We posted on Summertime Kids back in April. The genus of one Nick Roberts, Summertime Kids’ debut LP Table Manners was the most perfect escape for the silly amounts of work we had on our plates at the time. Citing Bon Iver as an influence, you can’t help but be taken to a similar ‘quiet’ kind of place with Sumemertime Kids, though minus much of the pain and grief but with the same introspection, calmness and reflection (if that makes sense). We caught up with Nick and we chatted about the inspirations behind Summertime Kids and the album Table Manners, Nick also told us about what he has coming up next including his other project …and the giraffe.
How did you come up with the name Summertime Kids?
It’s a little odd to have a plural name for a single person, but I’m hoping one day to have a large group of musicians together to put the songs on live, which was my goal when writing them. I think the songs have a very big sound to them, and having 8 or 9 people on stage gently building the songs would be fantastic.
The origin of the name is a song that I wrote almost a year ago. It was a very playful song that focused on childhood and innocence, and it was called Summertime Kids. I didn’t end up using the song on the album because the vibe didn’t fit, but I liked the name and the innocence of it for the songs I released.
Where did the inspiration for the album come from?
I don’t know that the album really had a particular inspiration to it when I started. I knew that I wanted to put out a record of some kind, but I didn’t know how long it was going to be, or what songs I was working on were going to end up on it. Over time, I got a better grasp on the direction it was heading in, and crafted it that way.
Talk us through your typical process to writing/recording Table Manners?
I’m a notoriously slow song writer, so having taken 6 months to finish 6 songs (18 minutes), I’m a little unsure how I even managed to get it done. I didn’t write every day for the album, but I can safely say that I spent a few hours a week writing and arranging. Most of the recording was done pretty late at night. After my friends had gone to bed, or after I had gotten home from practicing with And the Giraffe, I needed some time to relax and focus on what I thought to be inadequacies of myself.
Since I write visually, I like to either write out on paper what I’m going to do and arrange the songs that way, or on the computer as I’m recording. So, a lot of my recording process was coming into my bedroom at midnight or later and turning on my computer and laying parts for songs for a few hours before collapsing from exhaustion. If I felt as though what I had done the night before was still great, I’d do some arranging and editing the next morning and repeat the process again that night or the next one.
Was it all instrumental at first and then you decided to add lyrics to some tracks or was it all part of the process?
The album was never meant to be entirely instrumental, instead “Rain on My Parade” was meant to be the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak, and was going to be the only track with vocals. I toyed around with singing on almost all of the other tracks when I was writing them, but nothing I recorded at the time had stuck. But when I went to mix down all of the tracks to upload them online, as I was listening to “Know,” I heard my voice come in. I didn’t remember recording the vocals for that song and really liked the way they sounded in the final track, so I kept them.
How long have you been making music? How did you get into it?
I’ve been making music for quite a while. Before I learned guitar, I was in my school’s band as a trumpet player. I started playing guitar when I was 13 or 14 through quite the miracle. I had been given an acoustic guitar a year or two before that and ended up getting rid of it because it just sat in my room and I never touched it. Luckily, for a birthday of mine, my parent’s decided to get me yet another guitar, and through the help of a friend, I learned some basic chords and took off from there.
My early bedroom rocking eventually grew into me practicing for hours every day. It’s a little hard to believe now, but the first band I was in was a technical death metal band and I think it helped my playing quite a bit. I started writing songs with my friend in that band and haven’t stopped ever since.
And can you tell us a bit more about your other project And The Giraffe?
And the Giraffe consists of me and my best friend, Josh Morris. We met at an orientation meeting for our university and started playing music together on a regular basis. When we started we were a very folksy band, but since Josh moved away to a different school, we drastically changed our sound as we started working on songs through the use of a Dropbox account. Josh is crashing on my couch for the summer and we’re working every day to finish recording the material we started while we were apart. The aim is to have our first album together released by the end of August.
Thank you Nick Roberts of Summertime Kids for the interview and check out his other project …and the giraffe
Summertime Kids: Bandcamp (where you can stream and then download Table Manners)