Summer's Last Regret is a very promising young band from Germany that recently released their "Understanding" EP that really blew me away. If you're into melodic, poppy (emo) rock, then you have to check them out! After listening to the EP a lot I decided to do an interview with the band that you can read below.
Hi Richard, how are you doing at the moment? What would you do right now if you wouldn't answer my questions?
Hi Stefan, I'm fine, thanks for asking. I think I'd work on the designs for the band (homepage, stickers, shirts, buttons...), but answering your questions is a great alternative!
Please give me a short history of Summer's Last Regret: When did you guys meet, did you play in other bands before etc. What made you start making music, was there a band or a record that made you think like "Yeah, I wanna do this, too"? How old are you and what are you doing besides the band?
Summer's Last Regret was founded in autumn of '99 by Steve, who plays guitar and is the singer in the band, Jan our former guitar player, Nico our drummer, and me, but back then I played bass in the band. This was the same lineup as in "Full Circle", a band we played in for 2 years. At the end of '00 Jan left the band, I took over on guitar and my brother Dennis joined the band on bass. Before "Full Circle" Dennis and I played in a band called "Seven". I think there were many bands which made me start playing music! I started listening to "rock music" very early and loved bands such as "Metallica", "Nofx", "Propagandhi" or "Die Aerzte". Because of this bands I started playing guitar, and soon I had a band with some schoolfriends of mine. We were terrible, and the band did split up after our first gig. Nobody liked our music but it was fun! My next band was "Seven" then "Full Circle"and now "Summer's Last Regret". I joined "Full Circle" when I was 15, today I'm 19, and the youngest member of the band. Steve is 20, Nico is 21 and Dennis is 24. Besides the band I'm doing my "Zivildienst" in a school for disabled children. After that I'll study graphics and design.
I read on your website that you define your music as emo influenced punkrock. Lots of (emo-) bands don't like being labeled as an emo band, but for you that doesn't seem to be a problem? Honestly I think it's funny if bands try to avoid to be labelled as "emo", what do you think is the reason for this?
I don't have a problem with being labeled as emo. It's a matter of definition: People call Mineral emo, others call Grade emo! I guess that's the reason why many bands avoid the "E" word, because it can be used with many bands. And you know, why should I call our music "modern-rock-music-with-some-screaming-vocals-sometimes-slow-sometimes-fast". I'd say it's EmoPunk, a mix of both, even though I think that people can't really describe music with words, but "emo" "punk" or "rock'n'roll", can help to give a direction.
Let's talk a little bit about the early days of SLR: Your first release was the "It's all your fault" demo from '99. Did that one come out as a CD or as a tape and how many copies did you sell? What do you think about that demo now in 2002? Do you listen to it occasionally?
Hmm, yeah that's some time ago! Back then we didn't have the opportunity to make our own demo CD's, so we decided to release the demo on tape. I don't know how many we actually sold, but most of them were bought by friends. Today I think this tape was very important for our further development in our music style. With changing our name to SLR the music had more and more "emo" influences. We got away from the ultra fast songs of Full Circle and the songwriting got more and more important. It was the time we started listening to "The Get Up Kids", "Jimmy Eat World", "Reggie and the Full Effect", "The Juliana Theory"... It was a turning point for all of us, not only concerning music! I think the songs from the first demo are still very different to our music today but it already showed the direction to the point where we are now.
Some songs from that demo were re-recorded for the EP "What if everything's said and I still don't feel alright?". What about the rest of the songs, did you ever think about re-recording them in the future, too?
No, I don't think we'll gonna record them again, they wouldn't fit to our music now because they are much faster and more punkrock. These songs are more than 3 years old, we wrote them when I was 16!
The latest release by SLR is the EP "Understanding" on Redfield Records which I like very much as you can see in my review of that EP. I heard there were some problems with the release of it (the release party should have been on July 13th), what happened?
It should have been out on July 13th but we had problems with the CD manufacturing center! That wasn't very cool, because they promised us that we would have the CD on this date! Everything was planned for the CD release party, and two days before the gig we got a phone call. They told us, that they had lost a very important file for the print of the cover and that the CD would come out one week later. Anyway, we played the show and had fun even though it wasn't really a release party. Now we're happy that it finally arrived!
Who picked the bands supporting you for the release party, That Very Time I Saw... and Ransom? Are those bands friends of yours?
We wanted these bands to support us because we think they are some of the finest bands around! "Ransom" came from Berlin all the way to Bonn just to play on our release party, that's cool! They are very nice guys and play pop punk. "That very time I saw..." from Düsseldorf are in my opinion one of the best Geman emo bands and they are an amazing live band. We know the guys pretty good, we are on the same Label, and Kai who is the owner of Redfield Records plays guitar in TVTIS.
