Curtis Roush, guitarist and vocalist for up and coming Austin-based band the Bright Light Social Hour, was polite enough to speak to me over the phone the morning after Thanksgiving during some of his much needed family time.
What do you think makes the Bright Light Social Hour different than all the other Austin musicians trying to make it?
I think the main thing is teamwork; we all value each others opinions and insights. Many bands are dominated by one or two people, but we work together on everything.
What niche do you fill in the Austin music scene that brings such a crowd? Who is your fan base?
The majority of people are folks in our demographic [20-30, evenly male and female]; however, there are some notable exceptions in a wide range. There are a number of young kids and older seniors, some of our grandparents, who mysteriously like our music. It also appeals to our parents’ generation. I think because they hear the influences of classic rock in our music, and they latch on to that.
Is there a specific moment that you think changed things for the BLSH in terms of popularity?
Honestly, no. We’ve had moments such as winning the ACL The Sound and The Jury competition and making the Austin Chronicle Cover, but nothing too fast or all at once. We’ve always treated it as a full time job. We’ve experienced more gradual growth through constant hard work, and we would notice every few months that our fan base would grow. We noticed the same thing while traveling (in their 15 passenger van named Vaniel Day Lewis). The 1st time in a city we play to the bartenders and other bands with their
girlfriends. The 2nd time there are a bit more people, and by the 3rd time we’re better able to draw a crowd of 300-600.
Do you coordinate styles? Hair? Clothes?
I spend more time with these guys than anyone else in my life so we’ve developed a lot of common tastes. Spending so much time together allows us to work off each other really fluidly; our live shows are pretty organic. The long hair just came from laziness.
Do you think the BLSH could’ve had this success with any of your previous band members?
It’s hard to say. I think that we’ve always had talented folks in the band. But with this combination of people that came together 3 years ago, things really clicked. We all lined up with work ethic and vision, and it was just good timing. We were all at a point where we could do it and commit to it. There was nothing else interceding into our lives like work or school stopping us from devoting ourselves to the band.
Does the band have any pre-show rituals?
We have a good meal together a few hours before. We love food. That’s part of the fun of touring – getting to try all the different foods. Other than that, we just settle into the venue a little early and get comfortable in the setting.
Do you have any strategies as a band that you follow in order to keep the BLSH in the spotlight and keep in touch with your fans?
We mainly try just to keep the quality of our product up as high as we can. We try to regularly create fun updates for our listeners. Jack (the BLSH bassist) is pretty good at that stuff; he brings a camera around to get footage of life on the road. It keeps people involved and feeling like part of the process. That way when we leave Austin for a while, we haven’t just completely vanished.