"When we were kids, all we ever dreamed about was getting to play rock and roll shows every night. If we get to keep on doing that, then that’s fucking awesome."
Lit have just released their new album 'Tastes Like Gold'
A collection of bright and breezy party-starters, the band have tried to capture the energy of their classic record 'A Place In The Sun' and use it to make sense of the world as it is today. The result is a record that is as carefree as it is catchy, brimming with sun-stained melodies and summertime atmospheres that look to remind us that it's okay to let off steam every now and then. Life is there to be lived, never forget that.
To find out a bit more about the ins and outs of creating it, we sat down with Jeremy and Ajay Popoff and rolled back the years...
Where would you say the roots of this record are? What was going through your minds?
Jeremy: "It was definitely a conscious effort on our part to go back to the roots of what Lit was all about for us and the fans. It was the beginning of the pandemic and the lockdowns, and we knew that we didn’t want to go down a dark road and sing about anything around that. We tried to get back to the headspace we were in back in the day. So let’s make a fun rock and roll album. Let’s make an album that reminds people of a more innocent time in our lives. Let’s not let this weird and crazy time affect our band and the music we want to make."
Ajay: "Yeah, we always wanted our music to be more of an escape than anything else. Be that from the daily grind or whatever else is happening in the world. We’re a BBQ house party band where you crank it up and get away from the seriousness of it all. It was nice to tap into that youthful energy that has kept us a band all these years. Specifically, tapping into that early 00s feeling we came upon was nice. It all takes us back to where we were when we first toured ‘A Place In The Sun’."
Do you ever feel like you drifted away from that headspace at any point over the years?
Jeremy: "We’re human beings who are affected by our surroundings like everybody else in the world. We’ve been through death and loss and struggle and kids and divorces and all of the other real-life stuff that happens to people in bands too. As musicians and songwriters, you’re constantly trying to push yourself and grow and explore more, and we dabbled in different areas over the years. Much of that was for our own sanity and peace of mind as a creative outlet. But I would say this is the first record where we have decided to go to a certain place and do something to make a certain kind of record. The records in-between just happened to be snapshots of where we were at those times and the songs that we were writing that we loved."
You never can anticipate the things that are going to happen that allow you to start thinking like that, and nobody would have thought that something as big as what the last couple of years have been would be that thing either…
Jeremy: "I’ve heard other artists and other bands talk about how they went into a dark place because of that and made some sort of art out of it. They isolated themselves and wrote songs about being isolated. And the thing is that we were locked up just the same with family and friends. But those first two weeks, everybody treated it like a vacation. A two-week-long weekend. We were living in a simple and fun time despite everything else that was happening before we realised what was happening. And when you think of it like that, it wasn’t that crazy of a stretch to go back to that mindset we were aiming for, because it was a mindset we were in then. It’s interesting to realise that."
What would you say were the most prominent things that kept on popping up as you started to write more and more songs?
Ajay: "I think the greatest challenge as songwriters was to underthink what we were doing that little bit more, and not spend so much time taking the process too seriously. Not feeling like we have to say something too important. In a way, we intentionally dumbed things down a bit and said what we were thinking in the way that we thought it. We let things flow, which continued throughout every bit of putting the record together. That bit more light-heartedness."
Jeremy: "There were a couple of times when we had a lyric, and we would say, ‘Nah, we wouldn’t have said that back then’. Not that we were limiting ourselves, but we tried to keep it on the track of old-school Lit in as many ways as possible. The core of what we were creating needed to stay simple."
When you look back to days over the last 20 years, there must be moments that still take you by surprise, even as memories. What sticks out for you when you remember the ‘A Place In the Sun’ and everything it allowed you to do?
Ajay: "It reminds you not to take anything for granted. It reminds you how great those moments were, stepping into the unknown and letting yourself figure things out. You need to have an almost naïve approach and let things happen organically and naturally. If we were to write the songs on ‘A Place In The Sun’, there are so many things that we would talk about and change around. But back then, we didn’t think like that. We just did it."
Jeremy: "Looking back on the impact of what those songs had and the impact they had on people all around the world, it reminds you that at the end of the day, we are just fans of music like everybody else. You think back to the first time we were in London, Tokyo, Frankfurt, or New York, and the chance you get in every place to talk to somebody who was impacted by something you made in the same way that records impacted us is really incredible. It’s something we will never ever take for granted. This record, in many ways, is saying thanks and giving back to that time and what it meant to have those experiences for the first time."
Ajay: "We’re one of the bands who will always venture out after a show and talk to as many people as possible. Because that’s the only way you can find out these things, by talking to those people. Whether it’s their first Lit show or they have been coming for 20 years, we would never know the impact if we didn’t get to know them."
And how does it make you feel to be here still and still be able to make records like this one? What does it mean to still have Lit be such a huge part of your life?
Jeremy: "We’ve never stopped playing and touring. We’ve never stopped making songs. We’ve never stopped being in the band. And we will keep on doing what we do regardless of anything. But we want another shot at the title. We want this record to reach people, and we want them to crank it. We want it to become a go-to album for them. That’s a fantastic place to be. When we were kids, all we ever dreamed about was getting to play rock and roll shows every night. If we get to keep on doing that, then that’s fucking awesome."
Ajay: "Past, present and future, Lit is a lifeline. It’s become another limb. It’s who we are, so I can’t imagine anything else or the world to be any other way. So I feel fortunate for that to continue. It’s crazy that we are still a band, but we are so blessed that it is."