You played with lots of great bands in the past such as Alkaline Trio, Grade, and now Solea. Did these shows have an influence on the band as well as on you personally, music wise as well as in another way?
I think these shows were very important for us as a band. Before our show with Alkaline Trio we nearly always played in and around Bonn, where we always saw the same crowd. It was great to support these wonderful bands and it gave us the opportunity to play for many people who had never heard our name before! There were many positive reactions and this is a huge help for a band, when you know that the people really like your music! The Alkaline Trio liked us very much too, and they asked us to play the next shows in Germany with them! But we all had to work the next days, and we didn't have the money to drive to Hamburg, Berlin and Munich. This is simply amazing, if a band you listen to nearly every day, really likes the music you play with your band!
Your brother Dennis plays in SLR, too. Have there ever been any problems between you two? I could imagine it can be very hard at times playing in the same band as a person you know so very well, would you agree?
My Brother and I are very close since we know each other. We nearly never had a fight and that's how it is today. He's 5 years older than me, and because of him, I started to listen to punkrock and emo. He's very important for me, and I like playing in a band with him. He's Straight Edge for 7 years, I'm not, but there are still no problems about this between us.
Let's talk about the deal with Redfield Records: How did you get signed by them, are you satisfied with the support you're getting from them and what about the deal, how many records do you have to do for them?
It started through the internet where I met Dirk from My Favourite Toy Records, he liked the songs from our homepage, so I sent him a demo. A few months later Dirk told me that he is now working together with Kai from Redfield Records which made them possible to release more records. Kai saw us live at our show with Grade and liked it, the next step was that we went to the studio, recorded 5 songs and sent them to Redfield. So then we were signed to Redfield Records, and My Favourite Toy Records was responsible for the distribution. Since a few weeks, Redfield and My Favourite Toy are no longer a team, so now Redfield cares about the distribution. The deal only covers one record. The 'Understanding' EP. I'm happy with the label because Kai is a very nice guy and he really works hard for his bands!
Do you think Redfield is the right label to push you as a band? I mean on the one hand it's a rather small label, but on the other hand that could be a chance for SLR, because you are not one band among lots of others. What's you opinion?
It's just like you say. On a big label we might just be forgotten in a few months, I think Redfield was the right choice for us now. Who knows what will happen in the future.
Which label is your favourite, I mean if you could choose one label that would release records by SLR, which label would that be and why?
That's not easy to answer. My brother likes the Vagrant bands very much, while Nico is a huge fan of Drive-thru. There are other cool Labels in Germany, too, but I don't think we're far enough to think about these huge labels. Right now we're happy with Redfield and concentrate on writing songs and playing shows. We'll see what happens...
What are your goals in life with the band and in general? How long can you imagine playing in band?
I think being able to live from our own music, touring all through the world is a very huge dream! I mean for example, think of a European tour with Saves The Day, playing in Paris, Madrid, Rome... that would be great! But hey, we just released our debut EP, and everything's just starting. I can imagine playing in a band as long as it's fun for me and as long as I can be creative in any way.
What do you think about the current Hardcore scene, especially here in Germany? What are your favourite (German) bands?
I think the current scene (not only Hardcore) is getting bigger and bigger. There are lots of great new, young bands, for example, we currently have about 8 bands here in Bonn which play emo, punk, hardcore most of them on a very high level! The German bands on Defiance are very cool too, and the quality of German bands has reached a very high standard. Bands like "Waterdown" "Beatsteaks" or "Tupamaros" are internationally very well known! Other great German bands are: "That very time I saw...", "Dear Diary" and "Ransom".
So far you haven't done any full length albums, so when will the first full length by SLR come out? Did you already write songs for it, and will it come out on Redfield Records? Do you have a title for the record and what about the musical direction: Any major changes?
We plan to record our debut full-length at the beginning of '03. By now we wrote 4 songs for the upcoming album and we're gonna work on them a little more. We don't know yet who will release the album. About the music, I think it's gonna be quite like the EP but I can't tell you that much about the album, because we just wrote 4 Songs.
As I only have the promo copy for your EP I couldn't check out the lyrics, so please tell me what they are dealing with and who writes them?
Steve writes all of the lyrics, they deal about very personal stuff, about love and hate, so you should check 'em out, on our webpage or in the actual cover, to make your own picture of it.
I guess that's it, did you like this interview and do you have anything to add? Thanks for taking the time answering my questions, Richard!
Thank You, it was fun answering your questions and take care! We are planning a tour with "Dear Diary" in October which will be presented by 11pm and Nicebandnights, and still got days off. So if you wanna help us out with a show in your town write an email to booking@summerslastregret / firstname.lastname@example.org. Please check out www.summerslastregret.com, and perhaps we'll see you on a show, soon.