Seriously talented but modest. Each of his 3 releases showcasing his different sides. From his nostalgic fuelled dreaminess and his lovely songwriting, to his groovy productions, Jay Summer is here to stay.
Read our discussion with the artist below!
Describe your sound in three words
“Hard to describe”
Get that one a lot hahah
In 2015, you left your family and moved across the country alone in your car. Around that time Tarmac was born. Tell us a few things about the story of the song?
Yeah I moved from New Hampshire on the east coast over to Californaia, specifically the Bay Area. I actually wrote Tarmac a few years after the move. Initially I wasn’t in the most stable living conditions, which is the diplomatic way of saying I was a mess hahah. Sometime in 2016 though I met Barb.
Barb became somewhat of a mentor in the San Jose music scene. In 2017, her roommate at the time ended up moving out and she asked me if I was looking to rent which was an easy “yes”. I finally had a parking space, a dishwasher, and, shockingly, no visible mold. The backyard was cool too, had a pool and a tiny garden with cacti (which I believe is the plural of cactus) and a single random peyote plant.
I wasn’t used to being so comfortable, so a lot of my writing at the time, including Tarmac, came from an uneasy feeling of complacency. I’m afraid saying anymore might rob people of their own interpretations but I think the lyrics speak pretty well for themselves.
By the way, quick shout to Jake Sarno who worked through a lot of the lyrics with me. It was my first experience having someone to bounce ideas off of and without him I’m not sure where the track would have ended up.
In that car, back in 2015. Which album did you remember listening to while driving?
That’s a cool question haha I was all over the place but a few that stick out would be Bloc Party – Silent Alarm, Metric – Fantasies, and Enya – Shepherd Moons. Still go back to all of them today.
Also, pretty sure the radio at the time was basically Uptown Funk on repeat with a few commercials in between hahah so it was impossible to escape in gas stations and during parts of the trip where I had no service.
Your music has a lovely dreamy sound. Which are your main influences?
Thank you I love that, means a lot. I’m actually planning on releasing a whole EP very soon and once that’s out I’m gonna put up a playlist of the many influences. At the time though Radiohead, Frank Ocean, and Pink Floyd were in heavy rotation.
Is songwriting a lonely process?
Not really. I’m naturally a pretty lonely person I think so I use writing as more of an antidote. I can usually get lost in the characters and the wordplay well enough to mask the crippling anxiety and constant existential despair hahah.
Which is your most personal and honest lyric?
“do you secretly
want to watch it fall?
could you sleep heavy
as you breathe heavy
air through ash filled lungs?
hole in a brick wall”
I think it would have to be these lines from another song on the EP called Destructors. I’m asking this of myself by the way, not trying to point a pious finger or anything. Just tired of my inability to break addictions to even the simplest bad habits.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Trust your intuition, stop being a little bitch, buy all the bitcoin, etc. The basics.
Should we wait for a full album in the near future?
So I have an EP on the way very soon. It’s 9 tracks total, but 3 of those are short segues so really it’s 6 full tracks, almost 30 minutes on the dot. It’s called Shade and I can’t fucking wait to share it.
Follow our Spotify Playlist “Dark Chocolate” feat. Jay Summer