Bryce Avary , 2007

 

Written by: Jason Perlman

 

We are getting near the Warped Tour in Ohio, so when you heard you were going to be on this tour, what was the initial reaction?
I was really excited. I am pretty excited to see what it is going to be like. But there is a little bit of nervousness, too. The Warped Tours that I have been to in the past have been pretty punk rock, so I just am really hoping the punkers like us. But then I saw the line-up and saw how diverse it was and there were bands that are along the same lines as us, so it's nice. There are pop bands, hardcore bands, punk bands, and there are so many styles of bands that it really is more of just a festival atmosphere, so I am really excited. I think it is going to be really great for The Rocket Summer.

 

You mentioned being at Warped before and seeing a lot of punk bands, so what were your influences growing up?
I am just a big fan of music in general, but when I really started to fall in love in music I was really into indie bands, American indie bands like Built to Spill and Pavement but I also like all different types of music. I am into alt-country, hip-hop, rock and I am into punk. Music just runs through my veins and that is really all I am, pretty much. I like it all.

 

When you have that kind of diversity in your background, are you ever surprised at all at what comes out when you write?
Yea, I think so. I think I have the ability to write all different kinds of music, but I definitely found a niche with The Rocket Summer that I wanted to run with. I generally try to write in a certain way, but there are definitely times I come up with something and am like, "Man, that is cool. I am surprised I came up with that."

 

Lyrically, where do those words come from? It seems very personal, but do you try to divorce yourself from what comes out or are you okay with making the words so personal?
I just think the way I write is very personal. But I used to try and write in a vague sense, and I think that is cool. But now I think its cool to write, not necessarily being too literal, but being literal enough that people know what you are saying. I really want to bring hope to music and I get inspiration from that hope and just life in general. So I get inspiration from my spiritual life, God and questions about all that just everyday, normal stuff. I try to write about what I am going through at whatever time that is.

 

You mentioned being vague in your lyrical writing before, and I remember talking with the guys from Lifehouse who were surprised at how many people took Hanging By A Moment to be a love song versus a song about God. I am assuming that has happened several times to you as well where someone tells you what a song means to them and it was not at all what you intended?
Yea, yea it happens to me all the time actually. I think all music is open to interpretation of those who listen and some people will pick up on the song as you actually meant it and then others won't get that meaning, but the song still means something special to them. There have definitely been a lot of moments where people think I am writing songs about girls and I am not at all. I am writing about faith. That happens a lot actually where someone will say, "Ahh, that girl must be so happy you wrote that song about her." And it is not about that at all, but if that is what it means to you, then okay, I am cool with that.

 

After Warped, you are coming back to Ohio with The Academy Is ... to a smaller venue. Do you prefer the large, festival atmosphere or do you like the intimacy of the small club shows?
I think there is something special about headlining and knowing all the kids there know the songs and will be singing along to all the words. There is no having to win people over. It is less of a game and I definitely enjoy that more. But at the same time, I am so thankful for the opportunities we have had this year opening for different bands and being on the Warped Tour. There is something thrilling about having that challenge. And this is how people are going to hear about The Rocket Summer and this is how if you want to grow your fan base, this is how you have to do it. So I am really thankful and I like both. But right now we are starting a headlining tour and we are sound checking in a few minutes and I am really excited about it. But then we will be on Warped Tour, which I am equally excited about.

 

You mentioned the game in the last comment, and it seems as a band on Warped Tour, there are all kinds of games to play to get noticed.
Exactly.

 

Are you one that can get into that, self-promoting yourself for hours on end? I would be more of the approach of I hope you see the band, but if not, that is okay.
I think there are things that are not musical and very uncool about being really competitive. So it is really hard for me, but after touring for this long you come to the realization that if you really want to play music for a living, you kind of have to try to get people to hear it. So I personally fall into the "I don't like to do that" category, but I also know it is necessary for what I do, so I have to and I don't really complain about it. It is just part of music now.

 

You mentioned your music being very spiritual and it was only a few years ago that it was seen something as taboo to be a spiritual band.
Definitely, and it was just a few years ago that you never heard of bands that were singing about God, at least in the mainstream world. Now it has become very accepted and I think that it is really cool.

 

And a lot of bands tried to keep it somewhat behind closed doors.
I do think there were some bands that were trying to have their cake and eat it, too I guess. For me, faith is more important that my music and I want people to know about that. But then again, it is hard to explain because I don't want to just be involved in the Christian music industry. Just because of the business aspect of it. I would rather be out in the world versus just in churches. That is not at all how I see The Rocket Summer, as a band that just plays in churches. I want to be out there just like everybody else. And although there is no hiding my faith, I would rather not be confined to the actual business of Christian music.

 

I remember talking with fellow spiritual band and Warped Tour partners Underoath last year and talking with them about the responsibility of playing spiritual music. How do you see your responsibility as people look to you for guidance?
It is definitely something where when you sing about Jesus and your fans know Jesus as well, then you are all of a sudden put in a different place where people will want to come to you and want to talk about it and are extremely open. And I think a lot of times you can be put on a little bit of a pedestal, which for me is really scary. That really scares me. But it is cool that you get to meet a lot of people and hear where they are and discuss victories, concerns and questions about struggles. So it's pretty cool, but people can definitely treat you a little differently, like I may know something more. And I don't know at all, but that is the beauty of this whole thing is lifting each other up through rough times.

It seems in the last six years or so, artists are trying to make a noise about something, and it is hard to tell who is real or who isn't.
Yea, there are definitely a lot of bands taking up causes.

 

Some have had the cause at their root for a while, while others seem to hop on the bandwagon. How do you see the relationship of music and cause?
I see it hand-in-hand to be honest. Not necessarily just music but in life. So I am fortunate that I get to play music, but even if I wasn't playing music and was doing something else, I would still be about a cause when I was doing whatever it was. But for me, I have been using music as a platform as well so I can try to do something good and as cliché as it sounds, to hopefully bring hope through my music. I feel like I have been through some dark times and to hear from people when they come up to talk to me about how the music affected them and people saying the music helped them through times when they were thinking of taking their life, it means everything to me. So to answer the question, I definitely see it hand-in-hand, and that is only speaking for myself. But I have noticed musicians trying to make causes out of things that are more headlines than causes.

 

You talked earlier about how personal you write. Have there been times where you were writing and you thought you might be too open and personal?
Yea, definitely. And there are things that I forget because I really don't go back and listen to my records but then it will come up on the iPod shuffle and I will be like, "Whoa. I said that?" Meaning it can definitely come off in a way where then it made some sense, but it is not how I would say it now. And it is like a song can brand you and that is how the songwriter must feel always from then on. But like all people, we mature and change our minds over time, and there are surely a few things that thinking now I wouldn't have said what I said then. But you just have to keep moving.

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