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Interview: The Summer Set

In the build-up to the release of their first full-length, 'Love Like This'. Sean caught up with guitarist's John Gomez and Josh Montgomery, and vocalist Brian Dales, to talk about the new record, their new single, 'Chelsea', the use of social networking sites, their collaboration with Dia Frampton and more

ATP: I understand Stephen and John are brothers who were friends with Jess. How did you meet Brian and Josh?
Josh: I went to high school with John and Stephen and our bands played shows together.

John: My brother, Jess, and I started playing together in the 6th grade. Throughout the years we had a lot of different band names and different members, and in 2007 when we lost the singer and guitarist of our band we put out a call for a singer on myspace of all places. It just so happened that Brian was online at 7AM one morning, and he was the first on to reply, so we tried him out. He came to me and Stephen's house and sang for us acapella and we were immediately sold. We had another guitarist for about 6 months, and when he left we asked josh. We had been playing shows in the local scene with josh forever but had never been in a band with him. We hit him up and it all worked out perfectly.

Brian: John, Jess, and Stephen's old band broke up and they were looking for a new singer to start a new band so I reached out. A week later I auditioned and that's when The Summer Set started.

ATP: What bands brought you together? I hear you are all fans of Jimmy Eat World?
Josh: Stephen and I shared an obsession with all Drive-Thru Records bands we'd always run into eachother at shows.

John: Yes, Jimmy Eat World was a huge influence on us from the beginning, they are an Arizona band that we all grew up with. Another band that had a big influence on us was another Arizona band called The Format. Brian started out singing by playing Format acoustic covers with his friends in high school.

B: Yep we're big fans of Jimmy Eat World. Pop bands like The Format, who are from our hometown, and Jack's Mannequin and Third Eye Blind brought us together.

ATP: For people who don't know who you are, how would you describe The Summer Set?
Josh: I would say we're a pop band with a live set that could be compared to a cardio exercise. If that makes sense...

John: I'd describe us as upbeat pop rock that you can go crazy to.

B: We're a fun, high-energy, pop band from Phoenix, Arizona who knows how to have a good time.

ATP: I guess its been a little crazy the past 2 years, with a few EPs and various tours. How has all of this affected you personally and as a band?
Josh: Every time we come out with something new or take a step forward we just remind ourselves that it's just the beginning and that to get to where we want to be we have a long road ahead of us. The things we've accomplished only give us more drive for our future as a band.

John: I graduated high school my junior year so we could hit the road and start touring. All of the E.P.s were recorded in the midst of all of us being in school. So when we had the opportunity to make a career out of music we all took it at the drop of a hat. As a band when we went into record our first album, not in school, no other obligations, it really changed the way we wrote music. We were exposed to a lot of different great producers like Matt Squier, and Sam and Sluggo, and it taught us so much. It really brought the quality of our songs to a new level.

B: It's crazy and its made us all a lot closer as a band. We're all really level headed though so it fortunately hasn't changed us much as people.

ATP: Like many bands today, you have rely heavily on the use of the internet. Do you think the internet is increasingly becoming a helpful tool for bands?
Josh: I think the internet is a great tool, a lot of artists may disagree and that's ok but fans today are so lucky compared to fans 10 years ago. There used to be so much mystery behind bands and these days kids no EVERYTHING about the people they listen to.

John: The internet has opened a huge door of opportunity for bands, and if you don't use all of these sites then kids will loose interest. It didn't used to be like this, but you have to change with the times.

B: Social networking is incredible for bands. It's the fastest and easiest way to get the word out and i recommend that any band that's just getting started take advantage of sites like twitter and myspace.

ATP: What is your opinion on bands connecting with fans via myspace, twitter etc? Do you think it has a big effect on a bands career and success?
Josh: These days if you don't connect with your fans they'll drop you for somebody who actually gives them the time of day.

John: Twitter and myspace have a HUGE effect on the success of a band. Its not enough to write good music and tour anymore, these kids wanna be your best friend, and know everything about you. If you show them every side of you you can, with videos, and twitter, and myspace, then they will be loyal to you, cause they are not just fans of you, they are friends with you.

