When Winnipegger Jean-Guy Roy founded Federal Lights back in 2010, it was a solo basement recording project — the product of stolen early mornings spent experimenting on a bare-bones setup in a cold storage room.
Federal Lights provided a bridge back into making music for Roy, whose previous band, Britpop-influenced outfit The Morning After, disbanded in 2008. Still, Roy wasn’t interested in being a guy-with-a-guitar, nor was he fulfilled by recording lo-fi creative exercises for himself. The songs he was writing — earworm indie-rock anthems with big choruses and even bigger guitars — were meant to be heard live, and they were meant to be heard live with a full band.
Like all good music destined to be discovered, it wasn’t long before those soaring choruses found their way onto Winnipeg stages. Roy enlisted the talents of bassist Rob Mitchell (The Attics), drummer David Pankratz (Quinzy) and his wife, keyboardist/vocalist Jodi Roy, and, by mid 2011, Roy found himself fronting one of Winnipeg’s most buzzed-about live bands.
In fall of 2011, Federal Lights recorded some songs with noted engineer Cam Loeppky (Weakerthans, Greg MacPherson, Cannon Bros.) at his Prairie Recording Co. The result is Carbon — a debut EP that captures both the intensity of Federal Lights’ live show as well as the raw grit of Roy’s early basement recordings.
With the release of “Carbon” in 2012, the band garnered a spot at CMW and is now looking forward to its Canadian Summer Tour including stops at the Trout Forest Music Festival, The Brandon Folk Festival and others.