DOPE Interviews Smokey Brights

“Fleetwood Psych”? Damn Straight!


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DOPE Magazine will attend this year’s Summer Meltdown Festival in Darrington, Washington—our second excursion to the fabulous festival—and we want to get all our readers hyped about this incredible event! Smokey Brights, a local Seattle band with a new album out this fall, is one of many reasons to get your weekend passes for the 2018 Summer Meltdown Festival, starting August 2! Let’s meltdown, y’all!

Not a Washingtonian? Don’t worry, Smokey Brights will be touring in Oregon, Idaho and Nevada this summer. Smokey Brights’ tour schedule can be found here. We had a chance to catch up with them before the Meltdown.

Summer Meltdown Lineup

DOPE MAGAZINE: Your video for “Baby Bigshot,” directed by Dylan Priest, was shot in 360 VR. Dubbed as a visual masterpiece, and rightfully so, what role do you see VR playing in the future of music and production?

SMOKEY BRIGHTS: We had a blast shooting that video! It was a total trip to be in that room and realize, wherever you are, you are on camera. No nose picking allowed! As for the role of VR in music and production, that is still up in the air. I think there’s a tendency to assume everyone will jump on board with a new technology just because it exists—like how we were all convinced electronic readers would make books completely irrelevant. For some experiences, though, there is nothing quite like the real thing. I’d like to think live music is one of those experiences, but who knows? It would also be dope to be able to sweat as much as we need to on stage and not worry about soaking our audience [laughs].

In an interview with The Revue, I read that Kim discovered she has the “gift of turkey talk” after a night spent at Shelby Earl’s parents’ house in Cambria, California. Kim, what do you credit as having given you this indispensable talent as a turkey whisperer?

It was certainly awesome discovering that turkey whispering is now one of my many marketable skills. I credit my pipes that have always allowed me to reach frequencies only dogs and other animals can typically hear. Apparently it’s been a skill of mine for some time. My parents soundproofed our kitchen when I was a baby because I would just sit in my highchair and squeal so loudly the neighbors started to complain. I also credit the first glass of wine after a super long drive to help loosen the tongue.

I read that some of your favorite bands include Acid Tongue, Gold Casio, Plastic Picnic, ABBA, OutKast, ZZ Top and Naked Giants—to name a few. What bands are keeping your group inspired to continue making what you have described as “Fleetwood psych”?

We are constantly digging for fresh finds to inspire us. Lately we’ve been listening to a lot of Sunflower Bean and Gomez, two incredible bands we had the absolute honor of playing with this summer. They both put on performances that made us want to go home and practice our craft more, which is the best thing to experience as a musician. We have also been digging on live Fleetwood Mac and Wings recordings, because there is always more to learn from the masters.

You are big on sending the message to vote. What role do you think musicians have in keeping people active in the political sphere? Has it ever been more important than right now?

As musicians, we are privileged to enjoy a platform that many other people won’t ever get to experience. We stand on a stage with a microphone and people watch us perform, for Chrissake. I can’t imagine using that platform just to promote myself and my music with such an abhorrent amount of human and environmental suffering taking place on our planet. We as Americans hold a lot of responsibility for that suffering, love it or hate it. We have to do our part to keep our government accountable to those of us who have less than we do, both in and out of our borders, and voting is such an easy, straightforward way to work towards that goal. There has never been a more critical moment to pay attention and do your part.

What would you say to people who believe in the Seattle Freeze? Is this a misrepresentation of the city you call home?

The Seattle Freeze is 100 percent a real thing, but I don’t think it’s malicious. We tend to isolate ourselves a bit in our respective social silos, especially during the darker winter months. So that “Let’s do dinner sometime,” while likely completely genuine in the moment, often tends to get pushed to the back burner. I do think the freeze is thawing a bit, thanks to sunny Californians and friendly Midwesterners moving to our cold little corner of the country. We just have to figure out how to keep housing affordable and transportation manageable with the influx of new friends.

If you had a billboard that could say anything, what would it say?

“Just don’t be a dick.” – God

The 2018 Summer Meltdown is marking almost the middle of a tour you’re on around Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Nevada this summer. After you wrap up this tour, what’s next?

We got so much fun in store! We’re releasing another EP this September on Freakout Records that we are pretty hyped on. These tracks sound killer! We’ll be touring the East Coast and jumping across the pond to the U.K. in October, then planning another run down to Reno for Off Beat Fest in November, and then topping it all off with a big ol’ party back in Seattle in December. What a life!

Andrea Larson

Andrea is a Seattle native with a passion for the storytelling process. When she isn't curating content for DOPE she can be found binge listening to podcasts, skiing at a local PNW mountain or catching a drag show at Le Faux on Capitol Hill.

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