2008.05.19 – BRIGHTEYE BRISON – Linus Kåse (interview)

I haven’t heard of Brighteye Brison until recently. Thanks to my contacts with Progress Records I had a chance to change this situation and right now I can higly recommend this band. Linus Kase, one of the band founders, answered a few questions. Enjoy.

Hi Linus. How did you come up with the idea for Brighteye Brison? Could you say a few words about band members to Polish readers?

For a pretty long time during the mid 90’s I wanted to form a band of my own in the progressive field. The idea for BB came up in 2000 while I was studying jazz at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm which also Kristofer Eng attended. Sharing the same musical taste in much, like of course the 70’s prog movement, I asked if he would be interested in joining a band with me. Kristofer is an amazing bass player who has played in lots of bands and different styles. He is composing music for film, TV and theater plays amongst other things. His range of musical interpretation is just very wide. My brother Daniel was in the band for almost six years before Erik Hammarström joined on drums. A fun fact is that Erik also attended the Royal College of Music in Stockholm during the same time as me and Kristofer so I knew him from there. I remembered him as an exceptional drummer in the Zappa-vein, enjoying playing extremely demanding stuff. When Daniel left I thought he would be the perfect replacement and he was really interested in being a part of the band. Erik is a wonderful musician capable of playing any kind of style which he is doing in various bands. His sound is very distinct. Talking prog he is nowadays also playing with The Flower Kings. Johan Öijen has been in the band pretty much since the start and since our very first recording session. He is educated at another music college and I remember hearing his guitar playing in other groups before eventually Kristofer invited him to the band. Johan has a very jazzy side to his playing alongside a hard rock approach and just so many expressions of genres that can be drawn out when called for. Per got involved with the band mixing our first demo. He is actually a childhood friend of Kristofer so he got into BB that way. He loves the 70’s approach to music in general and particularly prog. Eventually he joined the band not only as the main studio engineer but as our second keyboard player. Per has also studied music and is a great singer. In fact we are three vocalists in the band; Per, Kristofer and me.

I must confess that „Believers and Deceivers”, so the latest from your discography, is the only one that I’ve ever listened to. Are the previous albums as brilliant as Believers and Deceivers? 🙂

Thanks. I’m very proud of this album. This time around the songs tended to be more arranged from a technical point. I tried to get the fullest out of every instrument and getting it all to work together. Every instruments part, as well as the harmonies, is more definitely written to start with. I guess “Believers & Deceivers” is somewhat our “In A Glass House” in that sense  Also there is a lot more going on between bass, guitar and drums with heavier riffing and stuff like that. Basically we just wanted to try something new and with Erik joining the band it really opened up new doors. “Stories” was also a very good album, I think. It has some more ad libbing within the instrumentation which presents a certain sound that I really like as well. We improvised more with the arrangements during the recording of that album, especially with the vocal harmonies which had a rather cool effect sometimes. But we have certainly developed as both a live and recording band since our first album. I feel there are good songs on all our albums though. I don’t think we will ever do a gig without playing either “A Car” or something from the “One Year Alone”-suite. The first album was very honest and I have fond memories of doing that one.

Let’s talk about „Believers and Deceivers” – while I’m listening to this album I get the impression that it was recorded in the 70s and I don’t mean that from a technical point of view, it’s not about the production process, but about a distinctive atmosphere of the 70s that you’ve managed to create.

With “Stories” we had a very strong vision of making a 70’s-sounding album and in the end I believe that we really achieved it. It was kind of a homage to all our heroes. In comparison “Believers & Deceivers” has a more modern edge to it. There were no strict guidelines to begin with. It was more about letting the music gain its own voice. With Erik aboard it felt like the natural road to go down since his drumming is very unique. Somehow I guess we kind of felt like a band reborn. Not allowing freedom would only constrict the music. But the atmosphere of 70’s music is what we really enjoy so I guess it’s a sound that will always be present on our albums.

Do you improvise jazz pieces or do you compose them earlier on? What role does improvisation play in your music? I may only guess that it’s quite significant, judging by your latest album.

Quite often improvisation is an extension to a song or a part coming out of rehearsing and playing together although it can also be thought of during the writing process. Since there is a strong background in jazz within the band, some of us are playing frequently in our own and various jazz constellations, the improvisational side evolves naturally. Having mentioned earlier that this album was more arranged in one sense it is quite funny that it includes maybe an even larger area of improvisation than previous albums. But that’s just something I have always enjoyed. I find both the very precise and written aspect of music as well as the free aspect that can take you to unimaginable places very interesting. Letting them counterpoint each other to me adds a much pleasing effect.

Each consecutive track on the album is longer than the previous one and the last song is 34 minutes long. Was it intentional?

At first we had the idea to give the album the feel of an old LP. That is by letting a short track be followed by a long one on each side of the record. Then I guess I got afraid that if people would get bored after the first “side” they would miss out on a lot of good music, ha ha! 

