Interviewed: Headlights

Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Words/interview by Nick Tovarek

Champaign, Illinois’ Headlights cater to the dreamer crowd. Their sound – a healthy mixture of summer and outer space – holds the perfect spot between the familiar and the adventurous. We spoke with guitarist/vocalist Tristan Wraight about their upcoming tour, being signed to an increasingly popular record label and getting heated over Mario Kart tournaments in Big T’s Tavern, (the nickname for their tour van).

“Tokyo,” Headlights

“Cherry Tulips,” Headlights

Fan-belt: It seems like you have a tight-knit relationship with a few Milwaukee bands – notably Decibully. How did the addition of Decibully bassist Nick Sanborn come about?

Tristan Wraight: We found him wrapped up in a baby basket outside of the Cactus Club on a snowy night. He was crying and clearly malnourished. We couldn’t just leave him there.

F-b: So you are about to embark on a pretty massive tour. Which cities are you looking forward to the most? (Don’t worry; we’re not the jealous type.)

TW: Well, we all love Milwaukee. At this point, we have been to most towns enough times to have had good and bad experiences in them. We all really love Austin, New York City, Portland, San Fransisco, Boston, Memphis, Chicago, Salt Lake City … I really like El Paso, Texas for some reason. It’s hard to tell anymore. Pretty much all towns are similar and all cities are similar; it all boils down to who you meet and where. And where you find good mom-and-pop restaurants.

F-b: Every band feels different about touring. Is touring more like a long vacation, or more like overtime for you? What are your top three van tour moments?

TW: It really depends on the tour. When we first started touring it was very much an exciting take-no-prisoners, holiday-ishy thing. But over the years it definitely becomes more like work. We all really enjoy it and the more you do something the more you learn and the better you get.

F-b: What are the best things about being on the road?

TW: Here are the top three
1. Mariokart and Tetris tournaments on Nintendo DS. They get really fucking heated.
2. Drinking booze in Big T’s tavern (that’s our tour van) with whoever we are on tour with before/after a show.
3. Nick reading excerpts aloud from motley Crue’s Thr Dirt

F-b: You have released covers of everything from folk songs to late ’70’s pop songs. If you had to pick a hip-hop song to cover, whose would it be, and what would it sound like?

TW: That’s a tough one. maybe some Biggie? That hypnotize song? Definitely something with a soulful hook. Erin can really belt it out Mary J style.

F-b: Polyvinyl is a pretty unique record company – slipping Airheads and other goodies inside packages, and generally just staying true to the indie aesthetic. What’s it like being a part of the Polyvinyl team, and how has is changed since when you first signed on?

TW: It’s really special. we are a very lucky band to be working with them. It has changed really only in that they just keep growing and signing really good bands. From the time we signed with them they’ve picked up Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Architecture in Helsinki, Asobi Seksu, Loney Dear and opened a west coast office in San Fransisco. But they are still just a bunch of great folks. It’s pretty amazing.

: What’s the game plan for the rest of 2009?

TW: We will have our third record come out in august so we will tour a lot in the fall. get back over to Europe and hopefully Japan. we want to set up some 7-inch stuff, singles or splits with friends. we will have an ep coming out in early 2010 so just a lot of touring and what not.

Headlights will be performing 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 11th @ Stonefly Brewery with local heroes/musicians Atlatl and John The Savage. em>


5 Responses to “Interviewed: Headlights”

  1. Alex Says:

    Headlights will also be playing at Lawrence University in Appleton on March 31st. can’t wait!!

  2. DJ Says:

    The city is spelled “Champaign.”

  3. fanbelt Says:

    nice catch DJ

  4. nick Says:

    Man…half of my family is from champaign and I missed that. I guess I had drinking on my mind at the time.

  5. Nate Says:

    Can’t wait for this show. Headlights are epic live.

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