Local band prepares for album release with tour



Band members at Coachella Music & Arts Festival 2016. (Photo by Lani Processed with VSCOcam)

Local songwriter and singer Will Sturgeon came to KCOD for an interview with two of his band members from Brightener to discuss his new album, “Headroom,” and a simultaneous tour around Southern California.

Brightener is a Southern California indie rock band that started with Will Sturgeon, who writes, records, sings and mixes a lot of his own music. It has now grown  beyond a one-man-band to include musicians Raefer Finnegan, Elias Texel and Michael Santella. With melodic songs and conflicting lyrics, Brightener has a sound that is bittersweet. Sturgeon’s inspiration includes indie groups like Pinegrove, Avi Buffalo and Fleet Foxes and even appreciates other artists outside indie such as Kanye West.

Brightener is promoting several singles from its new album including “Filters II” and “Habits.” They have also announced a tour beginning March 31-April 7 concluding with their album release party at the Art Pop Gallery in Palm Springs.

Sturgeon said, “We had a great year for a small, completely independent operation like brightener. No manager, no publisher, no label, no grants, nothing. Just me and the guys in the band, working jobs and taking baby steps.” The musicians decided not to let anything discourage them from making music.

Sturgeon’s first album, “Hummingbirds,” was an album that was primarily acoustic based and had a huge amount of professional work put into it compared to “Headroom.” The album also had a long hiatus between the funding and the actual release. Sturgeon said, “It was hard release to stay excited about.” As a result, he “didn’t love the way it felt.”

Following his performance at the Coachella Valley Music & Art Festival last year, Sturgeon said, “It was hard to follow-up Coachella.” Continuing to tour and transitioning from a solo acoustic style to a live band with more of an up-tempo helped shaped his next album.

After his tour, Sturgeon went right into writing his second album. He writes in solidarity along with deep-thinking and introspective lyrics.

Sturgeon thanks his parents for their support. His new album is also being financed with a Kickstarter, a large funding platform in regards to creative projects. All donators who pledge eight or more dollars will receive their new album on its release date.

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