Hit The Lights: Hit The Lights

The series will publish interviews with artists just before they're due to venture onto the stage, or due to launch a string of touring dates.

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Studio recordings are fragments of time, eternally seized for current and future generations to cherish. Much like photographs, they provide vivid snapshots of the period in question. However, studio recordings don't spawn quite the same memories as live performances.

"Left to right: Bjorn Strid of Soilwork, Robert Gray"

Via whichever outlet you happen to glean your music news from, you learn that a favourite group of yours has scheduled a nearby concert. You then purchase your ticket, and countless questions flood the mind. Will the group's performance be great? What material will comprise the set list? How will the evening's atmosphere be? The night then arrives, the concert forthcoming. You might down a few pints before leaving, or perhaps not. You might attend with a couple of friends, or your other half. You might attend alone, even. The concert inevitably arrives, whether it be at a small club, or a large arena. If you're smart, you've arrived early enough to catch the supporting group's performance. More often than not, these supporting acts fail to create much of an impression. Occasionally though, one proves to be particularly impressive, and you make a mental note to investigate their material. It could even be the supporting act you've come to see. Following that, the headlining act is due to venture onto the stage. The moment the group enters never arrives quickly enough, and maximum tension is built. Finally, the lights dim, the music stops, and the outfit walk onto the stage. If a group is smart, they'll strike a rapport with the audience, and encourage interaction. Interaction might encompass shouting, clapping, or whatever - whichever way, the group wants you to make an emotional investment. Throughout the performance, you'll wait to hear your favourite composition, and hopefully be consumed by the sight before you. If the concert is great, you'll wish to heavily play the group's material yet again. If the concert isn't great, it inevitably changes your perception of the group in question. You might still enjoy the group's music, but not quite as much as you once did. No two concerts you attend will ever provide the exact same feelings and memories, each boasting their own individual quirks which lend them a unique identity. Also, each person's feelings regarding the performance will differ, causing much scope for debate. This is why live performances happen to be so special. If you could travel back in time, which concerts would you attend? Personally, I'd watch Jimi Hendrix's 1969 Woodstock appearance, or even Queen's 1986 Wembley performance. The list goes on and on. DVD has immortalised these performances, but watching these performances on the small screen isn't quite the same. Being a part of the audience supplies memories for years to come, something you can recount to friends, family, but more importantly those that weren't fortunate enough to experience the concert for themselves.

"Left to right: Whiplasher Bernadotte of Deathstars, Robert Gray"

To pay tribute to acts toiling the circuit, I'm happy to launch a new series entitled Hit The Lights in partnership with Ultimate-Guitar.com. The series will publish interviews with artists just before they're due to venture onto the stage, or due to launch a string of touring dates. Some might even revisit past dates, where the artist reflects upon high profile treks, or a high profile date. Telephone and face-to-face interviews will be Hit The Lights' main approach, offering a depth and focus which email interviews sadly cannot offer. The aim is to gain insight, and exclusive information for readers to muse over. It's no holds barred, and no stone will be left unturned. If a difficult question needs to be asked, then it'll be asked. Readers will be left to gather their own thoughts, as opposed to thoughts being gathered for them. There's no room to accomodate the fanboy type articles which riddle many online interviews, articles I particularly dislike. Who knows where Hit The Lights might venture from here? If feedback proves to be particularly positive, Ultimate-Guitar.com may look at plans to expand Hit The Lights, and make the series a more prominent weapon in the site's arsenal. Installments might become more frequent, with the series covering other aspects of the global live scene. Additional correspondents may be utilized to report upon the live scene in each specific country, all for the benefit of readers. For now though, Hit The Lights is spearheaded by one interviewer. I'd be extremely interested to hear your thoughts on Hit The Lights, and your continual feedback regarding specific installments. Are they entertaining you? What did you like regarding an interview, and what didn't you like? Which genres / subgenres should Hit The Lights cover more of? Let me know; I can be emailed at robertpgray@ymail.com, and messaged at www.myspace.com/robertpgray. With Hit The Lights sufficiently introduced, I'll bid you farewell for now, and lend some thought on how to make the series a major success, and a regular hit with readers. Over time, I hope that the series will provide warmth and joy, and become a staple in the reading diet of rock / metal fanatics across the web. Robert Gray Ultimate-Guitar.Com 2009

