“If I could, I would have a studio in a trailer; I would just be making records in parking lots and playing shows every night.”
zoetic (adj) pertaining to life; living; vital
“Zoetic” isn’t in Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged or Collegiate Dictionaries; to find the definition, you have to (a) cough up a subscription fee to Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary or (b) dig a little deeper on the web. All of this to say is that (a) Bryce Avery, aka The Rocket Summer, is a smart guy and (b) I’m a cheap girl.
The Rocket Summer’s sixth and latest album is called—you guessed it—Zoetic, and as its moniker suggests, it’s full of life. Avery has thrown a few different sounds into the mix, making it a relatively genre-defying listen. Although not every sound works as well as others, there’s enough here to impress and entertain many times over.
In the midst of the first leg of a 30-date spring tour, Avery took a few minutes’ break to answer some of my burning questions.
The Rocket Summer is your solo project. How does the music translate to the stage, where you play with a full band?
All the songs, especially on the new record Zoetic, are just super, super layered, intricate, and complex, and I’m really fortunate to be working with some incredible musicians. So, in a way some of the songs take on their own life with trying to sound as close to the record as possible.
Although new album incorporates a number of musical styles, my favorite songs are the pop-soul one. Why the decision to make such a “genre-busting” album? Is there one genre about which you’re most passionate?
Thank you for the kind words! I think, with this album, I just really wanted to push myself to make something really unique for me, and hopefully something that didn’t sound like anybody else or anything. I just really pushed myself to go further sonically with parts and just really leave no stone unturned with the songs, kind of leaving anything open for the possibilities to be endless. Which is why it took so long, ’cause I ended up writing so many songs for this.
Looking at your website, I see you’ve got quite the extensive discography. How long have you been writing and recording? How has your sound progressed through the years?
Yeah, I’ve been able to make records for quite a while, but for me it still feels like the beginning; it really does. I always set out to make music for my whole life and never be part of an era or scene, but just be making music forever. I think this newest record is my sixth full-length, and, yeah, it has evolved a lot over the years. The very first thing I did was in high school. It was my first little EP, and I almost don’t even count it, but back then I was singing about the really important issues—like girls. [Laughs] And I still do, but it’s a bit different now.
You’re on a fairly lengthy U.S. tour: 30 dates. (I’m looking forward to the Denver show!) Is this your longest tour to date? Any favorite cities from past tours?
Yeah, we’re on the Zoetic Tour right now and it’s been going super well, just playing songs old and new, across the spectrum of The Rocket Summer albums. It’s been so, so incredible, just hearing people sing along to the new songs as well as the old songs, and just experiencing this community that we have every night that really is The Rocket Summer. Everyone is as much a part of this as I am.
It’s definitely not my longest tour to date; I think the longest one we did one which was five straight months long with no days off. [Laughs] But I actually love living on the road; being on the road feels like home to me. If I could, I would have a studio in a trailer; I would just be making records in parking lots and playing shows every night. But yeah, Denver is legitimately one of my favorite places to play, and I can’t wait to play there.
What would be the perfect product placement for your music?
Probably a coffee company would be my favorite one. I kind of equate The Rocket Summer music to drinking coffee: It wakes you up. | Laura Hamlett
Remaining spring tour dates are below; tickets are available for all shows from http://www.therocketsummer.com/tour/.
03.29 | The Studio at Waiting Room, Buffalo NY
03.29 | Hard Luck Bar, Toronto
03.31 | Musica, Akron OH
04.01 | The Pike Room at the Crowfoot, Pontiac MI
04.02 | Subterranean, Chicago
04.03 | Triple Rock, Minneapolis
04.05 | Wooly’s, Des Moines
04.06 | Firebird, St. Louis
04.08 | Barracuda, Austin
04.09 | 89th Street Collective, Oklahoma City
04.12 | Troubadour, W. Hollywood
05.06 | Beauty Bar, Las Vegas
05.07 | Club Sound, Salt Lake City
05.08 | Marquis Theater, Denver
05.10 | The Rebel Lounge, Phoenix
05.12 | Constellation Room, Santa Ana
05.13 | Quartyard, San Diego
05.14 | The Boardwalk, Sacramento
05.16 | Hawthorne Theatre, Portland
05.17 | Chop Suey, Seattle
05.19 | Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco