The Rocket Summer

Interviews | May 16th, 2006

Bryce Avary, or The Rocket Summer as his friends call him, has made quite the name for himself in perfect DIY fashion. In love with music at an early age, Bryce started making serious music at 14 and has not stopped since. At the ripe old age of 23 and on his third album, He has already played to sold out arenas in Japan, toured the USA and UK, and has gained a huge following of dedicated fans. Oh yeah, he has also recently celebrated his one year wedding anniversary all while continuing to tour relentlessly. Right before his set at The Bamboozle, the soft-spoken Bryce was kind enough to answer some questions for Ska Punk and Other Junk.

Since you don’t have a consistent band, why not tour as Bryce Avary? Why tour under a name like ‘The Rocket Summer’?
When I was 16 years old, I put out my first CD, and I’m 23 now so that was kind of a while ago. It was just going to be Bryce Avary, but my friend was like ‘just name it’ which at the time, that was kind of rare. Now if anyone is a solo [artist], its a band name. I kind of just did it when I was 16 and the name stuck.

Any plans to solidify a specific band at all?
I don’t know. Some of the guys who are playing with me right now are going to be going to school. If the time is ever right, with the right band, maybe it will be somewhat more of a band.

When you first started making music, you were 14. What was the scene like in your home town when you first started?
It was really high school-ish. I would do shows at club houses, acoustic shows at Starbucks, and I would play house parties. It was a different time, it was before emo and punk went mainstream. Bands like The Get Up Kids and the Promise Ring were somewhat obscure, it was a different time.

When you first started making music, you were 14. What was the scene like in your home town when you first started?
It was really high school-ish. I would do shows at club houses, acoustic shows at Starbucks, and I would play house parties. It was a different time, it was before emo and punk went mainstream. Bands like The Get Up Kids and the Promise Ring were somewhat obscure, it was a different time.

What other bands were you into then?
I’ve always been into indie rock like Built To Spill and The Get Up Kids. I like everything from Michael Jackson to… I just really like good songs.

Was there any one specific act that you saw that inspired you to want to make music for a living?
Probably Michael Jackson when I was a little kid.

When you recorded Calendar Days, what made you decide, ‘I’m going to record in Kansas’?
I don’t know, I kind of liked the idea of going to the middle of nowhere sort of and working on a record. I had some friends who had recorded at this studio and had a good experience.

Going there on your own, where did you stay?
I actually slept on the floor in the studio.

And you borrowed money from your dad to make this album,
Yeah, he’s awesome. It was right after high school.

Have you paid him back yet?
Oh yeah, I paid him back really quickly.

How did you put that album in the hands of The Militia Group?
We kind of knew each other before they were even a label, we were just sort of friends, so it just made sense.

You were offered deals from Christian labels, what made you hold out for something bigger?
Being a Christian is a huge part of who I am and I want everybody to know that. But I don’t necessarily want to be confined to the Christian market.

How did you end up getting the attention of Island?
I don’t even know, it was crazy. I guess things were picking up with Hello Good Friend and they came out to a bunch of shows and we decided to do a deal together.

You’ve played some big shows in Japan, how does a crowd in Japan differ from a crowd in the states?
It’s really not that much different, they’re just very in awe. When a band is on stage, and the song is over, nobody is talking, it’s just totally like you could hear a pin drop, and then the song starts, they go nuts. I like Japan, they just do their own thing.

When will you head back there?
We were just in Japan a few months ago, so probably not until next year.

Congratulations on your recent marriage, when did that happen?
Thank you. It happened January of 2005, it’s been a year and a few months, so it’s awesome.

And you went on tour right after you were married, how did your new wife feel about coming on tour with you right away?
She was very excited. We were just very excited about our new life together, and also our career.

She’s tour managing you now?
Yeah, and she sells our merch too, so she’s here right now. She actually plays on one song with us, but we probably won’t get to do it today since we only have a 30 minute set. She works really hard this is probably her last headlining tour with us as our tour manager. It’s getting too insane. We have to separate the business at sometime.

Are you two planning any kids yet?
Oh man, no (laughs). Maybe in like six years or something.

The interview ended on that note, as to not get Bryce into any trouble with his new bride. The Rocket Summer continues to tour relentlessly and is is currently playing dates throughout the US with Paramore and Brandtson, check therocketsummer.com for the latest tour and mailing list information.

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