November 8, 2010
Eternal Summers make jangly sixties-inspired tunes
There’s something in the water in Roanoke, VA. It’s a wellspring of rugged 60’s-tinged psych pop right now, and the Eternal Summers are a big cog in a powerful anti-scene machine. Writer Joe Conway talked with singer/guitarist Nicole Yun while her counterpart, Daniel Cundiff, recovered from a recent tour with one of his many, many other bands.
You guys are from Roanoke, Virginia—kind of off the beaten music scene path. How did you end up there?
I’m from the Northern Virginia area, which is like the DC area and then Daniel is from this area around Roanoke called Franklin County. I went to school about an hour and a half north of Roanoke and friends and opportunities pulled me down and Daniel moved to Roanoke after he finished college.
How did you get together as Eternal Summers?
A friend of mine who was the original drummer had to bail like two days before a show and I’d known Daniel because his band had played with my old band, so I was like, ‘Do you know anyone who can play drums? I’m thinking this guy named Sam?’ And Daniel was like, ‘I’m going do it. I’ve never played drums in a band before I want to do this. I’ll just play this one show with you.’ So he played one show and then we played like two more he was like, ‘I want to stay in this band!’ So I was like, ‘cool’ because I had been thinking about it very casually, just an outlet for some songs I’d written.
What’s up with the name? Is it coincidental that you play perfect summer music?
It’s so funny because the reference of our band name is actually from a Shakespearian sonnet (Sonnet 18). People listen to us and they’re like, ‘You’re definitely a part of the Chill Wave Beach sound—and you’re name has summer in it!’ But in that sonnet the term ‘eternal summer’ is about a woman’s unfading eternal beauty, not like her outside that’s going to get old.
There was never really a plan of how we were going to sound. When we first put our music out we noticed that people started grouping us with these other bands that, honestly, I had been so out of touch that I was just like, ‘What is going on? Who are these other bands that are supposedly like-minded?’ We’re just here in rural Virginia doing what we like to do. It’s weird that both Daniel and I really love music from the 60’s and British invasion music and stuff like that, but we’re also both products of the 90’s.
I know that reverb is super trendy right now, but for us reverb is just a way to accentuate our sound to make it, so people can hear everything but also still feel like there’s some fullness there.
So you guys release everything on vinyl and it’s all very paired down and pristine sounding—who’s the audiophile?
It’s just a matter of circumstance because we’re really lucky—in our collective (the Magic Twig Community) there’s two guys who have just invested a lot of time—seven or eight years—in making a really amazing analog studio. We record onto one inch analog and our two sound engineer guys, one’s name is Joe Lunsford and the other guy is John Thompson: the two of them are just insane about recording. They know how to master everything, they have all these ridiculous vintage microphones and so we’re just lucky that they’re our friends.
Does that relate to you guys being a two-piece? That’s kind of a thing right now.
Yeah, the two piece thing is definitely just a functional think like, ‘Okay, this is what we’ve got, let’s just work with this!’ And I feel like the way Daniel drums and the way I play guitar is absolutely geared towards being a two-piece. Often times I have to play guitar as a bassist and add a little bit of lead guitar on it, and that’s the way I’ll approach a song sometimes. We were never like, ‘Oh, let’s go out and be a two-piece!’ It definitely just happened that way. It’s easier for sure because you just have one person to confer with.
It seems like you’re building a lot of momentum right now—do you feel like you’re at a tipping point in terms of doing this thing full time and stuff?
I hope so. We just signed to an indie label that we really respect, not a huge label but they’ve definitely put out some really cool stuff in the past couple years. So the new album will come out in September and I think the summer is going to be kind of low key for us. Just a lot of preparing and waiting, and I think in August we’ll put out a few singles.
It’s a life-long dream for both Daniel and I, to be able to do music on a full-time level. If there’s even the slightest possibility of doing that it would be great. I think, if anything, we’re going be putting out a lot of music in the next couple years.
Eternal Summers new record ‘Silver’ is out now on Kanine.