- by adamBoose on June 13 th, 2012
Every couple weeks, we are going to spotlight some of our favorite clients, engineers, and bands that have graced the A/D converters of Cauliflower Audio.
This week, we’re talking with Steve Anderson, head of LOW LIGHT RECORDS and member of the NY-based freak-out rock collective SUMMER PEOPLE. Summer People and Low Light recently re-released their second album, the excellent “Teamwork,” on vinyl and have just finished touring non-stop to work on some new music. Steve was kind enough to share his thoughts with us.
Steve, point blank: is it possible to attend a Summer People show and not come away completely annihilated? Because in my experience (and in the experience of every single person I’ve ever attended a show with), all signs point to no. Are you poisoning the crowd? What gives?
Poisoning? Yes – don’t tell. I must say, when I was actively playing drums in Summer People (up until 10 months ago) the goal was to have a party with everyone at and involved in the show. Performing the songs, yes, but more importantly engaging with my friends and those who came to join in. When the goal is to party, I believe everyone in the room lets go of their day and embraces the moment like a few shots of whiskey and a bottle of beast. Since I’ve stepped into a different roll (“managing” Low Light) and Jesse Lafian (Crime Pays, Rival Tribes) taking a hold of the kit, I’ve had numerous opportunities to attend shows and take on a completely different roll. Immediately, I felt just as fulfilled by being in the room as I once was behind the drums. I kid you not, everyone in SP loves what they play – clinging to every track. So if you connect with SP in any form or fashion, to me, it seems impossible to walk out of the doors without wanting more of this stuff.
- Kidding aside, the live shows are intense, barely-controlled affairs. Bare-feet, guitars, bongos, and beer raining down on the crowd… yet the songs never fall apart, and no one ever seems to miss a cue. Does the band practice pretty religiously? Or is it that the band basically lives on the road these days? Any more touring plans coming up?
SP is quite intent on practicing, but more importantly I believe the fluid deliverance is mainly attributed to the genuine love of the songs, the “stage”, and playing shows in general. As SP continues, we feel more and more people need a hefty dose of quality, unique blend of rock n’ roll, so as the band constantly continues writing new material, touring is sure to follow. Currently, SP are writing in preparation for another full-length within the coming year — exciting to say the least!
- I’ve known many of you since my days touring with your previous band, Fire When Ready. FWR was equally as rambunctious, but musically a little more in the punk-rock vein. Summer People, on the other hand, is pretty difficult to pinpoint stylistically… to me, it sounds like music for seafaring folk with a touch of psychedelia and much crooning. Was there a conscious decision to go in a different direction, or did it just come naturally?
Of course we all (you and I alike) have major musical influences from which we draw from, and our flavors mature and/or shift over time, but I don’t think this why SP is more difficult to pinpoint — although people seemed to have difficulty with FWR too! For SP, the collection of influences that come with each individual member makes up the bands sound. The more and more one gets to know each individual contributing member of the band, the sound of SP becomes more and more apparent and familiar. FWR had five members (at one time or another), three of which are now, or once were in SP, but this is only half of SP’s line-up. What you hear in “Good Problems”, “Teamwork”, and “Do it.” accurately depicts who was contributing and where SP was/is as a band. Plain and simple, I love what this band writes more than anything I have ever been a part of! FWR has a special place in my/our hearts, but SP is truly a collection of mashed up musical backgrounds making a stylistically rare and confusing genre. This is quite amazing because in my opinion, I dislike degrading a true artist’s sound by pinpointing their work into a restricted genre. It is possible we like to confuse people with the work we do… but I’ve never consciously thought of it that way!
- The band’s concept is a pretty unique one: there’s no set line-up. Members go out on tour when they can, while the others hold down the fort and take care of business. Originally the band’s drummer, you now live in North Carolina and handle the band/label’s day-to-day operations. Do you still work with the band musically, or are you in more of a “behind-the-scenes” role now? What sort of things are you handling for the band?
Yes, I moved to NC last year to continue pursuing an additional interest in environmental ecology; however, I have enjoyed taking the responsibility of releasing Teamwork on vinyl, sending out online orders, contacting radio stations and festivals for shows etc. etc. My roll is quite sporadic as of late, but over time my goal is to enable Low Light to become a consistent project that is a part of me. Even though this is essentially business (yuck!) and significantly different/opposite of writing music and playing shows, I enjoy staying connected with my best friends in the world (SP) and supporting a musical project that is worth while regardless of what “success” the general audience thinks/doesn’t think SP has. As for musical contributions, you never know what is going to come up. If the opportunity arises, I will never pass it up, but there is nothing set in stone for what is currently being written. Often times when I’m not involved in the writing process, I actually get more stoked to listen to the finished product because I know it IS going to blow my socks off.
- So far, LOW LIGHT has put out most of the Summer People records (including the “Do It” split with Hot Cha Cha/Exit Stencil). Do you have any plans for non-SP releases? What’s next on the plate, so to speak?
Low Light was loosely started up to attach a name to the release of “Teamwork” last year, but Justin, Brandon, and I have always wanted to entertain the idea of releasing our own records largely because in the past, we had difficulty relying on labels for any sort consistent support or dedication to the projects we pour our life into. More importantly, I’ve always had the desire to spread quality music to listeners who might not hear an artist if I didn’t introduce them. Often times, this includes local artists who might not have a strong contact base to extend their fan base, at least at a regional scale. I’ve wanted to progressively get Low Light rolling to have the chance to learn and collaborate with other labels, artists, and organizations. For example, my friend Eli Gwinn (Velodoxi / Masters From Their Day) co-released “Teamwork” on vinyl. Eli also recorded Teamwork with us in Syracuse, NY. Working on “Teamwork” together was the start to a wonderful friendship, which will continue for days and years to come. I want this family to spread and expand its boarders.
I hope/dream of more releases when collaborations, time and resources present themselves. Currently, I’d like to seriously consider a series of 7″ singles by numerous local/regional artists who I just can’t get enough of. Of course, I have a few projects/bands in mind, but no conversations have been had yet.
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