"Music is so powerful that way: It dictates and soundtracks our moods," says the electro-pop star

By Jeff Nelson
Updated April 08, 2016 12:05 PM
Credit: Warner Bros. Records

Canadian electro-pop artist Lights is best-known for her synthy tracks – but she went back to basics for her latest project.

Taking eight tracks off her Juno Award-winning LP Little Machines, Lights strips down the production of them on Midnight Machines, out Friday. And PEOPLE has an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how the collection came together – made by Lights herself.

The singer-songwriter reimagines her already twinkling jams, transforming them into dreamy lullabies that put her wispy alto on full display.

“I wanted people to hear every word really clearly because I put a lot of emotional energy into each line,” the star, 28, tells PEOPLE. “I also wanted to show the versatility of a song. An upbeat song, for example, means one thing, but when you hear it with really vibey, mellow ambience around it, suddenly the same words may mean something else. Music is so powerful that way: It dictates and soundtracks our moods. I just want to create something that can be there for everyone.”

And Lights credits that ambiance to the string quartet she recruited, her band’s sexy, restrained performance – and some “mystical” vaping in the studio that lent itself to “a light, fantastic atmosphere – very much like a misty elven forest.”

The singer’s tour will end next month, and while she’s “definitely writing and working on new stuff” already, she relishes what little down-time she has with her family: Blessthefall rocker husband Beau Bokan, 34, and their 2-year-old daughter Rocket.

“I love any minute that I get with them,” says Lights. “Our down time at home consists of hikes and video games and trying to cook – because we are awful at it. It s nice to pretend we could lead a normal life!”