Interview: Summerlin

SummerlinWhile fairly new, Summerlin are quickly making a name for themselves on the UK pop-punk circuit, and Faye caught up with the Yorkshire boys following their little stint with My Passion last month in Sunderland.

They talk about the night’s events, their debut EP, new material, future plans, and reveal the secrets of their renowned fancy footwork.

Faye: Can you say your names and what you do in Summerlin?
Jake: I’m Jake, I play bass.
Drew: I’m Drew, I sing.
Ben: I’m Ben, I play guitar.
Lee: I’m Lee, I play guitar.
Liam: I’m Liam, I play the drums.

Faye: You played a show with My Passion tonight, how was that?
Ben: Awesome.
Drew: Hung over is the word I’d use for the gig. [laughs] No, the three shows we’ve done have been really, really good, we always like playing with those boys.

Faye: So, it was a heavy night last night?
Ben: So much fun, it was one of the best nights we’ve ever had as a band.
Jake: I’m in court tomorrow.
All: [laughs]
Ben: He steals my lines and because it’s on tape, he’ll claim it’s his, what a thief!

Faye: I heard there was a bit of bother with the promoter of the show, can you tell us what happened?
Drew: The promoter got scared, he messed about with the venue for so long that tickets weren’t online on time, so the sales were fairly low, so he wanted to pull it, but the My Passion guys said they wanted to put it on. We just wanted to play wherever, we don’t care if we get paid or not tonight.

Faye: You seem to have a good relationship with My Passion.
Jake: I think we get on with them because we’re two different bands, it’s good to do something like that.
Ben: We can totally look at each other’s bands and appreciate what we’re doing without any kind of rivalry.

Faye: Didn’t they take you out on your first tour earlier this year? How was that?
Ben: They did, yeah, and we love them for that. We owe them a lot because they really formed us as a band, that tour made us a proper band.

Faye: Do you find that you’ve got a similar fanbase?
Ben: Definitely, yeah! It’s really cool, actually, that we can crossover with our fans. I think 90% of their fans are our fans.

Faye: You haven’t been a band all that long, can you tell us how you got started?
Drew: I spoke to Jake on the ‘net, our last bands split up and we weren’t doing anything, so I asked him if he wanted to start this. We sort of got together and started asking a few people around us to get involved, and within the space of a few months we found the five people.
Jake: With a few member changes.
Drew: Yeah, and that’s basically how it happened. I mean, me and Jake didn’t even know each other when we got in contact, I just contacted him through MySpace and knew him through his other band.
Jake: If it wasn’t for this band, I’d be dead, seriously, and that’s not a lie.
All: [laughs]
Jake: I kept saying that all the time last night, I’m like my dad.
Ben: Don’t lower the tone!

Faye: For a new band, you’re really tight live, do you think that’s down to past band experience?
Ben: We’re just mint.
Jake: I don’t think so, because when we first started playing, we were terrible. It’s just getting to know each other.
Lee: I think it was the My Passion tour that made us the band we are today, because it was the first tour we had been on and stuff, so it was good playing consecutive gigs instead of doing practise the one gig.
Ben: A gig’s worth 10 practises, so to do 8 in a row, you do the math… [whispers] 80.

Faye: You’re known to do the odd synchronised dance move on stage, how did that come about?
Ben: I think it came from the pop aspect of our band.
Drew: It’s just a joke.
Ben: Yeah, that’s the right answer, it’s just a joke.
Drew: But Ben did go through five years of dance and two years of tap.
Ben: I did, can you not tell by the footwork?
Jake: Lee used to do ballet.
Lee: Don’t! I’ve had enough embarrassment for one day. Nah, it wasn’t ballet, I’d call it contemporary dancing, I think. Nu-age street dancing.
Jake: I can dance, watch the CCTV footage from the Garage in Glasgow last night, I can fucking dance. [laughs]
Drew: You really don’t want to watch that CCTV footage.

