Brian Dales (vocals) Stephen Gomez (bass)
Josh Montgomery (guitar)
John Gomez (guitar) Jess Bowen (drums)
If you were to take the ingredients – fun, fearless, talented, prolific, savvy – throw them in a bowl and mix it all together, there’s a very good chance you’d come up with power punk band The Summer Set, from Scottsdale, AZ.
The Summer Set began with the Gomez brothers, bassist Stephen and guitarist John, who spent a great deal of their growing up time playing music together. Feeling that this was to become much more than a hobby, at the age of 14 they made the mature decision to put together a band. Turning to longtime gal pal Jess Bowen, who was playing drums in the school band, they began setting the roots for The Summer Set. As soon as they met vocalist Brian Dales and guitarist Josh Montgomery in 2007, they knew the quintet was complete. Not only did they share a passion for rocking out to fun, pop-punk tunes, inspired by local Arizona bands Jimmy Eat World and The Format, but more importantly, they shared a goal of going big-time. This wasn’t some “after-school” project to pass the time, the 5 friends believed they had the goods to go all the way and have fun while doing it. “We sat down the very first day we started our band and realized that there was a lot of negativity in the music scene, which was depressing,” Bowen says. “We just want to bring a positive vibe.” Plus they easily agreed on a band name by opening up an Atlas and (luckily) putting the pointer on Somerset, New Jersey.
It’s that can-do attitude that has driven the quintet to sell 7,000 copies of their first EP Love The Love You Have, and an additional 11,000 copies of the EP …In Color. The Summer Set is all about tactical planning, and they took theirs seriously. Like Generals going into battle, the band strategically planned each move, including a MySpace campaign that integrated becoming “friends” with bands they admired – which intuitively led to support from said bands’ followers, giving The Summer Set a leg up. The not-yet-known band started to build steadily, with 8.5 million plays on MySpace and over 2.2 million profile views. Using the Internet to continually connect with fans, the band started to see results.
Not leaving a stone un-turned, the group also began booking their own gigs and playing locally, gathering a tried and true following. Playing with bands like The Cab, Sing It Loud, We Shot the Moon, Everybody Else, and Mercy Mercedes, The Summer Set held their own, cultivating their own audience that only seemed to get bigger at each show.
With all this momentum, The Summer Set is gearing up to release their first full-length album, Love Like This, on October 13, 2009, on Razor & Tie. Produced by Matt Grabe (The Maine, A Rocket to the Moon, Greeley Estates), the new album features lead off single, “Chelsea,” written for actress Chelsea Staub. When lead singer Dales was first introduced to the Disney Channel JONAS actress last year by guitarist Josh Montgomery, it was practically love at first sight. So he wrote a song about his crush and played the catchy pop-punk anthem, “Chelsea,” at the Troubadour in Los Angeles last October during a gig with The Pink Spiders and Sherwood. He immediately won over the fans… and Chelsea herself. Soon after, the two were officially dating. “I think the song definitely helped me,” Dales admits. “So my advice to anybody is: When in doubt, write a song.”
The album also includes tracks with additional production by Matt Squire (3OH!3, Panic At the Disco, The Used) and a song co-written with writers/producers Sam Hollander and Dave Katz (Metro Station, Boys Like Girls, Katy Perry, Gym Class Heroes). In addition to “Chelsea,” Love Like This features the rock-driven “Young,” and the mellow ballad “Where Are You Now?” featuring Dia Frampton from Meg and Dia. Wisely knowing their young audience, but also aware of maturing with them, Dales comments, “We really wanted to make an album where every song sounds a bit different than the previous one — something that our teen fan base can listen to and something my parents can listen to.”
To prepare for their fall release, The Summer Set took their high-energy set on the road this summer with The Cab, The Secret Handshake, A Rocket to the Moon, Anarbor, My Favorite Highway, and Eye Alaska. While the young band (they’re all between 18 and 20 years old) rocks out like ol’ pros on stage, once they step off stage, it’s all about face time with the fans. They’ve been known to hang out at venues for hours on end to meet every one they can. “Stick around and don’t be scared to talk to us — we’re here to talk to the kids because they’re the ones supporting us and helping us do what we love to do. We want to meet them all,” Bowen says.
Staying in touch with fans is super important to the band, even when they’re not on tour: All five members are active on their own Twitter page and on the band’s MySpace and Facebook pages, communicating with supporters on a daily basis.
“We’re just five normal kids, who live normal lives making music that we love,” Dales says. “You can hear the fun on our record, but hopefully when people come to our shows, you can feel all the fun and love that we’re putting out there and take part of that home with you.”
With songs that any one who ever went through the processes of growing up, loving some one, and wondering if you will end up together, can identify with, and power pop that is best defined as delicious ear candy, The Summer Set’s first full length CD will have you on your feet, singing along, and for the heck of it, shining that cell phone. Yea, it’s that good.