Having spent the last three years writing, producing and perfecting her immaculately crafted debut album, Silver Eater, the wonderfully talented London-based songstress, Grace Lightman, proves that time is just a concept. Her music is not a reflection of the past, nor a glimpse into the future; her sound is from a time that does not exist. It is otherworldly; it is science-fiction; it is a dystopian dreamland. Silver Eater, due to release later this July, is an explorative, unsettling, yet playful eleven-track album.
Taking shape as a concept album, Grace’s narrative-driven collection of ethereal music is based on the story of an alien called The Silver Eater, who is on the run from NASA for reasons unknown. Coming to earth in disguise as a human, The Silver Eater is left to figure out life’s nuances and understand the complicated world of human existence. Grace’s esoteric approach to music draws on past era’s and marries them up with modern methods, transporting her listeners away from the present and allowing them to see life from another perspective. The album is a collaborative effort between producer Ben Baptie, and co-writer Patrick J Pearson, who between them have created a truly unique record that encapsulates Grace’s surreal, pop-driven vision and unique artistry. Charging synths and angelic vocal notes come face-to-face with dark beats and a moody production, and we can’t wait to see what she does next.
Having recently released the audio and accompanying visuals to the atmospheric and cinematic tracks, “Zero Impact,” “Aztec Level” and “An Ordinary Life,” in preparation for the release of Silver Eater, we got talking to Grace Lightman about all of her new music, which we think you will love.
How are you? Where does this interview find you? What have you got planned for the rest of the day?
Hi, I am great thanks! I am sitting in the French countryside, having a break. It’s glorious sunshine. I am going to head to a local restaurant by the river and watch some live music later, I have no idea what the band is called or what kind of music they play but I am hoping for some lounge vibes.
Having spent the last few years gradually creating the masterpiece that is your debut album, could you talk to us a bit about the writing/recording process for Silver Eater? Have you enjoyed the process?
It was the best thing I have ever done. I spent a good few years writing in Devon with Patrick Pearson; he taught me everything I know. We started writing together in London, and then hit on a sound and some themes that seemed to feel right. He then moved back to Devon and I visited him there so we could keep writing. This is where we wrote ‘Repair Repair’, the start to the whole concept of the Silver Eater – Inspired by my obsession with Paul Karason who was prescribed a diet of Silver to treat a skin condition, subsequently turning blue. The whole thing kind of unravelled from there.
We were then super lucky to have old friend Ben Baptie offer to produce and record the album when we finally got all the songs together. The 3 of us basically had the most fun we have ever had, losing our minds and steadily finding them again.
With Silver Eater you have followed a story and created an immersive narrative, comparable to reading a novel or watching a Steven Spielberg film. Aside from other musicians, could you talk to us a little bit about some of your other influences, whether that be life experiences, movies, books…?
I am obsessed with The Twilight Zone. It was the first thing I tried to reference, mainly the mood of it but also the melancholic banal dystopian ideas and the simplicity. I also love David Lynch who is a huge influence on me. I am actually more intentionally inspired by visual references than I am musical ones. I like things that are presented with a bit of sarcastic humour, which Lynch is the king of.
What is the starting point for you when making a track? Do you start with a concept, a vision, a lyric, or a beat?
It can be any of those things! When the idea feels like it’s going somewhere, I can usually envisage some kind of music video that emanates the mood and concept of the song. That’s when I know it’s the right idea.
The visuals you’ve released so far, namely for tracks “Zero Impact,” “Aztec Level,” and “An Ordinary Life,” truly capture the essence of your sound, musical style, and album concept. Do you enjoy transforming your music into visual depictions that complement the narrative?
Yes, it’s all part of the process of creating the music! My brother Alex Lightman is a very talented film director, and we work together to realise my vision. We have a sibling telepathy which makes working together very easy. I love to collaborate, so we work with a whole load of different talented creatives and always have fun doing so.
The styling in the abovementioned videos is incredible and the characters you’ve created through styling/makeup are extremely striking. Do you have a similar sense of style in your everyday life (not in front of the camera), that you channel through into your videos? Or do you prefer to create a character entirely different from you yourself?
It is definitely an extension of myself that I am putting into these visuals. But it’s more me as the character of the Silver Eater, so it’s me dressed up as an alien dressed up as a human… Sometimes I don’t know if I am the alien or the human, but I guess that’s where it comes from! I like to keep the extremities of it for my performances on stage and on screen.
Focusing a lot of your time and energy into creating a truly amazing debut album, it must be easy to get bogged down by internal pressures and occasional self-criticism. How do you remove yourself from the world of music and take the time to focus on you? Talk us through your ‘day off’ routine…
I try my hardest to physically move myself to somewhere I can relax and enjoy myself. Going to the countryside or the seaside is a favourite. The hardest part is separating your work from your personal life, so I really try to take regular breaks when I am creating work and keep a vague version of routine going. One of my favourite things is cafe culture, maybe I am viewing it like the Silver Eater would but I love the idea of sitting in a cafe drinking coffee and watching the world go by, being a part of that ‘culture’ but still being solo and anonymous.
What do you make of the London music scene and where do you see yourself fitting into it?
The London music scene can be intimidating! It’s fun when you totally immerse yourself in that world though. I love hanging out with other musicians and being involved in the happenings, but I have to be in the right frame of mind for it. Again, I wonder whether it’s me entering it as me or as the Silver Eater, but I like to dress up and feel a part of it when I have the time.
Taking the form of a concept album for your debut, do you think you’ll continue to utilise this explorative method in your future projects?
I have a few ideas up my sleeve that I can see becoming more bodies of work. Stay tuned!
What have you got to look forward to for the rest of this year? And, what have we got to look forward to from you for the rest of this year?
Other than finally getting to share this album with the world, I am very excited to play a headline show on October 3rd in my hometown of London. I am also looking forward to travelling round this island a bit and letting the Silver Eater take hold as I do so. On the run from NASA, but still offering appearances across the UK and maybe even Europe. Let’s see how far she gets.