By Andy

BEN – Can you guys introduce yourselves?
CHAS – I’m Chas, and I’m the singer in Lightyear
BARS – I’m Bars, and I play bass
NEIL – I’m Neil, and I play trumpet
BEN – After being on tour for about 3 and a half weeks, what are the reactions like to your new material?
CHAS – Really good. It’s kinda gradual, but it’s been wicked. It’s like doing it again from the start, because people don’t know the words, then they start singing. It’s a real buzz.
BEN – You toured ‘Weasel Clan’ for what seemed like fucking ages, and this is your first load of new material for even longer…
BARS – We’re just really slow at writing.
CHAS – This one took longer to write because we wanted to think about it more.
BEN – Without being too facetious that really does show, musically it’s a hugely different…was that a conscious move or did it just end up that way?
CHAS – It just ended up that way. It’s because we’ve been on tour with so many different bands that we’ve got so many influences. A lot of it rubbed off. I dunno, it’s just what came naturally.
BEN – It seems like a move away from skacore…
[Gabriel from Ye Wiles comes up to the van]
GABRIEL – Is there anywhere I can plug into?
NEIL – Into our tuner…
CHAS – Sorry about this…[shouting] this is a rock interview y’know!
BEN – Oh, they’ll get their chance later…erm, yeah, there’s a lot less skacore type music on the new album, was that a backlash or a reaction against it?
CHAS – It’s just like what happened. When ska’s done right it’s really good…
BEN – And when it’s done bad it’s shite…
CHAS – Yeah totally. There’s an influx of ska bands, and there’s an influx of not so good, so-called emo bands…
BARS – We definitely didn’t go out of our way to not put a ska track on there.
NEIL – I think we just didn’t settle for repeating riffs now, like we did on our first album. We thought ‘what can we do to make things different?’ or ‘how can we challenge ourselves?’

BEN – Do you prefer playing the old or the new stuff live?
CHAS – It’s hard to say, because the old stuff’s just so old, and the new stuff’s…
BARS – …new…
CHAS – [laughs] Yeah, I think it’s just that you get bored of playing the same stuff like 200 times. It’s not that we’re bored, it’s just we like stretching ourselves.
BEN – Do you find that songs change as you play them live?
BARS – I think every gig’s different for some songs. Sometimes it’s like ‘uhhh’ [groaning noise]…
NEIL – We throw ourselves into everything, but structure-wise we change some songs, that’s just natural.
CHAS – [to Bars] Like the other day on ‘Lifejacket’, when you changed that bit…
BARS – Yeah, when you stopped singing…
CHAS – I did that on purpose…
BARS – I thought you just fucked up.
BEN – This is the well-oiled machine that is Lightyear.
CHAS – Exactly!

BEN – OK, there have been some rumours that you guys are going to split up in September…are they true?
CHAS – When’s this going on?
BEN – In the next week…
CHAS – If you wait until the end of the week then we are splitting, but if it’s going up tonight then we’re not! We didn’t want to fuck up this show, because it’s a big show.
BEN – I also read that the decision had been made in January…
CHAS – That’s when we spoke about it.
BEN – Have you got any regrets about Lightyear?
NEIL – No. None whatsoever. I think would have done things differently, but we don’t regret anything. It’s a learning thing, and we’ll remember this forever.
CHAS – If we did things differently the whole thing would have been different…it sounds obvious, but y’know what I mean! We wouldn’t have met half the people we’ve met.
BARS – The things we’ve learnt from being in Lightyear, some of us might start other bands.
CHAS – We’ve met a lot of wicked people.
BARS – It’s not just being in a band, it’s the travelling too. Some of us are thinking about doing some more travelling, we’ve been to Europe and made friends over there.
BEN – Can you see yourselves starting other bands in the future?
CHAS – I want to start a band…I’m going snowboarding in America for a season, and I’d like to start one there. Something that’s fun…
BEN – A cheesy covers band…
CHAS [laughs] Maybe, something that’s hardcore, or maybe electronic. Just experiment and have fun. This band is basically business, with a turnover, and I don’t like dealing with my friends like a business.
NEIL – And that’s what sucks the most.
CHAS – It’s not the lack of money, even though we are still in debt, it’s the fact that money is a factor. We shouldn’t have to deal with money and friends. We’re not at each other’s throats going ‘you owe me a pound!’ but it’s a part that we weren’t expecting and it’s crept up on us.

