I Am Lightyear
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I Am Lightyear

Brooklyn, New York, United States

Brooklyn, New York, United States
Band EDM Pop

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"Tinderbox Music Festival is Sunday w/ Cocorosie, Jean Grae, Selebrities & more"

Tinderbox Music Festival is Sunday w/ Cocorosie, Jean Grae, Selebrities & more; some money going to Sandy relief (win tix)

This Sunday (11/11) is the third-annual Tinderbox Music Festival which "powerful, diverse, and innovative female artists and female-fronted bands." We already mentioned that the line-up includes headliners Cocorosie but will also feature Jean Grae (who playes the Hurricane Sandy benefit at Knitting Factory on Thursday), Selebrities, Lili Haydn, Computer Magic, Hard Nips and more. Full line-up, which takes over all three stages at Webster Hall, is below.
Like the two years past, Tinderbox fest goes to support the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls Girls Write Now, and the Tinderbox Songwriting Workshop, but this year part of the net proceeds will go to New York Cares helping with Hurricane Sandy disaster relief. Tickets ($25) are still available. We're also giving a pair of tickets away and details on how to enter are below.
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Tinderbox Music Festival - 2012 Line-up/schedule
MAIN STAGE
12:00 AM-CocoRosie
11:00 PM-Jean Grae
10:00 PM-Selebrities
9:00 PM-Lili Haydn
8:00 PM-Computer Magic
7:00 PM-Alyson Greenfield
6:00 PM-I Am Lightyear
5:00 PM-Likwuid
4:00 PM-Hard Nips
3:00 PM-Vagina Panther
2:00 PM-TBD
1:00 PM-Eleanor Dubinsky
MARLIN STAGE
11:00 PM - Mad Rapture
10:10 PM - Michelle Citrin
9:20 PM - Sirius Plan
8:30 PM - Mal Blum
7:40 PM - Deb Oh & the Cavaliers
6:50 PM - Emily Wryn
6:00 PM - Chantilly
5:10 PM - Micah Schure
4:20 PM - 9mary
3:30 PM - jENNiNGS
2:40 PM - Johanna Chase
1:50 PM - Tamar Haviv
1:00 PM - Rachel Brotman
STUDIO STAGE
11:20 PM-Shuteye
10:30 PM-Ducky
9:40 PM-MANCIE
8:50PM-Charlene Kaye and the Brilliant Eyes
8:00PM-Bern & the Brights
7:10 PM-American Pinup
6:20 PM-JMK
5:30 PM-Taina Asili Y Su Banda Rebelde
4:50 PM-A K U A
4:00 PM-ZZZ's
3:10 PM-Jasper the Colossal
2:20 PM-Hello Phones
1:30 PM-Jamie Bendell
1:00 PM-Pink Veins - Brooklyn Vegan


"MOSCOT Music//Extended Family//I Am Lightyear"

The MOSCOT Shops were THE place to be this past weekend as we bid farewell to summer with a weekend of awesome music! Teaming with Extended Family, our "Farewell to Summer" weekend of music started Saturday at The MOSCOT Gallery & Music Space at Orchard Street with indie pop band "I Am Lightyear," who led by songtress Lauren Zettler, got the crowd ooh-ing and asking for more. Next up, NYC band "Caged Animals" hit the stage, taking the crowd on a ride with their cool blend of chilled out, yet upbeat indie rock. It's a good thing we have a lot of floor space, as we danced the afternoon away!

The fun continued Sunday as fans migrated east to The MOSCOT Backyard at MOSCOT Court Street for sunshine, free Brooklyn Brewery beer (for those 21+) and sweet sets by indie-folk acts, "Swear & Shake" and "Aunt Martha". The boy/girl band duo of Swear & Shake went first, harmonizing sweet tunes backed by banjo, guitar, harmonica, and the stomping beat of their feet. Aunt Martha played a mix of softer, straight-to-heart songs and guitar-driven, rock-inspired jams.

We loved partnering with Extended Family, which was born out of the desire for Family Records to work with artists who aren't signed to their label, in a way that felt positive and fun for everyone involved.

Thanks to everyone who came out for our last summer weekend, with a special shout out to the folks at Extended Family/Family Records and Brooklyn Brewery!!!

