Read Pretty Lights’ Exclusive Interview with High Times from 2013

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We’re finding very creative ways to bide our time while we wait for new Pretty Lights music. It’s been five years since we received the last Pretty Lights release, “Rainbows & Waterfalls.” You’d have to go back to 2014 for his last album, The Hidden Shades. That’s right around the time he did an interview with one of the most famed cannabis-centered outlets, High Times.

A Reddit user who goes by u/GreenScene33 posted photos of the magazine, which they recently happened to come across. Reading the piece certainly brings us back to nearly a decade ago, when PL was arguably in his prime, and a cornerstone of the electronic music scene.

You can check out the Reddit post here. We’ve also transcribed the piece so you can read it below. Enjoy!

You’ve gained a following by giving your music away. What were the early days of your career like?

When I was trying to become a touring musician, peer-to-peer downloading post-Napster was in the Soulseek era. I never imagined the project would grow to the size it has; I just wanted to come out of as many speakers as possible. Downloads for my second album went from 100 a month to 15,000.

How’d that happen?

A combination of word of mouth and free access. People were so ready for something new. It moved from jam band scenes to the electronic world and now it’s getting popular in the hip-hop world. The crossover is dope, because it connects all those genres. I had to weigh the potential backlash from my fans if I were to switch on them.

A lot of people will say you’re devaluing your art, right? I don’t like to look at it like that. I’m going to make it whether or not I make a million dollars or $100.

Does the sale of your music help support the tours or do the tours pay for themselves?

The tours definitely support the music. It’s a flipped model. It allows me to not deliver pizzas. That’s how independent musicians succeed now.

Did you deliver pizzas?

Calzones and pizzas. I actually managed a calzone shop. They named one after me called the D-Zone—that was my rap name. I got fired because I shut the store down early when they were on vacation to go to my homies’ first production set. That was my last job, but I still needed some way to sustain myself while I honed my craft.

Do you have a formal education in music, or are you self-taught?

Definitely self-taught. I took electric bass lessons when I was in middle school and worked at a studio. I was in a band called the Freeze—it was a Beastie Boys-type thing where we rapped and played chilled-out funk music. In 10th grade, we got second place at Fort Collins’ Battle of the Bands. All the people in the band are on my record label now.

When did you first smoke?

I played basketball when I was a kid because I’m tall, and for a long time that was my dream. When it was time to go to junior high, my mom got really terrified ’cause she thought I was going to turn into a bad kid. So she sent me to private school—a Baptist academy. I got expelled and then some friends and I snuck out with a Sprite can and a paper clip. We hung out on a playground with a little chunk of brown frown with lots of unwanted materials in it. I was like, “This tastes like shit!”

How does weed influence your music?

There are times when I’ll be working on a track and I’ll blaze and it’ll sound so good, and other times when it’ll have the opposite effect, where I’ll be like, “This track is wack!” I don’t know if it’s the strain or just my state of mind at the time, but sometimes it can make me hate my music—and sometimes it makes me love it even more. My vision of the future was making music and supporting myself by cultivating sticky, tasty flowers. It allowed me to get much better at what I do because I didn’t have a nine-to-five.

That’s the way the world should be. How do you feel about legalization?

I’m completely proud of where I come from [Colorado] and that we were one of the first states to pass the regulation laws. For a while, it was out of control. I know that happened in Southern California, and there were as many dispensaries as Starbucks. Billboards were everywhere with crazy high-def nuggets on [them]. That was a quick change.

What was your favorite strain that you got to play with?

Hawaiian Sativa—it was thick, pungent and really resinous. If you cured it right, it had the perfect crumble factor. It cures easily, and that’s extremely important to me.

Did you do a flush? A long flush with no nutrients so that it would get that white-ash burn when you smoked it?

Yeah, we flushed the shit out of that Hawaiian. you could get that, like, really perfect burn where there’s white ash in the joint—like a bomb just dissipates. When I was growing, the electricity bill was always the biggest worry, especially in [suburban] Fort Collins. I knew people who were stupid with that, and they got busted. It wasn’t that long ago. Think about how much COlorado has changed. I can say that I’ve been there and seen it change … and when I was in the game the money was big, dude.