Hungry Lights is an experimental music project founded by singer-songwriter, musician, multi-instrumentalist, comedian, and actor Justin Bonitz that focuses on telling stories through concept albums.
amnaeon & The Origin of Hungry Lights Edit
Hungry Lights was originally under the name and concept of a different project called, "amnaeon." amnaeon started off as a four-man-band, in 2009 with Justin as the lead vocals, guitar, and song-writer. amnaeon's first release was a 13 track demo titled, "Everything That Exists." In 2011, they released another 13 track demo titled, "Aorta Borealis" which contained revised versions of the same songs. As other members abandoned Justin's project to pursue other goals, Justin continued growing it as a solo musician, and in 2013, released a 14 track album titled, "Aorta Borealis IV."
Over the next year and a half, Justin released three more 14 track albums titled, "The Proamates III," "Wolfpit Drive V," and "General Reem II."
As amnaeon, Justin had amassed a large following on YouTube. Most of his following came from covering songs by other artists, comedic skits, cameos in videos across YouTube, and participating in music contests and often winning.
Justin had been working on his fifth album, which he made known would be under the title, "Mt. Krell I," when he suddenly announced he would be remastering his first album again. Many fans were concerned that the songs would not be as good as the originals, but Justin disclosed that he had been revising and recreating some of his songs since 2006, and that they had technically never heard the "originals."
A month or so later, he uploaded a very emotional video to his YouTube channel where he disclosed that he hated doing covers, and was extremely upset that his fan-base preferred hearing him sing other people's songs over his own. He stated that they did not appreciate his true passion, and soon after, left all social media, deleting his YouTube channel, Soundcloud, Facebook page/account, Bandcamp, and taking what he could of his music with him. Before he vanished, he left one final post where he stated,
"I just cannot handle it anymore. I steered my channel in the wrong direction, and I need to start over. Please understand that I am not quitting music. Think of this as a tactical retreat. I will be back. Just search for 'Hungry Lights.'" -Justin Bonitz
Two months later, a YouTube video under the account "Hungry Lights" appeared. In the video, Justin apologized for offending anybody with his final video, but did not apologize for the things he said. He disclosed that he was finding himself. He was unhappy with who he had become, the image he was portraying, and said that he felt lost. He revealed that he had started working on his new album, but did not know when it would be finished, just that it would be a completely new experience with a completely new concept behind it.
He then asked the viewers not to subscribe to his channel unless they were interested in watching his content. This was the only video on the channel for a long while, then it mysteriously disappeared, and in its place came an acoustic performance of a track titled, "An Outset In The Sea" which seemed to be the revised version of an old track titled, "Everything That Exists."
The Awry Ascent Era Edit
Main Article: The Awry Ascent
Upon his return, he appears to be in high spirits, and has obtained an extreme distaste for the ego. He constantly encourages others to find their "true-selves" and to let go of the "reflections of society."
Justin would often host live streams on YouTube, that being one of the only ways he interacted with his fans, the regulars in the live streams became the first core fan base of Hungry Lights.
On October 9, 2015, via a video on YouTube, Hungry Lights announced the release date for his debut album "The Awry Ascent" slated for 3 days later along with a preview of the album. The album was released on October 15, 2015, for sale on BandCamp and was made available to stream on YouTube and SoundCloud over the following few days.
The novelization of The Awry Ascent is slated to be released sometime in 2017.
The Awry Ascent is Book 1 of the Hungry Lights story From Windfall To Hell.
Heavy Is The Crown Era Edit
Main Article: Heavy Is The Crown
On December 28, 2015, Justin announced on his new vlogging channel "Hungry Buttons" along with the track list, that the title of his second album would be "Heavy Is The Crown."
On November 15, 2016, Heavy Is The Crown was released on Bandcamp.
Heavy Is The Crown is Book 2 of the Hungry Lights story From Windfall To Hell.
Three Gods & Me Era Edit
Main Article: Three Gods And Me
Three Gods & Me will be Book 3 of the Hungry Lights story From Windfall To Hell.
Musical Style & Influences Edit
Hungry Lights is known for blending multiple styles of music, bringing in influence ranging from various types of progressive metal all the way to styles of hip-hop, alternative rock, folk music and more.
Because of this, Hungry Lights does not believe in genre labels, he feels that they are limiting, and believes that music should just be listened to and appreciated, rather than categorized and fought over.
"Putting a label on yourself is like creating walls of limitation, and as artists, we should not have any limitation whatsoever. When you label your sound, people expect that certain sound from you, and when people expect a certain sound, and you (the artist) does not deliver, they may be let down, and that is harmful to your growth as a struggling musician. Music should not be placed inside of a folder and categorized. It should be free." - Hungry Lights
Thus; in his attempt to break free from the archaic barriers, and rebel against the human nature of labeling, he calls himself, "Other," as he likes to experiment with a vast plethora of sounds from numerous cultures to which has become the Hungry Lights sound.
During a live Q&A, Hungry Lights has said that the biggest musical influences to his sound are the following bands:
- Small The Joy
- Disillusion (specifically the album Back To Times Of Splendor)
- Pathogenic (specifically the album Cyclopean Imagery)
- Days Of The New (specifically the album Days Of The New III)
- Fair To Midland.
He claims that all of these bands have struck that certain "sound" that he has spent years trying to replicate and refine; an ideal mix of rock, metal, and grunge backed by a powerful orchestrated soundtrack.