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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | June 15, 2021

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A Word with The Red Lights

A Word with The Red Lights
Amy Billing
  • On March 12, 2013

I was lucky enough to meet the Melbourne 3-piece at a Deep Sea Arcade gig in Brisbane last year.

The Red Lights bring more to the table than just charm and good looks, they also make some pretty great music. Baring a vocal resemblance to Julian Casablancas, the lead singer of The Red Lights Dean Valentino caught up with me via correspondence (oh yes, I use words like correspondence now) for a chat.

The Red Lights, left to right: Davin Johnston, Dean Valentino & Dave Liistro

So lets get the formalities out of the way. Tell us a little about yourselves, where did you grow up, your influences, what drew you to music?

Dean (guitar/vox): I grew up in Melbourne, in a house where music was loved and appreciated – so I was pretty lucky to be introduced to some awesome bands early on. I was (and still am) obsessed with Led Zeppelin, which initially made me want to pick up a guitar. As I got older I began listening to a lot more alternative artists like The Strokes, Bloc Party, Phoenix,The Hives etc – which is how a lot of our music came to be. I also studied music during high school & at uni.

Dave (bass):  I grew up in Melbourne and have always loved music but was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to playing music myself. I started playing guitar at the age of 14 after seeing a year 8 battle of the bands, which Dean (Vox/Guit) actually performed at. (He’s actually half the reason I started playing guitar) Haha. My love for music just snowballed from there I guess..influences/Favourite artists The Strokes, Two Door Cinema Club, Arctic Monkeys, John Mayer

Davin (drums): Grew up just on the border of NSW in a small country town called Echuca. Have always surrounded myself in music- influence from parents & brother showing me bands. This led me into a keen interest into drums and then off to study a degree in music at Boxhill Tafe

When/how did The Red Lights come together and who else is involved in the process?

Dean: We formed in 2010, playing our first gig at The Espy in April. Myself (Dean) and Dave grew up together and became more involved in music as we got older, playing in a bunch of different high school bands. When we finally decided to get serious and write more of our own stuff we searched some music forums, hoping to find a drummer who would perfectly suit the band. We were lucky enough to find Dav straight up & we all got along really well from the first prac, so he just became an instant part of The Red Lights family. We met our manager Kath last year & she has become a huge part of our band, along with the team at Gaga Music.

What are your biggest influences as a band and as front man who has influenced you and your personal style?

Dean: As a band we were probably influenced the most by The Strokes, Phoenix & Bloc Party, with a little bit of Death Cab and The Wombats thrown in. 

Individually we change a lot & I think each of us have our own style that we contribute to writing. As a guitarist I was always fascinated with the way artists like John Mayer & Johnny Marr constructed their chords – and Phoenix. As a singer, I’m not too sure haha – I wouldn’t call myself a ‘singer’.

So what’s on the horizon for The Red Lights?

Dean: We want to take our band as far as we possibly can, building a strong rep [reputation] and releasing more singles and EPs. Touring is such a great feeling as well, so we’d love to be able to do that regularly with strong support. We try not to think TOO much, just work hard and hope that it all comes together – as clichéd as that sounds.

What has been your greatest achievement as The Red Lights and/or what are you most proud of?

Dean: So far as a band would have to be recording and releasing our Debut EP ‘Not in this Town’ and touring the east coast of Australia. So much time and effort was put into making the record and it was a great feeling to finally get it out there and get such a great response. Another great moment for us was going on a mini tour with one of our favourite bands, The Rubens along side our buddies Dark Arts. They were great guys and the shows were heaps of fun.

The Red Lights – Ghosts

Where can people find you guys playing in Melbourne and for us Brisbane kids, where would you recommend catching some great artists?

Dean: We play quite regularly around the Fitzroy area & occasionally the CBD. Our next gig is March 16 at The Workers Club with Rainy Day Women, Split Seconds and Hudson!

Melbourne is full of great live music places. The Workers Club, Ding Dong Lounge and The Evelyn always have awesome bands playing there & if you’re more into the dance side of things, Liberty Social Club and Can’t Say always deliver.

When are The Red Lights venturing to Brisbane?

Dean: We were scheduled for a couple of shows in May, which unfortunately got pushed back to June – but keep an eye out for that because that’s going to be fun to announce! We’re still hoping to come back in April/May anyway, because we love Brizzy.

What’s the next step for The Red Lights?

Dean: Writing, writing, writing. We’ve just released a new single and we’re dying to put together another EP soon, so we’ve got some hard work to do. Hopefully enough people love it and you’ll see us in Brisbane and other states more often!

You can listen to The Red Lights at,

Gig information and The Red Lights general whereabouts can be found on their Facebook page,

Written by Amy Billing