67 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    Robert Gray
    Panasonic3 wrote:
    Are there any specific smaller groups you have in mind, or a specific genre? [/quote] you guys should cover a lot of up and coming local bands. particularily death metal. imo. By the way, there is this really innovative band called FENRIR that you might want to look into. they might be going places soon...[/quote] I'll have to listen to Fenrir. In terms of death metal, I think it'd be good to catch up with its earlier statesmen, like Carcass and Morbid Angel. Napalm Death even. Let's hope the powers that be are reading, and listen accordingly to what the readers want...
    CaRveItiNbass
    Robert Gray wrote: I don't actually have a final, definitive say in who's interviewed, and who's not. For that, you'd have to leave a message at http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/about/con... Obviously, there's quite a few groups, signed and unsigned, interest in gaining coverage here, so the competition is quite tough. Nonetheless, keep gigging and keep at it.
    I understand, fully. I believe there already is a section here about unsigned artists, however, we, at the moment, depend on our live sound, because our recording values do not emulate our abilities. Our songs are usually written with 3 or 4 guitar tracks, and the songs on our myspace are one-shot takes. The end result is just a glimpse at our abilities.
    Robert Gray
    CaRveItiNbass wrote: I understand, fully. I believe there already is a section here about unsigned artists, however, we, at the moment, depend on our live sound, because our recording values do not emulate our abilities. Our songs are usually written with 3 or 4 guitar tracks, and the songs on our myspace are one-shot takes. The end result is just a glimpse at our abilities.
    Live is the true and tested method, I agree. As far as recording values ago, there are large acts even who cannot emulate their live sound.
    Kastöm
    Someone up there said the title was misleading? Seriously? You think Metallica is the only band to use the term hit the lights?
    Amuro Jay
    crypticslaughtr wrote: WOOT WOOT HIT THE LIGHTS!!! I LOVE MEGADETH!!!!11111
    Hahaha hell yeah Anyway, this looks like a good feature. I'll be reading it.
    victor5464
    you should definitely do Municipal Waste... I'm curious as to how they feel before a show
    Robert Gray
    victor5464 wrote: you should definitely do Municipal Waste... I'm curious as to how they feel before a show
    Yeah, I've heard their music. They're a decent act. Seems like Earache Records have quite a few decent UK thrash groups signed to their roster.
    rest_eternal
    This whole feature looks awesome! But i agree with the smaller bands approach. I'm always looking for new bands to listen too, and these days they're rather hard to find. And just because i'm interested in what you'd have to say, do you think you'd be able to check out my band? www.myspace.com/mudline you seem to have good feedback.
    Robert Gray
    rest_eternal wrote: This whole feature looks awesome! But i agree with the smaller bands approach. I'm always looking for new bands to listen too, and these days they're rather hard to find. And just because i'm interested in what you'd have to say, do you think you'd be able to check out my band? www.myspace.com/mudline you seem to have good feedback.
    Musically, the opening to your track "Tonight" reminds me of Di'Anno era Maiden, with a punkier type approach, and then it deviates into chugging blues. Quite good to see blues is being used by up and coming acts. I'd suggest, other than the usual rigmarole of hard practice etc. etc., printing a demo CD, and sending it to local venues / gig promoters with a professional press release attached. Gaining gigs and performing at gigs is always the best way forward - every act who makes it starts by garnering a local following.
    Panasonic3
    [/quote] Are there any specific smaller groups you have in mind, or a specific genre? [/quote] you guys should cover a lot of up and coming local bands. particularily death metal. imo. By the way, there is this really innovative band called FENRIR that you might want to look into. they might be going places soon...
    HippoIzzy
    Lol everybody thought this was about metallica! I thought so too! But I can look at the word "Metallic" and think that it says Metallica..
    bollo91
    this sounds pretty interesting im always interested in the mindsets of performers before a gig. having performed a few times myself i understand the nerves of performers, but i want to see how bigger acts prepare themselves before playing to a few thousand people
    poop182
    Robert Gray wrote: Adamus9 wrote: hey it would be really nice if you included some smaller bands Are there any specific smaller groups you have in mind, or a specific genre?
    A Day To Remember, Four Year Strong, Set Your Goals, Alesana, Hit The Lights..? All great small bands..
    Robert Gray
    poop182 wrote: Robert Gray wrote: Adamus9 wrote: hey it would be really nice if you included some smaller bands Are there any specific smaller groups you have in mind, or a specific genre? A Day To Remember, Four Year Strong, Set Your Goals, Alesana, Hit The Lights..? All great small bands..
