to your heart. We hope that listeners will find songs like that on our album.