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WoW players are blubbery, pasty losers gorging on Cheetos in Mom's basement? Yeah, right -- that's about as far as it gets from diminutive Canadian songbird Lights. Yet make no mistake, this 22-year-old, Juno Award-winning singer is crazy about the WoW fighter's life -- so crazy, in fact, that she has a Twinblade of the Phoenix tattooed on her arm. She's peppered her web site and blog with declarations of geekdom, interspersed with observations on the synth-rich brand of "intergalactic electropop" she's building a career on. We visited with Lights (thanks for the tip, Chris!) about her WoW-playing ways during the crazy crunch leading up to today's U.S. release of her new album, The Listening.
Main character Lightsalot, Draenei death knight
15 Minutes of Fame: With a U.S. album debut today and a Canadian tour right around the corner, we can't imagine how you find time for World of Warcraft. What's your WoWstyle? When do you find time to play?
Lights: Can I add "getaway" as a style? Every time I go on WoW, it's like a much-needed vacation from RL, a chance to become someone else. I usually just end up doing Heroics with my friends and building up my gear, or roam around leveling my professions and trying to pocket some achievements. Being a performer and recording artist and playing World of Warcraft -- that's a pretty time-intensive combination.
It's definitely tough when I'm on the road, especially in a van tour where there is no constant internet connection. I find time backstage before the show in the green room and in the hotels at night. When I'm at home, I get what I need to get done during the day and reward myself with a little WoW time at night. Some people read a book before they go to bed ...
Does your schedule limit what you'd like to accomplish in the game?
I would really like to spend more time helping out my guild, or farming gold for fancy new toys and pets, or just raiding and getting better gear. But most of the time I'm limited to one- or two-hour sessions at a time, which makes finding time for any 25-man Heroics nearly impossible!
So how long have you been gaming?
Games have fascinated me my whole life, starting with PacMan on my uncle's PC. I moved up to classic Super Nintendo and then on to N64, and then XBox, DS and WoW.
You've mentioned that you take your DS with you on the road. Is WoW reserved for when you're home?
My DS is great for when we are on long drives with no internet connection, but as long as I can find an internet connection, WoW is there on my laptop -- even on tour.
You've talked a lot about reaching out to gamer, sci fi and nerd culture. What specifically do you bring to your music and performing to reach those audiences?
It's never been a big plan to reach out to that world, it just kind of happened because it's what I am into, and all of my interests are ultimately reflected onto what I create. Some examples: I just released a semi-animated comic (with Tomm Coker of Marvel Digital) called Audio Quest: A Captain Lights Adventure. My videos are very sci-fi oriented (inspired by Star Trek, Barbarella and Logan's Run). The artwork for my new album is heavily influenced by Sailor Moon and the Watchmen.
Have you ever written any WoW-inspired or WoW-themed music?
"Lions!," track 11 on my new record The Listening, is chock full of WoW references, e.g., "I'm not the hunter, I'm not the marked," or "standing in the heart of the disease" (I'm a death knight!), or "death is a charade." I channeled my WoW XP into song form.
You had the Twinblade of the Phoenix tattooed on your arm. It's a gorgeous weapon, we agree ... What inspired you to memorialize it with a tattoo?
There is something empowering about being a female warrior to me. Also, my two 80s both wield two-handed weapons, so it made sense. To go a little deeper, it's important that you are on your guard all the time, letting the right people in. With the Twinblade on my forearm, everyone I shake hands with is at the tip of my blade, muahaha.
We hear you met your boyfriend in WoW. Do dish!
Yes, our first hang-outs were in Azeroth! We knew who each other were, but never met. He messaged me on MySpace because he heard I played WoW, so he gave me his server name and I started Lightsalot (my main was on another server at the time). Enough /flirting and /loving led to real life hang-outs, and here we are!
What's capturing your attention in game these days?
Having lots of fun at Brewfest. My background is German, so seeing all the silly German dwarf names kills me! Plus I got a Pink Elekk pet, which I often bust out mid-raid (see pic!) Also been running TOC a lot and focusing on respeccing my alt for tanking.
What's on the front burner for Lights in the real world right now?
My record comes out in America Oct. 6, and after that there is going to be a lot of touring in the forefront. Also the comic I mentioned previously is now airing weekly on MTV (2-minute episodes), so if you get a chance, check it out! My voiceovers are ridiculous.
Catch Lights at her web site, iamlights.com.
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" - neither did we, until we talked with these players. From an award-winning author and an Oscar-winning 3-D effects director to a bunch of guys who get together for dinner and group raiding in person every week, catch it on 15 Minutes of Fame.