Q&A with The Bright Light Social Hour at Float Fest

Lifestyle Editor
Jackie O'Brien, Joe Mirasole, Edward Braillif, Curtis Roush, members of The Bright Light Social Hour, relax backstage Aug. 28 before their performance at Float Fest 2015.

As the crowds began to trickle in from the river to the stage on Day 1 of Float Fest, The University Star had the opportunity to sit down with Joseph Mirasol and Curtis Roush, two of the four members in The Bright Light Social Hour.

The band is scheduled to hit the Second Stage August 28 at 9 p.m.

MS: What made you decide to play float fest?

JM: I think they asked us and then we were like yeah that sounds really fun.

CR: Its close by and there is a lot of good bands playing all day.

MS: How do you think this festival compares to the Austin music scene?

CR: It is a lot of bands from the Austin Music Scene like Walker Lukens & the Sidearms today as well as The Eastern Sea. We are happy to be out here with our buddies from in town.

MS: What do you think separates this festival from other concerts you have done?

JM: Definitely the laid back river vibe. That’s something that no festival we have ever played really has done so it is pretty cool.

MS: Have you ever played in San Marcos before?

JM: We have but it has been a while. Last time we played it was at that newish 500 capacity place.

CR: It was Texas Music Theatre but it think its called The Marc now.

JM: It was not to long after they opened I think. It has been a while since we played here properly.

MS: Who are your musical influences?

JM: Marvin Gaye, The Beetles and anyone that played on Moetown and Stax Records.

CR: Also house music, techno, Pink Floyd, Neil Young and 60’s Jazz.

JM: I always forget to mention that. I think if I had to have only 10 records one of them would be the John Coltrane record A Love Supreme because I feel like that’s a really important one.

MS: How did you guys come up with the band name?

CR: Jack, the bass player, and I went to went to college together at Southwestern University and I had a class one semester called Intro to Hinduism. We were watching a documentary one day that was about an activist that kind of works on environmental issues in India. She had a monologue about her role in the process and as an activist and there was a quote she mentioned that I particularly liked that said something along the lines of the job of an activist is to shine a bright light into the corners of society the kind of empire of power keeps obscured. I just found that to be a kind of poetic quote and felt like the image of a bright light in that sort of activist transformative sense is also something that could apply to what musicians and artists do. So we tinkered with that idea as our motif and that’s how The Bright Light Social Hour got its name.

MS: What image do you think your music conveys?

JM: I think every song is different and every record is different but for me the last record is like kind of recognizing the political struggles of the south and the dream of a better way forward and what that might sound like.

CR: Future South was a term that we threw around a lot as a motif for the record. A lot of that is both kind of an aesthetic and a political consciousness. On the aesthetic side we were taking some southern forms of music that are really important to us and in our music DNA and trying to kind of mix them with other kind of exciting and innovative music now. Taking soul, R&B, funk and early rock and roll music and pairing them with drum machines and synthesizers and psychedelic music. But on the political side we try to think of ways in which the south can be a more transformative and progressive place that is moving towards equality instead of away from it. 

Follow Mariah Simank on Twitter at @MariahSimank.

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