Stay tuned for info on our next event during CMJ week! - Moscot.com


"Indaba + Converse Remix Contest:: I Am Lightyear//Lose Myself"

Remix I Am Lightyear’s “Lose Myself” To Win $2,000 And Be Featured By Converse
Posted on September 20, 2012 by Timo


Indie songstress I Am Lightyear is no stranger to the jungle of Brooklyn. Cutting through the noise, she has been able to grace the stage of Glasslands and record at Converse’s Rubber Tracks Studio. She is truly a rising artist who has the ability to cut a clear path forward.

Now I Am Lightyear and Indaba Music want you to remix her electro-pop single “Lose Myself”, which was recorded in Converse’s Rubber Tracks Studio in Brooklyn. Make a remix that’s lightyears ahead. The Grand Prize Winner receives $2,000 and invaluable exposure on Converse’s web properties. 5 Popular Vote Winners will be able to enjoy a $100 gift card to Converse.

And here’s the opportunity featured through our new widget. Use it to share your submissions to this contest and let the world know about your music. - Indabamusic.com


"Sonicbids Spotlight - I Am Lightyear: Time is on Lauren Zettler's Side"

I Am Lightyear, the musical brainchild of Lauren Zettler, lives up to its name. The synths, poppy vocals and innovative songwriting on her debut EP combine to form a large, spacious and bright sound. Having drawn comparisons to Feist and Regina Spektor, Zettler is clearly placed among great company. After a listen or two to her All Of The Miles EP, you’ll see she fits right in.

The Brooklyn resident was raised far outside of the music world in Indiana by scientist parents. After trying to “make her parents proud by taking chemistry,” Zettler attended Berklee College Of Music in Boston, where she studied classical piano. It is on those very same keys that her music is written now, but it doesn’t stay there long. Although she often performs with acoustic instruments, the recorded material is primarily synth-based.

Sometimes referred to simply as Lightyear, Zettler chose the name during a period of transition in her life. To Zettler the name is “an unimaginably long period of time or space. It’s incomprehensible and limitless.” It is that lack of limits that helps to drive her creative process. Her debut EP, released last fall, is made up of five tracks filled with space and feeling. She taps into heartbreak and transition while maintaining a bright and open sound.

The lead single, “It Beats,” includes Zettler’s airy vocals over a bouncing bassline. When the chorus comes in with the lyrics “I need a sea change,” you get the feeling that Zettler really has been through a great deal of change. She is singing as much from experience as longing. In the bridge, the instrumentation parts like clouds, allowing her vocals to shine through with their siren-like intrigue.

Lightyear has been hailed by BlackBook as “wonderfully layered pop” and by Toro Magazine as “a new artist whose music is already fully realized and clearly destined for attention.” Her music is also easy to relate to, and though Zettler’s just getting started, she’s one worth watching. - CMJ Spotlight Artist


"Breakthru Radio Sessions - It Beats"

After years of releasing music as a singer-songwriter, Brooklyn-based musician Lauren Zettler needed to make a change. Her new electro-pop project, Lightyear, is catchy, yet dramatic, and shows her as graceful, but still vulnerable about her emotions.

Drawing from influences like Emily Haines, Feist and Robyn while also tapping into her own technical skills — she’s a classically trained pianist and studied film scoring at the Berklee School of Music — Zettler is able to create beautifully fragile moments that build up to powerfully stirring points. On this episode of BTR Hear & There, Lightyear brings her pulsating music to an industrial warehouse gallery space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. - Blip.TV


"Video Premier - Lightyear "It Beats""

Check out this brilliant video from Lightyear, the latest project from Brooklyn musician Lauren Zettler. The song comes from Lightyear’s 2011 debut EP, All Of The Miles (listen here).

“I wanted to fill the video with bold, tactile imagery shot in a simple, elegant manner,” says director Kristen Winter. “Even though it is in black and white, I want the viewer to feel the blood flowing through the video’s veins. The first idea that came to mind was squeezing paint between one’s fingers- something I used to love doing as a kid in art class. From there, we came up with other ideas such as the gold leaf painting and glitter face washing.”

