Fireworks Magazine Online 42 - Joey Summer

During the last couple of months there have been released quite a few Melodic Rock and AOR albums through European labels from bands like Auras, N.O.W. and Highest Dream, all hailing from the musically very active South American country of Brazil. Joey Summer is another artist based in sunny Rio de Janeiro who got signed by the German Avenue Of Allies label. Being a veteran in the Brazilian music scene Joey has managed to gather an interesting cats of musicians and song writers for his international debut “Written On The Horizon” including the Swedes Kee Marcello (Europe, Easy Action), Göran Edman (Street Talk, Yngwie Malmsteen, Glory) and Fredrik Bergh (Street Talk, Bloodbound) aa well as the Germans Michael Bormann and Michael Müller (Jaded Heart). The result is a record in the classic Melodic Rock and AOR style of the 80s and in our little talk Joey shares some interesting facts about his past, his musical guest and his love for Sepultura.

How did you start your musical career and how did you especially get to Melodic Rock/AOR?
I started in music at a very young age, in fact I started singing in my very early years, when I was about 8 years old. My mother was an opera singer (soprano) and an amazing pianist. It was very natural for me to get into music and the interest for music was always around me. So I owe this "musical adventure" in my life to my beloved mother (R.I.P.).
But when I was only a 8 years old child, a friend of mine, Almir, introduced a song to me that changed my life in a minute. The song "Breaking All The Rules" by Peter Frampton, dropped like a bomb and exploded my head. I was hypnotized by that "vibe".
Despite I love the sound of SEPULTURA and their music (my favorite album of them is Death Embryonic Cells ), my first "fascination" of harder Rock music was in fact a Queen album, that I got from a friend, "Hot Space". As a matter of fact, this album is not so heavy compared to the beginning of Queen's career, but all the elements of opera music are there mixed with a brilliant pop rock. So, I was captured by that incredible sound. In 1979, I bought the Kiss album "Destroyer" and from that moment on I just knew exactly what I would do for the rest of my life, Rock and Roll !! Of course it would still take some time before I formed my first band. But in 1986 me and my brother, Geremias who now lives in Barcelona, formed the Phenix, my first Rock and Roll band. After one year together the band broke up and everybody went their separate ways, but I never stopped playing in bands and other musical projects. I think it’s basically always the same story how every rocker started his career, many dreams and almost no money to make them come true.

What other musical projects are you involved in, past and present?
For a long time I played in many bands and projects in the brazilian rock scene. The project that made me most happy was the band „Arena“ that I formed with my keyboardist, Daniel Lamas, who also played on my two solo albums, "Nascer" and now on "WOTH". We release only one album in 1997, "O Tempo Vai Mostrar" (recorded in Portuguese). This was kind of a Prog Hard'n Heavy project. After two years playing all over the country, we stopped playing as a band and I started playing for many artists as a session musician. I recorded many albums as a guest musician, live albums, live DVDs and many video clips, but then I decided to do something on my own, something truly mine, with my heart and soul. So, at the end of 2009 I stopped all the projects with the other Brazilian artists and dedicated myself to my work, as a solo artist. I called my former "partner in crime", Daniel Lamas, who is also playing in the official Brazilian cover band for Led Zeppelin named Blackdog and I said to him: "Hey, let's go back in time and make a good AOR album?" And he said: "Of course, I am in !". That's how "Written On The Horizon“ started.

What are your biggest influences as a singer, songwriter and guitarist?
I always loved the old school of hard rock. As a vocalist Paul Stanley has always been a great inspiration to me. As a guitarist, I'm a big admirer of the melodies created by Brian May of Queen and Neal Schon of Journey. As a songwriter it's a little bit more complicated, but I always tried to learn with the master Desmond Child. It may sound pretentious but I try to drink from the same fountain as him. He's a one of a kind hitmaker!

