There comes a time in every band's life when abandoning commercial expectations in favor of heartfelt musical expressions and relatable lyrics takes center stage. For the Tulsa-based Christian music artist Capital Lights, that realization came remarkably early in its already impressive career, following a name change and stylistic shift from members' days in locally acclaimed screamo act afterEIGHT.
"We had a couple people leave the other band's line-up, I stepped up from bass to singing, rewrote our material and we changed styles completely," says Capital Lights' front man Bryson Phillips. "The main thing we've learned personally is to really focus the writing on what you like rather than trying to be like all the other bands around. When we were doing the screamo thing, we were seeing other bands and trying to be just like them. But in Capital Lights, I started writing on an acoustic guitar without trying to plug into any particular formula, just being ourselves and playing 100 percent exactly what we wanted."
Capital Lights worked out their new direction on their 2006 CD Better Late Than Never and their 2007 EP Revival of the Fittest. By breaking down the walls of familiar formulas and shooting straight from each player's personal artistic compasses, Capital Lights not only resonated with a steadily expanding audience, but yielded an intense bidding war from Nashville to Seattle. Linking up with manager Jason Fowler (Red, Pillar) and joining the roster of Third Coast Artist Agency brought about additional prominence, eventually resulting in a deal with Tooth & Nail.
Outside of being drawn in by Capital Lights' vibrant blend of Christian music artist Relient K and Jimmy Eat World, there was an underlying originality to Capital Lights' peppy surge of power chords and relevant writing subjects. Those ideas were soon fleshed out in a Seattle studio alongside producer extraordinaire Aaron Sprinkle (Pedro the Lion, Anberlin, The Almost).
The dozen tracks on Capital Litghts' Tooth & Nail debut, This Is An Outrage, range from pure bred alternative pop to assertive modern rock, wrapped around a topical plane that spans the palette of meaningful, whimsical and satirical. The scalding "Kick It Off" is sure to be a fierce concert classic. "Worth As Much As a Counterfeit Dollar" possesses a fiercely contagious chorus while "Night of Your Life Is When You Die" is an anthem for anyone who embraces the straight-edge scene, suggesting the party hearty mentality isn't what it's cracked up to be. The energy escalating "Return"is amongst the disc's most inspirational, while the historically slanted "Frank Morris" provides a fictional account of the famed Alcatraz prison escape.
Thus far City Lights' fans old and new alike have been flocking to the material, thanks to extensive touring, including headlining dates and time supporting Hawk Nelson and Run Kid Run. No matter with the format, Capital Lights' fan base continues to expand like lightening, as evidenced by feverish MySpace activity, downloads and CD sales at shows.
Despite an excellent fan base and rave reviews from critics for This An Outrage, Capital Lights announced their break-up in the summer of 2009.
They released this statement through their Myspace:
"....The truth is that yes, with a whole lot of prayer, we have decided to call it quits. All of us in Capital Lights discussed and prayed about this for a few months before we mutually agreed on the decision. Although it's sad to see something that meant so much to us come to an end, it's with complete confidence when I say it's for the better. We all felt God had different plans for our lives, and it would have been impossible to pursue those plans while continuing with the band. I know that's the same thing you have heard time and time again with so many bands. I've always hated when bands break up because members feel themselves being pulled different directions... but the truth is, you never really understand it until your at that point yourself. Words can not stress how thankful we are for everyone who supported us over the past couple years. We loved playing music for all of you and thank God for providing us with that opportunity. Without our fans, we wouldn't have ever done anything more than just jammed in a garage somewhere. We had a blast touring the country for the past year and a half and feel lucky that we were able to meet so many new people. To everyone who ever bought a cd, shirt, sticker, or even dropped change into the tip box at our merch table, thank you so much... without realizing it, you were a blessing that helped get us from one town to the next. Maybe somehow we will see you all again one day. We also want to thank the Hill family, and everyone who ever gave us a home to sleep in. You all made us feel very welcome and ANYTHING beat the van!
It's crazy to reflect on the last year and a half and realize how much has happened. We signed with Tooth & Nail, recorded an album in Seattle, then toured the country. It was something we all wanted to do and once again, we appreciate you all for helping us live our dream."
|Better Late Than Never||2006||Yeah Slam Records|
|Revival of The Fittest||2007||Independent|
|This Is an Outrage!||2008||Tooth & Nail Records|
|Rhythm N Moves||2012||Tooth & Nail Records|