Peaking Lights

Double births, sylvan days and nocturnal dreams

Text by Meg Woof

Photography by David Black

Last year, one album in particular was championed ceaselessly by music aficionados - Peaking Lights' 936. One of those rare records that continues to keep on giving, it is the work of Indra Dunis and Aaron Coyes, a grounded and free-minded couple from Wisconsin who sweetly have tattooed each other's names across their hearts.

Despite also having a son last year, the pair have managed to produce a follow-up in the form of the cosmic Lucifer. It is as beautiful and graceful as its predecessor, and references a series of extraordinary astrological events that they believe will take place later in the year. While 936 was all rays of sunshine, its warmth made explicit in a handful of the titles ("All The Sun That Shines", "Summertime"), Lucifer possesses songs such as "Moonrise", implying it is a far darker set.

For Aaron, though, the two records add up to a musical orbit. "It's making a full circle through daytime and night-time," he says. "In a way, Lucifer feels like a continuation of 936, but we didn't try and write that record again."

Indra agrees. "I could see it as a cycle. 936 starts in the daytime and then we finish up with Lucifer at night… and I guess that leaves us to think, where is the next one going?"

On both records, Peaking Lights come across as honest, their heartfelt approach ensuring they stand head and shoulders above the dirge of commerciality that dominates today's music scene. "There's a lot of sarcasm and jadedness in our lives already," Indra says. "And that's become the norm. We're trying to do something a little more from the heart."

Their primary inspiration, they say, is their son. "With Lucifer, most of it has to do with having a child. Some of the songs are about our son, Mikko. "LO HI", is about exploring the world for the first time through the eyes of our child. That theme itself conjures up a sense of wonderment."

This innocence prevents the songs from becoming too didactic. "It's not wanting to be too political but, you know, we're wanting to imagine a different world to the one that we live in. One that is more free and green, where we treat each other with respect and where we aren't influenced by negativity", explains Aaron.

Musically, it wouldn't be fair to locate Peaking Lights' music in any particular genre, transforming as they do western sounds into world music. "We listen to a lot of African stuff, jazz, Latin music, soul, reggae," says Aaron, going on to namecheck India's Charanjit Singh and Cameroon's Francis Bebey. "They're definitely an influence," he says, "mainly because it's just people playing around. Early dance stuff is all so playful, and I really don't want to lose that."

Lucifer is out from 18 July on Domino.

  • Peaking Lights