The dream of brothers Kaleb and Marcus Barkac and third member, Jake Goldberg, is to make Alder Lights a full-time gig. They got a taste of touring last summer, playing until the wee hours most weekends until finally crashing around 4 a.m. after teardown. The roads are long in Montana. Kaleb says the trick was sunflower seeds. There’s something about the chewing and the spitting that kept them awake during the long hours of driving. Though also working full-time jobs, they loved every minute of touring, and it affirmed their dream of performing full-time.
In March, they released a new single, Creatures, adding one more song to their collection of originals. They’re working on expanding their repertoire, but they prefer a smaller set of songs that are “really polished and well put together.” Alder Lights holds a new song close to the chest until it’s the best it can be, leaning on the brutal honesty of their producer, Matt Blakeslee, to get a song right. “It can be really difficult to have something you’ve worked hard on get cut,” says Kaleb, but the music comes first, ahead of our individual goals.
They’re in the concept phase of a new record, feeling their way toward the most authentic style for right now. They’re shifting more into rock, but aren’t locked into a particular genre. Instead, they’re looking to make the best music possible, creating a very cool tension between three individuals with different musical ideas and each with a different focus in life. They come together and create music they love, and somehow it works. Kaleb finds that, “It helps that the band has created an environment where it’s easy, beneficial even to be honest with one another.” They’re in tune about the direction they want to go with Alder Lights, so can funnel all their energy into being a band and just enjoying it.
Although tempting to dream of the day when they’ll be headlining across the country, they’re working to stay present and focused on what they need to do as a band to reach their goals.
This is one of CMYK's values. Kaleb often mentions it when describing his song choices on a Sunday. Although he and Marcus emphasized Alder Lights doesn’t have political, faith-based or other messages to send, CMYK values — being present, honest and open — surfaced regularly throughout our conversation. “Being part of CMYK and its community of likeminded creatives has encouraged me to explore different musical directions and to be open to outside-the-box ideas,” Kaleb said.
The invitation for Alder Lights to perform on the main stage at Magic City Blues came as a surprise. Promoter Tim Goodridge sent a Facebook message while the band was celebrating Kaleb’s birthday at a local brewery. Marcus said, “Just got offered the blues fest. Clear your schedule. Drop what you’re doing, this is a big deal.” Marcus handles marketing and strategy, carefully shaping the band’s reputation and profile. He’d heard Goodridge wanted to involve local bands in MCB, and that he wanted someone well-established and marketable. In getting tapped for MCB, their work appears to have paid off. Sharing the stage with Phillip Phillips and AJR, it seems a good bet Alder Lights will be getting exposure to a whole new audience.
Alder Lights is scheduled to play the Budweiser Stage at Magic City Blues Fest at 6:15 on Saturday, August 4th. You can follow Alder Lights on Facebook or at alderlights.com. Their first album, “Here’s To Fate,” is available in the usual places.