Monday, July 30, 2012

Chicago band The Bright White charging ahead on new CD

On its new album, "Lose Yourself," Chicago band The Bright White amps up the energy level.

That energy will be on full display when The Bright White,, performs Aug. 4 at the Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago.

Eight Bit Tiger and The Plastic Boots also are on the bill. The show starts at 6 p.m., and tickets are $10, available at

The Bright White 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 pleasure of interviewing Kayser about the new CD and the band's other activities.

Q - I see that the band will be filmed for a promo video at the Aug. 4 show. How did that opportunity come about? Will that make it an even bigger show for the band?

We recently worked with Jun Nagano of Cuantica Pictures on a project for a local television pilot. He seemed to really dig what we're doing, and we loved his work. 

Since we've been needing a promo video of our live show, it made complete sense for Jun to film us. We've done a number of successful shows at Beat Kitchen, so it all came together quite easily. 

Any time you're trying to capture live footage, it helps to have a large, energetic crowd. People love the opportunity to get on camera, so yes, we think this will go very well. 

The more, the merrier. 


Q - It seems like you guys kick up the energy for "Lose Yourself." In sitting down to make the record, what goals did the band have? Did you achieve them?

I'm glad you mention that. Yes, we wanted this recording to better represent how we sound live. 

We approached James Scott and Mike Nesbitt of Populist Recording with the goal of capturing some of the careening energy of our live show. At the same time, we didn't want it so stripped down that it was garage rock. 

James perfectly toed the line, giving us a record that sounds big and raw like our live show, yet refined just enough that it could receive radio airplay. 

We knew what we wanted, we described it to James, and we sat back and watched as he nailed it with more ease than we could have imagined.

Q -  Any meaning behind the name of the album? 

Tons of meaning. I recently found myself surrounded by people who are seemingly afraid to pursue the things they really want. 

Be it their careers, relationships, or dreams, people are much too quick to play it safe. My frustration with these people inspired a song called, "Lose Yourself." 

I want people to know that there are few things as amazing as allowing yourself to get overwhelmed by something. 

Yes, it's risky. Yes, it's uncertain. But there is more often than not a great reward in letting go and diving into something, or someone. 

The guys in the band all feel the same way. We also view the title as a call to get lost in the musical moment and consider the possibilities. Music, particularly rock n' roll, can be powerful. 

We've been to shows where the music or performance took us to another place. Now we want to put on those types of shows. 

As a band, we can think of no greater effect of our music than for it to inspire people to forget what's holding them down and aim for something bigger in life. 


Q - The band has drawn comparisons to the Foo Fighters, Oasis and Superdrag. Is that a fair comparison? Do you consider those bands to be influences?

When it comes to comparisons, I can see the Oasis and Superdrag side of things more so than Foo Fighters. But people can compare us to whoever they want. 

It doesn't really matter to us. In the end, it's all rock n' roll and we have our own thing going on. 

As for influences, yes, those bands do inspire us. Our biggest inspirations probably stem from power pop and post-punk.

Q - How do you think the band has evolved since first forming?

We have put aside the notion of becoming popular simply by telling people that we should be. In that regard, we've matured a lot.

I owe that to Steve, Joe and Pete. My head is typically up in the clouds - especially when I believe so strongly in the band. 

The guys have an uncanny ability to dream big while also rationally looking at the situation. We've evolved by actually developing a game plan for what we want to achieve. 

The best part is that we're now sticking with that plan. Like most new bands, we still want to be the biggest rock n' roll band on the planet. 

The difference from last year, though, is that we are now doing all the things a new band needs to do, rather than just hoping and waiting for something magical to happen. 

Musically, we've evolved by trying to consistently write better songs each week. We're no longer satisfied with simply having a solid working verse and chorus, as we were last year. 

We want each song to be exceptional. We've written several new songs with this mindset, and will be releasing them within a few months. 

Q - The Chicago music scene is very diverse. Where do you see the band fitting into the scene? How does the Chicago music scene compare to other music scenes across the country?

All I can do is compare Chicago to the two cities with which I'm familiar: New York City and Nashville. Chicago is much more like NYC, in that people usually come to shows to support one particular band, and then often leave. 

As for the bands, they don't seem too interested in creating a scene. Everyone is, for the most part, doing their own thing. I can't honestly say our approach is much different. 

There are a number of up-and-coming bands we think very highly of, bands such as The Maharishi, Hawley, Old Irving, The Second and The Kickback. We would love to be part of a scene that includes them. 

I'm clueless as to whether or not that will happen.

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

Our short-term goal is to constantly write, record and release brand new music. We also want to build our base here in Chicago. 

We want to continue to play smart shows in and around the city. Regarding long-term goals, we have our eyes on the prize. 

We know how far we want to take this, and we now have a much better plan for getting there. Our songs and live show are intended for much larger audiences, and we've yet to find a reason why we should aim for less than that.