It’s been a long, weird few years for The Dangerous Summer. The band collapsed in 2014, but after a couple of years in the wilderness they’re back as a three-piece and with a new, self-titled album in tow.
We caught up with frontman AJ Perdomo to get the full story.
WHAT LED TO YOU LEAVING THE BAND?
Says AJ Perdomo: “A million things went in to my decision to leave the band. There was so much turmoil. We basically had a member who was doing crazy things. He was online blasting out crazy stuff and I was having a child at the same time.
“Having my daughter pulled me out of a very negative situation. I remember thinking the day that I decided to quit the band for good was that I couldn’t bring my daughter into this. I can’t let her see this. I don’t want her to ever meet this person or this general vibe. I had to cut everything off. I had to go in and say that I want to go home and take care of my family.
“Then I became a father and I loved it. I got a 9-5 job and supported the family. Over the years I then kept hearing more and more about our band.
“The generation of people that grew up listening to us had started playing in bands that were getting big. It was this whole new energy that was growing over these four years. We didn’t expect this to happen.
“One day we started getting these huge festival offers. Like huge tonnes of money to play just this one time. So I called the guys up and said, ‘Would you be up for a reunion to make some quick money’. That then turned into, ‘Let’s make an album’. We then decided to make that album and get back into music.”
HOW DID IT FEEL WATCHING THE BAND’S NAME GO THROUGH SO MUCH?
“Watching everything you have created turn into hell... I just had to hide from all of it. I had to just sit in my own world and not even associate with the band that I had spent the last 7 years building.
“It was heart breaking for all of us. Me, Matt and Dan were all heartbroken that that’s what happened. Watching Cody [Payne, former guitarist] burn it all down, it was pretty rough. He was dealing with a lot of things in his life. He was dealing with addiction and mental health. It got to that point where he wasn’t helping himself anymore. We just need to cut ourselves off from him and his destruction.
“It was hell. We were stuck under this cloud. He took grip of the band and made it a negative thing. I think over the years we have lifted ourselves out of that cloud. Now, we’re at a much better place. We’ve had the time to heal and get ourselves together.”
DO YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF YOU HADN’T LEFT?
“All the time. We talk about it as a band. Cody’s destruction was a part of the story. It was important as a part of the whole entire function. We had to reach that point where we stopped. If we hadn’t done that everything would have been totally different. I think we would have driven the band into the ground.
“Even when I think about our last record ‘Golden Record’ and how strained we were, it was like we stopped making music for the love of it. There was just the next album that we had to make and we were all dealing with so much in our lives and in our relationships. We didn’t step back and say, ‘Right, here’s our next move’. The whole story is so important.
“It would have been so different if we had continued on. If anything else happened I wouldn’t be here today, in the best place I’ve ever been. I’m really happy and I’ve pushed out all of the negative energy. I’m now just a real positive person who is looking forward to the future now.”
SO WAS ‘GOLDEN RECORD’ NOT NECESSARILY THE ALBUM YOU WANTED TO MAKE BACK THEN?
“We were just touring so much and making albums just for the sake of making albums. We were just wrapped up in the machine. I mean, I love ‘Golden Record’ and it has some of our coolest songs that we have written on it. Mentally, I just don’t think we were ready to make that record at that point.
“You get into this craziness as a musician. You get so sucked into the way things are going and the then the labels telling you which direction to go. You’re running off the energy of your fans. You never take a step back to just clear the air and figure out where you are in your life.
“We were always waiting for that record. Like, THIS is going to be the big one. It’s not about that, though. It’s not about getting big or making money. It’s about emoting and creating these songs that mean something to all of us.”
WHY DO YOU FEEL NOW IS THE RIGHT TIME TO COME BACK?
“I don’t know if I should say it straight or if anyone wants us to say it, but the big reason why we are able to get back into the band at this time is because Cody got sentenced to jail time. So we were like, ‘Okay, that fucker’s in jail’. It’s karma.
“So we got back all the social media accounts, we cleaned things up. We had time to be ourselves. He wasn’t able to touch us now. He’s away. Then everything just feels right now. It’s the energy of the universe.
“The momentum has just kept growing. We didn’t even think we would be full on back touring. We just wanted to make the album and play a few festivals.
“Then when we made the album we fell in love with it. I thought to myself, ‘I need to change my whole life around. I need to invest my whole self into this’. I got sucked back in to the feeling. It felt real again. It felt like the very first time again, we were making the record just for the love of it, like we were artists again. I couldn’t keep working a 9-5 and living that life. The universe kind of just sucked me in.”
HOW HAS BECOMING A FATHER CHANGED YOUR APPROACH TO MUSIC?
“I hand my daughter the guitar all the time and say, ‘Make a song’ and she’ll start humming these melodies and playing the guitar. That’s real. That’s natural. That’s then what you think about when you hear that part.
“Being a father has really just taught me to be free and not overthink things. Just put your heart in and go with what comes naturally. That’s just what it is. I’ve been driving that point home a lot. Artistic freedom and artistic confidence.”
AND HOW HAS YOUR TIME AWAY AFFECTED THE VIBE OF THE NEW ALBUM?
“The positivity. I’m 100% more positive than the mind-set I used to be in. I remember when I had my daughter that was a huge thing for me. It really made me a more positive person. When you have kids you start seeing the future and start believing in the future.
“I remember having such a grim outlook. I used to drive myself into the ground. I used to think that I would be dead at thirty. That rock star mentality of going crazy and being an artist. Now, I see the future in front of me. It totally changes your mental outlook on life. Overall, the album is much more hopeful and positive, especially than our last record.”
WHAT ELSE INSPIRED THIS ALBUM?
“Before we made the record and we were talking about the band again I went online and saw these threads of people talking about us. They would talk about what they loved and what they hated about our albums.
“I remember thinking that I wanted to go back to the way that we used to write on ‘Reach For The Sun’ and ‘Warpaint’. Sound-wise we wanted to do what would be the next record after those two. Say that ‘Golden Record’ wasn’t even a record. Trying to continue that story. That feeling. The hopefulness. I think we went into it wanting to write true and honest and stay away from dark stuff. I didn’t want to write a bunch of dark songs, especially with where I am in my life.”
WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP?
“We are in this for the long haul. We’re already talking about the next album. We feel it again, we are just going to push. We’re going to be on the road for most of the year and getting back out there.
“It feels like we owe our fans. We couldn’t come into this empty-handed. We owe you guys so much so we are going to give them the world. There was a switch that flipped and we knew we had to plan the future. We’re in it!
“This is a level playing field now; our self-titled record. You only get one shot in your career to make a self-titled record and this is a very pivotal and important place that we are at now. The sky is the limit.”
‘The Dangerous Summer’ is out on January 26 via Hopeless Records.
The band also tour the UK with Moose Blood early next year.
02 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
03 - MANCHESTER Academy
05 - GLASGOW QMU
06 - NEWCASTLE Academy
08 - BIRMINGHAM Institute
09 - BRISTOL Academy
10 - LONDON Roundhouse