Monday, 2 November 2009

Hotel Lights Interview

Hotel Lights is an American Indie band that was founded in 2004 by former Ben Folds Five member Darren Jesse. The band, best known for their single “Follow Through”, has had their songs featured on hit TV shows Grey’s Anatomy and One Tree Hill. Their song “Miles Behind Me” was also in the movie “Baby Mama”. I personally adore this band and probably know every single word to every single song, which could be why, a few weeks back, I reached out to the band for an interview. Luckily enough, Daren Jesse agreed to answer a few of my questions. So here goes:

1- What made you decide to start your own band after Ben Folds Five?
I wanted to make an album of the songs I was writing.

2- What would you say the biggest difference is between Ben Folds Five and Hotel Lights?
They are so different in many ways in style and sound. Hotel Lights uses layering and mood to get the desired effect and is quieter for the most part. Also, I play guitar and piano.

3- How did you come up with the name “Hotel Lights”?
I lived in hotel rooms for many years and then later I lived across from a hotel for a few years. I thought the name fit the sound of the music.

4- What are your 3 favorite songs from the album Firecracker People? (Personally I absolutely love Firecracker People, Blue Always Finds Me,and Down)
Thank you. Those are good ones. I like Dream State Flying, Amelia Bright, and Run Away Happy.

5- How did it feel having your songs played on such popular TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and One Tree Hill? (I must say, Iwas more excited than I should have been when I found out)
It felt great, it was exciting for me to hear our song in surround sound at the movie theater.

6- How did the band come together (how did you meet the other members and decide they should join the band with you)?
My original drummer decided he no longer wanted to tour and left the band. I asked my friend and great drummer--Zeke Hutchins of Tift Merritt's band to join. Zeke recommended I ask bassist Jay Brown who also plays with him in Tift's band. We rehearsed the new songs for a few weeks and then went to make the album with long time collaborator/producer and guitarist Alan Weatherhead. After I moved to NYC I began working with keyboardist Mike Cruz of The Autumn Defense and Josh Rouse's band.

7- A question I asked a previous band was about their song process. What's it like with Hotel Lights?
Generally I will come up with a song idea and then work out the arrangement with the band. Then I will collaborate with my producer Alan Weatherhead to add the finishing touches to make it sound complete.

8- Have you always wanted to start your own band or was it something you decided to do after Ben Folds Five split? (I'm very happy you did it, where would I be without Hotel Lights?
It was something I started after. I was writing song ideas while I was playing with Ben Folds Five and some of my ideas made it into the band, like"magic" and "brick". once the band stopped touring it seemed like the right time for me to start Hotel Lights.

9- Your music always has an amazing overall feel, do you do that deliberately or do the songs just come together that perfectly? (I'm talking mood and atmosphere)
There's a certain mood to my voice and melodies that just comes naturally,but it is also deliberate by the way we record and the instruments we use and how we choose to build the arrangements.

Thank You Hotel Lights.

1 comment:

  1. I discovered this band one summer in France when my friend chose to sing "AM Slow Golden Hit" the entire time I was visiting. I finally decided to buy their CD, and have loved it ever since. Great interview, Deemeaning. Great responses as well, Darren.