A Visit With Lightyear’s Lauren Zettler
Today marks the release of the Brooklyn, New York band Lightyear’s first EP, All Of The Miles. As a freshman release, this album clearly stands head and shoulders above the field. It’s a beautiful work, starting out with a heartfelt track called “Home” that makes even the most jaded heart long for the warm embrace of a familiar place. The synth pads and textures running through the five tracks are melodic layers that add a magnetic quality that immediately holds the interest of the listener and doesn’t let go.
There is no doubt that this collection of songs will garner much interest from music supervisors and will become widely used in television and film. These tracks naturally lend themselves to the support of visual photoplay. Its not forced, it just happens. The music itself is grounded and specific, yet it creates cerebral imagery for the listener. There’s a dark and melancholy side to All Of The Miles and yet it seems to resolve and create a positive vibe that makes you want to conquer and not give up. The production quality of this EP is superb. All Of The Miles was produced by Justin Loucks and Ian Fitchuk (Madi Diaz, Peter Groenwald) and recorded in Nashville at a small private studio. You can listen to and download one of the best cuts on the EP, entitled “It Beats”, below.
The mastermind behind Lightyear is Lauren Zettler. Last week I had a chance to sit down with her at a coffee house in Manhattan and discuss the making of All Of The Miles. Lauren grew up in a town just outside of Indianapolis, Indiana. She’s a classically trained pianist who attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Upon graduation she went to work for Universal Music in their digital music department. She was trying hard to convince herself that working in the music industry was enough. She wanted to make money and really wasn’t interested in being a starving artist, but realized that if she didn’t pursue her dreams and aspirations, she might someday regret it. After a year at Universal, Lauren left her job to follow her heart and become a singer/songwriter.
Lauren began attending open mic nights, one of which was at the Lucky Cat in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She had never played live in front of people before, so the open mics provided a good opportunity for her to begin to explore who she was as an artist, writer and performer. Lightyear is a moniker for Lauren Zettler. The band members are interchangeable. The name Lightyear developed into something meaningful for her following a significant life/relationship change. She looks at it as measuring a limitless growth and feels that it describes a particular distance that she has traveled in a short period of time in her own life as an artist.
Unlike many other songwriters, Lauren only half finished these songs before taking them into the studio. She says that she did this on purpose so that she could bounce them off of her production team and the other musicians involved. But more importantly, she feels that by not fully defining the songs, prior to recording, allowed her the opportunity to finish them from a position that she feels was more relevant. She wanted to create in the moment and capture how she truly felt at that specific time. As far as strategies go, this was obviously extremely effective for Lauren. She has successfully created an EP that captures emotion and gives the listener some sense of who she is as an individual. We think there are great things just ahead for Lauren Zettler and Lightyear. Check out All Of The Miles when you get the chance. You can stream the album and purchase it here.