Lit Releases New CD!

Get those CD players warmed up people, Orange County rockers, Lit, are back with a scorching new disc that at first listen will simply blow your socks off! (And maybe a few other things!)

On their new self-titled four CD, this Orange County quartet has not only done their job—they might just be due a promotion. They’ve delivered a stellar 13-song disc, full of personal, passionate and diverse songs, without a thought to trends. Of course, Lit can’t seem to stop selling records either, starting the winning streak with 1999’s major-label debut, “A Place In the Sun,” yielding the smash singles “My own Worst Enemy,” which held the number one position for three months and received a Billboard Music Award for the biggest Modern Rock Song of 1999; “Ziplock” (#11) and “Miserable,’ which was among the top-ten most played songs of 2000 and featured Pamela Anderson in the video. Two other CDs, 1997’s “Tripping the Light Fantastic” and 2001’s “Atomic,” which spawned another top ten hit with “Lipstick & Bruises,” platinum sales, world tours, and video as clever as the band’s witty lyrics, cemented Lit’s deserved success. Circa 2004, with the release of “Lit,” and the first single “Looks Like They Were Right,” the band brake away from the past in nearly every way.

Central Coast Teens recently spoke with A. Jay Popoff about the new CD, the music business and more, here is what he had to say:

Interview with A.Jay Popoff

CCTeens: The new songs really jump off the Disc and grab the listener, your last CD Atomic was released back in 2001, and did the extra time between records help with the overall quality of the new CD?
A.Jay Popoff : Wow, it doesn’t seem like that long has gone by ( Laughs ), I think it definitely helped the attitude of the band, our morale, because we went through a lot, after Atomic, we re-evaluated our situation with our record label and realized it had become a whole different place than when we signed with them, a whole new staff, just a whole lot of strangers that didn’t really know us, we didn’t know them, so basically our goal was to get out of there and find a new home for Lit. We used some of that time to do that and once we got out of that deal… it went from a sort of negative situation to a positive one as far as writing goes, just because we felt that sort of freedom again. I think it sparked a new passion that we were starting to lose due to lack of support. It’s hard to put your heart and soul into an album and then hand it over to someone who doesn’t quite know what to do with it, or doesn’t really have the same passion, your just sort of like throwing it away by doing that I think. So we weren’t anxious to write another batch of songs and do the same thing again so I think we sat back until we felt comfortable that the record would see the light of day. So once we were in that position everyone got creative again, we started rehearsing a lot more and we were just stoked about it, and the new songs I think reflect that, and reflect some of the negativity and some of the stuff we were going through, which I think for us is a lot… we’re better at writing about that kind of stuff than I think when everything is going peachy you know? So we had all that freedom, we produced this record ourselves, there was really no one else in the mix to dilute it, anything we wrote, if the band was into it we basically put it on the record. We wrote every song, recorded every song, mixed every song here in Orange County, so it was kind of a first for us and it felt good to be able to do that. I think as far as production quality I’m probably happier with the turnout than any of our other records, which is pretty incredible to do all that on our own and then to be so stoked with the quality of it.

CCTeens: Did the songs change much when you started to record them in the studio, and for that matter, did they translate to tape as you envisioned them while writing?
A.Jay: Actually this time around, because we did it so close to home and we had access to studio’s pretty much in our backyard, we kind of wrote and recorded almost as we went, and then as we got through the songs, if we came up with new ideas we would go back and re-record those songs. A couple of the songs actually we had just kept from sort of a demo version and just sort of remixed them, it was just a different process and I think because we were recording… basically the same way we did the album was the way we did the demos, the continuity was there, and we were able to go back to things and had unlimited access, we were able to keep the gear set up so no sounds had changed.

CCTeens: Tell us about the new single “Looks Like They Were Right”, it sounds like you really captured an up to date sound while retaining the trademark Lit vibe.
A.Jay: “Looks Like They Were Right” lyrically it’s similar to “My Own Worst Enemy”, but where “My Own Worst Enemy” is sort of that one night of bingeing and regretting it the next day this song is more about a period of time that a lot of guys go through, whether you get it out of your system in High School or whatever, I think every guy at one point or another goes through a period of time where they’re sort of a Dog and cant really seem to get their shit together when it comes to a relationship and show no regard for anyone, your just doing your thing and you cant really help yourself, but it’s just a period you just gotta get through, so that song is I guess about that guy that every mother warns their daughter about.

CCTeens: Personal favorite’s off the new CD?
A.Jay: I think my personal favorite right now, and it constantly changes, it would probably be “Too Fast For a U-Turn”, for me, I love playing that live, it’s got more energy than I think…probably more energy than anything we’ve ever done.

CCTeens: Sounds like a great set opener.
A.Jay: Yea, we’ve actually been opening the set with that one.

CCTeens: This CD is unique in that you’re not on a Major Label; tell us about the decision to break away from RCA and the advantages of being on the Independent Label.
A.Jay: I look at it as like, when your with a Major, its almost like having a big corporation being the band and then signing it away and your given small shares in the corporation, the structure with this new company is more of like a partnership, much more of a joint venture, every ones looking out for each other, where as a Major Label has one goal in mind which is recoup their money and to make more money off of you. There are Major Labels that I back and it’s not always a bad situation but I definitely think that there’s a new wave that’s gonna start happening now that a lot of the Majors are merging and so much in the music business is sort of crumbling into the Internet and all that kind of stuff. There’s got to be an answer to that and I think this new joint venture partnership thing….at least as far as the bands go I think there are going to be a lot less angry bands (laughs), the bands aren’t going to be getting screwed over as much.

