by Tobias Moore
Ahead of the release of A Colour of the Sky – their second album on Fat Possum – Lightning Bug discuss the quiet understandings that bring them together
Relationships. Be it through the mediums of music, nature or human beings, our lives are filled with various forms of these dynamics, and it is through these unspoken exchanges that we create some of our fondest memories. Whether attached to a song or character, these fleeting snippets of nostalgia all stem from our interactions. And on their latest album, A Colour of the Sky, the nomadic Lightning Bug provide a place for these relationships to converge.
These connections were implemented with care. For an album with such cohesion, their relationships with creation are that of individuals – each vastly contrasting and with only one ironic commonality. ‘I’m not actually a huge music person,’ states lead singer and songwriter, Audrey Kang. ‘I’m either obsessed or really not listening to music,’ adds Kevin Copeland (vocals/guitar), ‘and I love silence,’ concludes Logan Miley (engineer/synth/textures). Perhaps not the answers you would expect from a band whose music is so intensely immersive. Yet, it started to make sense as Miley explained: ‘There’s a quote that says something like “I’d rather hear one note than two, and I’d rather silence than one note,” and it just resonates with me. I feel you have to engage with silence to appreciate music in general.’
And it’s true. Is it not within the moments that linger after a record stops that our surroundings and the significance of place and feeling become ever more apparent? As the confines of melody and being start to blur, the music we’ve heard melds with our surroundings. It’s a sense of escapism and exploration that, as a band, Lightning Bug instill within their tracks. ‘I try to make worlds within each song; you want the listener to be able to perceive their own layers and become encompassed elsewhere,’ Kang states.
But for a songwriter who feels a great connection with the unique and spiritual creative process of Beverly Glenn-Copeland, this concept of ‘feeling spatial’ is not something the band adheres to consciously. For Copeland and Miley, the experience is far more up to interpretation. ‘When Audrey brings us a track, she’s often describing things very visually. There’s lots of colours involved and I feel that’s a key element for whatever the idea is.’ It’s a sentiment that is echoed by Logan – ‘I feel like it’s our job to translate that into sound. When Audrey presents to us these songs, I’m already thinking, “what do I need to do musically to make this happen?”’
For while Kang is the painter, without the tools provided by Copeland and Miley, there may be no masterpiece. It’s this combination of equally creative, but incredibly contrasting approaches that comes across, with balance and grace, throughout the album. ‘Have you ever watched those cooking shows, where someone has this vision, but others are all doing their part, adding their own little flair along the way? Well, say we are making “food” for you hungry listeners, I’m the chef coming up with the recipes, but Kevin and Logan are imperative. They are plating and chopping.’
The result is something so spacious yet heavily detailed.
Whether it’s the watercolour whirlings of folk within Reprise, or the oil like vibrancy that pulses off final track, The Flash, for each and every moment the album has to offer, the energies that glow alongside each song are so intuitive that it provides a treasured companionship.
Far greater than a genre constrained album, the brilliance of A Colour of the Sky is the harmony with which it fits together. Lightning Bug have provided a place of retreat and balance for listeners to follow their own intuitions, and pursue their own narratives. Each melody mastered, each lyric strong enough to stand alone, and it’s clear to see where this stems from. As the band explains ‘a true relationship is not one of codependency. A true relationship is when two different whole things, that are one on their own, come together. It’s something that you’re constantly learning from; it’s about growing continuously with something or someone.’
It’s clear that the real magic of this group does not lie within sound. Despite their startlingly different personalities, Lightning Bug’s most valuable asset is the relationships they have with each other. They are far more than a band and far more than friends: they are family.
A Colour of the Sky is out on Fat Possum on 25th June.
If you’d like to support us by subscribing to our zine, click here – it’s just £6 a year for four copies (inc p&p).