Chicago rockers Brighton, MA hit the Amsterdam in St. Paul tomorrow with Milwaukee outfit Jaill. BMA are touring in support of their freshly released sophomore album Oh Lost. We’re pretty stoked about this show, so after your day of badass art and music at Art-A-Whirl in Minneapolis you should definitely swing by!
MFR spoke with the guys of Brighton MA while they were on the road tuckered out and driving through a “spooky” area (their words). We talked about the new album; how they had a month of studio time to record it and working with producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine). Check it out.
You worked with Brian Deck on the new album—was it your first time working with him? Matt Kerstein: That was our first time working with him. We recorded Billboard Sun with our friend and Mark, the assistant engineer, went on to work with Brian Deck.
You recorded Oh Lost in 2011—was there a reason for taking about a year to release it? Matt: We had a backlog of material and we put out the EP [Billboard Sun] after we finished recording the new album. So, that was why—put out the EP [Billboard Sun], take our time mixing the new record, and then all the pieces that fall—getting the albums actually made, getting press together, etc. It takes awhile. We decided to wait until spring.
Your first full-length (Amateur Lovers) was released in 2008. Is it intimidating for a band to put out a second full-length five years later? Jon Ozaksut: (laughs) It was one of those where there was a lot of distance between the two in a lot of ways. Make up of the band changed quite a bit within that time. Between recording Amateur Lovers and [Oh Lost] Joe and I became full-time members of the band. We reevaluated a lot of things we were working with. We were able to break things down a lot. Having new voices there really helped the band break down the songs and move forward. It was an opportunity; sort of lit a spark I guess.
Matt: To add, I think that it was more exciting than intimidating. When the band changed to its current line-up it kind of felt like a new band in a lot of ways. It felt pretty far removed from Amateur Lovers.
Did that change the writing process a lot—do you guys write as a full band? Matt: These days…we put together pieces musically. I write lyrics, primarily, and sometimes I’ll bring in the verses and choruses and we’ll work on bridges and things like that. We also work on the instrumental pieces and builds and such.
Going back to Brian [Deck]—did he have a lot to do with the way things turned out in terms of arrangements, etc.? Joe: Yeah. He had a huge roll in that. It was kind of the main reason we went with him. He trims things down considerably—took all the fat away from the songs. The extra sections, the extra choruses, that kind of thing. A number of songs he helped reshape too. He didn’t write parts, but he suggested ideas about what to do with certain sections that weren’t quite there yet.
Matt: Another thing that he was amazing at was getting our best performance out of us and also judging when something was finished, or when to push.
You were able to take a month to record the album. Did you guys still have to work day jobs while you did that or did you completely shut out for that month? Joe: We kept day jobs going. Well, sorry, let me back pedal. The first 5 or 6 days the whole band was in full-time, but then once we had the basic tracking down we worked in shifts for the following weeks. People who had to work in the mornings would go to work, people that didn’t would go in and record their parts throughout the day; it was based on when they were free.
The band has undergone a lot of changes since its inception. Do you guys have any tricks to how you keep going? Joe: I think it’s just a willingness to take a certain approach to playing the music. It’s not as if we don’t all have dumb arguments like any other band does, but we let that pass. I think we all have a fun understanding of how bands are supposed to work and the importance of chemistry. That sort of helps us work through ego stuff that maybe other bands can’t deal with.
Matt: It’s also about everyone in the band being more or less 100% happy with the music we are making—live and in the studio—if everyone is happy with that and excited about the songs and playing together we’ll just figure all the other stuff out.
Where is your dream place to tour and who would be your dream act to tour with? Matt: Alive?
Nope. Combined: Beethoven and Jimi Hendrix?
Dream place would be… to be honest, [we] would love to go to Europe. Not that it’s that exotic. South America? We want a world tour actually.
If the band collectively was a cartoon/comic/tv show, etc., what would you be? Combined: Oh! We’d be fucking All In The Family. That’s the obvious answer. This might be because we’re in a van, but right now Scooby Doo. Right now it’s very spooky.
What is the last thing you guys listened to in the van? Combined: We were just listening to Harry Nillson when you called.
Catch Brighton, MA this Saturday with Jaill at the Amsterdam.
There’s a whole lot of love in the Midwest right now and the celebration continues this weekend! This Saturday Milwaukee’s Jaill and Chicago’s Brighton, MA are hitting the Amsterdam for a show with locals Ranger Ranger and The Mystery Train. It’ll be a groovy way to close out the night after a day at Art-A-Whirl in Minneapolis. For your chance to win a pair of tickets to the party email firstname.lastname@example.org with your favorite flavor of ice cream. .
Deerhunter have announced a stretch of U.S. dates with a stop in Minneapolis on 9/9 at the Fineline.
8/23 PHOENIX, AZ Crescent Ballroom
8/27 SACRAMENTO, CA Hawlow’s
8/30 VANCOUVER, WA Rickshaw
8/31 VICTORIA, BC Sugar
8/31-9/2 SEATTLE, WA Bumbershoot
9/3-9/8 PORTLAND, OR Music Fest Northwest
9/6 SALT LAKE CITY, UT Urban
9/7 DENVER, CO Bluebird 9/9 MINNEAPOLIS, MN Fineline
9/10 CHICAGO, IL The Metro
9/11 CLEVELAND, OH Beachland
9/12 TORONTO, ON Phoenix Concert Theatre
9/13 COLUMBUS, OH Skully’s
9/16 BOSTON, MA Royale
9/20 PHILADELPHIA, PA Union Transfer
9/21 WASHINGTON DC 9:30 Club
9/22 CHAPEL HILL, NC Cat’s Cradle
Swedish outfit Shout Out Louds will arrive in Minneapolis in just over a week to woo us at the Varsity Theater. You want to go, so why not go for free? For your chance to win a pair of tickets to the show email email@example.com with your answer to the following question.
If you had a choice what musician would you most like to be related to?