Mood Board: The Rocket Summer

Mood Board: The Rocket Summer

By Gem Rogers

Aug 20, 2019 9:00

Bryce Avary, aka The Rocket Summer, has been releasing music that heals minds and brings hope to hearts for almost twenty years. Right from the start, with debut album 'Calendar Days', he has been tapping into our innermost thoughts and feelings with a grace, humility, understanding, and passion that few can even come close to, and his latest album is no exception. We caught up with Bryce about the inspirations behind 'Sweet Shivers', and how it came together.

Rural Texas

I had spent a lot of time in Los Angeles and the literal noise of the city was becoming an issue for my recordings, so I decided to up and move my studio into a cabin in Sunset, TX to begin writing the new record. There I had no sound other than the two cows on the property, which became my friends, and with that silence I was able to focus on only hearing the thoughts in my head, and hear what the chords I was playing with my hands were trying to tell me to say.  While I didn’t make a very “woods” sounding album, purposefully, the space opened my mind to be so deeply rooted in what was happening. It was a thrilling feeling going on jogs every day in deep TX, but be lost in music in my headphones. After a while, that much quiet can mess with your mind when your job as a writer is to be digging around in your head, but in doses, it’s a beautiful experience.

Old re-runs of 120 minutes, in the middle of the night, in cowboy country

The cabin I was staying in somehow impossibly had MTV2 (I didn’t even have cable in LA), and so I would stay up late watching old re-runs of 120 minutes and old classic fuzzy videos of goth and brit pop bands. “The Policy Of Truth” by Depeche Mode has been a long time favorite of mine and it ignited something in me to make a beat with an MPC, despite being very committed to recording fully real drums on this album. From that middle of the night inspiration, I wrote ‘Together In TX’, which sounds nothing like Depeche Mode as it went through a Rocket Summer sonic filter, but I have fond memories of those late nights and the ideas they inspired.


Poetry is such a gift. There is nothing quite like getting lost in a story, beautifully written, consisting on one page. I find that it often opens the flood gates of creative juices for me. We live in a time where it is often very difficult to shut off the outside world and be in those still places that our hearts and minds are wired to experience in order to grow. I wrote the song ‘Keep Going’ about the fantasy of disappearing for a time, and to just see life from different views, and different geographical locations, but in the meantime, simply getting lost in records and poetry would suffice.
“So I put on some records. 5 Jacksons.
On my computer, OK magic.
My heart was Built To Spill out all of these notes.
And I open my books and consume Dickinson, Bukowski, Hall and Sandberg in them.
Still Life is still my favorite poem.
I’m going back down to the dim edge of town
after all this time, maybe just keep going.”

Los Angeles

After much time spent in TX, I moved my gear back into a space in Los Angeles. I had made the record, but then ended up making another one and pieced together a collection of songs from both experiences. So there are quite a lot of casualties from both seasons that will hopefully come out one day. I thought I was done writing, but while I was driving into LA, I said to myself, “The skyline looks like a graph measuring hope and loneliness” and I knew I had to keep writing.  The first song I wrote when I got to town was ‘Slomo’.

Pain / Hope

Life is hard. Life is beautiful. I suppose they need each other, don’t they. This album lyrically taps in more to the broken places of the heart while being wrapped up in sonic candy. Those are my favorite kinds of records, and I’m very blessed to be able to treat my instruments as therapists. And I suppose I need a lot of therapy, so the songs never stop.

‘Sweet Shivers’ is out now and available here.