True to its name, Bright Moments is a big sunshiny explosion of optimism: joyous found sounds, Afro-Brazilian rhythms, Beach Boys harmonies, anime keyboards and big explosions of billowing brass. It’s the demented brainchild of New Yorker Kelly Pratt, a multi-instrumentalist who’s played horns for Beirut, Arcade Fire, David Byrne and LCD Soundsystem; he cobbled all the highest peaks of those bands into the danceable, po-mo mash-up Natives (Luaka Bop). “Tourists” is a little Talking-Heads-gone-gypsy-punk; a little yacht rock warmth; and a little Game Boy cheerbomb.
Download: Bright Moments, “Tourists”
What is “Tourists” about?
I feel like the lyrics are vague enough for multiple interpretations, but for me it is about someone wishing that they knew more about the history of their family. So many people go through life without knowing the story of their parents, much less the story of their grandparents or other relatives further down the line. But once those people are gone there isn’t much that can be done about it.
What inspired it musically?
With this one I was really trying to meld acoustic and electronic sounds. There are a lot of trumpets in here, which are obviously organic instruments, but by the end they are affected in such a way they sound like electric guitars. So maybe a little Neutral Milk Hotel and a little Hendrix?
What inspired it lyrically?
I didn’t want this song to have too many words. For certain songs I feel that less can definitely be more. So maybe something like “Everything in its Right Place” from Radiohead. But it definitely wasn’t a direct influence.
You’re originally from Kentucky. What was one of your most formative moments as a tourist in NYC?
I only visited New York once before I moved here, for a few months during college to do an internship. I think my most memorable tourist experience that first time was seeing Les Miserables. I wouldn’t call myself a fan of musicals by any stretch of the imagination, but the music and story of Les Mis were incredibly moving. Also, going to the Village Vanguard for the first time was pretty incredible.
When do you stop feeling like a tourist here?
I would say that after about five years I didn’t feel like a tourist anymore—I have been here 10 now. Once I started to connect the neighborhoods together and knew where I was going without a map I began to feel like a local. Also once you stop caring about anyone but yourself you are a real New Yorker, so hopefully I’m not quite there yet…
What’s the most memorable show you’ve played in NYC?
Probably Randall’s Island with Arcade Fire in 2007. There were about 20,000 people there and it was a very special day. LCD Soundsystem and Blonde Redhead played. Slavic Soul Party was walking around playing in the crowd. After the show we played “Kiss Off” to the people who were still hanging out.
What’s your favorite place to eat in New York?
Wow, there are so many answers to this! For pizza I prefer Grimaldi’s. For steak I go to Luger’s. Dim Sum is great at Pacificana, but you have to get your soup dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai. I go back and forth between DuMont and the Parker Meridien for burgers. But the surprise winner may be Taqueria y Fonda la Mexicana on the UWS. I used to live nearby and would eat there all the time. It’s super affordable and the only place I’ve had real Mexican food in New York.