Light You Up are an up and coming pop punk band based out of Birmingham. Despite not having released an album yet, the band have been causing waves as they tour with pop punk veterans like The Wonder Years and A Loss For Words. This year the band were responsible for opening up the Atticus Stage each day at Slam Dunk Festival. After their set in Hatfield, we had a sit down and chat with guitarist Drew Masters and drummer Joe Garey as we discussed everything from their record signing with Ice Grill$ in Japan to their upcoming debut album plans.
HTF: Let’s start off with something fun.Tell me a random fact about everybody in the band. Seeing as they’re not here to defend themselves, this could be interesting.
JG: True. Let’s start with Napes (Tom Napier, vocals).
DM: He wants to be a hippie. I don’t think that’s a random fact, but he goes through different phases, and he’s right in the hippie phase right now.
HTF: What other phases has he gone through?
DM: He’s gone through the whole pop-punk thing, it was intense.
HTF: Is that not right now? Your twitter is full of #defendpoppunk!
DM: Okay, see, now we move on to Rob, who’s our guitarist. He’s the one running our twitter. He’s in the solid pop-punk phase, you know shaved head, angry man thing.
JG: Random fact about Drew is he’s the mum.
DM: and Dad!
JG: And Dad, actually yeah that’s true.
DM: I’m the band’s parents and Joe is the band’s illegitimate love child.
HTF: Speaking of hashtags, you lot are always mentioning #flycrew as well, care to tell us the story behind that?
DM: Sure. Joe is a tattooist; a very good tattooist. Loads of people in bands like our friends in The Story So Far, A Loss For Words all of those guys have been tattooed by Joe. Anyway, one day some point last summer, we we are hanging out at Joe’s tattoo shop. A bunch of people were there and everyone was trying to get me a tattoo because I don’t have many.
HTF: I see one there!
DM: Yeah, that’s a stupid one. That’s why I have my hand over it trying to cover it. It says; “Behind these eyes”.
JG: Upside down it says pimp.
DM: It actually does say pimp upside down, not that it’s meant to.
JG: It’s terrible, really.
DM: Anyway, back to the thing. So Joe said; “No peer pressure dude, but if you had to get something here today, what would it be?” So I looked at the things he had drawn recently and was like; “Oh that fly is pretty cool,” because it’s the smallest thing. Then everyone else was like; “Cool, we’re all getting the fly so that Drew has to get it out of peer pressure,” so everyone got it. Now, even fans of the band are getting the fly. I’ve got it on my foot.
JG: Where his Mummy can’t see.
DM: She knows about it now though, god damn it. Joe has got it on his leg and friends have got it on their arms, hands and whatever. It’s cool because it’s starting to spread and then we ended up putting the fly , the same on that’s tattooed on us, on shirts.
HTF: I never understood it before and tried to figure it out but to no avail. It all makes sense now.
DM: It’s just a bit random. We don’t sing about flies or anything. We’re not insects or anything like that, don’t worry. It was just a cool little stupid thing.
HTF: So you guys are signed onto Ice Grill$ in Japan, which is home to names like New Found Glory and Man Overboard. We know you met Mizuki at Warped Tour, but how are things looking over there in Japan? Do you have plans of popping over to that side of the world?
DM: Amazing. Yes, actually. Just after I was out with A Loss For Words on Warped Tour in 2012, I met Mizuki and gave him our EP that we just recorded. He loved it, wanted to put it and I think this has been the most natural relationship we’ve ever had with anybody. Now that we’ve recorded our album, there’s a lot of business stuff going on with potential US labels and stuff. However, he’s been so good to us because he cares and he just likes our band, which is amazing. The plan is as soon as our record drops, which is hopefully going to be the end of summer, we may be going out to Japan at the end of the year. We’ll be doing loads of places in relation to Ice Grill$. Mizuki’s amazing; he’s one of the few who really care about music and he’s got a solid head on his shoulders so he’s got what it takes to be a good businessman too.
HTF: Footage of Japanese shows are always insane and the fans seem great.
DM: A lot of our friends’ bands have toured there and say the only thing that’s strange is kids go crazy during the show and between the songs they stay silent because that’s a mark of respect. I’m intrigued to go, i would absolutely love it.
HTF: So, you recorded your debut album in California. Not everybody gets to do that for their first album. How was that? You even played a few shows over there.
DM: It was amazing, the whole thing was the best time of our lives.
HTF: You even had fans wait for you at the airport, didn’t you?
