Pop-Punk Partying: Interview with Pat Kennedy of Ohio’s Light Years!

While the city of Sheffield has produced a fantastic amount of bands throughout the years, the backdrop of the working class, steel making industrial north hasn’t tended to inspire its youth to produce sugary Pop-Punk and Punk Rock.

So, we at SFTS are looking a little further field to fulfil our Punk Rock needs.


Light Years, from Kent Ohio, would not be the first band to pop into your head when you think American Pop-Punk. While the household names dominate the airwaves across the US, the real excitement is building in the Underground, with the four-piece one of the latest pioneers to carry the Punk Rock torch.

SFTS caught up with Pat Kennedy, Vocalist and Guitarist of Light Years, which is made up by Dan English on Drums, Andrew Foerst on Guitar and Tommy Englert on Bass.

Forming in 2010, Pat reveals the motivations behind the formation of Light Years.

‘’Light Years began in the summer of 2010 I believe. I had always wanted to do a super catchy pop-punk band that sounded like all the bands I grew up listening too like Blink-182, Lifetime and Saves the Day.’’

Those influences are there for all to see on debut EP tracks, Biographies and World Burns Out, the latter which the quartet have filmed their first music video for, an experience that Pat seems to cherish.

‘’It was awesome! I was a little nervous, because we wanted to do like a live video thing and I kept having these thoughts that like 13 people were going be at the show and we would just look super stupid. But all our friends came out and we had an awesome time playing and David from Downpour Creative put everything together very nicely .”

While the band is no stranger to slogging their way around the sprawling states of America, their recent European tour with fellow SFTS favourites Pentimento brought a who new experience for the young guys from Ohio.

‘’In the US we end up playing lots of houses, or VFW halls that kids rent out to put shows on. In Europe we always played at a real music venue with a legit sound system and we did sound checks before we would play, which made us feel like U2. Don’t get me wrong house shows are awesome and we love playing them, but it was cool to feel like a “real band” for a little bit.

Although being a vocalist in a Pop-Punk band touring the world in a Pop-Punk sounds like the most fun ever, it’s not always that easy, Pat explains.

‘’It is really hard actually. Especially at our level, where lots and lots of personal money is used to tour and make merchandise and put gas in the van. Right now I don’t have a job and I leave for tour again in a few weeks so no one will hire me. But we all make it work, trying to sell shit here and there, hopefully finding a flexible job that allows you to leave whenever. Or just piling up crazy debt and saying fuck it.’’

Being on the road brings all sorts of trouble, and Light Years are no exception, it may seem.

‘’A lot of wild shit happens on tour, but one thing that stands out is when we did a small tour last spring with Maker. On the way to the first show, no more than 45 min away from our house our entire front bumper just flew off on the highway and a semi-truck driving right behind us smashed into it! We were so scared we were gonna get arrested or something so we pulled over and got the bumper off to the side of the road and took off. Our van looked hilarious for the rest of the tour without a front bumper but we were just glad we didn’t kill a bunch of people on the highway.’’

While the band have no current plans to come back to Sheffield, their latest release, ‘Just Between Us’ should act as a Launchpad to much greater things. It’s a record Pat seems incredibly proud of, as he explains the bands mind-set this time around.

‘’The record is called “Just Between Us” and Escapist Records is putting it out. It is a 7inch with 5 songs. I am very proud of this record, I think it shows Light Years at its best. We didn’t compromise our sound at all, it is still fast, still catchy, and has a little moshy mosh tucked away. But I do think we were able to make it sound a little bigger, or more “mature” if you will, than our previous record.’’

You can check Light Years out on Facebook, Twitter and Bandcamp.

Feature Photo Courtesy of Garrett Elkins Photography.

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