It’s their first time in Toronto as a band and Eternal Summers are doing NXNE. Singer/guitarist Nicole is the only member who has visited before; her sister attended school at OCAD. Also? She’s the only member of the band who’s had poutine before.
Eternal Summers, the three-piece band from Roanoke, VA started out in 2008 as a duo – Nicole Yun (guitar/vocals) and Daniel Cundiff (drums). Bassist Jonathan Woods joined the band last year. Their band name comes from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 (you know, the famous one that begins with “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”) and unintentionally landed the band into the same genre categorizing Best Coast and Real Estate, to name a few.
“I was very clueless about modern music, as far as what’s happening on blogs and stuff,” says Nicole. “We recorded some songs and put them on the internet, and then we got lumped in with all these other bands that were supposedly ‘beachy’ sounding but I had no idea this was going on.”
“These are small pop songs, done minimally. I think the name really got us into a certain audience realm, which we wouldn’t have gotten into.”
“Nor did we consider ourselves ‘beachy’,” Daniel adds.
The band had a fairly casual start with Daniel laughingly describing that in the beginning, he’d say, “Okay, I’ll play this one show…” which turned into more shows. “’Well, we should record these songs.’ And then we did another gig,” he recalls. “I never thought I’d be in Canada with these two guys. It was not like, ‘Let’s rule the world’ – at all. It was just fun. It just felt good.”
With day jobs and reality looming in the background, the band definitely takes their music seriously but making music full-time is “the dream.” Coming from Roanoke, where the music scene is “random, genuine and unique,” Jonathan says, “People there strive for things, because there’s not a lot going on – I know that’s why I’m making music.”
On the topic of making music, the band’s second full-length album, Correct Behavior, drops July 24 and was mixed by Sune Rose Wagner from The Raveonettes and Alonzo Vargas. Previously, the band recorded and mixed their own music from start to finish.
Of the finished product, Nicole says, “There’s still an aura of it sounding analog but it’s got this like, punch in the face quality to it that’s definitely more modern.”
“People definitely can’t say it’s ‘lo-fi’ because it’s… not,” she adds.
The band’s rapport and friendship seem evident, especially when you consider how long bands spend together in a tour van, traveling from one destination to another for weeks (or months!) at a time. “Going on tour is like vacation, in a way,” says Nicole.
“It’s great to show up and be like, I’ve got something to do here. I’m going to play music. And experience a different place every night,” says Jonathan. “Eight hour van rides can be a bummer. But even then, they’re not bad. Good company.” (Awww!)
“One of my favourite parts is just the constant moving, the constant stimulation, yet anti-stimulation,” says Daniel. “There’s a lot of downtime. It’s like, hurry up and wait. Get here at 6, now wait until 10. Try to maintain energy. It’s strange… but it’s so strange and I like it.”