By Eric Schelkopf
The Bright White frontman Matthew Kayser is trying to do his part to make this holiday season a little brighter for those who are economically disadvantaged. For the third year, Kayser is organizing “Warm, Safe and Sound,” a concert and clothing drive that will be held Dec. 13 at Schubas Tavern, 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. The concert will feature Chicago band The Bright White, http://www.thebrightwhite.net, along with several other acts, including The Locals, Ace Reporter, Hard Kiss and Young Distractions. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $15, or $10 with a donation, available at www.schubas.com. I had the chance to talk to Kayser about the benefit.
Q – This is the third year of “Warm, Safe & Sound.” How successful was it last year and what were your goals for this year? What made you want to start “Warm, Safe & Sound” in the first place?
I was inspired to start “Warm, Safe & Sound” a few years ago after watching a news segment on how difficult it is for many homeless people to survive the winter. I wanted to do something that would have an immediate impact, so rather than try to raise money for a particular organization, I sought to gather clothing for those who need it most.
I could obviously donate a few items of my own, but I wanted to do something on a larger scale. I’ve always loved putting together concerts, so it seemed like an obvious thing to do: build a bill that features several popular bands and ask their fans to donate clothes at the door.
Last year was great, as we gathered hundreds of coats, sweaters, and gloves. Oh, and a surprising number of earmuffs, too.
Cheers to everyone at Schubas for hosting “Warm, Safe & Sound” again this year, and to the Revive Center for Housing and Healing for collecting and distributing all of this year’s donations.
Q – What was your goal in putting together the bands for this year’s benefit? Did you handpick them or did bands approach you wanting to be part of the benefit?
My goal for this year’s “Warm, Safe & Sound” was to feature exciting guitar-based bands that could really help fill the room. The lineup is one of the year’s best, so people who come to the show will get to watch a great night of live rock ‘n’ roll while also doing something to help their fellow Chicagoans.
It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Q – What goals do you have for “Warm, Safe & Sound” in the future?
My goal is to next year begin a string of regional “Warm, Safe & Sound” concerts. Earlier this fall, I was in touch with venues in Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Nashville regarding the possibility of doing it this winter, but the timing wasn’t right.
I want to give the shows the attention and planning they deserve. Definitely plan on seeing regional versions of “Warm, Safe & Sound” next year.
I plan to feature the best local bands in each of those cities, just as we’re doing here in Chicago.
Q – The Bright White is working on a new EP. How is the process going and what should people expect from the new EP?
We are bursting at the seams to release the new music we’ve written. We’re again recording with James Scott of Populist Recording, so I’m beyond excited.
I am now playing quite a bit of rhythm guitar, which in turn has freed Joe to take his guitar-playing to another level. The new record will capture much of the energy and sonic layering of our live shows.
Expect a spring release of the EP.
Q – What do you think of the current music scene in Chicago and how do you think you fit into it?
I dig the bands on the “Warm, Safe & Sound” bill. Just like many other fans of music, I genuinely crave a renaissance of spirited rock n’ roll.
I fully support any Chicago band whose sound is based on electric guitars, who sing like they mean it and who aim for putting on a proper show. I know there must be a ton of bands in the city who fit that description, so our goal is to find them and then do shows together.
I’m not as concerned with being a part of the local scene as I am with finding an audience for our brand of music.
If it happens within the context of a scene, cool. If not, that’s alright, too.