Before catching Brighter Brightest's set at The Death Trap in Winnipeg, I met up with the guys (vocalist/guitarist Derek Hoffman, bassist Alex Westgate, guitarist Kyle Topping and drummer Ryan Mansbridge) to talk about their brand new record. Right For Me was just released on August 9 through Black Box Recordings and you can check out the interview below. Thanks to the users who helped submit some questions:
What were some of your influences going into writing Right For Me?
Alex: We all grew up listening to Blink-182 and bands like Jimmy Eat World, New Found Glory. Those are all big influences on all of us, but we also listened to a lot of outside sources too. We didn’t limit ourselves to any one influence. We also like bands like U2 and Def Leppard and Third Eye Blind so we kind of tried to take everything into account.
Kyle: They’re incredible working bands too.
Derek: Yeah, those bands, their music has stood the test of time and ultimately if we take influence from those bands then hopefully our music will have the same effect.
A lot of people have been comparing you guys to The Maine. How do you take those comparisons?
Derek: I think their fans would appreciate our music and that’s definitely a great thing. They make great records and we enjoy listening to those bands for sure. I think our influences definitely stem a lot further than bands like The Maine so hopefully fans of older music and newer music can enjoy our band too.
So you’d say your influences set you apart?
Derek: Yeah. When someone asks us to explain our band, I’d say it's pop and rock and fun and energetic, but it’s also real music you know? It’s genuine. We’re playing songs we love making and we hope that people believe us.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while recording this new record?
Derek: Biggest challenge? I don’t know, I think we kind of went into it a little blind, you know? We knew we had these songs and we knew we had a certain amount of work together, but we definitely had a lot of work left to do. A lot of it wasn’t a challenge, so I guess this might not answer the question, but watching the record come together day after day, kind of going into it a little more unprepared than we should have been.
This is also your first release for Black Box. How did you guys get involved with them?
Kyle: Well, it’s kind of a long story. Before I was even in the band the guys were managed by Rob Dyer from Skate4Cancer and I was with him. He was managed by Black Box and it was just like a super easy transitional period where Rob just took them as far as he could possibly take them. And then Black Box was the next level and they took us under their wing.
Derek: And it’s been amazing, they’ve done a ton of stuff for us just out of pure confidence in our music and seeing the hard work we’ve put into ourselves.
Did they help you get the chance to record with Machine?
Derek: They were definitely a contact, but we kind of made a big list of producers whose work we liked and Machine was just as stoked on us as we were on him. So I think that was a really good starting point, he liked the songs and he liked what we had going.
Kyle: Even still, without Blackbox I don’t think we’d have had access to someone of that caliber.
Derek: Yeah, I think Ian [Stanger, Black Box owner] played a very big role in that.
How did the sessions go?
Derek: It was awesome. It was a huge period of growth for us and learning. It kind of raised the bar for what we expect of ourselves in the future. The next record’s going to be a lot of fun to make, we definitely learned a lot about ourselves and our sound.
What’s the biggest thing you learned?
Alex: How to play our instruments.
Derek: No, I think we kind of learned, Machine’s kind of deal is he never makes the same record twice. He really taught us what was special about us and helped us with the flow of the songs. I don’t know, once we got all the songs on tape he’d help us see what was missing. Machine is really good at helping us make these songs as amazing as they could be.
I think some of those recording sessions are captured on Discovered, right? How did you guys get involved with the show?
Derek: They approached us over the last couple of years, we’ve always been in contact with MuchMusic and this year it felt right. They said it was a format that was way more documentary style, less panel based, less judgmental so we got into it and even after we agreed to be on the show, it turned out to be better because of the format. Less ‘Are you gonna?’ and more ‘Here’s a band, here’s what they’re doing’ from start to finish. It was mostly them coming down to Jersey, but they set up a showcase at the end of the season and all the bands played, which was just us picking the right three songs. It was mostly us making the record and that was the main focus of the show.
Moving on, what made you choose “Everyday” as the first single?
Derek: It’s a catchy song and I definitely think it’s one of the poppiest songs on the record. It’s a good ‘get stuck in your head’ kind of song and I think that’s very important for emerging as a new band. Even though we’ve been a band, this is our first step into legitimacy I guess. I think it was the right choice, it’s a fun song and kids like singing it live.
How did you guys come up with the concept for the song’s music video?
Alex: Well, we were searching for directors. We wanted to work with a guy named Michael Maxxis, who did videos for Alexisonfire and Bedouin Soundclash and all these great bands. So we worked pretty closely with him on the concept. The song is a break-up song and we were originally going to go the route of just having a performance video and some other things. But the song is so based on a relationship that it wouldn’t make sense to just ignore the lyrics and message completely. So we knew we had to do something like that.
Derek: And we couldn’t just have two normal people in there, that would just be too cliché. So Maxxis , if there’s one thing he’s good at, it’s making up stuff that’s really quirky. So we thought of all these couples to tell the story and that’s how we decided to do a bunch of couples that were all different. I’m happy with the video and I think it gets people talking, good or bad.
What records are you guys spinning right now?
Kyle: Bon Iver for me, it’s really all about that record.
Derek: The Rocket Summer, Relient K. Some newer records that came out in the last few years I’m catching up to now.
Lastly, what’s next? Do you have any concrete plans for the next few months?
Derek: We’re going to be doing a little more touring in Canada and just try to tour as much as possible to promote the record. It’s been out for less than a month now and there’s definitely some other markets we’ve got to hit. There’s a lot of Ontario left and we still haven’t hit the East coast yet.