Is it difficult to compose a 34-minute piece?

Somehow our songs tend to be rather long, which I find is a natural way of writing. These days we refer to a 7-minute song as “the short one”. I didn’t sit down one night and write “The Grand Event” from beginning to end though. I had a terrible amount of ideas in my head that had been gathered up during many years. My conclusion was that if this music had stuck with me for such a long time they had to be pretty good, at least in my world. I demoed them in no particular order and soon discovered that the ideas had a lyrical thread all the way through. And that is how a bunch of seemingly different ideas eventually can give life to half an hour of continuous music!

Is it true that there are no computer made sounds on the album and all we can hear are „real instruments’” sounds?

Yes, that is true. We take pride in playing all the real instruments ourselves and recording them in a way that sounds organic and true to the sound ideal of our favorite era in prog. Since Mellotron is a kind of artificial sound source in itself, maybe you could discuss the term “real instruments”, but that’s another story…
There’s a kind of magic that happens when you hook up a real Taurus pedal or a Mellotron and play it, in contrast to using a software piece. You play differently, and most importantly, you feel different, triggering new ideas you won’t get in front of a computer screen.

In your music, you do not use much of special effects offered by modern technology and as a result the album sounds very softly. How did you make this effect?

We have from the beginning had the intention to make music with a sound that had that organic sound we heard on our favorite albums. In analyzing what makes that sound, it was apparent that the emphasis was more on the recording phase than the mixing.
That made it more important to record good sounds from the start, using effects as true “effects”, not changing the overall sound of the album, but just to make a sound stand out more in the mix.
This being said, there is quite a lot of effects on the album, but we never did anything that couldn’t have been done with 70´s technology.

You’ve recorded a brilliant album, do you plan any concerts in Europe?


Is Brighteye Brison popular anywhere else apart from Sweden?

We probably sold more albums outside Sweden than here… It’s very strange that a country that spawns such a large number of great prog acts has such a small market for prog-rock.

Your style could be described as a tribute paid to prog-rock stars of the 70s. How do you perceive the period after the 70s, I mean the so-called neo prog rock (early Marillion, Arena, Pendragon, IQ) and prog rock of today (Porcupine Tree, Blackfield)

Oh, there are some good bands out there. I’ve been a die-hard fan of Echolyn ever since I stumbled across “As The World” in the mid 90’s. That album just has everything that I enjoy about prog. Although there are many shorter songs on the album each one holds a truly intricate and demanding content that grows on me still after twelve or thirteen years! The vocal arrangements are one of a kind. I also enjoy the “Unfolded Like Staircase” album by Discipline since it was released, listened to it many times. Basically I have a lot of albums from later bands. Another favorite which I like to mention is Phreeworld’s “Crossing The Sound” from 1998. That one is really unique. Then of course I have listened to Spock’s Beard, their “Snow” album is really good, and I have seen them live a couple of times. I have all of Salem Hill’s releases, very good band. In the neo movement of the 80’s I enjoy “The Sentinel” by Pallas. Of course Eddie Offord produced it so the 70’s connection is there  The albums of It Bites are wonderful. “Once Around The World” is still a frequent guest in my CD-player.

Are you into prog metal?

Not that much anymore. I’m not sure why. Quite often I find the harmonic range of the metal scene a bit unsatisfying to me. Unfortunately that’s also apparent in lots of modern prog music. Personally I play a lot with chord changes and constant change of modes which perhaps is closer at hand to me being a keyboardist than it would be to the general rock guitarist. I used to listen to prog metal a lot. A band like Dream Theater was a big inspiration to me. I always found that their harmonic display was the cornerstone in their music which was a thing that later many “DT-influenced” bands missed out on completely. I think I’ve been colored by the things I like in metal considering my own music. On the other hand there are genres I’m not really an active consumer of anymore but have qualities that inevitably have become a part of my own expression.

Do you know any Polish prog rock bands? Are you familiar with any of these bands? Quidam, Riverside, Collage?

Yes. And Satellite is a Polish band that I believe are really cool. I have the “Into The Night” album from last year which I enjoy very much! A very varied album that is fun to listen to.

Brighteye Brison is your way of living or a hobby?

I work as a music teacher and freelancing musician. As things are I could not go on with Brighteye Brison without working. Everyone in the band are professional musicians so we feel it is very important to play in other bands, other styles and meet other musicians as well. That makes you more diverse, experienced and in the end you will bring more depth to Brighteye Brison!

Is it a first interview for a Polish music portal?


Thank you very much for the interview. If you wish, please say a few words to our readers.

To those of you who’ve read this interview, thank you! I hope you will support Brighteye Brison by buying our new album entitled “Believers & Deceivers”. Hopefully we’ll come visit all of you very soon. After the gig we will drink beer and talk prog music! All the best!

Piotr Michalski
translation: Gosia Michalska

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