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In 1998 Tammy Flynn walked out of the mountains of Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia and receded into the shadows of a daring dreamer named Scarlett. Together they ran and in 2006 settled in Toronto to find love in the grasping arms of the music man. It was there, while waiting beside silent telephones, strumming E chords and scribbling words on bar room napkins, Scarlett met fellow escapists, Sarnia natives, Dave Puzak (guitar) and Kevin Howley (drums/vocals). Dave had a lop-sided grin and the sort of eccentric brilliance equal to a mastered physicist. Kevin was a bottomless heart with an ancient soul and the talents of a time-honoured legend. Set against the backdrop of a dying afternoon around the kitchen table of a suburban Pickering townhouse, Running Red Lights was born. Determined and united, RRL began searching aimlessly through the rocky terrain of the music mountain for a voice they could call their own. Collectively, Scarlett, Dave and Kevin were tribal devotees of pensive storytelling and savoury pop melodies, however, a borage of individual influences drenched their burgeoning canvas with a mismatch of disordered sound. RRL spent almost 2 years on weathered stages fostering their craft and tossing still-born songs into forgotten graves until finally in 2008 the band’s kinetic onstage exploits aroused the ears of multi-Juno award winning producer, Gavin Brown (Billy Talent/Metric/Three Days Grace). The band spent over a year under Brown’s development and in 2009 celebrated the release of their first self-titled EP. Though the recording was a viable attempt at hook heavy, accessible pop/rock, the mutation seemed a disingenuous stretch from the artistic spirit that united the band originally. Nonetheless, shortly thereafter, following a union with Colin Lewis, Vice President of the renowned Agency Group, the band began promoting their new material at high-profile festivals and a score of smaller bars and clubs around Ontario. Highlights from this period include a knock-out opening performance for The Counting Crows at Rogers Sarnia’s BayFestival to a crowd of 15, 000. Amid such moments the dominion of the world felt approachable. However, gravity had different plans altogether.
In the beginning of 2010 a series of soul-sapping events lunged RRL into a struggle for survival. The band found themselves face down in furious creative and career disappointment. Abandoned by industry supporters, exhausted by pretension and cast between fierce ambition and retreat, Running Red Lights drained the tub and deconstructed themselves back to the roots. It was during this period the band met bass player, Jeff Carter. Jeff was an electrical storm of playful energy with fiery bass chops. His jovial and vibrant nature infused a much needed breath of sweet air into RRL’s inflating balloon. The band quickly shifted back into focus and a series of reflective and heavy hearted songs materialized during the early Spring of 2010. By the Summer of the same year RRL received a necessary injection of confidence after winning the annual Niagara Parks YouDiscover Concert series. An assortment of veritable names in the Canadian music industry endorsed the band as ‘Canada’s next biggest export’ and the endowment provided the band the opportunity to perform alongside Canadian Icons: Kardinal Offishall, Barenaked Ladies and Great Big Sea at ET Canada’s New Years Eve celebration in Niagara Falls to a crowd of 30,000 people and a viewership of 2 million nationally.
In January of 2011 RRL released their second EP, ‘Life Below the Red’. The 2 song prevue was a bittersweet articulation of the bands battle for integrity ('Music in My Head') and also a liberating retreat to an adolescent naivety ('Sour Grapes'). The recordings were a prelude to a new and improving creative direction. In June of 2011 RRL entered and won the Kensington Sound Annual Songwriting contest.
Relics of harsh weather and prodigious wounds, the band spent much of 2011 rebuilding and self-healing in front of blank pages and studio microphones. A change of course allowed Kevin a further role as second lead vocalist. Together the band began to experiment with weaving harmonies built around intricate stories of duel perspective. The result was suggestive of the American classic pop band Fleetwood Mac. Dave’s sweeping, euphonious guitar style had elements of both playfulness and a spectral-like quality. Jeff’s melodic and driving bass work perfectly complimented the soulful nature of Kevin’s rhythms. The era of counterfeit creativity was over and Running Red Lights finally transposed themselves into the legitimate, sincere pop group they visualized from the beginning.
Toward the end of 2011, in an effort to bridge the gap between the live show and the growing shift in creative direction, the band solicited the talents of Bob Ezrin protege and accomplished producer Brian Moncarz (The Junction, Moneen). During the course of Summer 2012 the band engrossed themselves in the writing and recording process and by the early winter of 2012 the band released their third EP, ‘Rose-Coloured Windows’.
In the dawn of 2013, after a stretch of 7 years, Running Red Lights felt the impulse and readiness to finally undertake the challenge of an album. Returning to the assembly ground floor the band spent much of 2013 writing, recording and self-producing the debut full length album ‘There’s a Bluebird in My Heart’, to be released January 14, 2014. The band most recently returned from ‘The Greatest Adventure in History Tour’ across the Pacific Northwest in support of the release of the albums leading single ‘Mulberry Love’. The single has been the source of several applauded reviews with one reviewer declaring Mulberry Love as ‘the kind of song that makes other songs not matter’.
‘Born into a space between the notes of Fleetwood Mac and the words of Sylvia Plath.’ Running Red Lights will celebrate 8 years with the release of their debut full-length album January 01/14