Melody and noise. More, faster, bigger, louder. Ten Million Lights… 10ML… Ryan, Eric, Russ, Emily and Scott… create noisy, dreamy, psych-y pop that’s a little heavy, but all-organic and tasty. Their songs get stuck in your head, in the good way.
10ML ditched the drum machines and opted for more powerful live propulsion. The shimmer and sheen of reverb and delay were dialed down a notch. The touchstones might be familiar, but the pieces fit together in a new, thick and beautiful wash.
Here’s how it came to be.
Ryan and Eric have performed together since 2003 (Silver Surfer and Saturna prior to 10ML). After a decent run with Saturna, the Portland dudes launched 10ML as a recording project in 2009. But they were missing something until Bay Area transplant Emily joined in 2010 with a different melodic perspective, and with gorgeous vocals that really complemented Ryan.
They made a record at Eric’s house and had a fun run playing live rock ‘n’ roll karaoke over a stream of laptop beats. It was slightly less awkward than it sounds, and 10ML ultimately ended up gracing the good stages of places like Doug Fir and the Wonder Ballroom in Portland, and Neumo’s and the Sunset in Seattle. But the laptop was limiting.
Emily bowed out in 2013 to focus on her solo project (Urban Wildlife). Ryan got busy with The Ex-Girlfriends Club (“XGFC”). In 2014, 10ML added the rock-solid San Diegan bassist Russ (formerly of The Scotch Greens, among others), and performed just once, at Portland’s venerable, annual Nuggets Night, with some help from our XGFC friends. Then, they got the wild idea to spend the summer constructing their own epic practice space, in the shadows of Portland’s St. Johns neighborhood, in order to pursue a heavier all-live approach. Russ is really handy, by the way.
They par-baked a batch of new songs. Eric played drums for a while just to get the ideas started. They enlisted their favorite kickass drummer, Scott (XGFC, The Pink Snowflakes).
This went well, so they asked Emily if she wanted to sing again (she said yes!). And so, Ten Million Lights was (re)born as a five-piece. Watch for a select handful of shows in 2015, and a new record in 2016.
The result is not rock ‘n’ roll karaoke. Melody and noise. More, faster, bigger, louder. The new and improved Ten Million Lights.