Local band lights up CU-area music scene

Promotional photograph courtesy of Headlights. Photo courtesy of Headlights

Promotional photograph courtesy of Headlights. Photo courtesy of Headlights

By Missy Smith

Growing up in a small town away from larger music scenes may be stifling for some musicians, but not for Tristan Wraight, guitarist and vocalist for Headlights. He revels in the more personal aspect of the music scene in Champaign.

“It seems to me the bigger the town, the more difficult it can be to make an impact on the music scene,” Wraight said. “That is one good thing about Champaign, it is really small, but there’s always a fresh influx of people and ideas.”

Now, coming off of the recent success of their debut full-length album, “Kill Them With Kindness,” Wraight said he is excited to kick off Headlights’ new album with parties in St. Louis, Chicago and the band’s hometown, Champaign.

Recent success has not gone to the band members’ heads. Wraight is quick to point out the road to success was, and still is, a long one. He said right now they are just taking it in and are grateful for any good fortune that comes their way.

“The first several years were pretty tough,” Wraight said. “We just scraped it all together, burned CDs, stenciled our names on them and sold what we could. We have had a lot of luck in the last few years. Things have started to go really well for us and we are really grateful for it.”

Now, after a break from touring that led to Headlights’ second full-length album, “Some Racing, Some Stopping,” the band is ready to get back on the road and promote their new sound.

The new album is something that Headlights is eager to promote, Wraight said.

“This time, we really devoted ourselves to being patient and spending time getting sounds that we really liked,” Wraight said. “We wrote this record as we recorded it, so it was something immediate and exciting and fresh. It was something that we had a lot of energy for.”

That energy produced a sound that is simplistic, but not amateuristic, and it is something Wraight said he is proud of.

“We were a little more confident in our songwriting abilities since it wasn’t our first album,” Wraight said. “We trusted ourselves a little bit more to go out on a limb this time, and we honestly thought the songs were good. They didn’t need a lot of bells and whistles with them. We turned around and recorded, and it turned out a lot less dense than our last record, but it was a pseudo-conscious, but more of a natural turnout.”

Still, Wraight said they try not to take themselves too seriously and see what they do as a privilege and not an obligation.

“I think in the indie music scene, there is a lot of potential for pretension,” Wraight said. “We get bent out of shape when you hear about bands that only care about the ‘cool school.’ We think that music is just this awesome communal thing to share with the world, and we just want to have as much fun doing it as we can.”

Check out Headlights tonight at The Canopy Club, 708 S. Goodwin Ave. Tickets are $8 at the door.