christopher russell

Exclusive preview of new Lightyears track

3 August 2012

This is how we like to set the stage when we're working on the new album. I know - what a troop of ponces.As you know (because I don’t stop banging on about it), I’ve just written a book.

The book is called Mockstars and it’s The Lightyears’ origin story – a true(ish) tale of debts, mugs and rock ‘n’ roll. We have a vision for this book, and it’s never been done before… on top of publishing the novel, The Lightyears will be releasing an album of original material that accompanies the story and deals with many of the same themes (incidentally, plenty of novels have soundtracks – that’s old news – but as far as I know no band has simultaneously released its own novel and album… please correct me if I’m wrong though!).

I wrote a great deal of material for the album at the same time as writing the book. At the risk of sounding like a ponce (and possibly inadvertently using the word ‘visceral’), this was a really exciting and inspiring process for me. Sometimes I’d get writer’s block and think ‘Hmm – I need some other piece of art to inspire me’… and lo and behold, I’d trundle off and listen to one of my new demos, and my writing flow would pick right up again.

We’re currently in the process of taking the songs I’ve written, combining them with material from the rest of the band, working through it all and shaping it into an album. Mockstars makes direct references to these songs, songs which will soon, and rather excitingly, actually exist ‘in the real world’. It’s a multimedia jamboree.

The very first track I wrote for the book was called ‘Blinded By Light’. It’s a song that deals with the major themes in the novel – friendship, growing up, dealing with change and pursuing your dreams in the face of adversity. We’re still working on our full-band version of ‘Blinded By Light’ but, as a special treat (it is Friday after all), I thought I’d publish a wee clip from my original bedroom demo. This doesn’t feature any of the other Lightyears (oh, for a world where that were always the case) but you’ll get the general idea.

Enjoy… and do let us know what you think in the comments section. Thanks guys!

ps. if you haven’t had a chance yet, check out the video readings from Mockstars at Project Lightyears. I’ve embedded one below for anyone who’s feeling a bit lazy.

Two men and a dog

16 March 2012

'If I pretend to be asleep, maybe they'll shut up.'In case any of you were wondering, this is what a dog looks like enjoying hot-off-the-press Lightyears tracks.

I think she’s in some kind of trance.

Phoebe was the sole witness to the three days George and I just spent in his studio up in Yorkshire working on a batch of tracks for The Lightyears’ new album. You can tell the music is speaking to her from the look on her tiny little face (unlike many Jack Russells, Phoebe is a die-hard fan of diminished chords).

Meanwhile, Tony has a handful of tracks he’s been working on and there’s a rumour John is vying to fill the rest of the album with slap-bass solos, which I’m obviously very excited about. So things are shaping up…!

This album will come with an unusual bonus – a novel, about the band, by the band (well, me). Based on a true-ish story, Mockstars chronicles how The Lightyears got together, and sheds light on the people and places behind the songs.

Watch this space for updates…

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by Christopher Russell

Chris and George are best friends, and they want to be rockstars.

Unfortunately, a childhood spent playing in the school orchestra and listening to Jimmy Nail has left them a little fluffy round the edges, and at the age of 23 they still live with their parents and travel to gigs in a Skoda. So how do two boys-next-door from the Home Counties go about taking on the cut-throat, image-obsessed world of rock and roll?

Easy. They’re just going to have to fake it.

‘Back in the nineties, when everybody else was at illegal raves chomping ecstasy pills, what were you boys doing?’
I look at George. He shrugs.
‘Jigsaws,’ I reply.
‘We’ve got a LOT of work to do…’

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