“Lucky for me,” continues Winter, “Lauren was up for every idea thrown her way. The gold leaf stop motion sequence took four hours to shoot and she didn’t let out a single peep of complaint. I think she could have a second career as a Navy Seal if she decides that music isn’t her thing.” Adds Zettler: “The gold leaf application process took a long time but I think it’s my favorite part of the video – both the body being covered by it and the movement shot around the mouth. It’s such a tactile material and looks so striking on camera.” - American Songwriter Magazine


"Interview - Lightyear"

Much like a lightyear, music can, at times, seem limitless. From one end of a spectrum to another, it ranges from simple chord progressions to the complex, from the unimaginative to the avant garde. But somewhere in between lies those musicians who just know how to reach you from the chaos.

Lauren Zettler’s electro-pop project, Lightyear, is just that—a moment of clarity. It’s an honest look into the heart and thoughts of a person who is truly human—a person who feels deeply and wants to share this clarity she’s found with others.

“My heart is loyal to me, even when it deceives me,” sings Zettler. And when the single from All of the Miles, “It Beats,” repeats it titular line, you are left pondering what it means to live and love. Your heart has your best interest, even if in the end you are hurt from it. All logic may be telling you, “He’ll break your heart.” But, oh, do you love him. And your heart pushes you to experience what life is all about. It pushes you to risk falling in love. And it pushes you to open yourself to being vulnerable. Yes, it will hurt. It always does. But the fact of the matter is, your heart will continue to beat. As blood flows through, it will heal itself, and you will love again—this time, knowing yourself a little bit better.

Now living in Brooklyn, Zettler was raised as the daughter of scientists. However, she took the road less traveled by her family to pursue music. And with songs like “It Beats,” it’s clear as to why she needed to take this road. In a way it was calling to her, offering to her peace of mind and catharsis. With a mind like hers, she is able to take what may be a painful experience, and transform it into a relatable work of art—all the while transforming herself.

I had the opportunity to speak with Zettler about moving all around the U.S., finding a home in Brooklyn, and writing about emotions we all deal with. The human experience can, at times, feel isolating. But with music like Lightyear’s, it’s easy to remember that we’re all in this together.


You’ve lived all over the United States. How have places like Indiana and Boston influenced you becoming a musician?

I think living in the Midwest helped trigger a yearning for something a little bigger. Growing up there was great; I had a nice childhood. But as soon as I found out a place like New York existed, I found out all of these other life choices existed, and I wanted to experience it. I moved to Boston for school, and was surrounded by musicians. I had never truly admitted I wanted to play my own music until I got there and saw how many people were being courageous and going for it. So, in short, I think living in all these different cities really helped me overcome a certain amount of fear.

Why did you eventually end up in Brooklyn?

I was living in Manhattan when I first came to New York, and when it was time to look for a new living situation, Brooklyn was just calling my name. It’s full of creative peers, it’s more affordable, quiet, and it’s quaint. I love it.

How has living in Brooklyn influenced your music?

There is definitely a Brooklyn music scene that is hard not to be influenced by—everyone is trying to do something different and inspired, and it makes me want to try harder. Most of my bandmates live in Brooklyn as well. I met my bass player when I saw him play with a random band in Greenpoint. It’s just a really great place to hang out and make things happen.

Are you planning on staying in Brooklyn for a while?

Yes, for as long as it makes sense. I’d love a West Coast adventure at some point, but for now Brooklyn is home and there’s really no reason to leave.

In what environment are you most creative? Where do you find the most inspiration?

I am the most creative when I’m alone. I’m a bit of an introvert, and I feel most comfortable letting my mind go and trying new things when there isn’t anyone else around. I feel most inspired by things that have upset me or things I feel sad about—if there’s something happening that I don’t quite understand and need to figure out or express, writing is one of the only ways I can work through that.

How do you reconcile working with universal themes (such as heartbreak or love) and making them your own?

Heartbreak and love are universal themes because absolutely everyone who exists can relate to it. It’s the easiest thing to write about, and somehow there are always new ways to talk about it. I’ll hear songs sometimes that have really incredibly simple lyric hooks and think “Ah! That’s so spot-on and simple. Why didn’t I think of that first?!” Anyway, overall, you make them your own if you’re writing authentically, drawing from something within yourself … and that’s really all you can do. Someone out there will connect with it.

Your parents are scientists. Did any of that stick while growing up? Maybe a fascination with space?

