FEATURE: Lights Over Bridgeport Represent Chicago Punk Hustle

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Interview and words by: Annette Hansen

 

No one ever said staking your place in the music industry was easy. Continuing to work that grind for over a decade is especially admirable. For vocalist and guitarist John Hamlin Lights Over Bridgeport has been a passion project of his since 2001.

For a long time, in the early history of the band I was younger and didn’t really apply myself to trying to grow the band,” Hamlin explains. “It was, more or less, an outlet for my personal interests and passion with music.”

Over the years, Lights Over Bridgeport has seen its fair share of lineup changes, but just before the start of the 2010s the band experienced their biggest shift yet. That shift included lineup and musical changes, but it made what the band is today and rewired Hamlin’s outlook for the future of the project.

“Over the past five or six years we’ve had a little bit more success, and I attribute that directly to developing a little more of an understanding of running the band like a business and trying to grow our fans,” Hamlin says.

The band, which also includes drummer Kevin Jamroz, guitarist Miko Ramirez and bassist Kurt Miller, have worked over the last few years to continue that progress forward. In that time the band have put out increasingly successful music releases.

In February 2017, Lights Over Bridgeport independently released their latest EP Good Grief. With the new EP the band aimed to step-up their game across the board with tighter production and catchier hooks. Hamlin feels that the EP accomplishes those goals, “I think we’ve improved as songwriters and delivered better songs.”

While Hamlin has always sought to write from a place of transparency, with Good Grief he dug into a deep place drew from his own personal and emotional experiences.

“There’s some emotional stuff related to relationships and passions of mine that I don’t always necessarily have control over the outcomes, and so writing songs to deal with that stuff gives me a little bit of my own sense of closure,” Hamlin explains. “it feels like it gives me a voice, so it’s liberating in that regard.”

But striving for that kind of honestly Hamlin says is a natural part of his songwriting and a natural part of what Lights Over Bridgeport has to offer, “It’s an inseparable part of [our music],” Hamlin says. “Our band has always been about feeling and emotion and passion…I think it’s what we as listeners in the band respond to most with music, and it’s what we’ve always wanted to convey.”

Over the years of growing Lights Over Bridgeport, growing not only as artists but as self-made musicians, the band have taken each new experience and milestone as another reason to keep moving forward.

“I think what motivates me now is still the opportunity to share my art through a song, but also the result of seeing actual applied hard work,” Hamlin expresses. “I’ve had some amazing things happen in the past couple of years.”

For over a decade, Lights Over Bridgeport has continued to be an outlet of passion for Hamlin and it’s something he has not intention of letting go of anytime soon, “[The band]’s basically been my life’s musical outlet,” Hamlin says. “It’s taken on different shapes and forms, but it’s still around because I still love making music and I still care about it.”

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