B: Of course. The more personal you get with your fans the longer they are gonna stay with you. It has a big effect on the longevity of your career.

ATP: Ok lets talk about your new album, ' Love Like This'. What can fans expect from it?
Josh: People can expect the unexpected. This record is everything we wanted out of our first album, it's still The Summer Set but I think we accomplished bringing a whole new vibe to the table.

John: Fans can expect a record that has 11 completely different songs. All fall under the umbrella of pop music, which is a very big umbrella, and that's why we wanted to make this record as diverse as possible, with strong pop choruses.

B: It's a pop record that I think is really fun to listen to. It's got a little bit of something for everyone.

ATP: How was it working with Matt Grabe?
Josh: Working with Matt Grabe was the best choice this band made. He's an incredibly talented producer and the way he understands our band blows my mind.

John: Me Jess, and my brother have worked with Matt Grabe since I was a 14 and they were 16. Matt has a way of hearing the basic chords of your song and putting this flavor on top of it that we would have never thought of. He really taught us a lot about song writing in the month that we recorded our record, we wrote 5 songs off the album in studio in the down time between tracking, never thought we would have been able to do that, we thank Matt for that.

B: Matt is a champ. It was his first full length record he has ever done and he was hungrier than ever. He wanted to make the best record he could make and he really helped us find our sound.

ATP: The first single is a song called 'Chelsea'. Is it about any particular?
Josh: Yea Chelsea is about Chelsea Staub one of my good friends and actress on the Disney show "Jonas" she's an incredible girl and the song was written about Brian never having a chance with her. Ha

John: The song is definitely about a real person. Who? You'll have to decide for yourself.

B: Haha yep there's a real "Chelsea", and the song is about her.

ATP: On the album, there is a track called 'Where Are You Now?' with Dia Frampton from Meg and Dia. How did that collaboration come about?
Josh: We knew we wanted a duet for the album and had this song ready for it. We searched for female vocalists and found Dia her voice is absolutely incredible and it is an honor to have her voice on our first album.

B: Our management manages Meg and Dia as well and we had a song we were working on that I really wanted to be a duet. I called our manager Mike and asked him if Dia would come and sing on it. She came into the studio a week later and killed it. She's incredible.

ATP: In the past you did a cover of a Usher track. Any plans for anymore covers?
Josh: As of now no plans for a cover but we'll find the right song soon enough. Right now we're just writing as much as humanly possible.

B: Of course. I love covering songs. If you ever catch us playing an acoustic set we cover a few songs, like Taylor Swift. I wanna cover a Michael Jackson song one day.

ATP: I read you toured with numerous bands over the summer. Who was that with and how did those shows go?
Josh: We've toured with great bands like The Friday Night Boys, Sing it Loud, The Cab, A Rocket to the Moon and many more. I'm proud to say we've all hit it off great and it would be amazing to tour with any of them again.

B: We opened for The Cab all summer with a few other bands like A Rocket To The Moon, Eye Alaska, Anarbor, My Favorite Highway, and The Secret Handsake. It was an amazing tour and the shows were great.

ATP: What have The Summer Set got planned in the coming months?
Josh: Touring with Cartel, A Rocket to the Moon, and This Century.

B: Well our album comes out on October 13th and then we're gonna be on tour this fall with Cartel. Come check us out in a city near you.

ATP: Are there any plans to go overseas? If so is there anywhere particular you'd like to visit?
Josh: I'd love to go to France since I'm learning French from the road right now :)

B: No plans yet but hopefully in 2010 we can make it over to the UK and Japan. I'd love to visit anywhere in Europe.

ATP: Do you have anything else left to say?
Josh: Please come to a show and hang, I love you.

B: Pick up our album Love Like This in stores on October 13th!

The Summer Set's new album, 'Love Like This' is released on October 13th on Razor and Tie.

The Summer Set's cover of User's 'Love In This Club' can be downloaded for freehere.

The Summer Set on MySpace
The Summer Set on Twitter
The Summer Set on Facebook

Sean Reid

Alter The Press!