One of the best parts about enjoying music and meeting people is the act of initial discovery. Think back… Do you have a band, song, or album that “spoke” to you from the very first listen? Of course you do! So, when Wakefield, UK post-hardcore act Cold Summer got in touch with me via email to see if I’d be interested in checking them out, I was happy to oblige.
The currently unsigned 4-piece group offers a sound similar to Thrice and other post-hardcoreish acts of note, and are bent on trying to get themselves a record deal, some solid touring experience, and as much exposure as they can muster up… Exactly what EVERY working artist needs to do to build themselves up on a grassroots level.
I corresponded with drummer justin via email to get to know the guys a bit better, talk about their tunes and where they’re from, and their latest EP, Wake.
G- Hi there and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five! Introduce the members in the group… Who is everyone, what do they play, and where does everyone come from?
J- Hi I’m Justin and I play drums in Cold Summer. I’m from Pontefract at the moment, just contemplating my next move to Leeds! Dan sings and he’s from Hoyland near Barnsley, Chris Harrison plays guitar and he’s from Kirkhamgate near Wakefield. Finally, Chris Hepworth plays bass and he’s from South Emsall which is near Pontefract / Barnsley.
G- How long has Cold Summer been around and when did you first get started? Do you remember the moment that you really felt the group “click?”
J- We’ve been together as Cold Summer for over 2 years now, hitting 3 if you include the time before we ‘clicked’ i guess. The point at where we clicked is where we began writing what became the ‘Wake’ EP, at the point when Dan pretty much had just joined the band and had a few practices with us. We could see things (even at this early stage) going really well at this point. We were really getting deep into writing songs for the collective love of doing it and seeing how far we can push ourselves
G- So tell me a bit about where you are from… How is the scene and how are the responses at your shows?
J- Well, around Leeds and Wakefield are the two places we’ve played the most and base ourselves. Leeds being the bigger city with a notable and respected music scene, we feel a real healthy relationship with other bands and people who come down to the shows.
Wakefield unfortunately isn’t quite the same, but it’s encouraging that things are getting a little bit better there. It’s a very musically rich city, but very close knit. With Leeds being that bit bigger, it feels a lot more open, despite having the same cliques every city has.
We’re writing this off the back of playing a show with Funeral for a Friend & Polar at a new venue in Wakefield called Warehouse 23, and have to really praise the people involved in this venue. Despite not really having a rock/hardcore or whatever background behind them, they are approaching it with the right attitude. I hope, despite it being a bit commercial and a bit of a big venue, can still have a positive effect on the scene / smaller venues going forward as, at times, the Wakefield scene lacks a lot of unity.
G- You recently released your first EP recording for Wake… Can you tell us about the recording process for the album? Where did you record it, who was behind the boards this time around, and how long did the release take to record and get ready for release?
J- Bob Cooper has recorded all our stuff from the ‘Wake’ EP and the self-titled album we are about to release. We decided to carry over 4/5 out of the tracks off the Wake EP onto the album, as he felt it worked cohesively as a set of 8 songs. The ones we wrote after those that appear on the album compliment them well, so as hard decision / risking people pointing this out who are aware of us, (post release of ‘Wake,’) we hope they feel the same way!
Bob was using a studio connected to the chairworks complex in Castleford, which is near where most of us live. The main studio does have quite a respected track record… Some Top 40 pop records have been recorded there, and I think in this region, in terms of ‘gear’ and facilities, it’s one of the best. We recorded the drums in there and everything else was done over in Bob’s own studio, literally over the road. We couldn’t afford to rent the expensive studio (lucky me recording most of the drums in there,) but to be fair, Bob and we were comfortable in our surroundings and it was great hanging out as well as obviously the recording process. We really enjoyed it as despite being a perfectionist like we are, he’s also a pretty chilled out guy, really taking any pain out of the recording process when someone has a great mindset like he has, definetly got the best out of my capabilities of a drummer, i never imagined myself playing along to a metronome as well i did during the sessions.
G- Are you guys a party band, or generally pretty mellow? SXE? If not, what kind of beers and booze do you want people bringing up to you onstage this time around?
J- I’d say pretty mellow as we have a healthy combination of the above haha, i’m straightedge, the other guys like a drink but not too much, Chris (Harrison, guitar) likes his wine, so that would go down well, but not before we play!
G- What should your fans, both old and new, expect of the performances when you guys hit the road? What should some of the first time listeners expect to see when you take the stage?
