It's been a busy year for local punk-pop four-piece Summerset Avenue. A week after forming they recorded their first demo. Three weeks in, they performed their first live show. They recorded, mixed, and produced their debut EP Nowhere Near Home in the U.S., and performed at SXSW Festival in Austin earlier this year. Vocalist Leeanne Rogers and bassist Steven Cannatelli say the band's chemistry was strong to begin with.
"I was helping run a local jam night at a pub," recalls Cannatelli, "and Leeanne was singing. As soon as I heard her sing, I thought, 'I've never heard a vocal tone like that before.'. Her tone, her pronunciation - I was like, wow, and approached her straight afterwards. Darren [Keane, drummer] and Carlos [Peregin, guitarist] were already friends with her so it all came together."
After travelling to the United States to record in Boston, they received the call most young bands can only dream of - an opportunity to perform at SXSW Festival. "Oh my god," recalls Rogers, "It was crazy. The interesting thing about it is it doesn't matter where you're from, or how big your band is, you go to this festival and you're just as little as each other. It doesn't matter how big you are in Australia or wherever you're from - you go to SXSW and you're all just bands."
Cannatelli concurs: "It was a massive eye-opener to see so many bands congregated in one place at one time, competing for attention. I guess that was pretty much a good learning experience in that everybody is on an equal level. We hung out with the guys from Little Red, and to see those guys playing massive festivals [like] Big Day Out and then playing to similar audiences as us over in the US; it was just, wow. You really gotta start from scratch again."
With their follow-up EP in its pre-production stages, Summerset Avenue are on a forward trajectory that doesn't seem to be letting up. Evidently, the touring is influencing their sound Rogers says. "I think that's bound to happen to any band. We do so many shows that are so close together, and each show is getting better!"
So why are they so popular all of a sudden? Rogers and Cannatelli are on the same page when they emphasise the word fun. "There's a lot, a lot of energy," affirms Rogers. "That's what we pride ourselves on most - the fact that our music is very punk at the moment. It's very upbeat."
"That's the main thing about Summerset Avenue, agrees Cannatelli. "We like to have a lot of fun onstage. It's good party music. It's good-time music. It's cool to jump around to - it's just good Aussie fun."
Nowhere Near Home is available on iTunes or at gigs. Summerset Avenue perform Friday September 16 at Narre Warren Community Learning Centre (all ages) and Thursday September 29 at Next!
BY THOMAS BAILEY