Summer Years Interview
When did you decide that a career in music was for you?
A. Back in 2013, when I recorded an album with my first band, that’s when I fell in love with creating songs and started to consider moving in a direction of making a career out of music.
Who are your musical inspirations and why?
A. I have thousands. Anyone who puts out good music inspires me to some extent. But looking back at my childhood, the bands that inspired me to start creating music were Anberlin, Falling Up, MxPx, Relient K, The 1975, and Chvrches.
Can you tell me 3 things about yourself that people might not already know?
A. I enjoy being athletic and I love watching and following sports. I help produce audiobooks for additional money. There is no food I hate more than pickles.
What song of yours best describes you and why?
A. Probably “This Light”. I’m a super optimistic person and I love journeying through life and growing from what I’ve learned. The goal of being a better version of myself every day excites me.
What has been the best gig you have done to date and why?
A. Hard to pick a definitive “best gig” but one that sticks out to me as being one of my favourites was when we played Warped Tour in San Diego in 2017.
If you could perform a gig at any venue where would it be and why?
A. I love nature and the outdoors so maybe Red Rocks. It’s the most legendary outdoor venue I can think of.
What has been your best achievement to date and what would you like to achieve in the future?
A. I think it can be kind of hard to distinguish between achievements and blessings, but having the opportunity to open for The Ataris when they were in town was a huge honor and blessing for all of us.
Tell me a story from backstage or after a gig?
A. A couple years ago, we had a show at the Casbah in San Diego. The venue is 21+ but I was not 21 yet, so I had to wait a couple hours outside the venue until our set time. I had some time to kill so I decided to rent an electric Lime scooter and ride it around downtown. I wasn’t paying attention to my phone but by the time I got a few miles from the venue, my phone died and so did my scooter with it. I didn’t know what time it was or where the venue was. I also didn’t have my wallet to pay for a cab so I did my best to retrace my steps through downtown and ran all the way back to the venue. Only 5 minutes after I finally found my way back to the venue, our singer came outside to let me know we were about to start. None of them had any clue that I had gotten lost for a few hours and only barely made it back in time.
What do you like best about being a musician and why?
A. I love the writing aspect of being a musician more than anything else. The idea that an entire song can be constructed solely from feelings, emotions, and the connection between you and your instrument is so fascinating to me.
If you were not in the job you are now what would you be doing?
A. I have a strong connection to my Christian faith and getting the opportunity to teach others about their Creator is something I find deep value in. If I wasn’t a musician, I’d probably want to be a youth pastor.
What has been the best gig you have been too as a fan and can you tell us about it?
A. Twenty One Pilots. Easily. Every aspect of their show is so well thought out and executed to perfection. Showmanship, sound, mixing, lights, props, and amazing song after amazing song. It’s all perfect.
What would your ideal festival line up be and why?
A. Slam Dunk’s lineup is always stacked. If a festival booked Neck Deep, The Maine, Blink-182, Sum 41, Jimmy Eat World, MxPx, Anberlin, Underoath, Dance Gavin Dance, Norma Jean, Trash Boat, Grayscale, and Spanish Love Songs, I’d sell all I own to go.
What would you say is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
A. Be kind to those who don’t deserve it. You’ll find that the more you forgive others, the more others will forgive you.
What things make you happy and what things annoy you?
A. Authenticity makes me happy but I’m usually bothered by people who always seem to be desiring the center of attention.
What things do you like to do when you are away from music?
A. My favorite hobby outside of music is disc golf. I’ve always had good hand-eye coordination and a good throwing arm. I also love being outside, hanging with friends, and being competitive with myself. Disc golf is the perfect combination of all those things.
Do you think social media and the internet are a good thing in the music industry?
A. Yes, social media and the internet are by far the best outlets for notifying people of when you are playing shows or putting out new music.
How important do you think you look and image is when it comes to being in the music industry?
