Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Federal Lights

Federal Lights

Winnipeg four-piece Federal Lights recently returned from playing their European tour. In continued support of their recently released album We Were Found In The Fog, Federal Lights are playing the annual Manitoba Music Showcase on November 28th. Before the showcase, A Music Blog, Yea? had a chat with Federal Lights’ Jean-Guy Roy to talk about Shanghai Cowgirl’s grilled cheese, highlights of their European tour, and their love for Toronto.

AMBY: Hello Federal Lights, how’s the band doing today?

Federal Lights: The band is doing quite well today…. it’s a holiday today so everyone is enjoying some relaxing downtime.

AMBY: How would you describe each member of Federal Lights in one word?

Federal Lights: Rob – Solid, David – Positive, Jodi – Real, Chris – Funny (as hell), Me – Serious (far-too-fucking serious).

AMBY: You’ve recently returned from playing a European tour. What were some of the highlights?

Federal Lights: Definitely our shows in Germany. We really weren’t sure what to expect as we had never been there before and our record isn’t even out there yet, but we set up for our first show and there were maybe 20 people there and we thought we were doing good for being on the other side of the globe and having 20 people come out to see us. but then as we started our set people started coming in off the street and by the halfway point we were playing to a full house. It was pretty unreal.

AMBY: Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration?

Federal Lights: It’s different all the time. Sometimes it comes from very personal situations that myself or someone I know is going through and sometimes it comes from something or someone that I have completely no attachment to, just a random thing I see on the street or hear someone say at the bus stop can trigger a line or a word that can result in the whole idea for a song. That’s kind of how Reservation Girl came to be.

AMBY: Your latest album We Were Found In The Fog came out on August 27th. What is the significance behind the title?

Federal Lights: I think its about vulnerability mostly. This idea that the fog is not a place for concealing your secrets but a place to reveal them, its this place that you are ok with being found out or exposing yourself even if its a place where you are meant to be safe and secure and hidden from it all. Its about destroying that idea of a comfort zone.

AMBY: The band is playing the annual Manitoba Music Showcase on November 28th. What are you most looking forward to regarding the showcase?

Federal Lights: Can I say the Shanghai Cowgirl? I love their grilled cheese sandwiches! I kid I joke (although I truly do love them). I think we’re just looking forward to the show itself. We always love playing in Toronto, its like our second home next to Winnipeg. I think we’ve played Toronto more times than any other city including Winnipeg. We always love going there.

AMBY: Does hailing from Winnipeg have an influence on your sound? And if so, how?

Federal Lights: Absolutely. There is a guy here in Winnipeg named Mike Latchislaw who is making a documentary on the scene here titled “If I Could Only Leave Here”, and its musician after musician talking about that very statement of our love/hate relationship with this city and its harsh seasons, its politics, its music and just everything that is Winnipeg. The answer that keeps coming back is that well yeah while we would love to leave here…. We can’t. So in our case the songs end up having a little or a lot to do with that coping method.

AMBY: Which other artists from Winnipeg should we keep our eyes on?

Federal Lights: Slow Leaves – a friend of ours named Grant Davidson who’s voice is so hauntingly good it gives me the shivers every time we listen to him.

AMBY: If you could invite any three people to record an album with, who would you choose?

Federal Lights: My living people answer would be: Britt Daniels, Nigel Godrich, Rob Mitchell (he always needs to be there).

AMBY: What’s the best release of the year?

Federal Lights: So far I’m really digging The National’s new record!

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about Federal Lights that nobody knows yet?

Federal Lights: We’re big in Japan.


Thank you Federal Lights, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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