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Sugarcult’s Marko DeSantis Discusses ‘Lights Out’ Anniversary

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Sep 15, 2016.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    This week was the 10th anniversary of Sugarcult’s third album Lights Out. Guitarist Marko DeSantis wrote up a lengthy post on Instagram about the album and the label struggles that went along with it.

    This week marks the 10 year anniversary of our 3rd record Lights Out, which was bookended by what history has revealed to be prophetically titled cuts (Lights Out & Hiatus), it was our proverbial one that got away. Probably our darkest & heaviest record, Lights Out was essentially a two-part dissertation on self-medicating through one-night stands & loveless sex (Do it Alone, Shaking, The Investigation, Made a Mistake, Hiatus) ; and frustration w/ the music industry (Dead Living, Out of Phase, Explode, Start a Riot, Los Angeles) After years of gradually working our way up from the back alleys & side streets to the main drags & fast lanes of rocknroll, the stars were aligning for this record to be our grand arrival. Our record company had been absorbed by V2 Records, a fantastic label originally founded by Virgin Recs/Air/etc impresario Richard Branson & run by a select cast of street-smart sweethearts w/ impressive record collections & enough savvy to snag future heavyweights like The White Stripes, Moby, Phoenix, etc early on. After bumping our heads on glass ceilings w/ our first 2 records, we were thrilled to have found an equally graceful yet much more powerful engine. Or so we thought. The first single (of a 4-single plan), "Do It Alone", was released to radio & MTV (we shot 2 expensive videos for it on the label's dime, since they wanted to get it just right!), the record came out packaged in a beautifully designed matte-finish gatefold case; we embarked on headlining tours & all was well. They signed a slew of great bands from our touring community like Alkaline Trio, Straylight Run, Blood Brothers, The Adored, etc. Our next single, "Los Angeles" readied for an early new year's launch & then... V2's calls & emails slowed down; the jovial voices of their staff was EQ'd to hushed tones & awkward silences. We received the official communiqué that the label was being shut down effective immediately: all employees terminated & all bands basically fucked! To paraphrase John Lennon: "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans..."
    While we were surprised & disappointed; we knew things like this can be par for the course in the music biz, and since we had built a strong foundation on our own, we would be fine & figured our record would eventually land in its feet & find a new loving home. By now, they owed us (& many other bands) small-fortunes in unpaid royalties. We lawyered up & got in line. They gave us the run around, pushed the limits of every deadline & grace period while we sat around trying to make ourselves as unattractive to them as possible in hopes that they would relent & cut us & out records loose. We turned down tour offers, stopped doing press & basically went into a holding pattern until we finally cajoled them to let us out of our future obligations & settle for pennies on the dollar. By now the record cycle had lost all momentum & we were exhausted & heartbroken. We resumed playing shows & touring, but with no outside support there was only so much we could do. We all began settling into domestic lifestyles and strayed into our own individual projects: Airin focused on he & his friends' side project record that eventually manifested as Edward Sharpe & the Magnet Zeros (the record yielded the now modern-classic song "Home"); Tim began co-writing/producing for other artists & scored a huge hit w/ his first try... Neon Trees "Animal"; Kenny started an Americana group Good Man Down w/ his pals from Lefty & Lit & started KennyDoIt a charity foundation where he raised health awareness by riding his beach cruiser bicycle (across America!). I dove into family life, DJ'ing, lecturing/artist-coaching & some touring with my side bands (The Playing Favorites & Bad Astronaut)

    Sugarcult played shows here & there until our activity slowed down to a defacto hiatus (also the name of the last song on Lights Out; Hiatus!) It remains to be seen if/when we'll rock again as Sugarcult. Time will tell.

    smoke4thecaper likes this.
  2. Ryan

    Might be Spider-Man...

