Eternal Summers began as a musical experiment founded by Nicole Yun and Daniel Cundiff in Roanoke, Virginia. The duo never intended to be a full-time band. After producing two full-length albums and adding bass player Jonathan Woods, though, Eternal Summers is beginning to look like a going concern.
That’s good news. Last year’s Correct Behavior is an excellent collection of jangly, dreamy, noisy pop with just enough edge to set Eternal Summers apart from all of the other jangly, dreamy, noisy pop bands working today. Based on their recent performance at the Stone Pony opening for The Presidents of the United States of America, it sounds like they’ll be taking their sound into some harder-edged places on the next record.
Eternal Summers left the familiarity of Roanoke and headed to Austin to record that next record. Doug Gillard of Guided by Voices and Nada Surf produced, and the band are turning to fans to help fund the mixing and mastering via PledgeMusic. Fans can pledge on items ranging from a digital download of the album when it’s ready all the way up to the opportunity to cut drummer Daniel Cundiff’s hair.
Lead singer and guitarist Nicole Yun was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about the tour, the new album, and why the band decided to fan-fund their record.
You just came through Asbury Park to play The Stone Pony with the Presidents of the United States of America. How has the tour been going so far? How has it felt to play some of the new songs live?
This tour has been unreal. PUSA fans are so loyal, intense, and ready to have fun! It has been really rewarding to challenge ourselves to play new songs in front of an audience that has never heard of us before. It’s a true test audience that is unbiased because they can’t compare us to anything we have done before. It’s actually pretty liberating — though not everyone “gets” us. I’m ok with that.
You went down to Austin to record the follow-up to 2012’s Correct Behavior with Doug Gillard (Guided by Voices, Nada Surf, and others). How did that come about? What was the experience like?
We met Doug when we opened for Nada Surf in December of 2012. We had a GBV cover that he so graciously joined us onstage to perform a few times on tour, and we all just hit it off. He shared with us some of his solo albums and we were hooked! His album, Call from Restricted, and his 7″, Breaking in Two, hit on a lot of musical ground that we related to and really loved. We all thought he would be the perfect producer for our next project.
Doug suggested we work with Louie Lino, who often plays keyboard in Nada Surf, at his studio in Austin. Louie is an expert builder and has constructed an amazing studio with a very nice apartment above for bands to stay. The process was grueling but ideal: wake up, grab some coffee and make some oatmeal and go downstairs and get to work! We often put in 12 to 14 hour days to get the album done, but the hard work was worth it. We loved working with Doug and Louie! They made our first out-of-town recording situation so natural and such a rewarding experience.
Can you talk a bit about how the new songs sound compared to what you’ve done before? How much of that has to do with submitting yourselves somewhat to the influence of others like you did for Correct Behavior (mixed by Sune Rose Wagner of The Raveonettes and Alonzo Vargas)?
The new songs are a mix between the simple pretty pop songs of our beginnings as a jangly guitar/drum duo and the raucous and full on sonic onslaught that we always wished we could express. A cock-eyed fusion of pretty pop and heavy rock is how I would put it. I wouldn’t say our new songs had too much to do with any particular person or influence as much as it has to do with confidence as a band. We’ve toured and practiced and spent a lot of time writing while learning to understand each other’s musical instincts. We are more of a unit than ever and our mixed bag of influences as individuals are unifying into these catchy and weird new songs.
You’ve decided to fund the mixing and mastering stages of the album through a pre-order project on PledgeMusic. Can you talk a little about that and what drew you to doing things that way?
I think nowadays many labels want bands to already have their album done before working with them — definitely the opposite of those classic days of record deals and advances, though I know they still exist! We really wanted to have a chance to work in a studio and also leave our hometown and get away to work on the record. We thought having the album be fan funded would make the most sense since this band was never meant to be more than a one time recording project. It was fans who helped propel us into existence!
What happens when the album is finished? Do you plan to self-release it, or will you shop it to labels?
We plan to shop it to labels. Hopefully this album will find a loving home!
Finally, are you really willing to let a fan come and cut Daniel’s hair?
We are not joking here. Daniel’s hair was the length of a Beatle’s mop top at the start of the band. He is willing to let go of his heroic black metal tresses just for the making of this album. Snip snip fans!