BEN – Speaking on a wider range do you think that the punk scene has become more business orientated?
CHAS – I think there’s quite a lot of segregation. Lots of people aren’t unified.
BEN – But every kind of underground scene breeds elitism to an extent…
CHAS – It does, but it started on such a good idea with good root principles. It’s just got fucked up. I feel strongly about it, that’s my opinion and I’m going to say it. It gets me angry, and people should not care about what type of music it is.
BARS – When we went to Europe we really noticed it. It’s not even punk gigs, there’s no punk scene and ska scene or whatever. It’s one music scene with punk ethics. We played in Austria, and it would have been considered a hardcore kind of gig over here.
CHAS – It was more open minded.
BEN – To offer a kind of explanation, punk is so much more affiliated with the mainstream now, and people want to identify themselves with being the actual underground.
CHAS – People want to keep it for themselves and wrap themselves around the music. It’s weird that when people try and relate to music they’re doing it…they get disappointed when people know who they’re talking about. They’re like ‘do you know this underground band?’ andthey get disappointed it you say like ‘yeah man, they’re wicked, do you want to swap bootlegs’ and you’ve made a friend. That’s what it should be.
NEIL – Like people who turn up to gigs with T shirts just to be seen with an obscure band on it…
CHAS – [pointing at me] Like that Less Than Jake one you’ve got on there…
NEIL – [pointing at my mate Mat’s The Wireless Stores t shirt] Did you go to The Weakerthan’s the other night?
MAT – No, I’m wearing this because a bird shat on me just now.
[Everyone laughs. Dictaphone buzzes angrily]
BEN – But we heard what happened…with the nakedness…
NEIL – No, I wore Speedos…and a fake moustache!
CHAS – That was a brilliant show. And he got to play with them, which was wicked.

BEN – What other bands have you come across that have made you sit up and go ‘this band are the absolute bollocks’?
CHAS – Adequate 7, when I first heard them.
NEIL – Howard’s Alias, now.
CHAS – I’ve always thought they were good, but the other day they just blew us away, using dynamics and being so intense.
BEN – I’ve got some questions that people have sent into the site…from loudsteve, what’s your best ‘your mum’ joke?
CHAS – It’s not really a mum joke, but when we were in Germany Bars phoned up his mum and told her that her twat smelt of rotten eggs at about 3 in the morning.
NEIL – That’s a bit nasty really.
BEN – Not exactly the rib-tickler I was hoping for…
CHAS – Ah dude I know some funny ones…I just can’t think. Pressure! Your mum’s so fat that in the school picture she was sitting next to everybody.
BEN – Another one…is Steve-O really that crazy?
CHAS – …erm, no. I mean, he was doing it every night. A lot of it was a bit dodgy.
BARS – He was onstage for an hour and a half, and he did 5 major things and a few little things, the other guys did a thing each. And there was this bit when he was on a kids bike and rode towards this rope when I was supposed to hit it…but from the angle we were at he just fell off before he got to the rope.
CHAS – It just seemed really rock star-y. Jackass was based on spontaneity, but this was just shit. We got caned, people were throwing coins at us, bottles…we got kicked off the tour, by the absolute bonehead. This dick who was like ‘be careful what you say to me’, he was just one of these dicks you meet who shouldn’t be involved in this music. People like that who I don’t want to deal with. He was like ‘clear the area!’ when we were in the way.
BEN – Sounds a bit like David Brent…
CHAS – Yeah, totally. People like that just say ‘I knew Trent Reznor’ and we’re like fuck off! What has that guy got to do with us touring all year, working real hard? To be honest I’m just paranoid that people will think that we’re ungrateful for being in a band, but the fact that bands go on tour and leave everything…I mean, Five Knuckle are on £2 a day, and to survive on £2 a day is just fucking stupid. What the fuck is that about, could we not sort people out? That puts pressure on bands, and bands split up. You lose great bands, and that’s fucking shit. We don’t want to compromise with what we’re saying, but we don’t want people to think we’re whinging because it’s a brilliant time to be in a band. I want people to think ‘yeah it is wicked, but we don’t want to get fucked over’.
BEN – Now that you’ve had this experience would you consider maybe being part of the scene again?
CHAS – If we did I reckon we’d do it well. Like you turn up at a venue after travelling for ages, and it’s nice to just have a bit of food because it makes that bit of difference. You haven’t eaten all day and everyone’s stressed and knackered, and it’s such a morale booster. It’s a basic thing. I really want to do something, wherever I go I will do something, and do it properly.

Lightyear – we’ll fucking miss you.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]