DM: That’s right, yeah. It was so cool, they stood with some boards and stuff. It’s crazy. Everything about it. Us being able to go to America to record our album. Sam (Pura), who we recorded with is a great dude, he really helped us hone the songs and just make the most of what makes us us. It was a great situation, we had an amazing summer; we had a lot of fun. Even though I think some of our fans are getting frustrated that the album hasn’t come out yet, but you know this is our first album and we can only do this once. We just want to make sure we do it the right way and the album has vastly surpassed our expectations of how we could be or what we could sound like. We’re really proud of it and we’re going to make sure it comes out the right way.
HTF: Is there anything at all you can tell us about it? How many tracks are there? Are they all new tracks or have you rerecorded stuff off your EP ‘Broken Jaw’?
DM: We’ve got 11 tracks and we’ve rerecorded ‘Foxfire’, one of the songs from the EP. There’s not much else, but the one thing I can say is that the first song we’re gonna be releasing, we didn’t play it today did we?
JG: ‘Always Wanted More’? No.
DM: We played three new songs today, but we didn’t play this one, which will be the first one we release. It has a really cool guest vocal in it of a big American band in this scene. It’s going to be cool. We’re not allowed to say more.
HTF: There are loads of familiar faces at this festival: Decade, A Loss For Words. Does it feel like a reunion?
DM: Yeah, so many friends. Obviously, Decade, A Loss For Words, State Champs, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!
JG: Verses. It’s really cool.
DM: It’s great to meet a lot of new people too. Bands we look up to, like I Am The Avalanche, bands like that, I think it’s been great to be able to hang out with them and find out they’re really, really nice people. We’ve also been meeting bands, and they know who our band is, which is kind of a crazy thing. We’ve never been in that situation before so that’s awesome.
HTF: I heard one of you had to play with A Loss For Words earlier…
DM: That was me! I played guitar and covered for them. Their guitarist Mark he found out right before the tour that he couldn’t do it for personal, family reasons and so I had five days to learn the songs before the tour with The Wonder Years and State Champs across Europe. Light You Up were also playing, so I was doing double duty and I’m doing double duty at these shows as well so it’s been quite a busy time.
HTF: Did you have triple duty yesterday because they had an acoustic set too?
DM: So yesterday, we were supposed to do an acoustic, but there was some mess up with timings so that didn’t happen. However, we’re meant to do it today, in about an hour, so I’ll be doing that. It’s been fun; another challenge.
HTF: Alright then, here’s another interesting question. If you could be anyone else in the band for a day who would it be?
DM: Oh my god, I’d probably be Joe just to see the world through his eyes because he sees the world very differently, in the nicest possible way.
JG: I definitely wouldn’t be Drew, because he has too much going on. I’d probably be Tom Hill, our bassist probably for the same reason as well.
HTF: Did you guys start off as a cover band? Do you remember the first song you played together?
JG: We started covering Blink back then.
DM: Dammit by Blink, as every other band.
JG: We also did Allister. Somewhere on Fullerton by Allister.
DM: I think three of us have been playing together since we were 12/13 so a good 7/8 years now. We’ve gone through lots of different things together. Light You Up we formed in 2012. I think a month after our first practice, we recorded our EP and obviously it did well and stuff so we’ve been able to carry on and it’s been loads of fun.
HTF: Alright then, after Slam Dunk what does your calendar look like?
DM: We basically have meetings and stuff, all that business stuff, over the next few weeks and it’s really just planning for the album. We;re announcing a supporting UK tour on June 1st for July with a really cool pop-punk band. It’s gonna be fun; really cool guys and a really good band. That will be a fun summer tour for July. Then after that, hopefully we will be ready to start pushing things with the album. As soon as the album drops, we’re trying to get to mainland Europe, America, Japan, places like that would be amazing too.
HTF: Anything else you’d like to add?
DM: Not really. Obviously, thank you for having us. The show today was insane, it has really surpassed our expectations. Today and yesterday by far.
HTF: Especially since you were opening the stage as well, because lots of kids were still queuing outside and you clashed with people like Blitz Kids, who are exploding in the scene right now.
DM: Absolutely, that’s right. So yesterday people couldn’t even get into the room we were playing in because it was so full when we started, which is crazy. Today was crazy too. I mean, I think we may have suffered a bit from the endeavours of last night so for the first couple of songs of the set I felt like I was going to collapse but then after that it was amazing and by the last song that was probably the best reaction we’ve had for one single song ever. It was just crazy. It’s a new experience for us and we’re just enjoying it. It’s been great so thank you again.
Interview by: Santhi Weiss