Secret broadcasts beaming into minds

By Allison Drinnan

Picture a local Calgary bar. A certain band is playing, beer is flowing and– in true Calgary fashion– the audience is standing stiffly around the stage, simply watching. Every now and then a couple of brave souls start awkwardly dancing, as others subtly tap their feet to the music.

All of a sudden a musical trio steps on stage, lead by a top hat clad singer with a commanding presence that forces the audience to forget their inhibitions. Scantily dressed women force their way on stage, unwillingly hauled off until the bouncers are overwhelmed by the persistent ladies. Soon everyone is dancing, shots are downed, clothes are stripped and, as the music finishes and the whirlwind of energy subsides, the audience catches their breath and thinks, “What just happened?”

The answer is the ultimate Secret Broadcast show, a pounding set at local hole in the wall, the Rusty Cage.

The surprisingly unassuming band, consisting of bassist John de Jesus, guitarist and vocalist Matt Lightstone and drummer Bryan Craig, laugh while humbly recalling that particular night at the Cage. The band ended up barely visible through the crowd of fans that rushed the stage to dance to their latest tunes.

“We encourage them,” Lightstone, almost unrecognizable without his signature hat, explains. “The Calgary mentality is very timid . . . It can be nerve racking to be the only person dancing but once someone starts, it grows.”

Lately, the group have been busy in the studio with Juno award-winning producer Laurence Currie– who has also worked with Holy Fuck and Wintersleep– on their latest record, Exploding Spiders, which will be let loose on Calgarians August 15.

“It’s a Jack Kerouac quote about excitement and living in the moment,” Lightstone explains as he discusses the title. “It’s quirky and sticks in your head.”

Looking at Kerouac is a good way to better understand the philosophy behind Secret Broadcast. When it comes to describing the writing process of the album Lightstone easily relates to Kerouac’s raw, free-floating style.

“He writes his books in a stream of consciousness, it’s not over-thought,” he says. “That’s how our music is written. Spontaneously.”

Secret Broadcast have had a special relationship with release party partners and fellow X92.9 Xposure winners the Fast Romanticswithin the Calgary music scene. Craig has in fact played with the Fast Romantics’ bassist before and almost joined the band. He describes the two bands’ relationship as “very incestuous.”

“When we played the Hi Fi [Club] with them it was one of the busiest nights they have ever had,” says Lightstone. “It’s a lot more exciting to see a couple of good bands . . . you know like Shout Out Out Out and Holy Fuck playing together. You want a night people will remember.”

You most likely have heard of one of their many wins in different musical competitions, including the Xposure contest and the “Oh Henry! What Feeds Your Hunger” Competition, allowing the band to play events such as the Virgin Festival in previous years. Don’t let the competition mentality and hype fool you, the boys feel very little pressure.

“We feel like it has been a really natural progression for us,” explains Lightstone. “We are really good friends with all the bands we compete against, so we don’t really like the actual competition part of it.”

The group maintains that competetions can be incredibly beneficial, though.

“Bands should really try going into competitions,” adds Craig. “We couldn’t have worked with Laurence without winning. It was a huge learning curve.”

The future for Secret Broadcast includes touring and looks to potentially be much like Kerouac’s On The Road: a spontaneous trip searching for revelation, passion and meaning, but most importantly, seeking to deliver kickass shows and release their unique sounds on the rest of Canada.

“We are going to be focusing on touring Canada for the next few months,” Lightstone explains. “We will see what happens . . . our next move might be the U.S. or U.K. We want to take it slow and take on one country at a time.”

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