Jason Shi of ASG and Johnny Collins of Thunderlips have formed together an ass kicking duo and put out their debut album. If you haven’t heard of ASG or Thunderlips you can go ahead and crawl back under the rock you have been hiding under. The new self titled album was released on August 21st and is also on beautiful color vinyl via Seasons of Mist. They have a true rock sound that has really been absent in the music world for a while. Call it what you want, surf rock, desert rock, its just good music with great riffs that stick with you. We had the pleasure of speaking with Guitarist and Vocalist Jason Shi and asking him a few questions about what has been going on.
Metal Nexus: So you and Johnny released the EP “New Year’s Repeat” under then name Crusades. What made you guys change the name before releasing the new album?
Jason Shi: It was just a matter of another active band with the same name. I’m not sure how it is for other bands but for us naming a band is a miserable experience, but we settled with Wildlights and are pleased with it.
Metal Nexus: Coming into this project did you do anything to try and separate yourself from your other band, or did you just let everything have a natural progression?
Jason Shi: Nothing dramatically different no- the greatest difference was that it was nice to have a fresh start- no real expectations. I’m sure there will be comparisons to ASG and Thunderlip but that’s most likely because people want a reference of some kind. For us starting from scratch was liberating and something new for me since ASG is the only other band experience I’ve had.
Metal Nexus: I have found that both Wildlights and ASG are very lyrically driven. What inspires you lyrically?
Jason Shi: I think lyrically I write rather selfishly. I rarely pick a subject or have something deliberate to say- melody is most important and lyrics second. If I come up with a line or phrase that I like, I then build off that line and see where it takes me. It’s kind of nonsensical but it’s how I approach it. But lyrics are homework, I’m not in love with it.
Metal Nexus: Do you have any plans to tour in support of the album? If so would it just be as a duo?
Jason Shi: We do have plans to tour and the band would be a four piece. The handful of shows we have played we rounded out the band with various friends from our area. It’s been fun having a revolving cast of characters.
Metal Nexus: Playing in two bands how do you keep from getting burned out?
Jason Shi: Well that’s why we wrote the album as a two piece because we were so busy with our other bands and aspects of everyday life that the writing was sporadic and over the course of several years. It seemed unfair to drag some other musicians in when there would be 2 month gaps between rehearsals.
Metal Nexus: North Carolina has been a hotspot for up and coming bands over the last several years. Do you think there was any contributing factors to your bands growth simply because of location?
Jason Shi: Wilmington has always had a strong music scene with lots of players and genres- so as a city it’s definitely contributed to North Carolina’s overall reach. It’s proximity to the coast and it’s Universities keep wilmington a popular destination-it’s still growing- not too big and not too small. It’s a great place to call home.
Metal Nexus: The album art was done by Brian Mercer, which is great I may add. Did you give him any input or did he have complete artistic freedom?
Jason Shi: Yes we were really happy with how the artwork turned out. We gave Brian full freedom for the most part- he sent us some early sketches, we chose the one we liked and kinda said keep going this way or that. Brian Mercer is the man.
Metal Nexus: We all know you are an avid fisherman and we certainly hope kicking ass in two bands doesn’t cut down your fishing time. Do you prefer freshwater or ocean fishing? Caught anything huge lately?
Jason Shi: Fishing is my job outside of music and I spend several days a week in the saltwater. The cape fear river offers some fresh water possibilities but I’m primarily in the salt marshes picking oysters, mussels, clams etc or catching flounder, trout and red drum. As far as big fish it truly has been the summer of the shark- we’ve have caught some 6-8 footers uncomfortably close to shore!!
Make sure to follow Wildlights on Facebook.