WPGU sat down with Brian Logan Dales, lead singer of The Summer Set, before their concert at the Accord this past Tuesday.
WPGU: Because this tour is so fandom inspired can you explain the decision making process behind formatting it this way?
Brian Dales: It was an idea that we’d sort of had for a long time that sort of a lot of years to really put into fruition, but i think just at this point we’ve been a band for so long and we’re so guilty all the time of playing the same twenty something cities, and we did that in the spring, we sort of got to play all the major cities in the US and when it came time that we wanted to get on the road for one last time before the end of the year, and we thought “Well let’s do a tour where we’re gonna let people vote on where we’re gonna play.” And we excluded any place that we’d played already in the spring to give cities like Champaign, Illinois a chance to be apart of it. And that was really cool and then we decided to take it one step further and let people sort of choose the songs we were gonna play. Mostly because we get asked all the time why we don’t play certain old songs, and then we decided to let people vote and they didn’t vote for those old songs anyway, so, works for me.
WPGU: How your experience on the road has been so far? Any surprises in set list or destinations?
BD: Not as many surprises in the set list as I thought there would be. Set list is pretty standard for what I would want a setlist to be. But I think it’s nice and the intimacy is sort of cool. We’re playing shows that are a lot smaller than some of the shows in the spring. Certain cities have just been a total surprise, like Nashville and North Carolina, places that we haven’t played in very often and haven’t had good shows in were totally fantastic.
WPGU: You have a lot of pop culture references in your music – everything from How I met Your Mother to Audrey Hepburn and of course Bruce Springsteen – how does pop culture affect your music making process?
BD: I’m influenced by everything around me and I just write about what I know. Sometimes I feel like all I know is Bruce Springsteen, so I write about that. I tell this speech sometimes on stage, every night before I play “Legendary”. It’s not really so much what you’re singing about so much as the way you feel when you’re singing it and sometimes that’s just about me watching How I Met Your Mother by myself feeling depressed, so I think it’s just my way of doing it, and I hope that makes it interesting to somebody.
WPGU: You’ve been really vocal on twitter about your opinions on this year’s election, which is something we really admire. Does politics play into your music at all, or do you try to keep them separate?
BD: Not yet, but at some point in my life when I get older the music could begin to get a little political. I don’t think the Summer Set is really at a place where that happen yet. But it’s not ruled out. I haven’t necessarily had to write about politics at any caliber but I like writing about a very positive way of life and I don’t want to see that get taken away.
WPGU: A lot of your fans are teens and young adults. Do you think you’re in a unique position to use your voice? You always tweet about getting out to vote and the Rock the Vote movement…
BD: Yeah, our fans have grown up with us, we’ve been a band for a long time, and a lot of them are at a very impressionable age where it matters. This is the first time and first election that a lot of our voters will get to vote in and I just think I have this platform and it needs to be used for the right reasons. I’m sort of bummed out when people don’t use their platform. I think it’s important to.
WPGU: Favorite album release this year so far?
BD: Bon Iver
WPGU: Favorite song at the moment?
BD: She Burns by Foy Vance
WPGU: Favorite Bruce Springsteen song?
BD: Thunder Road
WPGU: Who are you rooting for in the World Series?
WPGU: What’s your favorite horror film?
BD: None of them…Horror films are garbage…I just saw a movie called Hush which wasn’t that bad. The Shining is the best. It’s the only horror movie I actually thought was good.
WPGU: What’re you going as for Halloween?
BD: I don’t know yet, I still haven’t figured out if I’m going to fly home for Halloween cause we have two days off. I just want to be the puppy in the SnapChat filter. Or i’ll figure out how to be a dalmatian.
WPGU: One word to describe your band?
BD: Medium, haha
WPGU: Favorite song on the setlist?
BD: Jean Jacket
WPGU: Champaign-Urbana has a really unique music scene, so what advice would you give for aspiring artists?
BD: We’re sort of in an interesting time where you have all the resources to get your music out there right in front of you with your own hands. We’re in such an age where the more you’re able to do yourself, the farther you’re going to get in the long run when people start to get interested in what you’re doing. That’s my thought.