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Exclusive Interview: The Summer Set’s Brian Dales Chats All Things ‘Hard Candy’ And Feeling Grateful

Exclusive Interview: The Summer Set’s Brian Dales Chats All Things ‘Hard Candy’ And Feeling Grateful

If you weren’t aware that we are major fans of The Summer Set here at THP, well, you’re about to be! Finding out they were making music again has honestly been a major highlight of the last year for us. Getting to actually see them live and in person performing music new and old in the year 2022 changed our lives honestly. Is that a little dramatic? No, actually, it’s right on point for how we feel about them.

If you’re a fellow “die-hard on the barricade,” you have to check out what Brian Dales, lead singer, had to say about their new music and return to the musical scene.

The Interview

‘Hard Candy’ is your fourth single from your comeback album, Blossom, and it was the first one that you wrote after coming together. Can you tell us a little bit about that process and what it was like for y’all?
We wrote ‘Hard Candy’ last summer with our friend Nick Furlong in Los Angeles! At the time, we had only made a few songs together in Arizona without any outside collaborators— so it was fun to bring a friend in and see what kind of magic might happen. We wrote ‘Hard Candy’ at Nick’s house over 2 days. 

We have been longtime fans of yours (since the early days), what is one fond memory that you have from being in the band?
Oh man, how could I pick one? I’m more grateful for it today than I’ve ever been. Everything from The Macy’s Day Parade to that first year in the van experiencing the world for the first time. 

We are so excited for Blossom and have already preordered the vinyl. Do you think you will ever re-release your other albums onto vinyl? Our vinyl collector hearts need it!
We’d love to, but so much of that decision with the previous albums will fall on the labels we were signed to at the time. Never say never! 

You guys have briefly talked about the various mental health and/or personal struggles you have faced in your music, without going into too much detail, why is it important for you to touch on these heavy topics?
I think it’s so important now because I brushed it off so casually in the past. When I was younger, I had this reputation of being “the boy who cried BEST DAY EVER”, when in fact I was coming down pretty hard. It’s important to write about the good times, but it’s just as important to write about the bad ones too. That took me a long time to figure out.

The last few years before The Summer Set broke up, especially during the Stories For Monday touring cycle, I was really struggling with my mental and emotional health and trying to hold it back from everyone.  The silver lining to taking a few years off and apart from each other is that we’ve all had time to work on ourselves and do some growing, and now we’ve come back and feel stronger than ever. I’m not afraid to tell people how I feel anymore. I’m not afraid to sing about it anymore either. 

You just finished Sad Summer Fest and a few headlining shows, what has been your favorite part of performing on stage again?
I feel like I’m the most present I’ve ever been during our live shows right now and that’s my favorite part. I’m really taking in every moment and I’m proud to be on stage again with John, Jess, and Stephen. We’re having more fun than we’ve ever had and I think the crowds can tell. Being sober on stage has helped, but I think taking a few years off helped me take a step back and really see how much The Summer Set meant to some people.

In the past, I had a hard time seeing the forest through the trees, and therefore I was never really enjoying the moment while I was in it. This time around, I just want to be alive on stage for every second of it, and grateful for the experience. It’s not lost on me anymore how important live music is, and how much work and sacrifice it takes for a fan to buy a ticket to a show and make plans to come see a band they love— whether that be us, or anyone. I just want to give them the best night I can give them, every night.  

What’s it been like seeing the “diehards on the barricade” (we’re including ourselves in this group) coming back to these shows and responding with such enthusiasm to your new music?
At our first show back in Phoenix, everyone in the crowd held up signs during “Back Together” that said “Die-hard since (insert year here)” and I cried like a baby on stage. We all did. I think that’s the best way I can explain it. I keep coming back to one word: grateful

Your last release ‘Teenagers’ featured Chrissy Constanza from Against the Current, can we expect more collabs on Blossom?
Yes, you can! We have a feature on our next single that came together in the final hour and we’re so, so excited about it. 

If you had to describe your music in a sentence/phrase, what would it be?
Alive with the sound of thunder & lightning. 

We loved hearing the references to ‘Figure Me Out’ in ‘Back Together,’ why was that the song you called on specifically when writing ‘Back Together?
‘Back Together’ is perhaps a bit of a sequel to ‘Figure Me Out’ in my mind. Both of those songs were part of a rare process, in which the songs just sorta wrote themselves. Ironically, I wrote them both in the same room seven years apart. Maybe it was a way to check in on myself, but I realized I had a lot more to say and a lot of heart left on my sleeve. I would love to write more songs that are autobiographical, but it’s nearly impossible for me to force them. Sometimes they just come over you. 

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Can we expect a Blossom tour because we can’t wait to catch you guys live again?
Of course! I can’t say much about it yet, but we’re putting a tour together that celebrates Blossom, but also everything else we’ve gotten to do in the last 15 years. Stay tuned!

We’re all about being sweet here at THP, can you share something nice about your bandmates?
I love this. Okay here it goes: Everybody loves Jess Bowen. She’s electrifying to watch on stage, but off stage, she’s one of the friendliest, and most inviting people you’ll ever meet. There’s a reason she wins the “most popular” superlative on every tour. Without John Gomez, we’d probably never get anything done. One of the most proactive people I know, and also a great songwriter. And Stephen Gomez is our musical lighthouse. He holds down the fort both on and off stage. Without Stephen, I’m not sure I would understand what The Summer Set sounds like. 

Image Source: Brittaney Penney for The Honey POP

We are so thankful one of our favorite bands has gotten back together and is coming out with new music. A massive thank you to Brian for taking the time to chat with us, we hope you enjoyed reading his answers as much as we did!

Stream ‘Hard Candy’ here! And pre-order your copy of Blossom here!

What do you think of The Summer Set? Are you as hyped for Blossom as we are? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter and Instagram!

Check out more of our interviews, they’re sweet as honey!


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