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What I Learned at Bandcamp: Summer Aviation

Summer Aviation, Bandcamp, Interview,

Husband and wife¬†Kevin and Lee Kelly make music together under the name Summer Aviation. Contrary to the band’s home base of Seattle, the music of Summer Aviation can best be described as sunny.

The duo has spent the last year working on debut EP Elevator, which was released in July 2013. The album is six songs of glowing pop music and available for name-your-price-download on Bandcamp.

Lyricist Kevin Kelly discussed with The Spec the perks of being in a band with his wife and the band’s upcoming plans, read what he had to say below…

How long have you been making music?
I’ve been playing guitar since I was a teenager. My folks had a piano and one of those furniture-style 70’s organs, so I played around with those a lot… Lee took piano lessons as a kid but just started singing when we decided to play music together two years ago.

How did you meet and form the band?
We met back in the olden days, the vaudeville days, the 90s… Lee’s brother brought her to see my band play, and I met her briefly before the show. We didn’t start going out until a couple years later, in 1999. It was only after being together for 13 years that we decided to do this music thing together.

What’s the hardest thing about making music as a husband and wife duo? The easiest?
The hardest thing is probably carrying all our gear to live shows! It takes a lot of boards and pedals to replicate the songs, and it’s a haul for two people. We can set up and break down the machine pretty quickly now, though… As far as combining a spousal relationship with a bandmate relationship, that was something we were leery about, but we just said fuck it, it’ll be fun. And it’s been awesome so far… The easiest thing is being able to go downstairs and rehearse or record at our leisure, without renting out a space or studio time. Home recording definitely has its drawbacks, though.

Who/what are your influences?
MBV, Carpenters, Roger Nichols & the Small Circle of Friends, Velvet Underground, lots of shoegazey stuff, lots of 4AD stuff, Beatles, Bacharach, old Stereolab, kraut-rock, analog synths, loungey/cheesy film scores, ambient, electro, noise, and lately, 60’s sunshine pop… Tons of others that probably don’t surface on the EP… but lately, it’s been all older stuff.

What is your favorite song off the new album and why?
Lift” probably, because it’s the story of our formation, combining aviation metaphors and Carpenters titles into a love song for Lee. That was tough (but fun) because I’m really not a lyricist… Plus, I’ve always been a little obsessed with making an “epic pop song,” if there can be such a thing. You know, like if “Pet Sounds” met “Stairway to Heaven” or something. Not saying it’s that good, obviously, but you get the idea… I’ve had the coda hanging around for years, and was happy to get rid of it, ha.

Upcoming projects, where do you want to go from here?
We’ve just started on the next one, probably another EP. We want to learn from the first one and improve. Probably strip down the sound a bit to make room for more three-part harmonies. Write better songs.

What inspires your music?
It may sound like a broken record, but the Carpenters inspired us to play music together, and through them, we found so much groovy sunshine pop… We hope these influences bear tastier fruit on the next record, as this first one has some stragglers from our BC (Before Carpenters) era. It may be corny, but it’s been a conscious decision to listen to almost nothing but old obscure 60’s sunpop and see what grows. Adding that to the years of hallucinogen use could be a worthwhile artistic technique.

What musicians or bands do you look up to?
Any that have good sonics or good songs. Especially if they have both.

Why do you make music?
It’s the most transcendent art form. It can be magical.

Anything else you’d like readers to know that we haven’t asked you about?
We just want to create something beautiful.

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