Sumer formed in 2010 and since then have been unleashing their unique brand of post-metal. They recently released their debut album at the end of 2014 titled, "The Animal You Are" which made an impressive impact, making them a serious band to keep an eye on in 2015, so I caught up with, guitarist, Jim Hall to discuss their debut, future plans and as Christmas has just been, we talked a bit about the festivities!..
How’s it going? Have you enjoyed the festivities?
Hey there! Not so bad, I hope you're well too? The festivities have been a welcome break! Mostly chilled out, partly filled with over consumption!
As Christmas has just passed what is the strangest present you have ever received?
Hmm I don't think I've ever received anything strange. A lock of hair from a girlfriend at the time may be weird to some people I guess, haha.
You released your debut album, “The Animal You Are” in 2014, which went down a storm and made it in to some best of 2014 lists, this is quite an accolade, how does this make you feel?!
I think I can comfortably speak for each member of the band here, we all share the same sentiments. Frankly we're stunned and a little overwhelmed. All in a good way though of course!
The album was in the works for quite some time, so it was quite a relief to finally put it out there. It's a great and daunting feeling to receive requests with a view to review your work. That in itself was an achievement, the fact that people are interested enough to spare time to write about our music. But then to receive such positive reviews is immensely humbling.
I got so nervous reading the first review, expecting an average appraisal at best! Then to be mentioned in the same breath as Karnivool.......amazing.
You have a great sound, how would you describe it for those that aren’t familiar and where do you get your inspiration from?
Dark, light, heavy, melodic, epic. We cover quite a lot of ground throughout the album, from punchy heavy groove to ethereal melody and back again.
For me, inspiration comes from other bands and my band mates.
What was the writing and recording process like for your debut album?
The writing process was stretched over around 4 years from the birth of the band, right up to and including studio recording time.
We laid down the foundations for most of the songs through jamming. Some of the songs came together relatively easily on a base level. Progenesis was 3/4 done in the first rehearsal. Vanes on the other hand took far longer. Tim came in with some ideas, some riffs, we jammed, adding our own bits of colour, and the song gradually evolved into the beast it is now.
By the time Ian joined the band around half of the songs were 'done' musically. But then we had the option of adding a 3rd guitar aswell as his vocals. This really did throw the doors open to what we could do. It's less restrictive in some ways to have 3 guitars, but also a fine balance to aim for.
The recording process was relatively painless! We'd been together for a while, played a bunch of shows so the songs were really solid before going into the studio.
A lot of the album was done live to 2inch tape. Of course there were over dubs and fixes to be made. But we really wanted to have a more natural and organic feel to the sound. We wanted the sonic breathing space to go with the ebb and flow of the music. Thankfully we had a great producer in Sean Douglas to realise our vision for the album.
What would you say is the hardest part of putting an album together?
That really depends on how you approach it. Recording was straight forward for this album as 99% of what you hear on the record was already written. I guess time restraints make it hard. Mixing was probably the most frustratung part of the process.
We don't live just down the road from each other, so mixing was largely done by Sean doing a mix, then us critiquing, then another mix, then critique and so and so forth. Work schedules got in the way. So it became quite a drawn out process. But we got there in the end and overall we are very happy with the results.
|Artwork for debut album, "The Animal You Are"|
Can you tell us a bit about the themes or meanings running through the album?
From my perspective (I didn't write any lyrics) an overall theme could be relationships. Personal, between two people. How we all relate to each other as human beings, both positively and negatively. Or even how we relate to music and how these perceived relations change.
Looking back over 2014, what would you say have been the biggest highlights for you as a band?
The whole year has just been awesome! We've met some really great people, made new friends in other bands like Darkeye and Jacknife Seizure.
If I had to narrow it down to one thing, it would have to be the Metal 2 The Masses competition in London. We entered it just for another gig really, and ended up getting to the final. We garnered a lot of interest because of that competition. That was the catalyst to the snowball effect that landed us where we are right now. We caught our now manager's eye in our furst heat!
Thanks to Mick and all of his crew ourselves and a lot of other bands had a great opportunity to showcase our music, make friendships, and show that there really is a great underground music scene worth supporting!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you. To you for being interested in our music. To everyone we have met along the way. Anyone who has spared time and energy to listen to us, come to see us live, bought merch, bought the album, illegally downloaded it from that russian site, written about us, we appreciate your help, interest and support so much. From the bottom of our hearts, Thank you.
What lies ahead for 2015 for Sumer?
Live shows, hopefully further afield. Rehearsing. Writing. Enjoying the ride.
Thanks for your time and Happy New Year!
A very happy new year to you too! All the best!
Check out Sumer: http://www.sumerband.uk/