A Sound-Check Chat With Eternal Summers

Though they’ve been favoring the road for the past year in support of Correct Behavior, that ballet of beautifully choreographed noise of a sophomore record they put out in the middle of 2012, Eternal Summers are looking forward to keeping that up for the foreseeable future—and it’s because they’ve got a brand new record that they haven’t even named yet and that they’re dying to share with you live and in the flesh.

Currently on tour with The Presidents of the United States of America (of “Lump” and “Peaches” fame) and previous show mates to Nada Surf, Eternal Summers have been perfecting the art of the uplifting rock song in good company as they hit some major milestones in between records. With Correct Behavior, Nicole Yun and Daniel Cundiff expanded their endeavor to include bassist Jonathan Woods, and they enlisted the help of Sune Rose Wagner of The Raveonettes when it came to mixing the final product. Now, they’re putting the final touches on its to-be-titled follow-up with Doug Gillard of Guided by Voices, making this the first time they’ve ever worked with a producer.

I feel like Correct Behavior hadn’t been out too long when we were like, let’s start thinking about our next record,” says Yun. “Honestly, we waited nine months for Correct Behavior to come out. It was like a literal baby; there was a gestation period. There was some overlap time there. It’s not that soon for us to put out another album, even though release date-wise it looks like that. I feel like we’re always thinking about the next record.” Before taking the stage at Irving Plaza last night, Eternal Summers brought us up to speed on big changes afoot for the Roanoke, Virginia-based indie power trio—and bigger, bolder moves we’ll get to hear long before this album’s got a title.

Welcome back to New York, guys! You’re no strangers to the road. When you’re opening for someone like this with such an established fan base, how is that for you? Does this feel like rock school every night?
Nicole Yun:
With The Presidents of the United States of America, they play their self-titled album front-to-back, which has “Lump” and “Peaches” on it. The second the first chord drops, people just go insane and jump around. Late 30-year-old people moshing … it’s awesome. (laughs)
Daniel Cundiff: No matter who you’re playing with, hopefully you’ll learn something from them that you can benefit from and understand how to perform. They’re definitely a different band than us—and at the same time, they’re great performers and great musicians, too. We did a tour with Nada Surf not long ago, and it was the same thing where we were with a band that’s been around for twenty years. It’s really inspiring that they’re not just doing the same set every night. They’re all great, and great musicians.

NY: I think also, it’s clear that these are both bands—Nada Surf and The Presidents of the United States of America—that are so involved with the fans. It’s like, they’re always doing special stuff to meet their fans and do something above and beyond. There’s so much energy! They don’t just play a show and that’s it; they do meet-and-greets and play special acoustic songs after the show is over for whoever’s left. It’s definitely inspiring to see people who work so hard in every aspect. It’s definitely like going to rock school, for sure.

I think the timeless nature of Correct Behavior—especially considering it’s barreling chord progressions in 4/4 time and the hooks that go along with them—makes a lot of sense on a bill with The Presidents of the United States of America and Nada Surf. Y’all love guitars! (laughs) How has this leg of the tour in particular breathed new life into these songs?
DC:
For me, it’s about being as tight with it as we can be. We’re playing so many new songs off of what will be our third album on this tour.
NY: It’s a bit of a transitional tour for us. We’re trying to play what we consider the most memorable songs on Correct Behavior, but we’re trying out new material. I think it’s uncomfortable to do that on this tour, as opposed to a small tour by ourselves. I think it’s really fun to test it out on random people. As far as the older stuff, it changes because it’s definitely more dynamic. When you play a song so much, the nuances come out, as far as how to make it more gentle or driving at certain parts. It’s definitely more fun to play now because we know it so well, so we can just let the chemistry of the three of us take control and read each other and just play it how we want.

What’s an aspect of Correct Behavior that you’re looking to embrace or replicate on future releases?
DC:
I don’t think we ever think about direction; it just kind of happens organically. What happened on Correct Behavior, the songs that are rock songs, we’re still doing those rock songs but they’re even more defined as rock songs. The really pretty, soft delicate songs are even more soft and delicate. Everything is just becoming more defined I guess. It’s dreamier; it’s more rocking.
Jonathan Woods: I think we were more confident in doing those things than we were on that record. Some of the new songs, there’s one called “Windows” that’s been really good live—that and “Never Enough.”
NY: The last record was the scariest jump. We went from a two-piece to a three-piece, and we went from a homespun production to having outsiders involved. This next record, I’m excited to be like, “Okay, we’ve made all the jumps we’ve wanted to make. Let’s feel comfortable enough to express what we want and not feel like anything’s holding us back.” I think this next record is going to rock.

Do you have a name for the new record yet?
NY:
We’ll unleash the beast soon, I guess. Unleash the Beast! There’s a name!
JW: What was the one we came up with the other day? Savage? Savage? But in French?
NY: We met up with the guy who was going to mix our album, and he was like, “What are the themes of the album?” and I said, “Well, savageness, but, like, struggle that’s … good?” “Say all that in French and you’ve got a record.” I was like, “I don’t know man! I don’t know if we’re that band.”

I know that you worked with Sune Rose from The Raveonettes on Correct Behavior, and you mentioned the transition you made between working on your music entirely on your own and bringing other people into your creative process. What did you take away from that experience? What was it like, bringing people in on your creative endeavor? 
NY:
As hard as it is to give up control, you just have to trust yourself. No matter what, this is a record that I know we did a good job on. I’m not going to let this album come out if I’m not proud of it. Therefore, when we work with other people, we can be like, “Cool! They’ve got talents and the cumulative product is going to be awesome!” it’s just using everyone’s talents in the best way. I felt like we were a lot more open with this next record. 

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