The Rocket Summer
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From the moment Bryce Avary, better known as The Rocket Summer, exploded onto the scene as a teenager in the early 2000s at the forefront of a wave of indie pop he has been a musical force. Charging out of Texas and onto the international stage, he has never been in short supply of ear-worm hooks and effortless charm. Fans have flocked to Avary’s optimistic and exuberant songcraft and the community it inspires for years. Now, with a new album, Sweet Shivers, Avary’s musical evolution and the breadth of his songwriting is on full display.
The album is stunningly expansive, with hallmarks of Avary’s familiar songwriting style in lyrics that manage to be both extremely personal and universally applicable. “Writing is where I feel most normal, it’s where I come alive” he reflects. As with previous records, Avary’s musical virtuosity is apparent. He wrote, produced, recorded, mixed, and performed every instrument on the album. Seven albums into his career, Avary is just hitting his stride and leaving his mark as one of the most reliable songwriters and multi instrumentalists in rock music. "I basically fell in love with music all over again, like I had when I was first learning to play," he says. "I pretty much didn't come out for a year. My only mission was to be as creative as possible, and to push myself further than ever. In the process, I recorded around four or five albums of material. I just couldn't stop writing and recording. I realized that something different and special was happening, so I knew I had to follow the trails of the song ideas to see where they all led." "Being in Los Angeles, my initial thought had been that I was going to collaborate with other songwriters and producers," he continues. "But as I became aware of the vision I had, the amount of music I wanted to tackle and the kind of out-of-the-box sounds I wanted to capture, I realized it was going to be totally on me to pull it off. At some points it felt like an insurmountable mountain, but it was a fun challenge to try and conquer it. I'm always wanting to learn, and this experience certainly pushed me to learn to use new tools and creative gadgets that helped create a unique sound for the album." Avary became musically active in his early teens, teaching himself to play a variety of instruments and joining his first band at the age of 14, before breaking away to play acoustic solo sets in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. At 16, he issued his first EP as a limited-edition indie release, adopting the identity of the Rocket Summer; the name was borrowed from Ray Bradbury's sci-fi classic The Martian Chronicles. "I always liked the idea of releasing it under a moniker other than my own name," Avary explains. "Even though it was just me on the record, it created an atmosphere of something bigger than one person, something that people could feel more a part of and I've stuck with that ever since." The Rocket Summer's first full-length album, Calendar Days, won considerable national attention in 2003. It was followed by 2005's Hello, Good Friend, which peaked at No. 26 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. The latter disc generated sufficient fan interest to allow Avary to assemble a live band and tour in the U.S. and Japan. The Rocket Summer's indie success helped to win Avary a deal with Island/Def Jam, which released Do You Feel in 2007. That album reached the Top 50 on the Billboard album charts and #16 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums charts, while spawning a pair of popular singles in "So Much Love" and "Do You Feel." Of Men and Angels followed in 2010, debuting at #1 on iTunes and producing a pair of hits in "Walls" and "You Gotta Believe." The same year, Avary branched out to write "Stomping The Roses" for American Idol alumnus David Archuleta. In 2011, Avary released the live acoustic album Bryce Avary, His Instruments and Your Voices for free via the Rocket Summer's website which had over 50,000 downloads on the day of its release. Avary moved from Island/Def Jam to his own label, Aviate, for the Rocket Summer's 2012 album Life Will Write the Words. Despite being an independent release, the album debuted at #58 on the Billboard Top 200 and #12 on Billboard's Top Modern Rock/Alternative Albums chart, and was supported by the Rocket Summer's most successful tour to date. Although Avary built his reputation as a studio-based visionary, the Rocket Summer has also earned an impressive reputation as a live act, expanding into a full-band lineup to sell out venues in the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France and Japan, while performing at such prestigious festivals as Glastonbury, Soundwave, Austin City Limits, Bamboozle, the Vans Warped Tour and SXSW. Now, with Zoetic raising the musical stakes, Avary is looking forward to the challenge of translating his new material to live performance after a break from touring to focus on this album.
"Playing live is like oxygen to me, so it was hard being away for this long, because it's like putting fuel in the tank for me," Avary asserts. "So this absence is going to make hitting the road taste that much sweeter. This is the most layered and nuanced record I've ever made, and there are a lot of new sounds to try and figure out how to translate live. So it will be cool to pull these songs off with a live band, and hear how they come off in a more raw, on-the-fly scenario." The ongoing devotion of the Rocket Summer's fans makes the prospect of touring all the more alluring for Avary. "The thing that I'm most proud of about The Rocket Summer is the fan base, and the passion they have for the music and for each other," he says, adding, "I've always viewed music as the friend that can convince you not to jump in your darkest hour. So I have often thought about that while writing, and I often consider how fans will relate to the songs that I'm writing. "But I'd also say that, with this album, I intentionally didn't allow myself to be influenced by how people would receive it. A big part of breaking down creative walls was to start fresh and only allow myself to follow the songs themselves and what was coming out naturally. And I think that's why it sounds a bit different, because it's raw, creative expression with zero expectation or rules of any kind. "Obviously I'm very different now," Avary concludes. "But one thing that hasn't changed is that I still view music as being the most beautiful and mysterious gift on this planet. I'm always thinking about how much more music I can make, how much further I can push it, how more I can learn and how much further the music will take me. I know that I haven't gotten to the place where I'm headed musically, and maybe I never will, and that pushes me to keep going. I always feel like it's still just the beginning."
Royal Teeth’s forthcoming sophomore record marks the band’s long overdue comeback to indie rock, with a progression in their sound that exudes energy and conviction. No stranger to the ups and downs of the music industry, they’re signed to their third label in just over six years. “There were days where I just accepted that this was probably going to be over soon,” vocalist Gary Larsen recalls. “Something finally switched inside of me. I decided that if we are going down, then we are going down swinging.” Feeling inspired to create new songs with a new fresh sound, the quartet whole-heartedly decided it was worth a return to the music scene.
Royal Teeth are also no strangers to success. Their 2012 debut EP Act Naturally and their first LP, Glow, in 2013 spawned the hit single “Wild” , followed by their 2016 EP Amateurs. They’ve turned heads at major tastemakers including Consequence of Sound and MTV and have been featured in SiriusXM Alt Nation’s Advanced Placement, as well as appearing on Last Call With Carson Daly and American Idol.
In 2017, the group began recording from their homes in New Orleans and Nashville, and the result was the new record. Unlike their previous releases, the new album is rough around the edges. “We didn’t want to reference anything we had done before. We needed to move on and figure out what we are today,” Gary continues.
“Never Gonna Quit,” the first single, serves as a mission statement for the album, boasting loudly the ability to take a shot to the chin and continue pushing forward. “It is easy for me to lose confidence in myself,” Gary states. “This line of work can be difficult. It requires you to be vulnerable and put yourself out there to be judged by others. It’s hard to get used to. We are using this album as a platform to face our fears, and to focus on the love we find through the music we create and those who connect along the way. I hope that this album gives strength to anyone who has a hard time putting themselves out there for the world to see.” Hope can be found through struggle on their sophomore album because Royal Teeth’s message is quite clear: they are never gonna quit.
2208 Elliston Pl
Nashville, TN, 37203