By Morgan James
A whirlwind of a week was in store when Will Sturgeon got the call from Goldenvoice asking if his band, brightener, would play at The Coachella Music and Arts Festival on Saturday. Just five days away, Will expertly coordinated his fairly newly formed band and played a show that they will remember for a lifetime. I spoke with Will about his experience playing at Coachella Fest, the band as a whole, and where he hopes to take his impressive music project from here.
Morgan James: So tell me what are some of your favorite memories from playing at Coachella Saturday?
Will Sturgeon: “I have been going to Coachella as a fan for 9 years now. The best part (about playing the festival) was having artist assistance so that I could get free waters all of the time. That was pretty clutch! I also got to eat a lot of popsicles. (laughing)I love Coachella every year. I think it is the perfect festival. To be on the other side, on that stage, was a really cool experience and I met a lot of people.”
MJ: Was that the largest show you have played?
WS: “Well we played at noon,” he chuckled, “So I have played bigger shows, but never on a bigger stage. That stage is my dream stage. To look out from that vantage point was amazing.”
MJ: Did everything go as planned with the set up and preparation, or were there any hiccups along the way?
WS: “Yeah I think we were the only group who played that didn’t have a manager and who played on a 5 day notice. So it was a crazy week for me trying to get some press going and running through it all in my head the night before. We had 2 members in our band who were booked to play a wedding at 4pm in L.A. that same day so I had a bit of a panic attack Friday night. But we got there really early and everything ran smooth. Goldenvoice had us take quick photos after our set and my band mates had a golf cart waiting and were able to make it to the wedding. It may have been the best day ever.”
MJ: You also have the Tachevah Finals May 18th?
WS: “I wanted to compete in Tachevah in previous years. But I didn’t really start this brightener project until last September. We picked and chose our time to enter wisely and now we are moving on. I have always gone to Tachevah and experienced the block party, so again, being on the other side and heading to the finals is just awesome.”
MJ: So it seems, you were ready, so now things are just starting to happen for you?
WS: “Yeah it is crazy that in such a short amount of time we went from playing for the Coachella Valley Art Scene at the Mary Pickford Theatre in October, to now playing at Coachella! It has been an odd smattering of shows. I feel very fortunate. The band has such a familial feeling and this last month has been very bonding. It was so great to have them all there on stage with me this weekend.”
MJ: I know your sister plays in the band with you.
WS: “Yes! Abby (Abigail Sturgeon) is my sister. Aman Alem and I went to music school together. The two of them met through me playing a gig and the next day they told me they were in love. Plus our drummer Elias Texel and bassist Raefer Finnigan are best friends and have been out here in the desert forever. It makes the band a really nice organism and I am really grateful for it.”
MJ: You mentioned you don’t have a manager. Will you be looking for management? To tour? A record label? Or will you continue to wear all of those hats?
WS: “It’s never gotten to the point that I have needed someone else to take a managerial role. Also I have been doing it so long on my own that it might be hard for me to relinquish control of the project. Of course there has never been a week where we have needed a manager more than this week. But I have yet to see how this whole thing will play out and what this will mean for us as a band. I do want to take as much advantage of this opportunity as we can. We actually released two songs on a small label earlier this week. My friend Greg owns New Professor Record Company and has been a mentor for me as well as for a lot of L.A. artists. So when I got the call from Coachella I spoke with him and decided to strike while the iron is hot and go ahead and release them. We would also like to play more shows locally and then around southern California so we will see where this all leads.”