Artist Spotlight : An interview with Andy Hittle of The Light Wires.
SofaBurn checks in with Light Wires guitarist Andy Hittle for a walk down memory lane.
SB: The Light Wires' self-titled debut was first released 12 years ago on the Kentucky label Tiberius. What bands were you playing with at the time and how did you get involved with songwriter Jeremy Pinnell?
Andy: I was playing in El Gigante with Mike Montgomery and Rick McCarty in and around the Candyland/Tiberius hub. Mike had been working with Jeremy Pinnell a bit and said he was interested in helping Jeremy put together a full-band project. He had this amazing singer-songwriter with no support and wanted to know if I could help out with some arranging and recording. I think Mike actually dropped Springsteen as a reference point, and that's all he needed to say. At the time, we were playing this pummeling post-punk thing, so I was interested in another outlet as well.
SB: The album traces an arc from sparse and earnest to dense, layered, melancholic and back again; your fluid guitar lines probing and supporting the lyrical content. Aside from Jeremy's captivating voice, I'm always drawn to the guitar work. Who are some of your influences as a guitarist and how do you see those influences filtering into your own playing?
Andy: I started playing guitar in 1986, so I came up on players like Peter Buck, The Edge, Johnny Marr, James Honeyman Scott, Dave Gregory from XTC. I was always pulled toward the cinematic stuff, and I later loved a bunch of shoegaze bands in the 90s and really vibey players like Bill Frisell who can do a lot with just a few notes and cool tone. I eventually worked my way backwards to guys like Steve Cropper . Rock music is largely about hiding the fact that this is the third verse and we've got to keep it interesting; what can we do to support this melody? I still gravitate toward smart, evocative players like Mark Potter from Elbow or the guys in Dr. Dog.
SB: Are there any stand out tracks on the album that you feel best represent the record as a whole?
Andy: Truthfully, I don't know many of the song titles; Mike just made a bunch of them up for the record sleeves. We just identified by ‘capo-at-4’ or whatever. "Hum of Black Machines" from the second record is really great. I think "Belly of the Beast" is a good distillation of what Jeremy was doing back then. As a band, I think we were supportive of the song, adding in little embellishes to pull it through. On top of that, it's just a great song. I don't even think there's a bridge to that one. Jeremy didn't write many bridges.
SB: In hindsight, are there any tracks you would have left off the record or added to it?
Andy: I think the two records represent everything we ever did. I don't think there were a bunch of extra songs lying around. I seem to recall that Jeremy did have some others that we never got around to tackling, though. He would play something by himself and knock us out -- why haven't we done that one yet? I regret not being able to do more with his catalog. By that second record, we were finding our way into something really interesting.
The Light Wires 'S/T' & 'The Invisible Hand' VINYL available HERE!