The songs on your album “Written On The Horizon” remind the listener of AOR’s heyday back in the eighties. What is it that you like about this kind of music?
Thanks for your kind words regarding my album! I love this kind of music. I was sad when in the middle of 90s this magic sound seemed to be lost forever in the middle of the "grunge" movement (turbulence). But bands like Whitesnake, Uriah Heep, Eagles, Chicago, Journey, seemed to defy the test of time and the musical trends. This inspired me to keep writing songs and waiting for the right time to release them. I think that we are living in a great time for Hard Rock/Metal and good vibrations comes from Europe to the world! I'm glad, because I couldn't be happy doing a different kind of music, I really love what I'm doing now.

You’ve got a number of big name guests on the record. How did you get them involved and what was it like working with them?
What can I say? All the names on the list are great names and with a special position in the melodic scene worldwide! I was blessed working closely with them. My first contact was with Michael Müller (Jaded Heart) regarding the song “Anymore”. I needed the copyright infos for my record. My album was planned to be released only in Brazil and we have lot of papers to fill out regarding copyrights here. So I contacted Michael Bormann, who wrote “Anymore” and he said "Okay, sure you can use it". Also, Michael (Muelli) asked me if I would like him to play bass on the track "Anymore" and I was very pleased about it, it was a huge honour for me! So this what happened first! A couple of days later, I found Fredrik Bergh via myspace and I asked him about a song of Street Talk that I would love to add to my album. He kindly sent me 15 more great songs to chose from. Also, I asked him if he would like to play the keyboards on one of his songs. He readily said yes! I sent him the first results of one of the two songs that I decided to record. He listened to "Don't Believe" and really loved it. So, he asked me if I had sent demos or if I had tried to contact any European label? I said “No, not at all”. He told me about "Avenue Of Allies Music" and sent me the label’s internet address. I first got in contact with Gregor Klee od Avenue in November 2009 and he asked me to send him some of my songs. I sent him "Tables Turning", "Anymore" and "It's Only Your Love" and he loved the material and we finally signed the contract in January 2010. I am very proud to be part of the label. And I thank God for this and also the guiding light of Fredrik Bergh too!

There are a number of good AOR sounding artists coming out of Brazil at the moment such as you, Aura and N.O.W. Is it coincidence or do you think there’s a reason behind why great AOR is being made in Brazil now?
I think we have learned to love AOR/Hard Rock and other kinds of Rock music with all the people that have been visiting Brazil over the years. Artists like: Queen, Peter Frampton, Kiss, Genesis, Bon Jovi, Marillion, Whitesnake, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, and many more. They have been coming and loving the Brazilian audience and this is a kind of an energy exchange that we have been experiencing along these years. It's been a normal process in which they have influenced us to write and to sing and today we can try to show that Brazil can export not only samba, bossa nova or soccer but we can write and produce good Rock and Roll/AOR songs. Even if it’s not the musical style prevalent over here, unfortunately! But I'm glad that you included me in the list of these great Brazilian bands which all have a promising future.

What is most important thing to you? The live performances or the studio recordings ?
I love being on stage. I did this all my life for small and large audiences. But I must confess that the most important is the studio. The studio is where you define what thousands of people will hear exactly the same way for the rest of their lives what you envisioned in the creation process. It is wonderful to read good reviews of your work, it's your brain child but with all modesty I have to say: No review will make me happy in the end, if the results of the recordings are not as expected. That's why I really care about the studio.

What other plans do you have after the release of “WOTH”? Will there be a chance that you present the album and your music in some gigs maybe even in Europe?
I would be honoured and extremely happy to introduce the new album with my band to the European audience, there seem to be a lot of lovers for Melodic Rock / AOR and other really good bands are playing there and are doing a great job! We would really to play there! Definitely!
Regarding the plans, we already started the rehearsals for our live shows over here in Brazil during the last weeksand soon we will be "getting the road." The plan is to work this album for some time and then, in the next year, to start a new studio project. I have written a lot of songs and already recorded some demo songs in my studio.
Thank you for the opportunity to do this interview and to be in the Fireworks magazine.


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