INTERVIEW: THE SUMMER SET
Photo by Steven Taylor
Interview by Brian Dales / John Gomez
The Summer Set is a Scottsdale, AZ pop rock band that is composed of Brian Dales (Vocals), John Gomez (Guitar, Piano, Backup vocals), Josh Montgomery (Guitar), Stephen Gomez (Bass), and Jess Bowen (Drums).
They have released four EP’s and two full length albums; “Love The Love You Have” EP (Self released, November 30, 2007), “...In Color” EP (The Militia Group, June 24, 2008), “Meet Me On The Left Coast” EP (The Militia Group, December 12, 2008), “Love Like This” (Razor & Tie, October 13, 2009), “Everything's Fine” (Razor & Tie, July 19, 2011), and the “What Money Can't Buy” EP (Self released, November 28, 2011).
Their music has landed major television syncs on "Dancing With The Stars", MTV's "Jersey Shore" and "10 on Top", and "Hard Times of RJ Berger.”
In 2009, the band opened up Alternative Press's AP Tour, hitting the road with bands such as The Cab, Never Shout Never, Hey Monday and Every Avenue. Following the AP Tour, the band headed out on the road with Cartel.
In 2010, they played festivals including The Bamboozle and the Vans Warped Tour. From March- May 2011, they were a part of the Dirty Work Tour that included All Time Low, Yellowcard and Hey Monday. After the tour, the band launched a crowd-sourced lyric video for "Someone Like You", that featured live video taken by fans during the Dirty Work Tour with All Time Low. Also in May of 2011, the band participated in the free OurZone Magazine Tour, which was seven dates in the UK.
Besides releases original songs they have recorded a pop punk version of Usher's song "Love in This Club”, they also appeared on the Punk Goes Classic Rock CD (released by Fearless Records) covering "I Wanna Rock and Roll All Nite" by Kiss.
On August 16, 2012, the band has announced they have been signed to Fearless Records.
Right now they are currently touring Brazil with Every Avenue, Mayday Parade and The Downtown Fiction. They will do 8 dates in the UK, with Mayday Parade, before heading back to the U.S. for tour with All Time Low, Hit The Lights, and The Downtown Fiction.
Tell us a little bit about yourself (How did you know you wanted to be a musician, how long have you been playing music, ect.)
I think I've always wanted to be a musician for as long as I can remember. I went to my first Bruce Springsteen concert when I was 2. My dad was a superfan. I've always loved songwriting and pop music. I grew up playing piano, and dabbled in learning guitar and drums in middle school. It wasn't til my sophomore year of high school that I started singing, kind of by accident. I was hooked. We started The Summer Set my senior year of high school and we've been doing this ever since. Still young. – Brian
You started writing/recording this new album in Arizona where you all had “Casa De Summer Set” where you all lived together for a while. How did that go? How was the inspiration over there? What made you all decide to be in AZ when doing so?
We hadn't been home in Arizona for more than a few weeks in almost 3 years. We needed a break. When the opportunity came to start writing a new record we all rented a house together, appropriately titled "Casa De Summer Set". I think it was the best thing that has ever happened to us. We learned who we were, what kind of record we wanted to make, and we got closer as a band and as friends again. The road can make you tired. We were more inspired than ever, wrote a ton of great songs, and did way too much day drinking by the pool. Then right after 4th of July, John and I checked out early and moved out to LA. We went for 2 months to write a shit ton of songs, with a bunch of writer friends and producers we've always loved working with. That's where we've been since. I'm so excited to finish this record and release it, it's ridiculous. – Brian
So “Everything’s Fine” you all basically said “no to nothing” and tried out everything. Can you tell us a little bit about this new album? The emotion/ influences/central theme/ what fans can expect?
I think we finally accepted our general love for pop music. I just love great pop songs with great lyrics. Everything's Fine was a lot less energetic than Love Like This, and we've wanted to get that energy back. I don't think we're that "warped tour pop rock/punk band we used to be, but we've found creative ways to find that same type of energy again. I love everything from Bruce Springsteen to Jay-z, to what’s on pop radio. We're trying to be more open minded. As far as lyrically speaking, I've finally let loose and have gotten over a lot of really rough relationships in my life. So this record for me is about the best summer of my life....and drinking. - Brian
Your video for “When We Were Young” is surprisingly very morbid and not what people would have thought you all would go with. What or why was the reasoning behind that?
We just wanted to give people something they wouldn't expect from us. "The first love's the hardest."- Brian
Back in the spring you all did a co headling tour with your good friends from The Cab. It’s amazing to see both of these bands grow and still support each other so much. How do you think this affects your fans and music? Would you ever collaborate on a split EP or song together with The Cab?
