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Hit the Lights formed in 2003. During the band's documentary "Vultures Don't Eat Vans," the band dispelled rumors that their name was taken from a Metallica song. Band members Colin Ross and Omar Zehery first played in a local band The Goodbye Session. Nick Thompson originally was in a group called The Summer Departure and Nate Van Dame had worked for Hawthorne Heights as a drum tech. The band released their first EP, Leaving Town Tonight, in 2004. In March 2005, Hit the Lights recorded and released the EP Until We Get Caught on Silent Movie Records. The band signed to Triple Crown Records which reissued Until We Get Caught in November 2005.

Hit the Lights headlined the Let It Ride Tour in 2007 which featured support from Just Surrender, All Time Low, Valencia, Forgive Durden, The Secret Handshake, and Love Arcade. Lead singer Colin Ross stated that he could no longer be a part of the band because his heart just was not in it. The other members said they noticed that Ross did not seem to be as into performing and being part of the band the better part of the last year. They were slated to embark on a headlining tour in the United Kingdom in October 2007, but had to cancel due to not being able to find a permanent lead vocalist after Colin Ross left in June 2007. Colin performed his last show with the band on September 15, 2007, at The Axis in Lima, Ohio. After that show, the remaining four members went into recording and recorded a cover, "The Warrior", with Nick Thompson on lead vocals.

The band posted a new demo entitled "Stay Out", on January 31, 2008. Notably, their first single without former lead vocalist Colin Ross. On February 19, 2008, they announced that guitarist/backing vocalist Nick Thompson was taking over the lead vocalist role for the band. On July 8, 2008, Hit the Lights released their second full length titled Skip School, Start Fights. The band shot a music video for the song "Stay Out" in the San Francisco Bay Area on May 27, 2008. The band shot a music video for single "Drop The Girl" on October 6, 2008 in Van Nuys, California. The video includes Glee star Heather Morris in a small role. On June 23, 2009 Hit the lights released Coast to Coast which featured 2 new songs, 2 cover songs, and two acoustic tracks. The band embarked on the 2009 Warped Tour. At Cincinnati stop of the Warped Tour, former vocalist Colin Ross joined Hit the Lights on stage for the song "Bodybag". Hit The Lights embarked on a headlining tour in late 2009, called the Manotour, with opening acts There For Tomorrow, Fireworks, Sparks The Rescue, This Time Next Year, Vinnie Caruana, and Oh No Not Stereo.

In April 2010 Hit The Lights toured Australia with New Found Glory and Fireworks. Hit the Lights had fulfilled their contract obligations with Triple Crown Records and began looking for a new label. After a bidding war in March 2010, they announced that they had signed with Universal Republic Records, in partnership with Vagrant Records. Hit the Lights worked to write their major label debut, but became increasingly frustrated from the lack of feedback and the desire from the label for them to write Top 40 Radio hits. During this time, Universal Republic experienced significant restructuring and in May 2011 Hit the Lights asked for release from their contract, which was granted. On June 1, 2011 Hit the Lights entered the studio to begin recording their new record. Guitarist Omar has said that they have collaborated with Ryan Key from Yellowcard, Tim Pagnotta from Sugarcult, and Kenny Vasoli from The Starting Line. In September 2011, the band signed with Razor & Tie Records.

On November 1, 2011, Hit The Lights released the 3-track Invicta EP which featured three new songs that would appear on their third full length album.

On January 31, 2012, Hit The Lights released their third studio album, titled Invicta. The band announced that former vocalist, Colin Ross, would be reuniting with the band for their East Coast Tour, in December.

Hit The Lights signed with Pure Noise Records on April 14, 2014, planning a new record set to have been released in the fall of the same year.

On August 21, 2014, Hit The Lights finished recording their 4th studio album, titled Summer Bones.

A picture posted on Hit The Lights' Instagram shows the title of one song as Old Friend featuring former lead singer Colin Ross. Another picture shows another song will be titled Blasphemy (Myself and I).

In the comments section of an thread, when asked if the new album would be out by the end of the year, lead singer Nick replied: "Probably not, but the wait will be worth it. The record is definitely meant for a spring release."

On January 14, Hit The Lights announced on their Facebook page that the new album would be titled Summer Bones and would be released on March 24, 2015.
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