Volume 94, Issue 2
Friday, May 19, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Flashing lights float to the top
NO ONE TOLD PETER THE "OVER-THE-SHOULDER-YAWN" TRICK IS OUT OF STYLE. East coast rockers Flashing Lights bring their music to London for a show at Call the Office.
By Aaron Wherry
If there is such thing as an underdog in the music business, Matt Murphy of the Flashing Lights surely fits the bill.
Murphy decided three years ago to leave his guaranteed meal ticket, Maritime band Superfriendz, to forge his own way in rock 'n roll.
Yet the new path he discovered has been far from smooth. With his friendz removed from the picture, Murphy became captain of the S.S. Flashing Light, bound for glory by way of the rough and turbulent seas of rock.
"I definitely like the challenge. When I left Superfriendz I wanted to have more songs on the record," Murphy says, explaining his desire to carry the majority of song-writing duties. "But it also came with new anxiety because I couldn't distribute blame to any other band members. So I have to crack the whip on myself and make sure I'm working hard on the songs. I wouldn't trade the situation for anything else because I feel tapped out, but that's how I want to feel."
While that feeling of creative exhaustion may bring comfort to Murphy, any time for rest and relaxation has been eaten up by new duties. Without the support of a major record label and the presence of a business manager ready to baby-sit and guide the band, Murphy has found himself pulling double-duty.
"I find the business aspects hardest for me. The music side is pretty easy," Murphy relates. "Coming to this band, there's added responsibilities. We don't even have a manager. We manage ourselves and basically I'm managing and barely coping. There's all these things I have to do outside the music, which I find pretty distracting and I'd like to kind of slot these things onto other people sometimes."
Murphy sounds exasperated when discussing the labour of leading his own, truly independent band. But amid the confusion and complication, the guitar slinging rocker clearly sees his goals on the horizon.
"We don't have a huge budget to push the band in magazines and advertising and all that jazz. For us, the priority is to make enough money to record another record," Murphy says. "We're not really anxious to make any great leap or stride. We'd like to build up our grassroots a little first. I like the approach we're taking trying to build a relationship with the people who've heard us."
This approach has yielded small crops of success. Music insiders have heaped praise on the brit-pop, East Coast rock-influenced band and recently, major rock magazine Rolling Stone placed its seal of approval upon them.
Murphy, eternally humble, remains grounded amid the hype and hearsay. Trying to find the calm within the storm, he is still swimming in a whirlwind of rock. "Things seem to be happening, despite ourselves," he explains. "We're getting things done, but I wish I had a better grasp on things."
Confronted with his accomplishments, Murphy only shrugs seemingly caught up in whatever he has to take care of next. Still, despite the uneasiness and stress, he feels content with his new-found freedom.
"It's OK. I wouldn't do it if I didn't think we could have some degree of success," Murphy explains. "Not many people have had the opportunity to hear us yet. We have pretty high expectations. While we're content, its only baby steps."
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