In a vast sea of pop punk bands, Lighters emerges as a stand-out from the crowd. On their latest EP, Fear of Missing Out, they pay homage to the nostalgic aspects of the genre, while at the same time redefining the boundaries.
To learn more about what went into the making of Fear of Missing Out, I met up with the members of Lighters: Matthias Galley (lead vocals/guitar) Will Westveer (lead guitar), Jake McDermott (drums), and Alan Pelton (bass) at New Roots Coffeehouse in their hometown of Rochester. We talked about recording at home versus the studio, the stories behind the songs, and the best places to go in Rochester for a garbage plate.
Paula Cummings: So why Lighters?
Will Westveer: Plural nouns were the thing two years ago. Every band was a one word name with an “s” at the end and without the “The,” and we thought Lighters would be good. Part of the reason we changed our name (from Cult Classic) was because there was already a band called Cult Classic. But now there’s another band called Lighters. So it’s really unavoidable.
PC: How would you describe your sound?
WW: It’s very old school. There’s a lot of old school pop punk, old school emo.
Matthias Galley: Early 2000’s – The Get Up Kids, Blink
Jake McDermott: My girlfriend said last night, “You guys sound like newfound glory.”
Alan Pelton: We’ve also got that newer emo going. Modern Baseball is a huge influence.
MG: We’re not a straight up punk band, but that’s definitely where a lot of my roots came from – just like that pure aggression and energy and maybe not being technically the best but having heart behind it. I think that’s a lot of our philosophy.
JM: But we also want to get out of that and be more modern, like alternative emo.
MG: It’s really hard to put your music in a genre because you just have so many influences and you put them in the box and you don’t know what’s going to come out.
PC: The new EP, Fear of Missing Out, where did you record and who helped you put that together?
JM: First we tried recording at my house.
WW: It didn’t sound too bad, but it was too much work.
JM: My parents were out of town for Halloween weekend last year. We set up my drums in the living room. We put pillows next to the fireplace so no one would hear outside. And we just recorded drums for the entire day. Then we recorded their vocals and stuff for the next two days. We finally were almost done and we were on the last song when someone rang the doorbell. I forgot it was Halloween. So my dog starts barking, and we’re like “Okay, we’re just going to get someone to do it.”
WW: It was the last straw.
PC: Yeah, DIY is great, but it takes a lot of work.
WW: We recorded it with one of our friends in a band called REPS. They’re a hardcore band, they’re really good. They have a rehearsal space over off Park Ave and they’re turning it into a studio too. We’re one of the first bands that used it. The guitar player Jordan Foehner helped us. We were really happy with it. HQ Audio – they were deciding the name as we recorded.
MG: It’s cool to be at the beginning of something like that.
PC: And then the album art – that’s a throwback.
MG: That’s my roommate Billy Lyons. He’s a local artist. He had a show at the Bug Jar a while back and he just had a show at Ugly Duck Coffee. I was like, “Hey can you draw something that looks like 1990’s cartoons, like Rocko’s Modern Life style?” We had him base it off our friend Bobby Heath, who is the guy on the album artwork for the other EP. Bobby comes to a lot of our shows. We’ve known him forever.