Grant Summerland – “The Ballad of Captain Chup” (Song Premiere)

Grant Summerland

Today is a great day to share the news that Grant Summerland has returned with a new single and the announcement of a brand new EP, entitled Unnatural History II. Summerland is sharing his lead single, “The Ballad of Captain Chup,” that showcases a harsher guitar and ambient sound presenting a darker and more mature soundscape for the much loved pop-punk melodies soaked in reverb. If you’re enjoying the early listen to the new single, please consider pre-ordering the EP here. I was also able to catch up with Grant Summerland for a brief interview below.

Is there a specific inspiration you have for the way you go about putting together your lyrics? Can you elaborate on parts of that process?

Lyrics often come from all sorts of places. I’d love to sit here and say I have some sort of methodology, that I have it down to a science but I absolutely don’t. Sometimes the lyrics dictate the music, sometimes it’s the other way around. I will say a number of lyrics come from random lines I write down, usually in the middle of the night, and then forget about for a while. For “The Ballad of Captain Chup”, I know “bridge over the Yuba in dreams” was something I scribbled down one morning in my notebook after realizing I have dreams with a recurring landscape that’s based on a particular bridge I swam under once in the Yuba in the middle of a heatwave. It looks a lot different in my dreams than in real life but it’s still recognizable as that specific bridge and for whatever reason my brain decided to make it a setting that I return to a lot. Writing it down wasn’t even intended to be a lyric, more just a note to myself and it slotted so nicely into the music I had for that song. On the other hand, “Monsi” is a song where the chorus lyrics came first and those dictated how the song would sound and feel.

A lot of your music reminisces and talks about the nostalgia for an older California. Is there an experience you tend to really draw inspiration from?

There isn’t an exact experience I draw from, it really is more that I’m fascinated by the “history” of California and how it differs from a lot of the rest of the country. The east coast has such a solidified mythology and lineage and California has those things but they manifest in really different ways. Part of that is because California is so much more new but part of that is California is just different culturally. In regard to nostalgia, one of the pushes and pulls I feel a lot is the desire to get lost in nostalgia and appreciate good memories but also acknowledge that nostalgia is dangerous and is a good tool to make you miserable. One of the lines on this EP is about how I’m often nostalgic for things I didn’t even experience or grow up with, which I think is something a lot of people my age experience with the internet. I’ll watch a video of a band I love from the 90s and feel reminiscent even if the show happened before I was born. Sometimes I feel it’s hard to parse out which experiences are actually mine or someone else’s. 

Who are you listening to right now?

I’ve been listening a lot to The Window by Ratboys which is an underrated album that came out this past year. The last track, “Bad Reaction,” in particular. I judge albums probably too much by how they close out and I think that album has a really good closing sequence. Beyond that, my listening has changed abruptly this past week since the weather here in Portland finally got nice so the energy has been on an uptick. A lot of that has been revisiting SOPHIE and Charli XCX and, of course, Bruce Springsteen and The Avalanches.