    Such an underrated band, this record is different for them, but really really good
    DejaMoi and bptky like this.
  3. irthesteve

    formerly irthesteve Prestigious

    Love these guys, love that album, really cool writeup
  4. Larry David

    I'll see you again in 25 years Prestigious

    So depressing that they've been gone that long. Record was different but so good still. Los Angeles was my jam!
    bptky likes this.
  5. smoke4thecaper

    out of context reference Supporter

    I wish more bands would post things like this. I'm fascinated by these sorts of stories. This remains my favorite Sugarcult record. In fact, I think it's time to celebrate the 10 year anniversary and play this record today.
  6. Ben Lee

    I drink coffee and dad my kids Supporter

    I did not know that all of those groups came out of Sugarcult.
    slickdtc and Serenity Now like this.
  7. A sad, but pretty by-the-numbers label story. Knew Tim went on to write a few hits but it's cool hearing what the other guys are up to. Had no idea there was any association with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.

    Palm Trees and Power Lines remains this band's best record though
    Ryan and bptky like this.
  8. bruinrk


    Marko djs at the Riff in hollywood almost every weekend (Jack from ATL's bar). Nice guy to talk to. Really loves what he does
  9. ARo24


    Awesome band. I haven't listened to them in ages I should get on that.
  10. Fox83


    I miss these guys. I think I google them once a year to see if I overlooked a return.
    InfiniteArms likes this.
  11. iam1bearcat

    i'm writing a book, leave me alone.

    fascinating and interesting read. a very underrated album that i still visit from time to time even after all these years.
    DejaMoi likes this.
  12. DallasSF


    Such a great record.
  13. mmhmm

    Trusted Prestigious

    He didn't mention that they purchased their lead single "Do It Alone" from some unknown band...I remember reading a post from a guy in the band they bought the song from for like $10,000. I know that kind of thing is common practice but it kinda bummed me like to think bands you like write their own songs. I should say, however, I'm pretty sure that was the only song on Lights Out that falls under that category.
  14. Full Effect Ed

    ...In F*cking Full Effect Prestigious

    I was just listening to this album on my way to work earlier, had no idea this week was ten years since its release!
    CMilliken likes this.
  15. Serenity Now

    deliver us from e-mail Supporter

    Meh. Seemed like a second attempt at the first release. Ex. Counting stars = crashing down.
    miltownrob likes this.
  16. slickdtc

    Regular Supporter

    Start a Riot is a banger. Cool to see how successful some of the band were in future endeavors.

    It's crazy how much joy the music industry brings to consumers and how terribly it's operated. Like education... so important, yet treated like such shit and we're all worse off for it.
  17. CMilliken


    I keep hoping these guys will make a return. Great album and insight. Hopefully a repress of this album will come soon.
  18. Jack Wilmott

    Self-described freestyle wizard poet.

    I went back and listened to all 3 Sugarcult albums after reading this. I definitely never gave this one the time it was due. I repeatedly listened to the highlights but its a very solid album throughout. Not quite to my tastes these days but the songwriting is solid throughout.

    Sad to hear the story behind it. Start Static was probably one of the first bands i felt like i discovered all by myself. Remember nagging my mum to buy me a copy for my birthday even thought my birthday was still about a month away.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  19. adleon18


    I still have vivid memories of buying this album, I still love it and spin it every once in a while. In a way, I always thought they planned the Hiatus all along with that being their last song (my personal favorite from the album) but it seems it was never the intention.
  20. Damien Davies

    Rustin' In The Rain Supporter

    Something tells me if they do come back, they won't sound like they did before. Tim has been king of radio hits the last little while and I feel like Sugarcult will be the "new band on the radio scene" if they ever come back.
  21. BackyardHero11


    definitely one of those bands I've always hoped would reunite. Great write up about this album which is still my favorite Sugarcult album. If no reunion, I will continue to hope someone does a vinyl pressing of Lights Out. would love to have that in my collection.
  22. shawnhyphenray


    I don't think this band is underrated at all. They just don't do anything anymore so no one talks about them, but they always got a lot of press and praise
  23. TFT87


    That's common practice for bands to buy other bands songs? I know bands co-write with producers, but damn. That's lame.
    Serenity Now likes this.
  24. Colin Your Enthusiasm

    It's nobody's battle but your own. Prestigious

    Record is def decent. I still spin it once and awhile. I need to read this. Bookmarked it and will when I get a chance.