    Thanks for the names. I'm sure that if enough people request that a certain act or genre, or even smaller acts, be covered, then this'll be duly noted by those with the power to commission UG interviews.
    Robert Gray
    Stone Agean wrote: Cheers for the article Robert. I second the idea for smaller bands. Hell, even bands we havent heard of (although i guess, with uploaded material so we know if we like them or not). Would be interesting to see the contrast of how larger, popular bands regard their gigs compared to bands struggling to survive.
    Personally, I'm particularly interested to hear how the economic downturn is affecting smaller acts. I've asked whether it's particularly affecting one act, a larger act. That interview feature is slated to be published this Saturday. I think many smaller acts, many of which are skilled in certain job areas, might be tempted by the lure of normal work in certain instances. Your request to cover smaller acts is duly noted, though when smaller acts are covered, I notice many comments like "Who the hell is this?" etc. When Ultimate-Guitar's editor in chief commissions features / interviews, this is definitely a factor in his decision - the powers that be go on to assume that there's little interest in smaller acts from readers. If there was a considerable interest to cover smaller acts, then Ultimate-Guitar would definitely do this - after all, UG is attempting to cover what it thinks readers want? Does anyone else second the request to cover smaller acts? Or maybe some of you have an opposing opinion, and want to mostly have larger acts being covered?
    justinb904
    sounds awesome, I'll be sure to check out the coming interviews and to throw a few bands out there, As I Lay Dying is awesome live and I'd be plenty interested in seeing Living Sacrifice
    maowcat
    crypticslaughtr wrote: WOOT WOOT HIT THE LIGHTS!!! I LOVE MEGADETH!!!!11111
    Lol, anyways... What a misleading title.
    Jonny92
    Sounds good, I'll be reading these. Maybe look at some black metal and progressive stuff? I think some progressive bands would be very interesting to look at. Anyway that is just my humble opinion. Good luck with this Rob!
    Robert Gray
    Jonny92 wrote: Sounds good, I'll be reading these. Maybe look at some black metal and progressive stuff? I think some progressive bands would be very interesting to look at. Anyway that is just my humble opinion. Good luck with this Rob!
    Thanks for the best wishes, which are much appreciated. Black metal and progressive material? Any groups you have in mind? There seems to be quite an array of differing tastes on Ultimate-Guitar.com, which is proving quite interesting.
    Stone Agean
    A Day To Remember, Four Year Strong, Set Your Goals, Alesana, Hit The Lights..?
    I've never considered them small bands...they are all quite popular in my small Australian town. Anyways, it seems most UG'ers are into Death/black metal which I am not particularly fond of, and I assume anything I suggest will not be seconded. The public hath spoken.
    Robert Gray
    Stone Agean wrote: A Day To Remember, Four Year Strong, Set Your Goals, Alesana, Hit The Lights..? I've never considered them small bands...they are all quite popular in my small Australian town. Anyways, it seems most UG'ers are into Death/black metal which I am not particularly fond of, and I assume anything I suggest will not be seconded. The public hath spoken.
    If you don't suggest them, you'll never actually know. So yeah, feel free to make some suggestions.
    Megahertzz
    I would definately like to see a piece on Illdisposed. Great Dansih metal-band. 1-800-vindication is probably the most brutal and at the same time the grooviest metal-album releasd ever.
    Robert Gray
    Megahertzz wrote: I would definately like to see a piece on Illdisposed. Great Dansih metal-band. 1-800-vindication is probably the most brutal and at the same time the grooviest metal-album releasd ever.
    An interesting choice. They recently signed to Massacre Records I believe - it'd be nice to see the group become settled on one label, and have some stability in that respect.
    Robert Gray
    STBT_Dk wrote: Will this only include UK bands ?
    That's a good question, given the fact I'm based in the UK. The answer to that is no, as there are some great bands who tour the world (the UK included) and put on great performances. There's quite a few groups from the States and Europe who I quite enjoy and would like to cover, and there's obviously a few non-UK groups readers would like me to cover. Thanks for your interest by the way - I look forward to hearing your future thoughts.
    STBT_Dk
    Robert Gray wrote: STBT_Dk wrote: Will this only include UK bands ? That's a good question, given the fact I'm based in the UK. The answer to that is no, as there are some great bands who tour the world (the UK included) and put on great performances. There's quite a few groups from the States and Europe who I quite enjoy and would like to cover, and there's obviously a few non-UK groups readers would like me to cover. Thanks for your interest by the way - I look forward to hearing your future thoughts.
    I was thinking more of small unknown bands, that only tour in their own country, like my own band (denmark).. Is there any chance you would interview those kind of bands?
    Robert Gray
