Despite the name, indie folk rock band Brighton MA are actually Chicago-based; the name is a reference to the birthplace of singer-songwriter Matthew Kerstein. Alongside him, guitarist Jim Tuerk, guitarist Devon Bryant, bassist Matt Priest, and drummer Sam Koentopp make up the five piece who have picked up a loyal following since their self titles debut LP in 2007. Their latest project, the double A side Touch / Thank You For Sending Me An Angel was just released last week, and you can check it out on the Groovebug iPad App. Fans of Arcade Fire, Spoon, and Of Montreal should definitely check out the Brighton MA sound.
Q: What is going on right now for Brighton MA?
A: We were lucky enough this past summer to shoot a video for a new song of ours called Touch. It came out great, and it’s up on the web now. That tune is also available as a single coupled with a cover of a Talking Heads tune called Thank You For Sending Me An Angel and both are available on iTunes and Bandcamp. We finished recording these tunes at the sessions for our new album called Oh Lost that we’ll be releasing later this year. Tour dates are being booked as we speak, and of course, we’ve started writing material for the next album — never a dull moment.
Q: What is the most fun you’ve had writing a song? The situation that inspired it?
A: Do we have to pick just one?! We have a pretty collaborative process, and Matt and myself are constantly writing new material. Sometimes a tune takes a while to rear it’s head. For example, there is a song on the new album called Sidewalking that has been rewritten more than 10 times since the verse bassline was written (in 2005!). So in the studio, we rewrote it yet again on the spot under the insistence of Brian Deck. It’s that kind of immediacy that we really love trying to get, and Brian was instrumental in making that happen this time around.
Q: Who has encouraged you the most to pursue a career in music?
A: Short answer: everyone. Everyone in the band has been playing since they were a little kid so there’s been a long history of family and friends supporting what we do. And of course, every time we play a show we meet someone new that has connected with a song, and that’s always a reminder of why we keep getting in the van to another show.
Q: Can you tell us about the moment you decided to quit your day job to pursue music as a career? Where were you/when was it?
A: It’s funny actually, we all have day jobs, though most of us work in the music world or thereabouts. But music is one of the things that makes us each the happiest. Writing, playing, recording, being on stage with a group of your best friends communicating without talking — it sounds a little ‘hippy,’ but as soon as you feel that musical connection with another person, it’s near impossible to not want more of it.
Q: The new music video [Touch] is awesome! Care to enlighten our followers about that project.
A: It was a blast to make that video, see the party scene for example. We worked with the guys and gals from Bailout Pictures on this one, and they did a phenomenal job putting it all together. Trevor (the kid in the video) nailed the performance. Cool dude too. ”Break up the hush/try to live off the touch” were lines that Matt had been playing around with for awhile. And related to the video, it’s about the failures of trying to define yourself by latching onto something that isn’t really who you are. The kid in the video tries his hand at making himself unique by donning Insane Clown Posse makeup in a world full of folks reaching out for just the same thing. Of course, it doesn’t work out, because it’s not him. The lyrics moreso point to a turning point when you stop all that—the day when “it’s safe to turn down the radio,” and move forward with all that you’ve learned through your failures.
Q: Which artist would you most like to work with, dead or alive? And why?
A: We’d try to pick someone that would help bolster what we already have going rather than change it. Having some Van Dyke Parks, Rogério Duprat, or Ennio Morrione arrangements around our tunes would be ridiculous and amazing to us.
Q: Which historical musical moment do you wish you were present for?
A: So many to choose from. Being at The Beatles’ recording session for the orchestra ‘orgasm’ in A Day In The Life from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Jagger and Richards were around then too, so I’m sure it was a crazy hang. Though any show with Hendrix, Zeppelin, Mingus, or Dylan’s first electric tour would suffice if we had a flux capacitor.
Q: The Titanic is sinking and you’re the band… what are you playing?
A: We’d opt for something less obvious than, say, I’m Going Down by Bruce Springsteen. Maybe a the hauntingly beautiful Albatross by Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac.