Friday, February 25, 2011

Chicago band The Bright White making its presence known on stage


On stage is where Chicago band The Bright White comes to life.

Fortunately for all of us, the band will take the stage again soon. The Bright White performs March 12 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago.

The Bright White will open for South African sensation The Parlotones. The show starts at 10 p.m., and tickets are $12, available at

The band,,  is comprised of Matthew Kayser on lead vocals, Joe O'Leary on guitar, Peter Krutiak on bass and Steven Zelenko on drums.

I had the chance to talk to Kayser about the band and how it sees itself fitting into the Chicago music scene.

Q - How did you guys get together?

We met via Craigslist. Joe responded to my ad nearly a year ago, and we spent the better part of 2010 searching for the right rhythm section. After nothing but misses, we found our hits in Steve and Peter in November.

Q - Any meaning behind the band's name?

Joe is a graphic designer, so he was quick to point out the many aesthetic possibilities of using white in some form. We purposely aimed for a name that is memorable. 

We also really want to do something that positively connects with listeners. We like how some people have said that at some point they were drawn to a bright, white light. That works for us.

Q - How would you describe the band's sound?

We are 100% committed to combining the raw energy and drive of garage rock with the epic nature of bands such as early U2, Oasis and The Killers. 

We believe it is possible to write big, spacious songs that people can sing along to while still maintaining a somewhat careening energy.

We want to create a sound that is just polished enough to make it to radio, but that still has the integrity of a late night rehearsal. Soaring vocals, loud guitar, and a driving rhythm section is definitely not a new concept, but it works.     

Q - Who would you say are the band's biggest musical influences?

We are currently heavily inspired by the overall mood of The Beatles’ Revolver. Other albums that make us want to write and perform are U2’s "War" and "Definitely Maybe" by Oasis.

We are also inspired by The Replacements, Big Star and The Killers. Bigger is better, in our opinion. 

Q - The band's shows have been generating good buzz. Would you say your shows are the band's calling card?

Yes. Every band that we are drawn to has at some point completely owned the stage when they perform. We want people who see us live to get their money’s worth, to really feel as though they are watching something worth getting excited about.

Our live show is definitely not fancy, but it is spirited. We’re singing and playing our hearts out, hoping that someone in the crowd can relate. 

I hope it’s a stark contrast to some of the emotionally bankrupt pop that is currently buzzing in my ear.

Q - What were the band's goals in sitting down to make "Until Then?"

We want The Bright White to be about something larger than our little lives. We are four working class guys who refuse to stop dreaming the dream. 

Many of the themes on "Until Then" are themes that everyone can relate to. There is adoration, celebration, and a good deal of frustration.

We want the EP, as much as it can in five songs, to relay our view that giving up on the things we want and adore is often a mistake. We are passionate about the people and things that matter to us, some of which we’ve lost or not yet attained. We view "Until Then" as a declaration of the feelings that are involved in all of that.

Q - How does the band see itself fitting into the Chicago music scene?

Nicely, I hope. The rest of the guys are Chicago natives, but I just moved here a year and a half ago. I’m still trying to figure out the musical pulse of the city. I am, however, familiar with Chicago’s long line of bands that have done big things.

What I like about the successful bands from this city is that they all have had the reputation for doing something big and heartfelt. If that is any indication, I believe we’ll do very well here.  

Q - What are the band's short term and long term goals?

We are determined to soon play big shows at the top venues in Chicago. While we are doing that, we would like to create a genuinely strong buzz here and in cities such as New York and Nashville. The short term goal is to build a very solid following while catching the attention of someone who can help launch us.

Our long term goal is to create music that is on par with that of our favorite bands. We want this as a career, so we're working towards a certain level of success to make that happen. I won’t go into details, but we are thinking very big with this project.

We’ve all been in a number of bands before The Bright White, but none have excited us the way this has. We sincerely believe that timing is everything.
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