INTERVIEW: Charlie Gleason (Brightly)

Brightly have just released a double-A side that is quite fun and Charlie took some time out to answer some questions for me, and his answers were lots of fun too.

How did you come together to form Brightly?

Nic and I met in high school, and bonded over a shared love of Dawson’s Creek and hanging out in record shops. We played in a couple of pretty tragic rock bands before discovering a passion for synthesisers and electronica, and collaborated on some tracks together. While I was studying computer science I started working on an EP, showed it to Nic, and Brightly came pretty naturally from there.

Where did the name come from?

I remember reading a biography for Marina Diamandis (better known as Marina and the Diamonds) where she described her music by saying “I am Marina, you are the diamonds.” I love that idea. The people who listen to our music are as much of an influence on it as we are. The name is about the idea of the collective being greater than the sum of its parts. We are, Brightly.


Can you tell us a little about your music and how you would describe your sound?

Folk electronica is the tagline we’ve taken to using. Coming from a folk background, and being the main songwriter, I take a lot of my inspiration from artists like Bright Eyes, Patrick Wolf and Antony & the Johnsons. Electonica adds an extra dimension to the folk dynamic, and it opens up the sound to a whole bunch of new possibilities. It also means I can dance like an idiot on stage. Which is awesome.

You have recently released a double-A side ‘We Were In Tokyo & Then We Woke Up’, can you tell us about it?

The two tracks that make up “We Were In Tokyo & Then We Woke Up” are taken from a collection of songs we are currently recording with our producer, Andrei Eremin. It focuses on themes of suburbia, isolation, hope and redemption. We have described it as “a late night fist fight, eager to please and desperate to find meaning”, and the songs reflect that. I am obsessed with suburbia – supermarkets, public transport, libraries, public spaces. I remember moving to London, knowing no-one, and wandering around a supermarket on a Friday night. The fluorescent lights, the endless rows of garish colours, the loneliness of it. It fascinates me.

Where do you get your songwriting inspiration?

From a range of places. Generally the songs focus on my experiences, relationships, friends, society, and the universe around me. There were two children that screamed for an entire flight from Sydney to Melbourne, so I sampled them into “& Then We Woke Up”. Inspiration comes from the strangest places. Gosh they were really awful kids though.

You are a Melbourne-based band, how far have you travelled for a live show?

Tokyo, our debut single, was originally written when I first moved to the UK. So technically, London? That’s a little bit of a fib though. It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone if you don’t. It’s our secret.

Have you got any shows coming up for those that want to come and check you out live?

We are playing The Empress on May 26th with our friends Lift Off and Nearly Oratorio, the respective side projects of Coach Bombay and Simon Lam of I’lls’, so it should be a wild night. All our gigs are up at, and we are always around on Facebook, Twitter and the like.

If you could share the stage with anyone who would it be?

Everyone, all at once. It would be a racket. A big cacophony.

Where can we get a copy of the double-A side for ourselves?

It’s available on iTunes, Bandcamp, and via our website. Or you can grab a copy of it at any of shows.

What’s next for Brightly?

More shows, more songs, more glitter, more paint, more dancing, more releases and more high fives. Not necessarily in that order, though.

Do you have a long term plan, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

The sky is the limit. But whatever happens we’ll be with our friends, drinking wine, and singing along at the top of our lungs.

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