I’ve never really thought about it in that way before! I’ve basically spent m - Prox Art Magazine


"Discovery - Lightyear"

Lauren Zettler has made her avant-garde, dream-pop musical project, Lightyear, as visual as it sounds. Indiana native Zettler, a graduate of Boston's Berklee College of Music, has spent much of her time as a singer-songwriter under her given name, but has recently created a different musical concept with a new moniker. As Lightyear, Zettler released her All of the Miles EP, a preview of more music to come, last month. All of the Miles' first single, "It Beats," has lately been the center of Zettler's web presence, with an intentionally weird music-video teaser to represent her project. The full video for "It Beats" is in the process of being released; in order to create it, Zettler sought funding from EP pre-orders.

Although Zettler is up in the air about what's next for Lightyear, she won't wait to put out more music. In the meantime, she has been contemplating the possibility of remix releases and playing shows with the likes of the UK's Slow Club and Toronto's Ohbijou. We caught up with Zettler in Williamsburg at Cubana Social where we discussed the singer-songwriter circuit, her musical rebirth and the importance of being real.


NAME: Lauren Zettler (AKA Lightyear)

AGE: 26

HOMETOWN: Carmel, Indiana

LIGHTYEAR'S AHEAD: I felt like I just really wanted a total, fresh start. The music that I wanted to make, I wanted to be very different than from what I made before. So, I felt like it deserved its own name. I also felt like, by going with a moniker, it psychologically gives you a feeling of more freedom. It is me, but it's not me.

A GAME-CHANGING MOMENT: Not to be clichéd, but it was a rebirth kind of thing. I had been going through a really difficult breakup, and I was turning my life around in a pretty significant way. It was kind of a game-changer. It was interesting to see what I was capable of doing outside of what I had done before.

ON BEING ECONOMICAL: I don't have anything actually planned out right now. I would love to release a full-length, because I have actually never released a full-length. At the same time, with the way that the economy is, and basically how much it costs, EPs for me in the past have made more economical sense. I'd love to record a full-length, but I don't have anything set in place yet. This EP was kind of like a teaser. There's more coming soon. It's gonna be really cool.

THE ASPECT OF VISUAL STIMULATION: Well, I want it to end up in as many places as possible. I went to school for film scoring. I really love the idea of pairing music with visuals. I've never envisioned myself as a Billboard 100 kind of person, but even going to see Ellie Goulding and Katy Perry last night, it really took me by surprise. It was really cool. I think when you get close to things like that, they're obviously huge goals, but they're really not that unlikely. It's just a matter of trying to do it. - Interview Magazine


"As Lightyear, Lauren Zettler Turns Pain into Wonderfully Layered Pop"

Brooklyn-based musician Lauren Zettler was ready for a change of pace. After creating two full-length albums under her real name, she created an alter ego of sorts, and christened it Lightyear. She began exploring a sound that skewed more towards electro pop, and the result is her debut EP, All of the Miles. Zettler studied film scoring at the Berklee School of Music, and her songs reflect this influence, with their dramatic, sweeping tone. Her EP is a meditation on heartbreak and romantic loss, but, as she says, “the hope is in there somewhere.” She’s interested in the interaction between film and music and, together with director Kristen Winter, created a visually stunning teaser video to accompany music from her new album.
Let's talk a little bit about your personal history with music. When did you first become interested in making your own?
I played around with the idea of writing my own music in high school, but it was a short stint. I didn't really start writing my own music until my last year of college. I went to Berklee College of Music, and everyone there was pretty much making their own music, so I kind of fell in line and tried to do it too.

What kinds of stuff were you making then, and how has your sound evolved into the kind of music on your recent album?
Someday someone is going to find the first demo CD I ever made and laugh really hard. They were basically pop songs written on the guitar, which was an instrument I didn't really start playing until I was 19. So it was all very simple. And a little bit like a child trying on her mom's high heels. Not quite the right fit, but trying to go somewhere. I've evolved a significant amount since then, and I think that's just all due to circumstance, my surroundings, and time.

How would you describe your current sound?
That’s a hard question; it always is. My current sound is more electro-pop; it's not so cute, with a bigger sound. I tried to create moods when arranging all the songs, so there's more of a landscape feeling to it, I hope. If that makes sense?

