The Summer Obsession Biography
Fin - vocals & guitars
Christ - bass & vocals
Chris Wilson - drums
Two years ago, feel-good rockers The Summer Obsession landed a slot on a side stage of the Warped tour. So, they packed up their van and drove nearly 900 miles from their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida all the way to Indianapolis only to find that the stage had been canceled and they wouldn't be playing after all. Disappointed at first, they quickly revived their spirits and drove another 2,070 miles to Los Angeles to try to get a record deal. After a few months of eight-hour practice sessions and many showcases Virgin Records enthusiastically signed the band.
Such optimism in the face of defeat is typical for The Summer Obsession, an energized, hard working group that writes upbeat songs for downcast times. The members are way too fun loving to have a motto, but if they had to carve a mission statement in the beach sand it would be "make the most of every situation, enjoy life to the fullest and don't let the bad times ruin the good." The group's debut This Is Where You Belong is packed with endorphin-pumped riffs, sun drenched harmonies and enough emotional resonance to stay with the listener
"The theme of the album is beginning new things and starting over fresh," says singer Lucien Walker. "That's what summer represents to me and that's where I was in my life at the time I wrote these songs."
From the elated chorus of the piano-inflected "8 AM" to the stealthy guitar picking and sweeping chorus of "Never Coming Back" The Summer Obsession unapologetically revel in youthful vigor and breezy, head-bobbing rock, providing the perfect antidote to the hordes of depressed, inward-looking bands flooding the airwaves.
"It seems like every time you turn on the radio you hear the same song about the exact same thing," says guitarist Fin. "We call it 'butt-rock' and it's something that doesn't get us going. It's really depressing. It's not what we need right now and it's not what society needs right now."
"I think I really wanted to write a positive record because I wanted people to be able to listen to it and feel hopeful and also escape their problems," adds Walker. "I want them to walk away feeling good."
That doesn't mean The Summer Obsession don't accept unhappiness. They've all been through upsetting relationship trauma, distressing band break-ups and other life disappointments, but each setback has made them more determined to persevere and emerge in a better place. In fact, before the band formed, Walker and Fin were playing together in a punk band and found that they were unhappy with the direction and sound of their music and fed up with their experiences in the music business. Walker considered quitting the game altogether, but instead both decided to splinter off and form their own group, one that would more closely reflect their attitude and record collections, which contain such diverse acts as Third Eye Blind, The Police, Blink-182, Foo Fighters, Rage Against the Machine, NWA and The Doors. Fin, who had played with bassist Christ for years in a different group recruited his old bandmate a couple months later.
The Summer Obsession started writing songs in June 2004. In no time, they had a pile of material, which MySpace.com founder Tom Anderson took a liking to and willingly posted, making The Summer Obsession one of the first MySpace bands. "We got a good 5,000 people that discovered us that way," says Fin. "They started talking about us and commenting on us and it built from there."
Walker wrote some of the songs on This Is Where You Belong years ago, but most were conceived during lengthy writing sessions in Jacksonville after the band was signed. "One of my first loves is songwriting so I've been known to be reclusive and lock myself away and just write," Walker says. "It's really healthy for me. If there's any sort of turmoil going on, I sit down and it spills out in my music."
In July 2005, The Summer Obsession entered the studio with producer Josh Abraham (Velvet Revolver, Pink), engineer Ryan Williams (Rage Against the Machine, Outkast) and drummer Josh Freese (Sting, Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle) to record the album. "It was the smoothest thing ever and we had a great time," Fin says. "Everything just gelled."
After recording, Freese was unable to remain in The Summer Obsession due to his touring commitments with Sting. The band went through a series of other drummers before finding Chris Wilson, who used to play in Good Charlotte. "After I left Good Charlotte, I had to get out of the music industry for a while because I was so disgusted the way everything operated," Wilson explains. "Then, when I was ready to start playing again, a mutual friend told me about these guys. So they emailed me the songs and I really connected with them. And it was something brand new for me to start over with."
The title This Is Where You Belong comes from the song "Where You Belong," a slow, reflective track reminiscent of U2 or the Police. An affirmation of intent and circumstance, the phrase is equally relevant for fans seeking liberation through music as it is for the bandmembers looking to build a new foundation. "I came up with that title because I was reading a lot of books that urge you to pay attention to your present moment and about life situations," Walker says. "You can't let your life situation determine the state of your life. I mean, wherever you are, you are. Might as well make the best of it."
The first single from This Is Where You Belong, "Do You Remember," is an escapist ballad about swooping in to save a girl from the wrath of her abusive father ("I know those bruises ain't from falling down/ They seem to show when your drunk dad's around").
"That song was inspired by emails I get from fans that spill their hearts out to me," Walker says. "One person was getting abused by her dad and she would write me these crazy, long emails. So, I imagined I could make things better by writing a song where someone takes her out of the situation."
One of the most propulsive tracks on the record, "Death Said," is somewhat morbid, depicting the Grim Reaper as he appears to talk to the main character about death. But even that song is ultimately positive and life affirming. "I wrote it when I was 18 and it's about enjoying the present moment because you never know what's around the corner," Walker says. "I used to think about death all the time, and everyone knows we're all gonna die. But that's all the more reason to make the most out of life."
As the flowers bloom and the mercury in the thermometer climbs into the suntan lotion zone, there's no better time for The Summer Obsession to be spreading their sturdy and strongly melodic style of rock across the land.
"Summer has always represented everything cool to me since I was little," Walker concludes. "Having no school, going to the beach, listening to the music on the way to the beach and at the beach. And hopefully our music will bring out the same kind of feelings in people who hear it."