This month Sumerlin has just released their brand new DREAM Records debut album "Runaways." Their mixture of power pop and ambience rock music has already garnered them the buzz as one of music's most fresh and innovative sounding bands this year. We at Hallels are privileged enough to catch these guys for this exclusive interview as they share with us their journey, life and their new record:
Hallels: Thank you so much for the honor of doing this interview with us. Tell us what's the story behind your name "Sumerlin"?
Well, we usually tell everyone it means something so amazing that you couldn't handle exactly what it was. But we'll skip that and jump to the story. When we started four years ago we did what every band does... We came up with every name we could that we thought was cool and represented us the way we thought it should. That was tough and it almost never works out that way without being forced. We ran through all of them and eventually came to Sumerlin - most of us liked that it was one word and simple. Easy to say and we felt it could grow with us without limiting itself to one style. 'Sumerlin Trace' was the name of a new neighborhood in the city I lived in. We dropped the Trace and went with it. It was one of the only names we came up with that wasn't already tied to another band.
Hallels: How did the band first started? Tell us a little about your journey.
We all came from other bands. Mostly metal bands. Dan sang backup vocals and played guitar in a Christian Hardcore band, Logan played bass in a Christian Metal band, Chris played guitar in a Christian Southern Metal band and Josh played drums in a Christian Hard Rock band. Sumerlin started as an idea for something new and fresh. Our current bands at the time had begun to disband which opened us up to be able to start meeting and writing. We committed ourselves to following God's call and His plan for this band and that led us to where we are today. That's the quick version of how we came to be.
Hallels: Of all the many bands out there, what makes Sumerlin unique?
Our biggest mission is to be culturally relevant and spiritually significant. We don't want to reach just one type of person. We want to reach everyone and impact their lives. Keeping ourselves relevant in an ever changing culture ensures us the chance of reaching more and more people thus allowing us to impact them spiritually. We speak through song and hope that everyone listens.
Hallels: Let's talk about your new album on Dream Records, "Runaways." Tell us why is this album named "Runaways"?
Runaways is a record about knowing what you're running from and what you're running towards. The songs are all about how you can sink so deep into something that it completely consumes you. The only way out is to run. Run away from what holds you back and breaks you. Run towards what rebuilds and renews you. These songs speak from our own hearts, our own personal experiences as well as experiences we've seen in the lives of friends and family. Running away is not always an act of rebellion - if you put God on the side you're running towards - it is by no means a cowardly or rebellious act.
Hallels: What are two of your favorite songs off this record? And why?
Of course the record in its entirety. We were really happy to put out a full length after releasing two EPs. But if two had to be chosen - it would be "You Always Were" which turned out to be a spontaneous worship session in the studio that started from an idea with a simple piano part. The song speaks from the heart about how we feel about our relationship with God. Who He is, always was and always will be to us. And then "Speak Up, Speak Out". That song is about relying on selfish desires and how we feel we should handle certain things. You end up creating something that takes over. Removes your focus from what matters the most and buries it in false hopes and hollow emotion. Let Go and Let God.
Hallels: I really love "Voices" which I believe has to do with suicide prevention. Can you tell our readers more about this song?
"Voices" is definitely about suicide prevention. It's also meant to raise awareness to cutting and any type of self inflicted pain as a way of coping. We want the ones who struggle with these vices to know that they have a voice. That God is always there no matter what. He always hears even the smallest voice. Seek Him in your weakest moments and you'll find that through God we're all stronger than the things we face.
Hallels: I notice that many of the songs can be interpreted as both love songs to an individual as well as songs that could be directed to God, is this deliberate? Are you trying to reach both secular and Christian audiences with this record?
That's exactly right. Just as we said above - our biggest drive is being relative to everyone. Giving ourselves the chance to impact everyone's life through song. It's made us who we are today.
Hallels: With the release of this new CD, where can our readers go to purchase it, find out about your touring schedule or simply find out more about you?
You can purchase "Runaways" digitally through iTunes and GooglePlay. The album can be purchased physically though Bestbuy.com, your favorite Christian Bookstore and from our Online Merch Store found on our website www.sumerlinband.com. You can also pick one up at a show! You can find out more about the band and our tour schedule from our website. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter...any of your favorite social sites and apps. Of course we want to be your favorite band but we also want to be your friend. Talk to us - we run everything ourselves and make it a point to interact with our fans and friends!
Remember to also check out our review ofSumerlin's "Runaways" in our review section.