Yes, definitely. So this is your debut work as Lightyear?
This is my debut EP. I haven’t done a full-length album as Lightyear, but I’ve released two under my actual name, Lauren Zettler. All the music is written by me. I kind of think of Lightyear as a moniker more than a band name. That being said, I had a lot of awesome people play on the EP

Let's talk a little bit about the teaser video. How did you come up with the concept for this film collaboration?
We just finished shooting the full-length version of this video over the weekend. I'm so excited for it to be finished. My friend (and the film’s director) Kristen Winter and I really collaborated on the concept. I knew that I wanted something kind of bizarre and visually exciting, and we just had a major brainstorm over things that could possibly look great on camera. Kristen and I are part of this group of creatives we like to call the Girlfriend Collective. Our proper website and credits are coming soon.

The video is both strange and captivating, but in a very feminine way. Your music also seems to have a strong female voice. How do you see the visual component complementing your music?
I think the visual component has helped--and will continue to help--me express the tone I’m trying to achieve with the kind of music I make. I started out as a film scoring major at Berklee, and have always been extremely influenced and inspired by the pairing of film and music. I think I'll always want to make sure that visual representation of me and my music is as thought out as the music itself.

I think it's interesting that you majored in film scoring because you music does have a dramatic element. What kinds of films would you see your music fitting into? What scenes do they describe to you?
Most the EP was written while reflecting on a past relationship, so there are definite opportunities for it to be used in that a way. That's a hard question to answer.

Sure, I guess I’m asking what the character interaction you feel you write for? Two lovers reconciling? Someone who is heartbroken? guess the extension of that question is: who do you hope your music reaches?
I would say ultimately I write from a place of sadness. So the character interaction might be more on the heartbroken side, but in the specific case of this EP, I came out of a heartbreaking time with something I was really proud of, and the strength to move forward. At the risk of sounding clichéd, the hope is in there somewhere. I think I write for the people who feel a little lost and who are just looking for something to connect with, because that's usually how I'm feeling.

What artists would you say influence your current sound?
Emily Haines and Metric, Laura Viers, Feist, and I've started getting really into dancier things like Robyn. I'm kind of excited to see where that influence may take me next. - BlackBook Magazine


"Hear Lightyear's Debut EP 'All Of The Miles' Here"

Lightyear is the solo electro-pop project of songwriter Lauren Zettler. With her debut EP All Of The Miles, Zettler stretches the boundaries of both electronic pop music, and of the trope of the singer/songwriter. She imbues the cool, glitchy beeps and pops with warm basslines that are undoubtedly alive, and takes traditional narratives of love, loss and forgiveness and breathes new life into them with lush instrumental landscapes.

You can order All Of The Miles here. - Purevolume.com


"Introducing: Lightyear"

Trendspotting is a big part of any music writer’s job, but it ain’t easy. So when I hear a new artist like Lightyear, whose music is already fully realized and clearly destined for attention, I breathe a small sigh of relief.


Lightyear is a synth-pop project from Brooklynite Lauren Zettler, who performed more acoustic material for years under her birth name. It’s a culmination of her classical training and ear for pop melody, the result of actively discovering new and exciting influences.

In the wake of Lightyear’s debut EP All of the Miles, Zettler was kind enough to introduce the project to us.

What were you up to before Lightyear got off the ground?

I have played music my whole life, originally classical piano. Went to Berklee College of Music to study more contemporary stuff. After that I started writing my own songs and performed under my own name in the singer/songwriter circuit of New York for almost two years. That was a great experience, trying to find my way in that niche. But I honestly got bored. I took some time off and started listening to music I’d never heard before to find new influences. I decided to create something totally new (for me), and the project needed the new name.

What artists during that period stuck out for you?

I got into a big Metric kick. Then I listened to Emily Haines’s solo songs, which feel like they could be Metric songs ... like she starts with a really strong song that (the band) improves on. That encouraged me to keep writing the way I had while turning my music into something different.

Do you still write on guitar?

Sometimes. My brain could never really comprehend how to write a pop song on piano, but I’ve never felt completely comfortable on guitar.

Did the more traditional atmosphere Berklee help your songwriting ability, or hinder it?

