Heart of Steel: Interviews

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Interview With Summer Dying
Interview By JP


This week one of the US hottest unsigned bands took time out their busy schedule to chat with Metal-Rules.com. If you like what you read in this interview don't forget to check out our reviews of Beyond The Darkness within and One Last Taste of Temptation


Greeting and thanks for taking the time to chat to us! I guess the beginning is a good place to start. Can you tell us a bit about the history of the band?

Summer Dying was formed from a combination of members of Somber and Mind Pollution in the summer of 2001. We were all friends and both of our bands broke up at relatively the same time so some of us just forged together as one unit and it became more than we expected. Within a few months our name was everywhere. We were playing shows non-stop. Our second show ever was Milwaukee Metalfest. We recorded a shitty three-song demo at our practice space in a weekend and made 500 copies which were distributed within weeks. Things just kept up from there.



How was the transition merging the two bands Mind Pollution and Somber?

Well, Somber and Mind Pollution were like brother bands. We played shows together all the time. Some members of MP lived with me at various times. It wasn't very strange or uncomfortable cause we all knew each other. Mind Pollution had broken up a few months before Somber did and started working on a new project. They didn't have a vocalist so Bob was writing most of the lyrics and doing vocals while they were looking for one. When Somber split I came into the picture and Summer Dying was formed. It was great...Everything I wanted in a band. Everyone had the same ideas and wanted the same things, so it clicked.



You have a new CD out! How is it being received by fans and the press?

Things have been awesome! We've been getting a lot of local press along with many national metal publications. The reviews have been great. We have been invited to more festivals. Our name is getting out there for sure. We are just trying to do more interviews and get more radio airplay. We are working on getting ads out, too.



Was it a difficult decision to go the independent route? Are you still actively looking for a label deal? I noticed your packaging and presentation is pretty sharp. It's as good or better than many majors produce. Do you think that for an underground band getting signed is still even relevant? If not, what are the advantages and disadvantages of doing it yourself?



Summer Dying has always had the mentality that we can do it ourselves. Kind of the whole punk/DIY approach. We have recorded and released two full length cds and one demo and they have all done well. We have not yet ventured much into advertisements even. Most sales have been at shows alone. In the two years that we've been a band we have not even sent our press kit to a single label. We have been doing well on our own and want to keep working our asses off until we have enough underground credibility to have some pull if a major label does approach us. See, recording and releasing our own cds gives us freedom. It also makes it so we obtain all profits. The disadvantage is that we cannot get on major tours and we do not get the massive promotion, publicity, and major distribution.



Do you feel the European audiences, labels and press are more receptive to your sound than in North America?

I feel that North America is very receptive. I feel that the Swedish sound is taking off over here. That can be a good and bad thing. There are some people who are getting sick of the Swedish sound because it is getting more recognition, and Swedish bands like In Flames and Soilwork are coming over here with nu-metal acts or big package tours and they are being exposed to a much larger audience such as kids that have never even known this music exists. It's good and bad. People are so closed-minded that when an "underground" band get some major attention fans think of them as sellouts. Why? It beats the hell out of me!



What is your driving force to create real metal? It must be discouraging at times to be creating music that by most accounts has little or no chance of commercial success in North America.

Well, like I said I do feel that this form of music is getting more recognition in North America. We are influenced by many bands and many different types of music, and we appeal to many different crowds. Here in Michigan we can get away with playing shows with hardcore, emo, indie and even nu metal acts and we are accepted. We all grew up on metal so that is naturally what we are going to want to play. If we were in this band for the money, fame, or women we would not be playing this music. But I would not go as far to say that it has no hope here in the States. Just wait a few years. Things cycle and repeat with a little twist. In the 70's there was southern rock, the 80's glam rock, the 90's nu metal, and now I can see melodic metal and hardcore becoming one of the next big things. I go to the local malls and I see Cradle of Filth shirts for sale. A few years ago you would have never seen that. Its coming.



Tell us a bit about the songwriting process. What comes first lyrics, music?

Definitely the music. I have to hear the songs and listen to what the guitars are saying to me. That's how I have done it for years. I just sit back and absorb the music and let it tell me the story. The feel. Then I create vocal lines until words hit me. It might sound kind of weird, but that's what works best for me. The music is usually written at home. Ben and Tony both have Sonar and they write and record at home then bring it to us at practice. We have already begun writing for the next cd.



I noticed the lyrics can be very dark...where do you draw inspiration from; more from reality and personal experience...or fantasy?

I write only what is on my mind, in my head. I don't like fantasy. I am not a fan of that stuff. My life is not as bad as my lyrics portray, but my life is not by any means perfect. So I write about the pains and the problems I have gone through in the past and present. It's the only way I know to let things out. One Last Taste of Temptation, as a whole, had a concept to it. For the most part all the lyrics were leading up to the "death" of me, my last goodbye.



Tough question from those of us who like labels! How would you describe your sound and what are some of the bands musical influences?

Well, I like to use the label melodic thrash attack. We are influenced by many, many bands and styles of music, but to name a few I'd say At The Gates, Killswitch Engage, Opeth, Testament, Death, and so many more. I think if you listen hard enough you can hear influences from all over. I myself love music in general from Coldplay to Borknagar. We are all just music lovin' fools! hah!



Tell about your live show, and touring plans and if you want share some tales of debauchery from the road?

I feel our live shows are full of intensity and emotion. We pour our hearts and souls out. We try and connect with the crowd. Many times we will play right on the floor, instead of the stage, with the crowd in our faces. It's much more personal and feels great! I am a fan of the fans. I want to interact with the crowd, get them excited. I want to give them their money's worth and make them feel that there are people out there that care and feel the same. I know as a kid going to metal shows I had major respect for certain vocalists because they were saying what I felt. I remember looking up to Phil Anselmo because all his lyrics meant something special to me. He is a great frontman. That's what I want to be: a great frontman.



How is the metal scene in your area?

Some people say it sucks, but those are the people who don't want to make it work. There are tons of great bands and cool places to play and we have a ton of awesome fans that come to the shows. The problem with the scene here is too many bands act like it is a big competition. Why? I love to make music, I love to help bands out and get them heard, but for some reason there's always going to be these groups that want nothing to do with you. We have a very strong hardcore scene that we are so lucky to be a part of because I hear in other areas hardcore and metal do not mix.



What are the plans for the band in the near future?

We plan on playing shows throughout the rest of the summer and fall. Then this winter we'll be slowing down and just writing music for the next cd. We plan on going into the studio in December to demo a couple songs and see how we like the sound. After that we'll see what happens. I can guarantee after our winter break we will be back out attacking the States with new music and more touring.



Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. Finishing off you get the last word and this is your chance to shine...are they any last thoughts, rants, dirty jokes or deep philosophies you want to share with the world?

I'd just like to say thanks for the interview and thanks to everyone reading it. Hope ya check us out and give an unsigned band a chance!


Band Website: www.summerdying.com