20-year-old Bryce Avary has been working on The Rocket Summer since he was 14. Producing his first EP at only 16, he shipped nearly 1000 copies through mail order which was based out of his bedroom. And now, his debut album Calendar Days has arrived -- a recording filled with enthusiastic pop songs that will blast the listener into an orbit of pure euphoria. Here is an interview I recently conducted with Mr. Avary, who by the way, plays every single instrument on his new album as well as sings...
Where did you meet Andrew W.K. amd have him hold up your flyer (the pic on your main page)?
Haha, we went and saw him in Dallas and got lucky and went up on his bus. He's seemed to be super cool.
How long has The Rocket Summer been in existence and what made you decide to do this project on your own?
Well, I guess it started when I was 14 or so. I started writing songs and began to play them at coffee shops and stuff. Later recorded an EP when I was 16, played all of the instruments, and it just kind of morphed into this.
Where did you get the band name The Rocket Summer? Is it from the Ray Bradbury story? What made you decide to use the name?
I went just by "Bryce Avary" up until about 4 years ago when I thought it would be cool to make it more of a project and name it. A friend and I were thinking of band names and he actually thought of it. It was in a Ray Bradbury story called The Martian Chronicles that he was reading at the time. It was real casual, it was just like "what about The Rocket Summer", and I said "that's awesome!".
Where did you get some of the ideas for the lyrics on your new album?
Some things had happened in my life and in people's around me that made me change a lot, and I wanted to go out and make an album that would be hopeful and make people smile. I think most of the lyrics on Calendar Days were derived from normal every day life things that everyone goes through. You know, great things and not so great things. haha. But just trying to hopefully get over things and live life.
Just how difficult was it to record and produce everything yourself? What was the hardest part of the process?
It was really time consuming. I litterally spent 2 months constantly working which I probably won't do again. haha. It was a very humbling process though knowing that the only way it happened was by God's grace. And Im not trying to be cheesy but very for real. Sometimes I just found myself buried. But it was a good experience.
What gave you the idea to use the girls choir on "What We Hate, We Make" and describe the experience working with the choir.
When I was writing it I just knew I had to have a whole bunch of innocent kids singing along. I didn't think it could actually happen though. My little sister happens to be in a 6th grade choir that I went and saw perform and i just sat back and thought "it's perfect." I had the choir teacher when I was in 6th grade for about 6 weeks so I wrote her a letter and she thought it would be a lot of fun. They had permission slips and everything. haha. We only took about 3 takes and it was done one day right after school got out. They were so good. This is just me trying to feel cool, but it was the same school and same teacher that Norah Jones had when she was in 8th grade. (we went to the same middle school!) I know, I know, Im lame for saying that.
How many songs have you written overall and was it difficult to select which ones would wind up on the album?
I have no idea actually, I've written a lot but not an insane amount like some people. I usually draw the writing process out a lot longer than most. Some of the songs on Calendar Days took 8 months to a year to fully complete because I had so many bits and pieces, but some only took a couple of days. But there were 3 extra songs that I was planning on putting on Calendar Days but in the studio I decided to just record 10.
How influential is Christianity in the writing of your music?
It's very influential. It's who and what I am. It's a truth where I know I am loved, have a purpose, a future, a relationship, and have something that lets me know that none of this is just me, and that is threaded in my music. However I wouldnt say that The Rocket Summer is a "Christian band" in the sense that you can't find it in Christian book stores or see TRS playing churches or those type of events. That's not what I feel I'm suppossed to be doing right now, but rather be a light in a dark place. I'm sure there are people out there who frown on me for being a Christian, and those who frown on me for being a Christian and not playing churches etc. But you just have to hold your head high and do what you feel you've been called to do.
If you were asked to be on a Pop Goes Metal tribute, what song would you want to perform and why?
Is Journey ok? I know they're not metal but they had the hair. They were so good. Hmmm, maybe Petra haha. They were an 80's pop metal Christian band that were the only heavy band that my mom would let me listen to when I was 6 which was when all that stuff was booming.
How did you wind up on The Militia Group?
That's a very long story but in the end, they seemed like a good fit for now and maybe longer. They're great people.
What do you think of other bands like Dashboard Confessional and Bright Eyes? Do they inspire you at all?
I think both of those bands are great. I've met Chris a few times and he's a super nice dude that no one in the world shouldn't like. And for the record, I've been doing this now for 6 years... haha
Name one CD that someone might be very surprised to find that you own in your collection.
Shania Twain. I cant believe I just admitted that.
Any chance of the Rocket Summer landing here in Los Angeles or Orange County to perform some dates?
Probably 2 or 3 times this year.
Why should someone run out right now and buy a copy of Calender Days?
Because if you dont I will kill you. Haha. No... because it might make you smile, it might make you puke, but regardless it's something that might start a conversation.
Any concluding words of wisdom?
Thanks for interviewing me.
THE ROCKET SUMMER: The Official Home Page!
THE MILITIA GROUP: The Record Label for The Rocket Summer!
THE HIGHWIRE DAZE HOME PAGE: Return to the Main Page!