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Interview:
The Upbeat: Light in August
 

By GARY GRAFF
of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Formed: 2007 in metro Detroit. The group is currently based in Ann Arbor, though two members reside in Los Angeles.

Sound: Melodic, ethereal, acoustic-flavored pop — or, as the band puts it, “Music your parents might like, too.”

Members: Alex Wand, vocals, guitar, sitar (Los Angeles); Max Stewart, drums and percussion (Royal Oak); Anne Dearth, flute and vocals (Rochester); Rachel Woolf, flute and vocals (San Diego); Jack Henry, bass (Royal Oak).

Influences: Nick Drake, Broken Social Scene, Sigur Ros, My Bloody Valentine, Wilco, Cat Stevens, the Dodos, the Microphones.

Day Jobs: Henry does freelance studio production work, and both he and Stewart work in landscaping. Wand is pursuing a master’s degree in composition at California Institute of the Arts, and Dearth is a senior in the University of Michigan music program.

What’s in a Name? Light In August took its name from the William Faulkner novel of the same name. “We just like the sound of it, principally,” Wand explains, “but also it has an interesting meaning in the book itself. It takes place in the South and deals with a lot of issues, moral issues. And the light in August kind of represents the new generation of young people, hopefully transcending the issues — like slavery, for example — in the book. I just like the idea of the newness that represented, and also just the sound of it.”

Personal History: Wand says he, Stewart and Henry have been friends since middle school in Royal Oak. “We’ve been in various bands for a while. I feel like Max and I have a really strong musical connection, just because we’ve played music so much together. He has this intuition about me; he knows almost before I say it what drum part I’m thinking of for a song, and I have this intuition about what he’s doing. Definitely the fact we’ve known each other for so long is part of it.”

Californication: While Light In August still considers itself a Michigan band, having two members now in Los Angeles (former U-M student Woolf moved there as well) has put a new wrinkle on things. “The music scene out here is a little less inviting than Ann Arbor,” Wand reports, “just because there are so many bands and there’s all these venues that are pay-to-play on the Sunset Strip. Ann Arbor is such a small world; it was nice to be in that small community where you knew a lot of the performers. Los Angeles can have those small communities, too; you just have to find them within the larger ones. There’s just a lot of music going on here, so I’m really excited to explore this scene.”

Hear ‘em: Light In August has just released its sophomore album, “Sweater Weather,” the follow-up to its 2009 debut, “Places.” The group also appears on the soundtrack of “Annabelle and Bear.”

See ‘em: Light In August will celebrate the release of “Sweater Weather” on Wednesday, Dec. 22, at the Pike Room in The Crofoot, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Gun Lake is also on the bill. Doors open at 9:30 p.m.. Tickets are $10.

Surf ‘em: www.lightinaugustmusic.com



Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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