Our fans know how close we are with The Cab guys. They're our best friends. Fans wanted to come out and see that camaraderie. As far as collaborating, hopefully Alex is going to sing on our new record somewhere. I did some group/background vocals on their last one. -Brian
Earlier this year you also went on an international tour, seeing so much of the world at such a young age must be very eye opening. What was the best/most memorable experience you’ve had so far?
It's hard to pick, it's all eye opening. There are so many moments to choose from, like the crazy fans in the Philippines to the amazing country of Australia or even the beautiful city of Paris. Going back to the UK for the second time and seeing our growth double is up there as well. It's too hard to pick. I love all of it. We're privileged. - Brian
From what I’ve seen on the social media sites, you all seem to have very happy go lucky attitudes and don’t bring negative mindsets to the table. What keeps you from go crazy over the stress/busy pace of the music industry?
Honestly, we signed one of the worst record deals ever when we were all 18 and at that time we had no manager, no money, and no hope. But, we powered through all of it, toured incessantly, built a fan base with the help of social media, and we're still going. I'm only 22 and I feel like I've already drafted a playbook from all of the mistakes we made early on and how we powered through. Never ever give up if you want something bad enough. Now we have a great manager, great agent, and an amazing new label. I feel like we're a brand new band and my head is more leveled than ever. Always look up. -Brian
This fall you’re going on tour with Mayday Parade (South America + UK) and All Time Low (US). Are you going to be playing any new material while on those tours?
We'll be playing a new song, perhaps. You'll have to find out! - Brian
What song of yours holds the most meaning to you? Why?
I'd say it's a song that we never released on a record called "Papercut". It was just a simple acoustic song Brian and I wrote one night. When I go back and listen to it I remember what it was like being 17, confused and excited to get out in the real world.- John
Your Manniquien music video is a very DIY look behind the scenes of all of your lives. Nowadays, when bands put out DIY things (like tour/music videos, songs/albums etc.) fans seem to really appreciate the look behind the scenes and the organic vibe to it all. What do you think the importance is, as a band, to now do DIY vs. very scripted/over produced things?
I think that it's very important to be as candid as possible. Sometimes just fucking around backstage with an iPhone camera is more meaningful than a big budget music video. It's also fun for us to look back and watch. - John
Photo by Steven Taylor
It seems like you all are very immersed in the L.A. music scene. How would you describe the scene down there?
LA is an amazing place full of a lot of really motivated and vibrant personalities. I'm a big fan of the city. As for the music scene? LA is home to EVERY genre of music. With there being so many individual music scenes scattered around LA it's hard to categorize its vibe or make generalizations about its scene. We have a cool little group of musicians that we work with out there. We all share similar inspirations and have the same taste, so the product that we end up with in the end is really amazing. - John
What/ who do you look to for inspiration?
Anything from an ad, a movie quote or even the titles of old OC episodes ha. Songs are cool because they are essentially 3 minutes of expressing one solid thought. Inspiration comes quick and sometimes from the most unlikely of places. - John
WHY do you play music?
I got into playing music because I always idolized bands like Blink 182 and New Found Glory. They just seemed like badass people and no worries in the world. They always had girls all over them ha, and were just living a crazy lifestyle. Isn't that what every teenager dreams of? - John
Now, more than ever, music is ever-changing. What do you think is one genre of music that you hope will never go out of style?
If grind core ever went out of style I'd be pretty pissed. It sets the bar pretty low. As long as there are people listening to that stuff music can only keep getting better. - John
What inspires and motivates you to still pursue a career in music?
In one way or another, I like the idea of creating a soundtrack for people’s lives. It's a weird product we sell, but it’s one of the few products that can change a person's mood in a matter of seconds.- John
If you could go anywhere in the world, where's one place you would like to either play a show at again, or play it for the first time? What bands would you bring with you?
I want to go back to the Philippines pretty damn bad. Our drummer Jess has an amazing family out there, and the fans out there are so down to earth and friendly. - John
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned working in the music industry?
No one really knows the answer to anything. Like I said earlier, music is a weird product. It's not as simple and predictable as building a quality car for someone to drive. There are always artists that people doubt will ever catch on, and 6 months later they have a number 1 single. - John
Has there been a specific night a show really sticks out in your memory?
It was the first show of AP tour in 2009 (I believe). It was our first time playing at a House of Blues venue and the show was sold out. I will never forget the feeling of walking onto the stage and staring out at the crowd. I felt like I was gonna throw up...it was magical. - John
I see a lot of musicians losing sight of what music really means to them because of the rapidly changing music industry. From your point of view do you see these younger musicians pursuing this industry because they are dedicated to the music or for the money/fame side of it?
I have no idea honestly. There are both kinds of people in all walks of life. There are a lot of new musicians I know that are in this for the right reasons, and I like to focus on that. - John
Lastly, If the world was to really end in December, what would you be most of as a musician?
I can chug a Redbull in under 2 seconds. - John