California newcomers Summer Years have honed a catchy pop-punk meets punk rock sound, which they describe as “catchy, pensive and cathartic.”
The Oceanside, San Diego band began with Nick Lanari (vocals and guitar) and Mike Liorti (bass and backing vocals), who met when their respective former bands played a show together at the SOMA San Diego. A chance meeting at the house of Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine led to Nick discovering Isaac Park, who played drums in a country band with Mustaine’s daughter Electra. And they completed the lineup with guitar and keys player Noah Rabe, with whom Nick had worked as a music instructor.
Describing their sound, Nick tells us: “Summer Years is a rock band. Someone who has never heard pop punk before would definitely think so, and those who have would find themselves right at home with our sound. We sound like a big in-your-face rock band with songs that can feel a little nostalgic and modern at the same time. If that makes sense.”
Our first taste of what the band has to offer was their debut single This Light, which opens up with light guitars that burst into big punky guitars. That feeds into a lively opening verse of engaging vocals supported by palm-muted guitars, before flowing into a big singalong chorus “I don’t wanna wait ’til we get older, I don’t wanna give up on each other, I’m gonna chase this light, chase this light, And I don’t care, I don’t care what they tell you, Be yourself, be yourself you’ll get through, This will all be worth it on the other side.”
A second chorus drops into heavy guitars and crashing cymbals, which continue under engaging vocals, before diving into a big final blast of the chorus.
On the track, Nick told us: “I love it. I’ve been waiting for people to hear it for a long time and so many have shared their positive sentiments about the song with us, which is huge. I guess I would say to expect something that doesn’t really sound like new school pop or old school pop-punk, more like a marriage of the two.” Check it out in the video here:
Since we chatted to the band, they also released second single The Picture You Paint a couple of weeks ago. It opens up with a delicious little guitar riff that continues under driving guitars and drums, which drop into a lively opening verse. That flows into a big catchy chorus of “Wait I’m not as cynical as I once was, So help me off this jaded wall we built so high, I’m just as driven as you, But I’ve become something new, I’m heading toward my oasis.”
Nick’s engaging vocals also dominate the second verse, leading into another catchy chorus. The pace then drops with laid-back guitars and rumbling drums, then big vocals and building instrumentals blast into a final chorus. Check it out in the video here:
The Summer Years sound is heavily influenced by the likes of The Starting Line, New Found Glory and fellow San Diego band Blink-182. As Nick explains: “There are so many more I could list but to be honest, we are influenced as songwriters by so so many bands and artists, like, I’ve been listening to everything from Queen to Vanessa Carlton to Ska since I was a little kid. We just love rock music so much, but we love a great song at the end of the day, so we definitely pull from everywhere.
And on what inspires them to write music, Nick adds: “A theme that is all over this upcoming EP (You Can’t Live There Forever) is identity and giving yourself permission to be yourself. Filtering through what other people say or think you should be, and coming out the other side knowing yourself and that your validity does not come from anyone else or their approval.”
As alluded to above, Summer Years have a debut EP You Can’t Live There Forever upcoming and they’re hoping to tour while continuing to write new music.
And Nick adds: “Summer Years is proof that anyone from anywhere can do anything. We love pop punk music and we are so happy to see it thriving again. Can’t wait to see you at a show soon!”