ReadJunk recently teamed up with Chicago’s indie band Brighton, MA for a ticket giveaway to their upcoming show with Quieting Syrup and The Good Life at Subterranean in Chicago. In anticipation of their show, we interviewed lead singer/songwriter Matthew Kerstein. Be sure to enter the contest for a chance to win tickets!
It seems that when you first started, you couldn’t read an article about Brighton, MA without hearing about your former band, Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, being mentioned. Was that something that you guys initially sought to include so you had some sort of name recognition? Is that something that you’re ready to leave behind now?
No, not really. I mean I guess we would say former SYGC so people who were into that and knew the music relation would be able to kind of continue on with us. Other than that no…It doesn’t bother me either way…I think they’re complete different bands now so I don’t know if the comparison works anymore other than that, I’m fine with it.
The band is named after your hometown. When did you move to Chicago and what is it about Chicago that made you stay?
About ten years ago. I came out here for school and met some of the musicians and started SYGC and touring the Midwest and it just became where my favorite musician friends were. It’s a great town. It’s bigger than Boston and stuff and it’s kind of a nice place for musicians to live and be able to play musical places and tour all the college towns.
Has the band ever been back Brighton to do a show?
We’ve played in Cambridge a couple times. I have played one show in Brighton at O’Briens.
One thing I’ve noticed about Brighton, MA is that you typically stick to Midwest shows. Any particular reasons?
It’s just a matter of accessibility. We try to play as much as possible of anywhere within five hours. It just happens to be all the Midwest college towns: Madison, Iowa City, St. Louis, Champagne, Indianapolis, Anarbor. I feel like that’s just the normal circuit. It’s a lot harder for us to get the routing to go up the East Coast and come back and then you have to take off the whole week and play on a Monday or Tuesday…[For Midwest shows] we can just go out for two or three days on a weekend and play a bunch of solid shows and come right back. It’s just a matter of practical routing and stuff but twice a year we have New York and do a longer East Coast run. Hopefully, come the fall we’ll do our first West Coast longer run.
What can you tell us about the upcoming album that you’re working on?
I’ve been working hard on solo writing and the band is better than ever. We’re really coming into our own. Hopefully it sounds like it’s more unified and a bunch of really great tunes, that’s all we’re trying to do.
That’s one thing that Brighton, MA is known for: your unified sound. Each song is cohesive; it doesn’t break apart. There is nothing where you’re like “wow, where did that come from” but every song just sounds well crafted and put together.
If that’s what people think, that’s perfect. You can expect more of that.
Admittedly the first time I heard you guys was from a TV show (“Bet You Never Thought” featured on Gossip Girl). I thought “I love that song, I have to google it.” When those songs do make it on TV do you make it a point to watch that show or at least that episode or tell your friends about it?
I did the first couple of times and then I stopped. I think the first time…it was on for two seconds and you hardly knew it was there. Hopefully, we’ll get on Conan O’Brien and I’ll tell everyone to tune into that. I’ve got a soft spot for Conan. That’s our dream late night show. Although, I’m a huge Craig Ferguson fan too.
Friday’s show at Subterranean (Chicago, IL), can we expect any new material?
We’re going to do a couple new songs. Actually, Friday our main guitar player, Jim Turek is going to be in Alaska. It’s a trip he’s been planning forever. This show came up and it was really good so we’ve got our friend Geoff Dolce who is on the album playing a little violin, sitting in. So that show is going to be, perhaps a little looser than normal but we’re going to dig deep and do a couple songs that we don’t normally off the album and still do new songs that we’re really excited about. It should be fun.
Interview has been condensed and edited.