Galaxy Hops, Alternate Dimensions & A Studio Album on a Can of Beer

the lights outThe Lights Out pose with their beer can album. Photo by Erin Genett.

The Lights Out and Aeronaut have teamed up with Brooklyn Boulders for a record release that’s unlike anything you’ve seen (or heard) before.

lot is going on at the release party for The Lights Out’s new record, a concept album about navigating alternate realities in the multiverse that the band has aptly titled T.R.I.P. The festivities are happening at Brooklyn Boulders, so people will be scaling the walls throughout the show. BB is turning off the lights, because the band has created a wearable light show that corresponds with their record.

And oh yeah—the album will be the first one ever released on a can of beer.

T.R.I.P. shares its name with the latest brew from Aeronaut—an imperial session ale that’s the first in their Intergalaxyc series.

Wormholes, alternate dimensions and something called galaxy hops? Yeah, our interest was piqued, to say the least. We asked The Lights Out to walk us through this multi-dimensional multimedia collaboration before they play it in full on November 12.

Scout Somerville: Okay, an album that’s being released on a can of beer. How does that work? And how did the idea for a collaboration like this ever come about? Over… beers?

Adam Ritchie (guitar): When you’re finishing a record, a conversation always comes up about release formats. For an album that talks about infinite worlds of possibility, it didn’t make sense to limit ourselves to anything traditional. If the idea is to make the album you can’t buy, because it doesn’t exist, so you have to make it—that’s an approach that should carry through to everything you do. The Lights Out loves beer, so we said, ‘Why not release this album on a format we love?’

Aeronaut tells stories through their beer, and a common thread through those stories is the idea of a journey—specifically, a journey between realities, just like us. They immediately understood what we were trying to accomplish, and found a way to incorporate the pandimensional pilot character from The Lights Out into the universe of Aeronaut characters created by label artist Raul Gonzalez, while brewing a beer designed to pair with the album. The beer is an imperial session ale. Those two words shouldn’t coexist in a single beer. But if you believe in infinite possibilities, they can. And Aeronaut pulled it off.

SS: T.R.I.P. is a concept album about inter-dimensional travel and parallel universes—what are some of your influences? Kraftwerk? Daft Punk? The Flaming Lips? …Rick and Morty?

Rishava Green (vocals): Musically, everybody brings their own heroes to the party. I’m the Cheap Trick/Van Halen/Kiss guy. Jesse is the Motown/Chili Peppers/Hall and Oates guy, Adam is the Def Leppard/Rush/Ryan Adams guy and Matt is the Pixies/Talking Heads/Ween guy. The Flaming Lips are definitely great, and I definitely feel simpatico with their sense of wonder and of their approach to deep questions. Lyrically, I love how John Prine can say so much with such heart and economy. We meet somewhere in the middle of all that plus a bunch of other stuff like movies we’ve seen, books we’ve read, conversations we’ve had, or any image or moment that catches and stays in the memory.

Thematically, we read a lot of sci-fi, like Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert and Orson Scott Card, and theory like David Deutsch, Brian Greene, and Hugh Everett.

SS: How do you go about developing the light show that corresponds with the show? In both an artistic and technical sense?

Jesse James (drums): To bring the music to life, we invented a wearable light show called the Color Machine. It’s the vehicle that takes us through the darkness between realities. Every moment of every song is synchronized with more than 1,000 individually-assigned LEDs. When we sing about space, you’ll see flickering stars. When we sing about a sunrise, you’ll see a sunrise blooming across our bodies and instruments. When someone takes a guitar solo, they light up like a supernova.

Every song is an opportunity to use light to inspire people to move.


The T.R.I.P. artwork is by Medford-based artist Raul Gonzalez. Photo by Erin Genett.

SS: You’ve said to “do what the beer tells you to do.” Can you give us a hint about what that means, exactly?

Adam Ritchie: The beer label instructs drinkers to take a specific action over social media. The Lights Out will respond to them with an insight into what an alternate reflection of themselves is doing right now in another reality, along with a link to stream and download the album.

SS: Where do you go from here? An album on a bottle of tequila?

Adam Ritchie: We have the freedom to release our music on any format we choose. The possibilities are endless. The Lights Out is definitely a beer band, and we’d be hard-pressed to find another partner as good as Aeronaut—a company that was already talking about using their product to fly through wormholes in space and time? I mean, come on. But since we’re living in a multiverse, there has to be a world where the next album is coming out on a bottle of tequila. Or a box of marshmallow peeps. Or a box of chocolates. Know any good pandimensional chocolatiers?

You can grab tickets for The Lights Out Party on Eventbrite and check out a trailer for the new album—and the beer—below!