When we came to start compiling our favourite albums of the year there was lots of discussion and debate about which artists to include. However, there was one album that was always destined to be up there with the best of the year and that was ‘Infinite Light’ from Lightning Dust. The core of the band is Amber Webber and Joshua Wells from Canadian band Black Mountain. Lightning Dust will be appearing in Cardiff in December so we thought now was the right time to make contact with Amber from the band.
What music has influenced the music that Lighning Dust make?
Josh and I write songs for Lightning Dust with no conscious influences in mind. We definitely don't try for a particular sound but of coarse some of our favorite music is bound to subconsciously motivate and steer us in a curtain direction. Music we particularly love at the moment are The Oh Sees, Fever Ray, Beyonce, Amon Duul II.
Lightning Dust is a side project. What is the difference between working with Lightning Dust and your other band Black Mountain?
I don't consider Lightning Dust a ‘side project’ as much and just a different less popular project then Black Mountain. Black Mountain is a band that gets together and jams a lot and writes and arranges songs as a five person group. Lighting Dust is Josh and I and we write the songs for the group separately and then come together. When Josh writes a song I'll add lyrics and might suggest ditching a part or adding an extra verse. When I write a song Josh usually adds a bridge and any of the instruments other then guitar.
There is some amazing music coming out of Canada these days. What factors do you think have helped this?
I think amazing music comes from everywhere. I think that Canada is currently in a media spotlight which is great because most of the musician I know work hard and deserve to be noticed.
Some Canadian artists, such as Chad VanGaalen, have had financial support from the government for recording. How does that system work and what are the benefits? Any down side?
The Canadian government has what are called "Canadian Council Grants" that musicians can apply for that will help pay for recording, touring etc. I suppose if you get one the only down side is that you have to place the Canadian Council logo (which is a bit of an eye sore) on the back of your album. Other than that the grants seem great if you're lucky enough to get one.
The sound of ‘Infinite Light’ is quite big and almost orchestral at times. How will you be reproducing that on stage or will you be doing stripped down versions?
When we play live we bring along a drummer/guitarist (Ryan Peters) and a bass player/back-up singer (Ashley Webber) who is also my twin sister. Unfortunately we can’t bring along a string session but we manage just fine without one. Our live show is a different experience than listening to the album but hopefully just as enjoyable.
Which songs do you enjoy most playing live?
It depends on the environment we're playing in. I love playing the moodier songs such as ‘Dreamer’ and ‘Waiting on the Sun to Rise’ when were playing at a venue with great acoustics and if the crowds attentive. If the sounds not so hot and the crowd talking over the songs, songs like ‘I Knew’ and ‘The Times’ seem to be more forgiving. I still love playing all our songs though!
What plans do Black Mountain have for 2010?
Black Mountain's starting to record a new album in January and will hopefully have it done and released sometime in the summer or early fall.
If push comes to shove the track ‘Take it Home’ is our favourite song of 2009. Tell us about the song and how it came to be written and recorded.
Take it Home was a song that Josh wrote the music for years ago. He showed it to me and together we rearranged it to work as a Lighting Dust song. Josh wrote all the string arrangements for that track.
What are the best and worst parts about being on the road?
I love being on the road but I suppose a down side is when you’re on the road for a long time sometimes you lose the passion for the songs you're playing and that can be a shame. I try to refocus when this happens and remember what I loved about the song so I perform it the best I can. Also lack of sleep when you're on tour is always a problem.
What can we expect from your performance in Cardiff in December?
Lightning Dust appear at Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff on Tuesday 1st December. Tickets are available from http://www.ticketweb.c
Lightning Dust (2007)
Infinite Light (2009)