Like Lightning and Sipping Soda – An Interview with Lightning Cola
written and shot by Ashdon Byszewski
For the wild-wave-washed-dreamers of Lightning Cola, it’s all about passion; each song a moment, feelings that describe them as a whole. A genuine, quiet group, the band’s fast songs and loud lyrics make up for the shy exterior. Members Jordan Graham, Nathan Blake, and iconic brothers Niko and Xander Sitaras all coexist with individuality that immediately sets them apart.
Originally Paper Days, vocalist Niko is first asked the most obvious - why the name change?
Was Minneapolis folk band The Paper Days a bit too similar for our guys, especially when fans accidentally downloaded their album instead? “Partially,” Niko confides, but mainly the band felt Lightning Cola was more indicative to their vibe, more their image, which they intend to give off in their songs. “Passion. And love. We give everything we have.”
“We sound like Lightning Cola.” Jordan smiles.
Their debut album Fun for Family and Friends radiates passion and lightning in every line, capturing all the vibes of the sea in a storm. Popular titles such as “Kind Guidance” and “Boy” were quickly received this January with eager, hungry ears. When asked about sporadic new single “Desire”s success, the band happily admitted that they were thrilled. “It’s about being in a relationship that’s really, really great…. Giving yourself up wholly. On the wave of your desire / not simply at your feet / I will get there and so will you.” Niko hums happily.
Differing from the originals, such as “ Playground Dreams” and “Creature”, “Desire” jumps from adrenalized to slow, intense to passionate all in a single breath. Mid-chorus, Sitaras passionately screams “I don’t need it” to the crowd, leaving us to contemplate his meaning for ourselves.
With their success and popularity as fast paced as their songs, one has to wonder how the faces behind the talent come up with it! The entire band agrees that when it comes to Lightning Cola, it’s usually situations that spark a new song. “We’re pretty sporadic. Like 75% of our songs start with a jam. We just start playing, but we all know when we hit something good.” Niko confides. “It’s like the ultimate high.”
When asked if girlfriend Caroline Corn ever inspires his lyrics, Niko regains his solemn, enigmatic exterior and nods. “Oh totally. Totally. You’re with someone for so long… I mean, everyone we surround ourselves with influences us. She definitely does.”
He goes on to tell me they’ve been to every single one of each other’s shows, supporting each other. He smiles as he says this, but is serious, too. One can easily tell that these two are meant to be. As the band gets ready to warm up onstage, we break from our little huddle in the dark, heading down the steps to the Ché. “I think you guys inspire everyone.” I say, thoroughly moved. Niko looks back. “I hope so.”