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The Sound

Adrien Daller, always the team player

3/13/2013

Trouble Lights plays Gas Lamp’s 2nd Annual “St. Pabst Day Street Party” on Saturday, March 16.

Trouble Lights plays Gas Lamp’s 2nd Annual “St. Pabst Day Street Party” on Saturday, March 16.

“My favorite thing about working in music is collaborating with people on things,” Adrien Daller said during an interview. “I’ve been doing more alone, but ultimately why I went into music was to collaborate.”

Daller’s background is in musical theater, and eventually she moved to England to pursue that passion. That opportunity proved fleeting, however, and Daller was left trying to find herself again.

“I lost my work visa,” she explained. “I moved back (to Iowa) in a flurry and fell into the DIY music scene in Fairfield. At that point, Utopia Park was playing a lot of shows, but there weren’t a lot of other bands playing then.”

It was in Fairfield that Daller eventually met DJ Philip Rabalais, and the groundwork for the band Trouble Lights was laid.

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“At first when I moved back, I thought that I might be done doing music completely,” Daller confessed. “I’d lost the passion for it. The daily grind had worn me down. But the music scene in Fairfield is such a nurturing place. So Phil and I would go to parties and end up sitting in the corner talking about the kind of songs we wanted to write. Both of us wanted to write pop music, which neither of us really came from. He was coming more from electronic music, and I was from soul and blues growing up. But we just both had the same ambition at the same time.”

From those talks, the duo made the decision to work together on an electro-pop project that evolved into Trouble Lights. The pair released its first album — “The Endless Prom” — last year, garnering strong reviews. The album received coverage not only in local media, but also on sites like Huffington Post.

For Daller, the album’s positive reception is a natural byproduct of the close, collaborative relationship she shares with Rabalais.

“A lot of ‘The Endless Prom’ was written by Phil handling the production and me doing the lyrics and melodies,” she said. “Having that trust, knowing that he’s going to make something good, is so important. And in the future, I think we’ll take that even further and have him experiment.”

Daller and Rabalais want Trouble Lights to be an evolving entity. Neither artist is content to find a niche and crawl in. Even in the process of creating “The Endless Prom,” that desire to keep the experience fluid shown through.

“A lot of our songs are written where Phil will have a beat and maybe a riff, and I’ll write a melody and lyrics to go with. Then we’ll just go back and forth with it like that. He’ll go with something I’ve written and give it back and so on. And there’s some of it that we’ll do in the studio. Like, there are portions of songs that we’ll intentionally leave unfinished just so we can play with it in the moment while we’re recording.”

For now, the pair is back to writing, but Daller never stops experimenting with their past work or finding new ways to collaborate: Her newest pet project is a collaboration with her boyfriend (and Mumford’s front man) Nate Logsdon on an acoustic version of “The Endless Prom.”

“Right now it’s piano and vocals and synth, but I want to add some strings. Definitely, in the future, is an acoustic show, where there’s no beat, just a lush sound with piano and strings. (The collaborations are) one of the most exciting things about the artistic elements of the band.” CV

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