Artist Spotlight: The Lights

The latest group to join the UMass student band scene


Photo courtesy of Portteia

By Corinne Arel, Staff Writer

The Lights, who describe their music as “indie post punk,” have made their band debut on the University of Massachusetts campus.

Since forming as a group in October 2021, The Lights have performed several times around campus including at UMass’ student run radio station WMUA’s Battle of Bands competition.

“We’ve been doing music since October. We’ve done a lot in a very small time,” sophomore biochemistry major and drummer Peter Drakos said.

Sophomore dance major and lead singer Lili Greenberg was looking to form a band back in the fall of 2021 when she first met sophomore natural resource conservation major and bass player Darby McCullough. After responding to Greenberg’s band advertisement on Facebook, sophomore biology major and lead guitarist Sean Tobin met with Greenberg and McCullough for the first band rehearsal.

Despite the rough start to the first practice, the three members of the soon to be band persevered to see where they could take their musical talents. Meeting through mutual friends, Drakos eagerly joined Greenberg’s band shortly after.

Drakos brought along his friend, freshman marketing major Nicolas Williamson, who plays piano for The Lights, to the first official band practice in Herter Hall on the UMass campus.

With the initial few rehearsals underway, The Lights had their first performance opening for the Baxby’s, a student band at UMass, in November. As The Lights gained more of a following, they were able to hold their own shows and now play regularly around campus.

“It’s pretty cool,” Drakos said of being in a college band. “You’ll go around and you’ll see people who come to your shows and you can be super authentic and walk up to them and talk to them.”

Greenberg emphasized how The Light’s performances provide UMass students with an exciting space they can hang out at on campus.

“People are looking to do fun things around campus,” Greenberg said. “Bands give an outlet for people to go to other shows.”

The band also spoke about their experience playing in front of an audience and the thrill they get when performing.

“I’m the drummer. I set the beat that everyone else dances to and I get the choice of how that’s going to be,” Drakos said.

While he’s still new to performing to an audience, Williamson said he enjoys warming up during sound check. During the band’s shows, his favorite song to perform is one of The Light’s original songs ‘When.’

McCullough talked about how important it is for the band’s dynamic to perform live along with creating a close-knit community for their fans.

“It’s just a different way to connect with the audience but also with the bandmates,” McCullough said.

Greenberg also commented on the band’s relationship to their fans at gigs: “When a song gets quieter, you feel that. When it gets louder you feel people’s energy erupt,” she said. “There’s a part of one of the songs where we instruct people to crouch down to the ground and you see the whole audience go down a level, it’s so cool to see.”

With their growing fanbase, The Lights are looking to expand their gig venues and are currently working on a demo to be released in the future.

The Lights’ next performance will be on Friday, April 22 at 4 p.m. on the Metawampe Lawn at UMass. To learn more, follow The Lights on Instagram @the.lightssss.

Corinne Arel can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @CorinneArel_09.