J- We are a bit more confident these days and both chris’s are starting to do more backing vocals, its even getting to the stage where i’m wanting to do it and i can’t even sing at all. I think we’ve always been an energetic band, though conservative in the fact we want to play our parts right, so sometimes that obviously at the expense of stage presence or throwing stuff around, Dan particularly is very perfectionist about his performance so he’s always making sure he’s yeah giving it his all but not losing his voice. A few of our friends band are playing ridiculous parts while throwing their guitars or whatever around, i don’t know how they do it, practice i guess! Even when we’ve played on say a bigger stage recently its been really fun, luckily at the funeral show we were playing very close together so it was really good to be able to feed off each other as at the back playing on a big stage it can be quite hard to get that off the other band members unless they come really close and stand on the bass drum or something!
I’ve got a new bass pedal so i don’t think they’ll see many flying bass pedals, i used to throw mine everytime it broke on me, so your safe….
G- What is your writing process like, and who in the band typically comes up new music? Do you have a primary songwriter, or do you write music more organically through jamming during rehearsals?
J- I think in the past we’ve had a balance of both i guess, we do encourage each other to y’know write in our own time even if its basic ideas for songs. Dan is a key player in terms of putting basic song structures together before we get to the jamming stage, we all work full time so it is difficult to get together for hours on end every week, so we try and utilize what little time we have to our advantage. We all bring stuff to practice but what we have is very open to ideas and thats when the jamming comes in, its something in terms of writing well, instrumental pieces i think we are very good at, this helps add so much to our songs as ok we write 4 minute long songs but we do have a few timing changes and what not going off and we aim to develop these more as over the past two years we’ve all come a long way in terms of playing our instruments and playing as a band together, i think ‘jamming’ as frustrating as it sometimes can be late at night (when we’ve tended to practice after doing shifts at work!), we’ve at the very least got really tight as a band because of it and its really helped us come up with the finishing touches to some of our best songs.
G- Do you have a favorite song you have ever written? If you could only give 1 song to someone who’d never heard of you before, to try and make a new fan, what song would you give them and why?
J- I think collectively we’d all go with The Fallen (opening track on the album), just think the lyrical content, theme and well the way the song develops from a straight forward rock song, really sums up our influences (both from artitsts we like surroundings / what subject matter the lyrics are about). Hopefully i think this would introduce someone to what we are trying to do as a band.
G- Are there any bands or artists that you hope to share a bill with in the future? 3 band dream lineup for Cold Summer to be on… Go!
J- Well yeah i’ll try and be realistic with this and this is my personal choices really too hopefully the guys agree with these, we’re really big fans of Marmozets who are from an area near to us, but we’ve not yet played a show with them they are insane (this was the band i was possibly talking about earlier that throw their instruments around) i’ve dodged flying drums, guitar headstocks and even a vocal mic from these hahahahaha
Er… Texas Is The Reason as they are about to play their last ever ever shows, it would be awesome to open for them, someway somehow, Lemuria who we supported last year i have a feeling are on some of the dates but i don’t think it’s the one in Manchester i’m going to see!
Finally for me, well it would have to be And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead…., as i’ve just mentioned Marmozets well Trail Of Dead…. more so, have been a very unhinged band for a number of years now and i’ve managed to catch them live quite a few times now. The last two records they’ve put out have really been cornerstones in my record collection and to hear their creations live well its a great experience, it would be awesome to open for such a great rock band, something we so so nearly managed to pull off last year when they played in york.
G- What is the craziest or most memorable show that you have played to date? Where was it and what was it like?
J- I’ll stick with one for the right reasons as we had one show recently in Wakefield where we had a full blown argument with a sound guy / lo fi indie bands that i’m still pretty annoyed about, ah well the last one we played with Funeral For A Friend i think stands out as it’s probably the best we’ve ever played, i was quite keen to get some form of recording of it so i set up a zoom mic near the soundboard to get some kind of bootleg or whatever and the end result was really great, nice to have something like that to keep.
G- Lastly, what advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands everywhere who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician?
J- I think you’ve got to have a very level headed attitude, i think you have to do it for the right reasons and you have to enjoy it and have fun with it, not getting too involved with the ‘business’ or ‘industry’ side. We obviously have to do a little couple of things to ensure we can be self sufficient, we are proud of the music we write and we want to keep writing and getting out on the road. We’re very reasonable with how we put our music out there, all downloads are kept to the lowest price, if they aren’t free.. we give out free CDs to people who pay into shows, we’re very humbled that people want to listen to our music that we make, outside of us forcing them to at a show haha its great when people come and talk to us at shows, for us its a social outlet, we don’t go nightclubbing that often (if at all) so for us its great to hang out with likeminded people in other bands and people who head down to shows. We get to play in front of quite a varied range of audiences so thats also a good thing, although obviously risky when straying away from hardcore/punk shows. Even though we work full time we dedicate quite a bit of time to practicing and i hope it shows, i’m hopefully a lot more proficient drummer than when i started this band, and i certainly enjoy playing a lot more, the more i’ve learned and the more i’ve got out there playing shows.