It was an interesting experience. I did not love it but I really wanted to. I went in as a sheltered person without a lot of performance experience or confidence, so it was really intimidating. But I learned a lot, for sure. I visited it on kind of a whim and their style of teaching was very different than the conservatories I had considered. They gave me a lot of freedom, but that’s where it got tricky: there were a lot of students who didn’t know what to do with that freedom, and just slacked off to get by. You could accomplish a lot if you knew what you wanted that (accomplishment) to be.



How did the name, or persona, of Lightyear come into your mind?

I call it a moniker, I guess. I started recording before I knew what to call it so I had the material completed before deciding what name would fit. It’s kind of indefinable phrase, in terms of people knowing what a “light year” really is. ??

It was a scary change for me. I had spent so much time trying to build a reputation as Lauren Zettler. I wondered if people would follow me, if fans I already had would like it ... a “no turning back” kind of feeling. But I had come a long way from where I’d began, and not to sound cliched but I’m excited about where I can take it.

What kind of support did you get for the EP? ?

I funded everything on my own, but on the actual recording I worked with producers from Nashville, actually. I told them what I wanted to do, went in with a bunch of almost-finished songs and they helped me bring them to life.

Did debuting the Lightyear material on stage bring back a sense of unease?

Yes and no. Yes because I was very nervous and unsure of how it would be perceived. But no because I had so much experience under my belt. I did a lot of rehearsals to feel as comfortable as I could but there was definitely a new, invigorating kind of energy. I felt like I was doing what I wanted to do.

Maybe you feel like you fit into the Brooklyn scene more now?

I’m definitely still a newbie. Because of that I’ve been spending a lot of time meeting new people and checking out new bands. What’s amazing to me is how many people are here trying to make music. Bands you’ve never heard of before are playing down the street to 500 people. That goes to show how there’s room for everyone to support each other. That said I still feel like the new kid.

I would imagine, in that kind of environment, people are more interested in what is new and unheard than what’s already “cool” or popular.

I think people are eager to hop on before everyone else, which can be annoying or snobby – once something is heard by enough people it’s not cool anymore – but people are hungry for something new. In the city you can feel like you’ve seen everything before, and I think that’s where it comes from. - TORO Magazine


"A Visit with Lightyear's Lauren Zettler"

Today marks the release of the Brooklyn, New York band Lightyear’s first EP, All Of The Miles. As a freshman release, this album clearly stands head and shoulders above the field. It’s a beautiful work, starting out with a heartfelt track called “Home” that makes even the most jaded heart long for the warm embrace of a familiar place. The synth pads and textures running through the five tracks are melodic layers that add a magnetic quality that immediately holds the interest of the listener and doesn’t let go.

There is no doubt that this collection of songs will garner much interest from music supervisors and will become widely used in television and film. These tracks naturally lend themselves to the support of visual photoplay. Its not forced, it just happens. The music itself is grounded and specific, yet it creates cerebral imagery for the listener. There’s a dark and melancholy side to All Of The Miles and yet it seems to resolve and create a positive vibe that makes you want to conquer and not give up. The production quality of this EP is superb. All Of The Miles was produced by Justin Loucks and Ian Fitchuk (Madi Diaz, Peter Groenwald) and recorded in Nashville at a small private studio. You can listen to and download one of the best cuts on the EP, entitled “It Beats”, below.

04 It Beats – Lightyear

The mastermind behind Lightyear is Lauren Zettler. Last week I had a chance to sit down with her at a coffee house in Manhattan and discuss the making of All Of The Miles. Lauren grew up in a town just outside of Indianapolis, Indiana. She’s a classically trained pianist who attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Upon graduation she went to work for Universal Music in their digital music department. She was trying hard to convince herself that working in the music industry was enough. She wanted to make money and really wasn’t interested in being a starving artist, but realized that if she didn’t pursue her dreams and aspirations, she might someday regret it. After a year at Universal, Lauren left her job to follow her heart and become a singer/songwriter.

Lauren began attending open mic nights, one of which was at the Lucky Cat in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She had never played live in front of people before, so the open mics provided a good opportunity for her to begin to explore who she was as an artist, writer and performer. Lightyear is a moniker for Lauren Zettler. The band members are interchangeable. The name Lightyear developed into something meaningful for her following a significant life/relationship change. She looks at it as measuring a limitless growth and feels that it describes a particular distance that she has traveled in a short period of time in her own life as an artist.