CCTeens: What are your likes and dislikes of the Music Business, and do you think more bands should do their part in trying to change things currently are?
A.Jay: There’s really not a whole lot about the music business that I do like, to me, it’s the music that I like and playing shows. I’ve always tried to stay out of and ignore the actual business side as much as possible just because it’s really easy to get distracted and forget why you’re doing it to begin with. I didn’t get into music for the business side of it, its good to understand the business and know what’s going on or to have faith in the people your working with (Laughs) that they do understand it, but it’s a lot better for us I think to focus on the live show and the others things usually fall into place if you have the right people working for you.

CCTeens: Do you think more bands should go with independent labels and change the way the business is generally practiced?
A.Jay: It’s hard to say, there’s always been that Indie versus Major battle. We started on an indie and it wasn’t a good situation at all, we couldn’t get our records in the stores. I think if it’s the right indie and a strong enough staff that has experience with majors and knows how things work it could be a really good thing. I wouldn’t really say that more bands should or shouldn’t go indie, but I think for a band that has been doing this for a while and has learned a lot about the business, I think for those bands it might be the right thing. For new bands that need a big push maybe a major is the way to go, maybe you need to get screwed a couple times before you actually learn (Laughs).

CCTeens: The Internet has become a big factor in the way bands promote themselves today, has this been a success for Lit so far?
A.Jay: I think back when Lit first started it was before the Internet was anything near what it is now with the MP3’s and downloads and all that. I think we sort of built our base more on touring than anything else, and I think for new bands the Internet is awesome, if we would have had it early on it probably would have been helpful, but as for now it’s a great way to keep fans updated on what the bands doing. We recently put a few songs on our Website for downloads as we were recording new demos to get feedback from the fans on the new songs and that actually worked out really good.

CCTeens: What kind of Tour plans are in the works?
A.Jay: As for now we have a few Radio Festivals booked and then when we get back from doing those we’ll start on our headlining tour in early summer.

CCTeens: Which live shows stand out for you over the years?
A.Jay: I think probably Warped Tour would be one that stands out a lot because its sort of like the boot camp of touring and we had the chance to meet and hang out with a lot of bands, you get a lot of time when your actually doing nothing but standing around tour busses and hanging out between bands, so that was cool. Going out with The Offspring stands out just because that was our first real tour of the U.S. and we also went over and did Europe, so being in a foreign land with a band from our home town was really cool. I guess there’s aspects of every tour we’ve done that stand out. We did the Redding Festival which was insane, that one always stands out. We love being on the road, it’s been a while, we’re anxious to get back out.

CCTeens: What inspires you to play night after night, how do you keep things fresh?
A.Jay: We love playing our music, so that’s the main thing, just being able to play it every night in front of different people. It’s fun just to go into rehearsal and playing in front of each other with no one watching, but it’s a whole different experience when you’re on a stage and you’re getting reaction from people, fans and people who haven’t heard the songs yet.

CCTeens: Was there a certain event or personality that inspired you to pursue music full time?
A.Jay: I would probably say, for my brother and I, it would have been our first concert which was Iron maiden, I was 8 years old I think, so it was around that time that I knew that I wanted to be in a rock band, we’ve been going towards that ever since then.

CCTeens: We are a Website for Teens, what were your Teen years like?
A.Jay: We pretty much started this band, it wasn’t in this form at the time, I was the drummer, but I’ve pretty much been playing in the band since I was 14. All my Teen years were all about Rock n Roll and I couldn’t wait for the school day to end so I could go play my drums or go to band practice or start planning the weekend. Our weekends were basically were basically all about promoting the band, we were out handing out flyers at concerts or wherever we could get the word out. I loved my Teen years.

CCTeens: Any advice for young musicians getting started?
A.Jay: Get out of it as soon as you can (Laughs), no……I would say what a lot of people try and do is get the record deal to soon or that seems to be the ultimate goal is “We wanna get signed” or spending to much money on a demo, I think young and new bands need to probably focus more on writing songs and working on their songwriting craft, and playing as many shows as possible, I think that’s probably the most important thing for a band, lots and lots of shows, and if they can get on a tour, even a small tour, that’s really good because you get a good feel and see if every ones in it for the right reasons, if all the guys come back and they still want to be in the band after a tour then it’s a pretty good sign that that’s a good line up (Laughs), a lot of people cant handle being on the road.

CCTeens: Is being in a major band and touring the world anything that you imagined it growing up?
A.Jay: Yeah, for the most part, as far as the touring with the band and the fans, and the backstage and the partying, all that kind of stuff, is exactly what I imagined, but it’s the in between the lines stuff that you pretty much have no idea until your there, you know? I definitely think the pros outweigh the cons by far, it’s a lot more work than I thought it would be, as far as schedule’s and that sort of thing goes.

CCTeens: Any final words for your fans on the Central Coast and beyond?
A.Jay: We’re anxious for everyone to hear the new record and we have a new DVD that’s coming out that is awesome, it’s basically the entire history of Lit, 3 hours of footage that is put together really well and we’re really excited about that and anxious for people to see that, actually the first 100,000 copies of the new record have a DVD with it, which is sort a snippet of what the full length will be.

Please visit: LitLounge.com.

Very Special Thanks to: Ken Phillips and A.Jay Popoff!