Interview by iamparadox
The Indie music scene has rapidly become one of the fastest growing, if not the fastest growing, segments within the music industry as a whole. Starting way back with bands like R.E.M., Jane's Addiction, Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana, indie music has exploded. Just thinking about all of the most recent break out bands is enough to make your head spin: MGMT, Vampire Weekend, LCD Soundsystem, Kid Cudi...we could keep going.
What would it have been like to catch any of these bands before anyone knew who they were? That question probably explains my addiction and passion of seeing as many bands as possible. I'm also lucky enough to live close to two great music scenes: Dallas and Austin. I recently got to meet a new up and coming band from Austin called The Bright Light Social Hour before a fourth of July weekend gig they played in Dallas. Here is a summary of our conversation, along with a review of the show.
Ok so whats your story for those of us who don't know? How long have you been together and how did you meet and get started?
"Well two of us first met (Curtis and Jack) and started hanging out and playing music like five and a half years ago. The two of us sent out a campus wide email and met the other two. So now this line up of four of us has been together for two and a half years. There was an immediate bonding over both music and facial hair (lots of laughter)."
What's new, what comes next?
"We have been and are currently working on our first full length record. We've been in Austin working with Danny Reisch (has worked with White Denim) working and saving money to finish the record. Actually for about the past 6 months since the beginning of year we have been trying to save all of our money for this project."
What is the mystery, the myth, the legend behind Jack's Mustache?
"Well just look at it! (Everyone cracks up laughing pointing at co-founder Jack O’Brien and his famous mustache). Well we were trying to be creative and find a way to try and come up with money needed for the recording. Daniel, our producer, emailed Jack from Dannys email@example.com to Jack's mustache! So we are trying to use it to raise some funds. We even give out fake mustaches at the merchandise table! You can hire us to wash your car or take a canoe ride with us, ha."
What is the story behind your band's name? What psychedlics were you on when you came up with the name?
"It was given to us by gypsies when we we babies. No just kidding, but the gypsy lady was adament we keep it."
When you guys break it big time, who would you like to go on tour with?
"My Morning Jacket" (unanimously)
How do you like playing fests? How does the festival scene compare to playing a venue like this tonight?
"We have played SXSW and ACL, along with a few other fests. And we are also about to play De Los Toadies fest also. We prefer fests since you get your music exposed to those you might not ever get to. There's great cross pollination that happens as opposed to just fans specifically showing up to see a band, like tonight. So the main difference is in the promotion."
How is the scene in austin--is it competitve or communal?
"We would say a mix of both. There are just so many bands and venues you have to be creative to stand out. so its competitive structurally but communal socially because after the competition everyone hangs out."
Do you think of yourselves more of a live band or studio band? Do you care what people think of you as, and has this changed since you are now in the studio?
"We have definitely been known as a live band up to this point because it's mostly what we have done and how fans know us. We are doing our best to catch the live sound we have on the record. It's a different, more complicated and detail-oriented process, but we think it has made us better musicians. We have been under the microscope, sometimes having to play the same song ten hours in a row."
Ok, so they seem like cool enough guys. Honest, sincere, hard-working, and most of all, very funny. But what about the real test: how do they sound? I discovered why the band has attracted so many fans by playing live. They come across with a sound somewhere between My Morning Jacket, O.A.R., and yes even Sly and the Family Stone. They play straight up rock laced with soul, funk, and electronicia. The band ripped through their setlist with high enery, yet never seeming to be in a hurry. Their songs are filled with long solos and jams that are simply mesmerizing. Instantly you sense why they had absolutely no problem winning the Dell 'Sound and the Jury' contest for a spot to play at ACL. The guitars and keyboards blend together for an incredibly stunning sound. Don't take my word for it: catch them live when you get the chance, and until then, here is a clip:
The Bright Light Social Hour have come a long way in a short time. They have a powerful and unique sound that not only sets them apart from other bands in Austin, but should help them attract attention in the indie world at large.