Wednesday 5 June 2013

The Summer Set // Interview with Brian Dales

 The Summer Set is nearly at the end of their UK tour and what a success it’s been. Not only have they been up and down the country but most shows have sold out and they also found time to open the mainstage at Slam Dunk Festival 2013.

Est.1987 headed to the final tour date in Manchester and caught up with front-man Brian Dales to chat about touring, feeling like a brand new band and being a compulsive over-packer…

The Summer Set at Manchester's Deaf Institute
Heya Brian. So, it’s the last date of the tour tonight, first things first, we have to ask have you run out of clean clothes yet?
[laughing] I got to do laundry the other day so I’m ok, oh and I’m a compulsive over-packer. We’ve a girl in the band and I somehow manage to bring more than her, so I’m not sure if I should be impressed of embarrassed. I have this mentality that I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. So I bring like a suit on tour, just in case; I’m prepared for every occasion.

It’s your headline tour and so many sell-out dates. How’s it gone, you must be pretty pleased?
It’s amazing. It’s hard to come half way across the world and expect a show to sell out; it’s still a surreal idea to me. But the shows have been amazing and all the crowds have been great; we’re finishing on a definite high.

Front-man Brian Dales

And Slam Dunk Festival as well last weekend- did you enjoy it?
Absolutely we enjoyed it. We played 2011 which was the first time we ever came over here and just the Leeds Slam Dunk in a tiny little basement; there were like ten people. And two years later we got asked to open the main stage. You wonder, are kids going to come and watch and have a lot of energy, or are they going to save it for the seven hours later that they have to stand there until All Time Low headline it? But they were nuts, it was great. We had the best time; I really can’t imagine Slam Dunk going any better.  

So the new album “Legendary” has been out a month or so; is it nice that fans know the new songs and sing-a-long now?
We’re playing sixteen songs on this tour; including a handful of old ones. But the new ones are just as loud if not louder crowd participation wise. To have the reaction and response to the new record that quickly is amazing. We’ve been playing the song “Lightening In A Bottle” for the first time ever; we didn’t even play it on the US leg of this tour, and already it’s the craziest song of our set every night and it’s brand new. So it’s really cool.

It’s often said bands really come into their own on the third album – do you feel stronger than ever? You’re the band you wanted to be?
Absolutely. This is the one we’ve been trying to figure out how to make for a long time. It took us two albums, and one b*****d child of a second album to really figure out how to get it right. All of a sudden it feels like our first album, I feel like we’re a brand new band. We’re on a new label, a great new team and a record we are really proud of. It sounds like the way we’ve always wanted to sound. Four years ago I don’t think we realised it. We approached the writing and recording of this record really differently.

Guitarist John Gomez in Manchester
Yeah, I was going to ask if there was a difference in the writing/recording process this time around…
With the first two albums we wrote a bunch of songs and then went in the studio with one producer for like three of four weeks, and just banged it all out and that was it, pretty quick; very, I guess, traditional. But with this new record we wanted to take it very slowly, so we took time off and approached it with the mentality that it doesn’t have to come out any time soon, we can just work on it. We had like fifty songs and worked with a lot of different producers. 

Some of the demos we recorded were basically the final version the way the song is on the record. I always knew that there was a certain magic moment when you’re writing but I never noticed that when it does happen don’t f**k with it [laughing]. We used to over analyse production and convinced ourselves we needed to make changes and refused to believe that the first try was the best.

Do you have a favourite song from the new record?
I actually don’t and that’s really cool. My favourite songs are all twelve out of the fifty that made it [laughing].

The Summer Set's bassist Stephen Gomez

And you’re from Arizona, what was the music scene like growing up there?
It was a definite benefit growing up there, where a lot of bands that we played with went off doing lots of tours, bands like The Maine and Anarbor, and we grew up on bands like Jimmy Eat World. Also there’s an impressive hardcore scene in Arizona that I barely know anything about, like Blessthefall and The Word Alive; all these bands that do fantastic over here. It was wonderful to play shows with these friends and watch everyone go out on tour. I don’t live there anymore so it’s hard to know what the scene is like now but I don’t think the sense of community that our bands had is still there. Now every band is competing against each other and that’s the wrong mentality. You have to put your local scene on the map before you put your band on the map.

I guess next for you guys is Warped Tour are you looking forward to it again and what are your survival tips for getting through it?
We’ve done it before, yeah, so I feel like a seasoned veteran. It’s a very hard tour but very rewarding. Three tips? A solar shower so you don’t have to go figure out where showers are everyday, sunscreen and drink a lot of water.

Josh Montgomery on stage
And finally we saw the online community The Summer Set has created “Half Moon Kids”, can you tell us more about it?
It was an idea that spawned when we were living in a house together when we were first making this record, and we were calling ourselves the half moon kids. The name always stuck around and we had an idea that we wanted to start this community where fans of our band, of any band, could go and meet people just like them. And the fan community could share their own artwork and music and their passions. It’s more impressive than anything I could ever come up with, I think our fans are more talented than us. It’s a place where people can go and not be scared to follow their dreams. We’ve a lot of plans and are really excited to see where something like this can go. I really hope Half Moon Kids becomes an entity far beyond and bigger than I could dream of The Summer Set being, so we’ll see.

Want to know what happened when The Summer Set took to the stage? CLICK HERE