Faye: There’s a lot of bands in your genre right now, what would you say separates you?
Ben: I think we’re a really good looking band, everyone else doesn’t really have a patch on us in that aspect, otherwise, nothing. Nah, seriously, someone answer that question. [laughs]
Lee: There’s a lot of bands in the UK at the moment that all sound exactly the same…
Drew: Yeah, the thing is, we’re not necessarily trying to go down that scene of pop-punk, it’s just writing good music and it ends up a lot of the time being pop-rock, really. We are influenced heavily by a lot of pop-punk bands from the past, but, I think, what separates us is that we can go anywhere we want with our music, instead of being stuck in that one genre.
Lee: We don’t try to be different, we just find ourselves being different, it’s good, I like it. The dance moves are the best.
Ben: Yeah, that’s what we’ve got on everyone else, that’s what makes us different, is the dance moves and Jake Greenwood.
Lee: Jake Greenwood, Penknifelovelife, drop it in.
All: [laughs]

Faye: I notice you’re on MySpace a lot, do you think it’s important to be in touch with your fans?
Ben: We just like stroking our ego, really, messaging them saying, “Do you like us?”
Jake: It’s extremely important promotion-wise.
Ben: Yeah, it’s getting the word out, getting people to listen to our music.
Lee: There’s so many bands around at the moment that do the same thing, like we were saying before, it helps with getting people knowing who you are.
Ben: If you’re lazy then, you’re only going to get as far as the work you put in and we put in a lot of work.

Faye: Do you still think MySpace is still relevant and useful nowadays, with more people abandoning it for Facebook?
Lee: I think Facebook would be better if it had a music player like MySpace.
Jake: MySpace for bands is still big.
Ben: Yeah, it’s not as good as far as social-networking goes, Twitter’s the next step, but to check out a band, I think MySpace is the way forward, without a doubt. It’s so accessible and it’s easy.

Faye: I believe you’ve got an EP, So Make Your Move, can you tell us a bit about that?
Ben: Yeah, we recorded it in March and put it out in June, we’ve shifted around 600 copies since then and we’ve not toured heavily or anything, and done a lot online.
Drew: iTunes has done a lot for that record.
Ben: Yeah, iTunes has done lots, I think that comes from our American following. There’s four tracks from our first five songs, we cut one of them and used those four. It’s still us developing and I think that’s a good thing about it, you can hear us developing throughout the tracks, because the ones that we wrote earlier one aren’t necessarily as good as the ones we wrote later on.

Faye: Is it on Spotify?
Ben: It’s not yet, but we are aiming to do that, we have spoke to them, there’s just a massive backlog to get through, so we’re waiting. We’d love to get on it, though.

Faye: Are you working on any new material?
Ben: We’ve just demoed three tracks, which we played two of them tonight and, so far, they’ve gone down awesome – really good reaction, from the new songs. The third song, we haven’t had a chance to learn.

Faye: Do you know if they’re for a new EP or album?
Ben: I’m not sure yet.
Drew: We’re hoping for an album, we’ll shop it about and see if we can get it out and some label to give us some money to put it out and do what we need to do, but if not we’ll probably put it out ourselves, but up until that point, who knows?
Ben: Yeah, we’d love to do an album, we’ve just got to write some more songs.

Faye: So, what’s next for Summerlin, have you got any tours or anything planned?
Drew: It’s just been writing, writing, writing.
Ben: What people have been saying to us, we need a lot more material and then as soon as we get the songs to back up the kind of buzz we’ve got around us at the minute, then we’ll get an agent that’ll be able to put us on more tours. So, basically, when we’ve got more material and more stuff recorded and we’ve got something to push, then we’ll be more likely to get an agency group into us to get the gigs for tours. Otherwise, it’s just writing right now.
Drew: Yeah, because if we get asked to do an album, we’ll basically have to do 20 songs to put down to 10-12.

Faye: Change the record, who should we be listening to?
Ben: My Passion.
Lee: I’m into Not Advised at the moment.
Ben: Through and through, yeah, Not Advised. Paige, up-and-coming great band.
Jake: Confide.
Liam: I don’t know many bands at the moment, the music scene’s a bit dead for bands coming through on the radio and stuff.
Ben: Adelaide, great band.
Lee: Saving Aimee.
Ben: Look in our top friends, we endorse all of those.

Faye: Do you have any final words?
Liam: Party on.
Lee: Get drunk.
Ben: Let’s get hammered.
Liam: Bitchin’.

Faye Turnbull.

Summerlin’s debut EP So Make Your Move is out now, you can order it from their official online store HERE or iTunes.

For more infomation on Summerlin, visit: www.myspace.com/summerlin

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