    STBT_Dk wrote: Robert Gray wrote: STBT_Dk wrote: Will this only include UK bands ? That's a good question, given the fact I'm based in the UK. The answer to that is no, as there are some great bands who tour the world (the UK included) and put on great performances. There's quite a few groups from the States and Europe who I quite enjoy and would like to cover, and there's obviously a few non-UK groups readers would like me to cover. Thanks for your interest by the way - I look forward to hearing your future thoughts. I was thinking more of small unknown bands, that only tour in their own country, like my own band (denmark).. Is there any chance you would interview those kind of bands?
    Who's interviewed via Ultimate-Guitar.com is largely down to the editor in chief, as he commissions who is and isn't interviewed. For example, I could ask to interview one group, and he could simply say no. If there was a demand for smaller groups to be interviewed, it's definitely something he would look at. His job is to judge what readers want, so an interview with a virtuoso being green lighted is quite likely, but with a smaller group, less so as it's more difficult to judge readers' interest in the band. Are you referring to any specific Danish groups? Someone above mentioned Illdisposed. You're obviously welcome to suggest any names, and additionally leave feedback at http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/about/con... which the editor reads. I'd also like to direct you and other readers to this page - http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/about/con... - if you fancy interviewing or reviewing professionally for the UG team, all it takes is one email and the editor will see whether you can fit into the team (that's how I got to have my own series).
    Robert Gray
    sandrock86 wrote: What about some Toxic Holocaust or some Psycroptic.
    I'll have to make such suggestions to the editor in chief when those two bands have product to promote.
    Robert Gray
    CaRveItiNbass wrote: Robert Gray wrote: CaRveItiNbass wrote: yeah, if you ever consider doing local bands, to get their name out and stuff like that, my band is playing the Trocadero theater May 16th. send us a message and let us know if you're into it. We've been referred to as a death metal iron maiden. check us out at www.myspace.com/hailtomadness A death metal Iron Maiden, eh? I'll have to check out your MySpace page. Feel free to add my MySpace page to your friends list, and keep me informed of your group activities. I'll have one of my bandmates add you and possibly send you a message. I'd do it now, but I'm at school, so it's rather difficult. Anyways, we'd definitely be interested in something like that. We never really got a negative response at one of our shows, even with the terrible singer we used to have. Our music just seemed to be able to cover it up. And that's why We'd love to have our first interview here, because people are more centric on the music.
    I don't actually have a final, definitive say in who's interviewed, and who's not. For that, you'd have to leave a message at http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/about/con... Obviously, there's quite a few groups, signed and unsigned, interest in gaining coverage here, so the competition is quite tough. Nonetheless, keep gigging and keep at it.
    CaRveItiNbass
    Robert Gray wrote: CaRveItiNbass wrote: yeah, if you ever consider doing local bands, to get their name out and stuff like that, my band is playing the Trocadero theater May 16th. send us a message and let us know if you're into it. We've been referred to as a death metal iron maiden. check us out at www.myspace.com/hailtomadness A death metal Iron Maiden, eh? I'll have to check out your MySpace page. Feel free to add my MySpace page to your friends list, and keep me informed of your group activities.
    I'll have one of my bandmates add you and possibly send you a message. I'd do it now, but I'm at school, so it's rather difficult. Anyways, we'd definitely be interested in something like that. We never really got a negative response at one of our shows, even with the terrible singer we used to have. Our music just seemed to be able to cover it up. And that's why We'd love to have our first interview here, because people are more centric on the music.
    Robert Gray
    ambivalent615 wrote: first i thought metallica, then i saw the soilwork picture, i dont know what to believe now.
    Read the article, and all will be revealed.
    SnooBag101
    Well this was wierd, I thought it was going to be about the song "Hit the Lights."
    Robert Gray
    Adamus9 wrote: hey it would be really nice if you included some smaller bands
    Are there any specific smaller groups you have in mind, or a specific genre?
    cool#9
    Telestar wrote: I thought this would be about the band .
    Yea. . . me too
    CrmsnKtsne
    That's weird, I was listening to the band when I saw this up on UG. Looks like a lot of people misunderstood this article because of the title... haha.
    zachmcpeak1012
    crypticslaughtr wrote: WOOT WOOT HIT THE LIGHTS!!! I LOVE MEGADETH!!!!11111
    umm hit the lights is by metallica
    Shazazmic
    zachmcpeak1012 wrote: crypticslaughtr wrote: WOOT WOOT HIT THE LIGHTS!!! I LOVE MEGADETH!!!!11111 umm hit the lights is by metallica
    Oh wow...
    ambivalent615
    first i thought metallica, then i saw the soilwork picture, i dont know what to believe now.