By Joel DeVyldere
Looking for that one Corvallis rock band that never graduates, moves away, or gets jaded? Alt-rock quartet Summer Soundtrack celebrated their four-year anniversary last month.
“We like playing Bombs Away and Cloud & Kelly’s,” said drummer Mark Dilson with an easygoing air. “It’s kind of just a fun thing. Whatever happens.”
Summer Soundtrack came out of a chance meeting between vocalist Amanda DeWolfe and guitarist/vocalist Mark Ewing backstage at the Linn and Benton County Teen Idol contest in 2008. The pair hit it off, and began collaborating in the summer of 2009, playing an exclusively acoustic repertoire.
“The very first lineup of Summer Soundtrack was Mandi and I playing acoustic music,” said Ewing. “We were just an acoustic duo playing cover songs and a few originals.”
Dilson joined the band in 2010 when Ewing and DeWolfe decided to add a fuller sound. “They started playing with Warped tour acts, and kinda felt silly doing their acoustic act,” he said. With the addition of bassist Travis Bazanele, the group went fully electric, and began their transition toward a more jagged punk sound.
A seamless songwriting process got harmonies flowing. “The lyrics have either been done by Mandi or I. Most of the time, she writes them and from there I write the guitar parts to match the melody,” said Ewing.
DeWolfe and Ewing recorded tracks on YouTube, and then sent the link to the other two. Dilson and Bazanele would get used to the new tune and write parts for their instruments. By the time they got to band practice, the only thing left to do was jam.
Though novel, the method fits well into Summer Soundtrack’s composition process. “It enables everyone to stay fresh with the songs and practice on their own time without any professional recordings,” Ewing explained.
With acoustic roots and punk rock energy, Summer Soundtrack became that one band that you could count on to get the crowd going. The range and cohesiveness of their sound evokes thoughts of Paramore and A Fine Frenzy.
Summer Soundtrack was named Best Band of 2012 by The Daily Barometer, and even got to open for Macklemore when he played the quad in 2012. Today they are a staple act at Cloud & Kelly’s, and frequently seen at area venues as diverse as Bombs Away Cafe and the Dixie Creek Saloon.
“What I think is unique about our band is our energy,” Dilson offered. It’s music that breathes, enlivening and punchy in an approachable way. It’s exactly what the Corvallis scene needs.
You can hear Summer Soundtrack on Saturday, Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. at the Front Street Bar & Grill in Albany.