Unlike many other songwriters, Lauren only half finished these songs before taking them into the studio. She says that she did this on purpose so that she could bounce them off of her production team and the other musicians involved. But more importantly, she feels that by not fully defining the songs, prior to recording, allowed her the opportunity to finish them from a position that she feels was more relevant. She wanted to create in the moment and capture how she truly felt at that specific time. As far as strategies go, this was obviously extremely effective for Lauren. She has successfully created an EP that captures emotion and gives the listener some sense of who she is as an individual. We think there are great things just ahead for Lauren Zettler and Lightyear. Check out All Of The Miles when you get the chance. You can stream the album and purchase it here. - Project Rythmseed


"Traveling All Of The Miles with Lightyear"

“A Lightyear is an unimaginably long period of time or space… it’s incomprehensible and limitless.” This is the explanation Lauren Zettler gives on her Facebook page, addressing her latest project: an electro-pop EP released under the stage name Lightyear. The pseudonym alone calls to mind images of vast, unending spaces, nebulae expanding into colossal stretches of color, and a certain CGI toy who dreams of “infinity and beyond.” It’s a name that speaks to a passionate desire to be greater than you could have ever imagined. It’s a name that reminds you of your humanity, but incepts in you a greater need to explore what otherworldliness you might possess. It’s a name that comes with some heavy connotations. But Lauren’s ambition is strong enough to carry them, and she proves herself with her album, All of the Miles.
Zettler’s attraction to the “limitlessness” of Lightyear comes from a desire to break through “limitations that [she] puts on [her]self,” she told me during our interview.

“I found myself in a place that I didn’t feel comfortable,” she said. “I wasn’t being one hundred percent authentic.” And her attempt to create songs that, as Lauren put it, “take you somewhere,” is wildly successful; Lightyear’s songs are ethereal and atmospheric, with lyrics so real and penetrating that you truly do get caught up in the song. The full-bodied instrumentals mixed with Zettler’s airy vocals pin you to your seat, enveloping you in the feel of the music. This enrapturing emotional response is due to Lauren’s unusual, unorthodox recording style, in which she turns her attention to the emotional aspects of each song, rather than the stringent structure of it.

“I took songs that were half written,” she recalled, “and I allowed the time and space to finish up the song. I tried to be present and in the moment.” The Indiana-born beauty and classically trained pianist has been working as a singer/songwriter in Brooklyn for a number of years, but she has trekked into the unknown world of electronics with this album. With the help of her producers and their “cool toys,” Zettler was able to bring the eerie electronic sound to the Lightyear EP. This project was her first time recording in a studio, working with tools like synthesizers (and, in come cases, an iPad application). Zettler kept an open mind about the tools, trying different things that “might be a little weird.” As a result, All of The Miles contains an impressive variation of sounds and effects that make each track a solid, stand-alone song.

“It Beats” is the first single off the EP (excerpted here in Lightyear’s promo video), and it is an excellent representation of Lightyear’s sound and musical style. Zettler’s vocals jump between subdued altos and bright, belting stanzas, while the music behind her seems to tremble with quick bass notes, synths and soft background vocals. The lyrics describe her heart (the “it” that beats). She sings of the duality of her heart with lyrics like “My heart is loyal only to me, even when it deceives me/My heart will laugh with a fever, and then it will leave you lonely.” The song builds into a low rumbling crescendo, then fades out deliberately, leaving you ready to hear more. With a mere three minutes and twenty-three seconds, Lightyear has you hooked; that is how a song is meant to be.

Now that Lightyear’s EP has finally been released (you can purchase it through Lauren Zettler’s Bandcamp), it is time for her to focus on fully developing this new project.

“I think for now, I’ll definitely be sticking with the Lightyear moniker,” she assured me. One important aspect of this new direction is making her live show as awesome as the unique sound she’s created.

