What are your names?
Scarlett Flynn-Lead Vox
Kevin Howley- Drums/Lead Vox
David Puzak- Guitar
How did you come up with your name ‘Running Red Lights’
I envy bands with purposeful, deep-meaning anecdotes behind their names, I wish we had one, however, unfortunately Running Red Lights was simply a name created in haste to replace our initial name that had some copyright issues. We literally sat around grabbing at dictionaries, novels, publications etc until the right combination of words materialized.
What is your genre of music?
Indie Pop with elements of folk
Give us a little bio about you as individuals and as a band.
Scarlett is originally from Nova Scotia and migrated to Guelph to attend Guelph University to pursue Theatre. Shortly thereafter she moved to Toronto and was the first developing songwriter/artist to sign with ole Publishing.
Dave and Kevin began playing and discovering music together as young children in Sarnia, Ontario. Kevin attended the drum program at Ryerson and is one of the most in demand musicians in the city of Toronto, performing with several notable bands as a singer and multi-instrumentalist. Dave graduated with a degree in Neuroscience from the University of York with a particular interest in music and its effect on the brain.
Jeff is from Ottawa, Ontario. He attended the bass program at Ryerson at the same time as Kevin. He is also a renown bass player who has performed with many notable Toronto artists.
* official bio
Running Red Lights was established in 2006. Migrating from small towns all across Eastern Canada to the swelling city of Toronto, Kevin, David, Jeff and Scarlett assembled together as a pop oriented, female fronted group under the control and direction of well-established traditionalists with crumbling ideas. The band found themselves caught b/w 2 worlds, eventually weathering the collapse of the old guard and struggling to adapt to the new age of DIY and the ever changing music industry.
Despite what at times felt like creative and career pandemonium, RRL went on to release a number of EP’s b/w 2009 and 2012. The band continued to be apart of Canada’s growing live music scene and in 2010 out-rivalled some of Canada’s top indie bands to become the winners of the Youdiscover Live Music Concert Series. RRL’s debut album ‘There’s a Bluebird in My Heart’ released in 2014 to a sweep of praise from music journalist from all over the world. The album was added and featured on CBC and BBC Radio. The leading single ‘Mulberry Love’ was named #1 Song of 2014 via NY Blog Given and Taken in Ink and the popularity of the song allowed the band an appearance on the nationally televised Canada Am. RRL has toured all over Canada into America, across the sea to Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales.
In 2018 the band will release their sophomore album titled ‘I Am You’.
Running Red Lights latest single ‘Songs of Blue’ is #nowplaying on Spotify.
What made you go in to music?
A labyrinth of reasons. Enjoyment. Self-indulgence. Pleasure. Music can also be very cathartic. Writing and performing music has always been a way of staying in touch with ourselves and humanity, a method of carrying news from our world to others.
Are you a signed?
You release your new single “Songs Of Blue” tell us more about it.
I have long cited Joni Mitchell as an inspiration and often, as mentioned in the press release, in my most vulnerable, heart-rending moments it is always Joni’s music that offers some nourishment…feeding my grief and self-pity while simultaneously bringing me comfort. It was in one of these moments that ‘Songs of Blue’ was written.
What was the writing process like?
The original version of ‘Songs of Blue’ had been sitting in our hard drive for a few years. As we were accumulating songs for the album we started to review and consider old demos. We sent the track, along with a few others, to our producer, Robyn Dell Unto. ‘Songs of Blue’ was her pick. Ultimately, under the direction of our producer, the song was totally deconstructed and rewritten with only the original chorus remaining intact.
What was the recording process like?
Unlike some recording experiences, ‘Songs of Blue’ was a refreshingly easy and enjoyable experience. It was essentially rewritten and tracked within a period of a day. The track began on an old, out of tune piano that had long been left untouched in the living room at our producers house. Everything thereafter was tracked pretty quickly. Robyn Dell Unto, our producer, is brilliant and she immediately had a vision for the song which made the execution fairly effortless.
Who did you work on the Single with?
The track was written by myself (Scarlett), my drummer (Kevin Howley) in collaboration with our producer Robyn Dell Unto. It was mixed by Joshua Van Tassel.
What message are you trying to get out?
Under the surface of a grievous, inebriated, melancholic landscape there is an underlying sense of defiance that is implied in the song. The individual is reflecting mournfully on a relationship that has ended but you also get a sense of anger and resilience. This was a conscious choice. We didn’t want this individual to appear weak or pitiful. We wanted to inspire strength in those who may be experiencing a similar heartbreak.
You are also set to release your sophomore album ‘I Am You’, tell us more about it.