A. You’ll get different opinions from different people but I think look and image is totally pointless in my opinion. If you put out great music, that’s all that matters to me. I don’t care what you look like or how you market yourself.
Can you tell us about any tattoos you have and the significance of them to you?
A. I don’t have any tattoos personally but all the other guys have tattoos. Most of them relate to bands that had a big impact on them. Nick has tattoos of New Found Glory, Blink-182, and MxPx. Mike has Death Cab For Cutie and The Used. Noah has Switchfoot and Relient K.
If you run the country for a day what would you change about it and why?
A. I’ve never thought about that but I’d probably try to start a music festival with all the world’s biggest bands and donate all the proceeds to funding improvements in our country’s education system. I believe that a lot
of the problems that we face as a nation could be solved with a school system that offers better
opportunities for an excellent education.
What would your ideal day consist of?
A. I’d sleep in in the morning. Disc golf in the afternoon. Write and record songs with friends in the evening. Definitely grabbing sushi at some point as well.
What has been your experience during the Covid 19 situations.Can you tell us how this has affected you personally,how it has affected you professionally and maybe a story from this time or a message for people out there?
A. Covid has been strange for me. I don’t feel justified in complaining about band stuff being halted, especially when billions of people around the world were way more negatively affected than I was. However, covid definitely frustrated some of my optimism. I usually try to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially in our government system. But there was a lot of in-fighting and contradictions presented to the public that led me to feel like I wasn’t being told the whole truth.
If you could say one thing to your fans what would it be and why?
A. Thanks for supporting us. It’s cool knowing that our music is special to people other than just us in the band.
How would you answer the question Who are Summer Years and what are the differences between you as a music artist and you away from music ?
A. Summer Years, at the end of the day, is just a few dudes who love making music and sharing it with those who are willing to listen. The difference between me as an artist versus me outside of music is the difference between creator and creation. I believe I was created with purpose and for a purpose. Outside of music, I am the creation. It’s my job to do what I was created to do, which is to show love and kindness to others. In a music context, I get to take on the role of creator and I get to design each song or each part of a song to serve its own purpose and those purposes can be whatever I want or imagine.
What was the first record or song you purchased and why?
A. The first album I ever bought with my own money was “Secret Weapon” by MxPx. My drum teacher at the time was a huge fan and recommended that I check it out. It came in the mail the day before my family took a road trip to Minnesota and I literally listened to it on repeat for the entire 40-hour trip.
What would say to someone thinking about becoming a musician and getting into the music industry?
A. Be yourself. There’s a market for literally anything. Whether you’re My Chemical Romance, or Jojo Siwa, or Megadeth, or Beyonce, or Luke Bryan, there’s gonna be someone out there who loves and connects with what you do. Once you understand that authenticity attracts, you will be totally freed up to make the kind of music YOU love, and soon, your own unique fanbase will start to take shape.
If you could collaborate with any other band/singer or musician who would you choose and why?
A. Probably Nate Young of Anberlin. As a drummer, I was always fascinated with the construction of his parts. They were always impressive but never over the top. He always found a way to play the “perfect part” that
served the song appropriately. I’d love to see his perspective and collaborate with him, whether on an Anberlin song or a Summer Years song.
If you could have written one song from history which would it have been and why?
A. Definitely the old hymn “Be Thou My Vision”. It’s literally the most gorgeous song ever, both melodically and lyrically. Having been written over a hundred years ago, it has stood the test of time and will continue to positively affect people for years in the future.
What things make you uncomfortable?
A. Confrontation for sure. I will usually exhaust all other options before confronting someone about something.
If you wrote a book about yourself what would it have in it?
A. It would involve a little bit of everything from music, to sports, family, friends, faith, and trying to find beauty in everyday things.
What has the rest of the year got in store for you?
A. I really have no clue so I’m just gonna have to take it one day at a time. At the very least, this year will certainly involve deeper explorations
into my connection with the art of music.