We sit down with Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands.
Story by James Johnson. Photography by Raul Rubiera Jr. Live Photos by: Jason Ginman
In 2009, artist Crystal Bright of Greensboro NC had just wrapped up a two year position as teacher of multi-cultural music and dance at the Greensboro Montessori school. Armed with far too much free time, and a wildly creative mind, Bright saw little other choice but to start writing music for what would become her band’s self titled 2010 debut album, Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands.
The music can best be described as mixture of pre-rock genres. Blues, jazz and vaudeville sounds put together using accordions, musical saws, keyboards, guitar, drums and bass. The band is currently getting set to release their follow up L.P, Muses and Bones.
Fresh off a performance at the Rock Shop Music Hall in Fayetteville NC, the FEED caught up with Bright, guitarist Diego Diaz and stand-up bass player Sanders Davis to discuss their wildly unique sound, as well as their future plans.
FEED: How exactly did this collaboration get started?
Crystal Bright: I was in a band before with my boyfriend … I don’t recommend it … Long story short, I lost my band, I lost all three members in one month and so I started a new one from scratch. Diego had seen my previous band and apparently liked what he heard, so he was the first to approach me about creating music.
I thought what she was doing was really different. Even before I saw her playing I wanted to be involved with it. Music like that, playing more traditional instruments – more acoustic instruments, that really interested me. I liked the darker sound as well. Right away I was like, ‘how can I get in this band?’ I heard areas where more ambient guitar sounds could fit in as well.
FEED: How do you describe the sound to people who haven’t heard it?
It is a little bit more Eastern European, Spanish sounding. I really don’t know. I do whatever I like and whatever sounds good. The influences are Roman music, gypsy music. Tom Waits, the Tiger Lillies. I have listened to a lot of classical stuff too. African stuff. World music.
FEED: What inspired the “Silver Hands” part of your band’s name?
Bright: It came from and old folk tale. It was about a girl who got traded to the devil for financial wealth by her dad. But the girl was too innocent for the devil to take her, as she always kept her hands clean of sin. The devil demanded that her dad cut off her hands, so that he could take her. Even after her hands were removed, the devil was unable to take her. With no hands, she couldn’t work, so she became homeless, and a begger. One day a King saw her and fell in love. He gifted her with silver hands …
FEED: Regionally, your band has become fairly popular with more than 1,000 fans online. Has that been the result of good marketing?
Bright: I think some of it is word of mouth. No matter who comes out, it seems to connect with people. It stretches across cultural boundaries. I have never been part of a click or anything.
FEED: How is the song writing process? Is it very collaborative?
Diaz: It is virtually all Crystal. I’ll sometimes make some suggestions but she is the song writer. She is pretty open to people throwing in their two cents in .
FEED: How is this new album being released this September, different from your debut?
Bright: It is a lot more developed I’d say. The last album was kind of a rushed project. We were doing a tour in Boston and wanted to have something to sell. This one we are putting a lot more time into not rushing at all.