‘I am You’ has been a few years in the making. It began as a small but meaningful effort to inject love and positivity into the worlds collective consciousness. In varied ways, songs such as ‘Flower in the Concrete’, ‘Somewhere Out There’ and ‘Isadora’, explore the notion of massed connectivity. The idea that all of our intentions ripple out into the universe, affecting everyone and everything in ways we can’t even imagine. As well, the album, through songs such as ‘Salt’, ‘The Hollow’ and ‘Tangerines’, addresses issues of increasing concern in our society, such as mental health i.e depression. The album also gets personal. ‘Call of Prudence’ delves into personal struggles associated with coming of age. ‘Safety Pin’ is the outcast with a simplified production, paying homage to a Nashville Sound. It is a hauntingly sad song that amplifies the resignation of a loveless relationship. ‘Ticket Home’ also plays the gypsy with an ambient, swimming quality that compliments the lyrical context, about a drifter seeking an answer that had been in her possession all along. Lastly ‘Songs of Blue’, as mentioned, is an attempt to nurse heartbreak through the iconic Joni Mitchell album ‘Blue’.
Did you work with anyone on the album?
We had a few producers featured on the album including Juno winner Byram Joseph, Devon Henderson of ‘Only Yours’, SOCAN music award winner Robyn Dell Unto and our very own Kevin Howley.
Do you have gigs coming up? If so where are you thinking of heading?
Yes, we have a weekly residency at the legendary Cameron House every Monday in July 6pm-8pm. We also play periodically over the next couple of months at the Hideout. Show listings can be found online.
Do you have any collaborations coming up with any upcoming artists?
In fact we are just getting set to release a remix of ‘Songs of Blue’ with electronic artist Beta Frontiers from Toronto
Would you be up for collaborations if other musicians wanted one with you? and who would they have to contact?
Absolutely. We can always be reached through our social media sites or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
What else do you have planned this year?
Essentially we are focused on rolling out a couple more singles prior to the release of the full-length album. We are headed to Nashville in August to pursue some songwriting collaborations. A UK tour is a possibility as well, depending on the timing of the album release.
Do you play any instruments?
Yes. As a four piece we have 2 lead vocalists, a drummer, bass player and guitar player.
Who are your influences? See below
Which TV channel would you like one of your songs to be played on?
Any and all of them. Sync and TV placements are now one of the few ways Artists can make any semblance of a living. Any opportunities would be gladly received.
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
The music as well as the writing style is, and has always been for the most part, fairly unsystematic. There is no set template or methodology to our writing process nor is there a particular style or genre of music that is censored. However there is generally always a literary catalyst of some kind with novels and poetry influencing and inspiring the work of Running Red Lights as equally as songs and songwriters. Sparks come from a wide scope of influences including Joni Mitchell, Ryan Adams, Jim Croce, Charles Bukowski, Sylvia Plath, Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, D’Angelo, Fleetwood Mac, Paul Simon, John Mayer, Harry Nilsson, Dolly Parton, Carole King, Andy Shauf, Janis Ian, Leif Vollebekk, Michael Jackson….and so forth.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
I’ve made the mistake of consuming my life with worry and anxiety of the future. It has emptied me for too long of the opportunity to enjoy the present. Therefore I’m currently working on trying to stay focused on what’s in front of me. In 5 years I hope to be happy and living in the moment.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
Enjoy the rare opportunity to relax, spend time in good company in good conversation, read, write or watch a film.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more into the music scene?
Too many to list.
Anything by Simon and Garfunkel, Dreams by Fleetwood Mac, Goodnight Hollywood Blvd by Ryan Adams, At 17 by Janis Ian, Photographs and Memories Jim Croce…etc etc
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Never do anything out of impatience and frustration
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
Never EVER chase. Too many artists make the mistake of chasing whatever flavour of music is trending. This is a race that cannot be won. By the time the music is written and recorded the world will have moved on to another sound. Be an audacious innovator. Be a Joni Mitchell and not a flavour of the month. Be yourself and let the world catch up to you.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
I’ve read many insightful passages from poets, novels, artists alike…it’s tough to pick one or recall them now with any accuracy. I’m currently reading a novel by Raymond Carver and in it he cites a page from Isaac Babel’s novel ‘Guy de Maupassant’ where the narrator says of writing ‘No iron can pierce the heart with such force as a period put just at the right place’. I love this and this is a great quote for any aspiring writer to reference. Words if used right and put in the right places can make you feel unbridled, pure emotion.
Where in your hometown is a must go to visit?
Gaspereau River, Nova Scotia
Your coming off tour;
1/ Where do you go first? Home Sweet Home
2/ Who do you see first? Blueberry
3/ What do you eat first? A home cooked meal
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Band mates and duct tape. Always have an extra supply of duct tape. Everything else we could do without if we had to.