The saints come dancing in

By Amanda Murphy

Breaking out in the music scene of a major city can be difficult, but

Black Light Saints has pushed through it, making its mark as much as

it can on the Windy City. A collective of a variety of musicians, the

band has been playing its poppy disco/indie rock to audiences around

the city and country. With a tour bonding the group closer together

and a gig at this past spring’s South by Southwest, Black Light Saints

continues to build a reputation as a fun, talented group of chaps.

The Chronicle spoke with lead singer Britton Wetherald regarding the

pitfalls of the Chicago music scene, the important lessons learned

through touring and the intricate process of putting together

an album.

The Chronicle: It seems like you’ve been working in the Chicago music

scene for a while, not only with this band but with others. Did you

take a different approach to this band than

previous ones?

Britton Wetherald: I moved out here from L.A. [approximately] six

years ago. I was working in the music industry out there. When I moved

here, I originally just wanted to be in bands that were more focused

toward different aesthetics. This band was the first time I took a

project and did it very methodically. I didn’t just get in the

practice space and jam it out and write a couple [of] songs. We

planned out when we could write things and wanted to make a more

poppy, listenable experience as opposed to older bands that I was

[into], like psychedelic metal and things that are just generally not

a wider scope of musicality. It was a different approach. I’ve learned

a lot about how bands are in Chicago, and the music scene is very

different. There are a lot of isolation points. I wanted to do

something that was a real band and not stuck in the electronic dance

scene all the time.

The Chronicle: You finished up your first tour this past spring. What

did you learn along the way?

BW: When you’re in such close quarters, you learn to basically get

along with people. Especially with your bandmates; you get extremely

bond-oriented. That, and how to make a dollar stretch as long as it

can [laughs]. You also learn how to kill time. But you get very tight

as a band. When we went on tour, since you’re playing [a show] every

day or every other day, you just get really in the groove of things.

So you show up and you do the gig, have a few beers and pile in the

van and move on to the next thing. Patience is also a trait learned.

You have to be patient with everyone

and everything.

The Chronicle: You released your EP “Impossible Picks” in October

2010. Are you currently working on any

other albums?

BW: Right now, we have a bunch of material, and we’re deciding what to

include. We released a song for the clothing label Dope Couture, so we

have a new single out through that blog. But we all sat around and

talked about it. The way we wrote the first album was very different.

So this time we want to take a different approach. But we’ll probably

be in the studio in January 2012.

The Chronicle: What inspires you to do what you do?

BW: I started doing this 10 years ago. I dropped out of high school

when I was 17 to pursue a music career. And everything is inspiring.

For me, it’s relationships to the way social groups interact with each

other to the way society interacts with the artists. It’s a very

interesting process because you have to figure out how to externalize

the internal. With the EP specifically, a lot of the inspiration was

what happens after a dance party, after it’s all run its course. What

really inspired me to write like that was because I have deejayed a

lot and have seen how the gamut is run in personal and professional

relationships. It’s supposed to be this glitzy and glamorous thing,

but that glitz wears thin as you get closer to it, and it becomes

darker and duller.

The Black Light Saints will play a free, 21+ concert with the Smith

Westerns on Dec. 2, at the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago, 230 N. Michigan

Ave., at 9 p.m. For more information on the band, visit their Facebook