“We are a full band and we’re playing all these parts,” she said of her current live show. In the attempt to transfer the sounds from All of the Miles, Lauren has taken to playing keys on stage, as well as playing with vocal effects. She is also working on finishing the music video for “It Beats,” filming a video for her song “home,” and working on some remixes of her songs. As far as I’m concerned it is clear that the possibilities are endless for Lauren Zettler and Lightyear. - OC Music Magazine


"Weekly Roundup: Oct 9 - 15, 2011"

Here's an artist you are going to want to remember: Lightyear. I'm really digging this song "It Beats," from the forthcoming All of the Miles EP, due 11/1. The track assembles bits of folk, classical, electro, and pop into a delightful construction. I also like the message about taking comfort in your heart and its beat, no matter what else is going on. It's sometimes easy to forget that basic fact but powerful to remember. You can find out more here and preorder the EP. - Those Who Dig


"LIGHTYEAR ANNOUNCES DEBUT "ALL OF THE MILES" EP"

New York-based dramatic-pop outfit Lightyear is pleased to announce their debut EP All of The Miles. Set for release on November 1, 2011, the five-song All of The Miles EP explores love, loss and ultimately rebirth. To celebrate the release, Lightyear is making the dark and hypnotic first single "It Beats" available for free download. Accompanying "It Beats" is a haunting, visceral and atmospheric video, representing the songs pulsing, desire-fueled energy through visuals you won't soon forget. In addition to "It Beats", Lightyear will be performing at this year's CMJ Music Conference with an intimate appearance at Old Flame Record's showcase at Pianos in New York City on Tuesday, October 18. - Alt Sounds


"Today's Quick Mention"

A lighter, more indie pop-focused version of Metric is probably not something you think would be all that interesting, but I think you might change your mind when you hear this track. Or you'll be even more convinced about such a thing not being what you need/want. Guess we'll see. The band will release the All Of The Miles EP on November 1. - Side One Track One


"Lightyear: “It Beats” / Debut “All Of the Miles” EP"

So, how about a brand new band to check out. From New York, they’re called Lightyear. Their presser refers to them as ‘dramatic-pop’, which means I’d probably classify them as ‘orchestral pop’ along with some other bands I talk about – namely Rubblebucket and You Can Be A Wesley (whose debut EP I also just received last night). Anyways, check out the track “It Beats” below (and a video teaser for the five-track EP above) and tell me what you think. They’re definitely growing on me as I listen to the whole EP. - New Music Michael


"MP3 of the Day"

Sounds Like: Laura Veirs, Emily Haines " 'It Beats' is essentially about feeling okay. Sometimes you feel 100 percent confident in your choices and other times you don't. It doesn't mean you're wrong or right but your heart beats regardless. In general I feel like we could all go a little easier on ourselves." - Aol Spinner


"Notes From the Underground | Lightyear"

"Lightyear is a solidly professional act from an accomplished songwriter who should soon be mentioned in the same breath with the likes of Feist and Regina Spektor." - NY Times Style Magazine


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

The ability to reinvent yourself takes talent, without a doubt, both because it requires enough skill to remake your persona and enough courage to let go of who you were before. I Am Lightyear, the brand new electro-pop baby of Lauren Zettler, is the product of such talent in action. I Am Lightyear combines stark, popping electronics, warm, bouncing basslines and Zettler’s own airy vocals, to create a sound that’s both human and intangible—filled with space and feeling. It’s strong music
that addresses vulnerability while revering strength, in the great tradition of Emily Haines and Patty Griffin.

“It Beats” is a song about how even when you know you need everything to be different, you can rely on the fact that your heart can be trusted and will keep on beating. It might seem like a tried and true theme—trust yourself, everything will be okay—and it is. Zettler draws her songwriting
inspiration from such classic pop composers as Billy Joel and Elton John, neither of whom were strangers to themes of the heart, but her lush instrumentation makes the tunes more than just love songs. “Home” is another such example. Zettler once again takes the form—the break-up song—and adds her own twist, both through a driving guitar line and swirling keyboards and through her philosophical look at something so sad and simple as being absent and present at the same time, disappearing from someone’s life but knowing you’re still there.

I Am Lightyear is true to its name. The songs are filled with space and sound that’s bright as light, and they all take on a shape that’s much larger than just their lyrics and arrangements. They pull from themes of change and heartbreak that are without a doubt familiar to everyone, and tap into that
feeling you always forget about until you’re in it again. The feeling that everything is open and your life seems to be made of nothing and capable of everything at once.

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Recent partnerships include:

- Converse Rubber Tracks studio - recording/production/music video for "Lose Myself"

- "It Beats" featured in ModCloth's 2012 Year-In-Review video

- "It Beats" to be featured in ASOS video.

Band Members