Local Headlightenment

Champaign’s native children the Headlights are currently on tour in support of their just-released EP, “The Enemies EP” on local indie label, Polyvinyl Records. Buzz caught up with Tristan, Brett and Erin by e-mail to talk a little bit about getting signed, indie tours and what’s next for the band.

The Headlights just signed on to a new label. Why Polyvinyl? Why now?

They offered. No, seriously, they are a great label that works really hard with their bands. It took a while for us to find our direction musically as well but when we did, Polyvinyl thought it was something that they could get behind.

What options does the band have that it didn’t before Polyvinyl?

We will be playing SXSW (South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas) for the first time. Seth Hubbard at Polyvinyl will be doing publicity and press for our tours and releases as well as college radio distro [distribution]. Polyvinyl has a great reputation with a strong grass roots following, and we’re flattered that they would have us.

How’s the tour going? What’s it like being recognized more and more for what you do?

Indie rock tours are pretty hit or miss. Some shows are great, and then some shows are a real test. It is hard when you play a new city and no one knows who you are. We have been at it a while and have a lot of friends that we can reunite with and have hilarious times with.

What tour date is the band looking forward to the most? Why?

We are playing at Sin-Ç in New York City with our best buds, the Living Blue, in December. We always have a good time with those guys. Also, the New Year’s show at the Iron Post (in Urbana)!

You’re going to tour until around the end of the year in support of The Enemies EP, what’s in store for the Headlights in 2006?

We usually record demos at our little farmhouse studio, so we’ll continue to do that when we get home from tour. We’ll have to decide which song or two will be on the 7″ that Polyvinyl will put out in the spring, but our main focus will be our first full-length that’s slated for release in the fall. We’ll also do as much touring as our psyches can take in between.

How much work has been done in preparation for your first full-length?

We’re really in the beginning stages of preparation for the LP. We’ll have to demo all of our songs when we get back to Champaign and decide which ones to record. We’re also planning on putting live strings and horns on the record, so finding the right musicians to help us on that end will be a pretty big priority as well. Organization is key as our budget isn’t huge, so wish us luck!

What should fans expect?

Fans should expect a collection of songs that vary as much in their content as they do in their production values. Some songs will be lush and orchestrated. Some will be stripped down and intimate. Hopefully, the Headlights thread will flow throughout.

How will it compare to the Enemies EP?

The Enemies EP was recorded by Brett and Aaron McCallister in Tristan’s living room and mixed by Adam Schmidt for all of $500. It was also described by a reviewer as a “statement of intent,” which I think is a pretty accurate description. The full length will have a little bigger budget which will allow us to follow through with some bigger ideas.

Finally, on Dec. 2 the Headlights will be playing in Waverly, Mass. Why should Buzz readers in Waverly and the surrounding areas see the Headlights that night instead whatever it is our readers in Waverly do on a Friday night? Sell it.

Because it’ll be a rompin’ good time … duh.

Leave a Reply