RYL: Tell us everything about your last album “Space is still the place”, what is its main achievement lyrically speaking?
THE BRIGHT LIGHT SOCIAL HOUR: I think that depends a lot on which of us you ask. I’d say Infinite Cities or Ghost Dance.
RYL: Among the new songs released is “Slipstream”, what inspired it?
THE BRIGHT LIGHT SOCIAL HOUR: It was a groove Jo and I had been working on, and when Curt added the Moogerfooger’ed guitars and vocals, plus the synth pads, it made us imagine a scene of being all alone in what feels like an ill-fated train car, but that’s really moving toward something beautiful, like community, salvation, outer space.
So Curt and I sat by a pool one day and wrote lyrics with the theme of a death train for the ego, moving from struggle and isolation toward oneness and enlightenment on some starry night beach.
I guess it’s about letting go of inward-focus and outward fear to embrace community and togetherness in order to achieve progress.
RYL: Is there something that ties all the songs of the new album? A common theme?
THE BRIGHT LIGHT SOCIAL HOUR: Yes, definitely. It’s really an autobiographical story of our sort of musical, professional coming-of-age.
Taking a last look at the past before setting ourselves free from it and looking toward a bright and open future. We’re also taking that same lens to the world around us, particularly as it pertains to the southern U.S. where we spent a lot of time touring while writing this record.
The grittier, more traditional songs look at the ugly history and difficult present tied to that history, while the dreamier, synthy-er, dancy-er tracks look toward an open future free from that past, represented by outer space.
RYL: Who produces your music?
THE BRIGHT LIGHT SOCIAL HOUR: We recorded and produced this record ourselves.
RYL: How do you, usually, write the lyrics of your songs?
THE BRIGHT LIGHT SOCIAL HOUR: So many different ways, and we’re always in search of new methods.
But on this record, we’d generally write the basic tracks, discuss together what it made us feel and imagine, and one of us would take it home, write a whole draft, and the others would give thoughts on the weak and strong points, at which point the main writer would take it back and tweak it until we all felt right about it.
Some songs, like Infinite Cities or Sweet Madelene, Curtis would write one half and I’d write the other half, with feedback from each other and Jo.
RYL: Which is the best verse you ever wrote?
THE BRIGHT LIGHT SOCIAL HOUR: My favorite that I’ve written is probably the first verse of Ghost Dance, but it’s really hard to choose!
A glowing dawn of crowded eyes
Each a screaming pulsar
Wounded knees, dance ’til clean
The needles in the ghost
Grit, sand, silica
Demand perfect porcelain
Distant glimmers’ ancient dust
Begs the flesh to rise
RYL: Which is your favorite song of the new album?
THE BRIGHT LIGHT SOCIAL HOUR: Oh man I can’t answer that! Hmmmm probably Dreamlove or The Moon.
RYL: What does “Ghost Dance” mean for you?
THE BRIGHT LIGHT SOCIAL HOUR: This song was inspired by a movie I watched about the Massacre of Wounded Knee and the Ghost Dance religion.
To me, it’s about group minds, groups getting together and falling in with each other. It goes back and forth between the individual and the group.
The individual (the verse) is outraged, freaked out, panicked by all the examples in recent history of groups getting together and being violent toward other groups, and urging, begging for the use of this kind of group-think for good, for the spread of love and progress and beauty.
And the chorus group-chants represent all the people together, just being a part of whatever it is you wanna be a part of when a big group of people are doing something that looks like the right thing to be a part of.
I think singing in particular, like at a concert or in church or in a yoga class or sports game, to be contributing a little to this massive sound that engulfs you is a really amazing, powerful thing.
But I think that’s also how we’re led into these group mindsets of oppression and hatred.
So the verses are saying “Hey! Fuck! Snap out of it!” Be a part of the group and love it but also love and be yourself and be aware of how powerful this group thing is and use it for good.
PRE ORDER LINK FOR THE ALBUM: http://geni.us/Pjn
RYL: You will be touring soon….! What do you expect from it?
THE BRIGHT LIGHT SOCIAL HOUR: Lots of connecting with lots of beautiful people in lots of beautiful places.
Spring Tour Dates:
2/15 Miami, FL @ Coconut Grove Arts Festival
2/21 Laredo, TX @ Jalapeño Festival
3/5 New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge (Early Show)
3/6 New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge (Late Show)
3/7 Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
3/27 Austin, TX @ Stubb’s **Official Album Release Show**
3/31 New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
4/1 Pensacola, FL @ Vinyl Music Hall
4/2 Jacksonville, FL @ Jack Rabbits
4/3 Orlando, FL @ The Social
4/4 St. Petersburg, FL @ The State Theatre
4/7 Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
4/8 Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle – Back Room
4/9 Washington DC @ DC9
4/10 Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
4/11 Cambridge, MA @ Middle East (Upstairs)
4/12 Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Showcase Lounge
4/14 Montreal, QC @ Quai Des Brumes
4/15 Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
4/16 Grand Rapids, MI @ Founders Brewing Co
4/17 Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
4/18 Cincinnati, OH @ The Woodward Theatre
4/19 St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway Nightclub
4/21 Nashville, TN @ The Stone Fox
4/22 Little Rock, AK @ Revolution Music Room
4/23 Tulsa, OK @ Vanguard
4/28 El Paso, TX @ Lowbrow Palace
4/29 Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
4/30 San Diego, CA @ The Hideout
5/1 Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg HIFI
5/2 Costa Mesa, CA @ The Wayfarer
5/3 San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
5/5 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
5/6 Vancouver, BC @ Media Club
5/8 Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern
5/9 Spokane, WA @ The Bartlett
5/10 Boise, ID @ Neurolux
5/12 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
5/13 Denver, CO @ Bluebird
5/15 Dallas, TX @ The Kessler Theater
5/16 San Antonio, TX @ Jack’s Patio Bar
RYL: How did you first get involved with music?
THE BRIGHT LIGHT SOCIAL HOUR: My dad was a blues/rock organist when he was younger, so he really turned me on to lots of great music from a really young age, and got me messing around on piano and violin as a kid.
RYL: Going back to 2010, what inspired “Back and Forth”?
THE BRIGHT LIGHT SOCIAL HOUR: I’ve always been really into disco bass, and I think I was messing with rhythms in the style of Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” and the like and Curt jumped in with the melody. I think it’s just about the duality of the human experience, being caught between the tempted and upright parts of ourselves.
Album Art, credit Mariano Peccinetti
The Bright Light Social Hour, credit Pooneh Ghana