The Making of Brumby's "Leave a Light On"
If you're from the Las Vegas area and haven't heard of Brumby, you probably need to get out more. Seriously, where have you been? Listen now if you haven't!
But I digress...
Those of you who live along the Interstate 15 have most likely had a chance to see the band live, as they are perpetually touring the West. The four members of Brumby (named after the free-roaming feral horses of Australia) have been together almost as long as they've known how to walk. Composed of three cousins and a best friend, they were a band before they even decided to call themselves that. Since I grew up next door to Brumby's guitarist, Tyler Tingey, I was able to wrestle some info from the bearded legend about their first release since 2014, "Leave a Light On." The music video for the new single is out tomorrow, and somehow I got my hands on behind-the-scenes photos from the video shoot. I also found a teaser video that the band posted on Twitter. You can check them out at the bottom of this article.
Origin and the Creative Process
As a songwriter myself, I'm continually curious about the origins of songs and the process behind creating them. The creation of "Leave a Light On" began in the summer of 2015 when an idea came to Tyler's mind.
"I liked the idea of a really simple bass line that would echo over a few chords that repeated over and over, so I started with that."
After choosing three chords that he liked, he looped them, and many of the melodies came to him immediately. Brumby's process isn't complete without collaboration though, so Tyler brought the song to their frontman Oliver Tingey for revision before filling it out with the rhythm section.
"I got with Oliver the next day, and he wrote all the verse lyrics and any other lyrics and melodies that I didn't have. The day after that, we got with Spencer and Dylan and they both caught the vision of the song and helped bring it to life. It was a very enjoyable writing process because we were all on the same page the whole time, and we knew what the song needed."
Tyler admits that the song came much more easily than most of their songs tend to, perhaps because of its inspiring subject matter.
The physical manifestation of "Leave a Light On" began with three looping chords, but songs like this truly begin in the heart. Tyler opened up about the personal inspiration behind the new single.
"The music lent itself to subject matter that was, on a personal level, equal parts broken and hopeful. Oliver and I both contributed lyrics for this one, and we approached it from different angles. The outcome is a song about embracing the flaws in a relationship and finding solace in imperfections."
The dichotomy between hope and the lack thereof is evident in one of my favorite lines: "there was sunshine, now your heart's an eclipse."
If songs begin in the heart, they end in the studio. Brumby wrapped up the song this past summer, just over a year after it was written. They recorded "Leave a Light On" in the legendary Battle Born Studios, owned by The Killers. The band says, "it was a surreal experience since many of the songs recorded there have been incredibly inspirational for us." One of the most interesting production elements of the song is the band's departure from their usual bass guitar sound in favor of a synth bass.
It was a decision I had made before the song was even written. I thought the change of scenery might give the band more fertile ground to write some tunes on. We had never used synths in any of our music before, so we were interested in finding a way that we could make it work for our sound. Spencer is a skilled piano player, so it's nice to be able to showcase how well-rounded he is as a musician
Each member of Brumby is extremely talented with their chosen instruments, and "Leave a Light On" is a testament to that. It's almost like the instruments chose them.