My Q&A With: Haunted Summer


After only a few seconds on Haunted Summer’s Facebook page, many things begin to jump out. The bands interest’s- ‘Spreading darkness through light: To accept the light, you must acknowledge the darkness. Only then will you reach clarity.’ The band’s location- ‘The Woods.’ The band’s influences- ‘The Mystic Forest, Light & Darkness, FOG, Death, Life, Love.’

At first, the sayings and phrases that are uncharacteristic for a music page seem out of place. However, in listening to the music that inspired these sayings, everything seems to fall into place.  Bridgette and John, the founding members and married couple behind Haunted Summer have put their creatively brilliant minds together to produce a collection of fantastical and mysteriously eerie pop music. Their music has taken them all over the world as a supporting band to acts like Meiko and Laura Stevenson. Now veterans of iconic venues including The El Rey Theater, Amoeba Hollywood, The Troubadour, and The Casbah, Haunted Summer is setting out on a national headlining tour, continuing to ‘haunt’ and enchant the world with their music.

It is unique to hear a band describe their music as ‘eerie and spooky.’ How did this sound come about?

John: We take a different approach in our band.. we accept all inspiration of this world and beyond. We take a lot of visual aspects of the band from our dreams and nightmares that led us to each other throughout many life spans. We feel the listener receives this eerie, spooky aspect and realizes the beauty in the darkness as well.

What is it like create music together as a married couple?

Bridgette: We’re very lucky to be in this situation. Often times, touring can make or break a band and we never have to leave each other’s side for any of that. We support and inspire each other by working on something so wholeheartedly together. With the music it is very special, the sound we create together becomes one and lyrics can be like a secret language for us. Broad enough for others to relate, but personal references and secret messages of hope, humor, and understanding for each other is sprinkled throughout our music.  

The band has toured with several big name acts including Taken By Trees and Islands. What has been the most memorable moment thus far?

John: Taken by Trees was a amazing show at The Levitt Pavilion, and the Islands tour was more extensive and a lot of fun..but our favorite so far has been the dates we did with The Polyphonic Spree. We sound like broken records but Tim Delaughter and the whole band are seriously the nicest, most grounded musicians. It was like traveling with a big family who had nothing but love to share. Their live show is also very inspiring, I would put it next to how epic Flaming Lips, or Arcade Fire shows have been at times.

You’re heading out on a national headlining tour in a few days. What are you most looking forward to?

Bridgette: We’re all really looking forward to visiting places we’ve never been like Philly, Denver and NYC. I think we’re all still reeling on the fact that we will be recording a live album to be pressed to clear vinyl by the amazingly ambitious folks at Mace Mead Works in Walla Walla, WA. Haunted Summer comes alive!

Both Bridgette and John were in different bands prior to forming Haunted Summer. How did Haunted Summer originate?

John: In a nutshell, we got tired of playing meaningless music with former projects and found each other in the process. Bridgette and I were friends for 10 years prior to Haunted Summer. I got offered a slot for a covers show at The Echo and we did an all Animal Collective cover set on Halloween 2012 with a full band of friends, at the end Bridgette and I took the stage alone for 1 song and that is when the band was born. Hearing and seeing the crowds reaction to us was amazing, we immediately started recording, quit our old projects, and have been touring and making the music we have always wanted to make ever since. We know what mistakes not to make in this band, and I gotta say having a clear path has been very helpful. 

The band recently made their television debut on AXS Live. That must have been very exciting.  Describe that experience.

Bridgette: That really was a lot of fun, the whole crew was so sweet. We really loved challenging the cameramen to make us look a little weirder than the usual appearance. TV wants clean cut, but these guys were on their knees shooting us through lava lamps and plasma globes and loving it! We’ve been featured on TWC Socal Beat since then, and will be performing on Good Morning Northwest to promote our live album but something tells me there will be a sad shortage of plasma globes.

My Q&A With: Emily and The Woods!

From simple indie-folk choruses as heard in songs such as “Fire Is In The Fjord” off of their self-titled EP Emily and The Woods, to more upbeat rhythms as heard in “Helios” off of their latest EP Then We Collide, London based band Emily and The Woods capture it allLead singer, Emily Wood provides beautiful vocal melodies along side brother, Benedict Wood, and two other band members Dave Bush and Sam Brown.

Emily and The Woods taken from the band's Facebook page

Emily and The Woods- Emily and The Woods Facebook Page

Song after song the band produces sounds that capture the essence of beautiful simplicity, allowing listeners to focus on the creative and interesting lyrics, yet not lose focus of the bold guitar riffs and steady percussive rhythms. Over a series of years, the band has produced three EPs, each encompassing the familiar, wonderful sound of Emily and The Woods, while introducing new, much more electric sounds, representative of their growth together as a band. Maybe it is the name Emily and The Woods, implying something mystifying and lovely; I imagine woods filled with pine trees or a fairytale setting in London (even though I have never been there). The reality is Emily and The Woods consistently produce bold, yet whimsical songs with the right balance between unique lyrics and light, but effective musical accompaniment. I sincerely hope they are able to make a trip to tour in the United States soon! Recently, Emily was able to answer a few questions about the band’s music and experiences; this is what she had to say:

Emily and The Woods have released three EPs over a span of four years. In what ways do you feel your music has changed and evolved since the first one was released?

The music has evolved into a more full sound. It’s fully electric now, with electronic elements which sets it apart from my earlier songs that were far more acoustic.  

I read that you record music in a shed in the bottom of a garden, which sounds intriguing. How do you feel this environment adds to the experience of recording and making music?

I did record early demos in a shed at the bottom of the garden at my family home but we are now recording in a studio in North West London. We all feel it’s very important to record in a place you feel comfortable and at ease in – makes it a lot more fun and ensures the recordings have a relaxed feeling to them!

You have said that you have a degree in philosophy. Do you believe your knowledge of philosophy influences your lyrics and if so, how?

I think that reading lots does inspire lyric writing and that certain ideas, and ways of articulating them, are inspiring – sometimes you can learn as much about how you don’t want to say things as how you do!

One of my favorite songs is “Never Play.” The lyrics are a bit melancholic, yet charming. How did this song come about?

It came from overhearing a man warning his children about playing near some steps and I just thought about the ways in which people use certain phrases and ways of expressing things to stop others exploring. 

 I am sure this will be a difficult question, but do you have a personal favorite song?

I have lots! I love Joni Mitchell’s song ‘Hejira’ – it covers so many different ideas and themes all at once. 

 Any plans for upcoming tours?

We have just finished a UK tour which was great fun, and our next stop will be lots of festivals in the UK over the summer! We’d love to get further afield in the next year or so too!

Listen to a live version of “Never Play” here

Support the latest EP here