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Interview With Dead Lakes Vocalist Sumner Peterson

Updated: Dec 26, 2022

Shortly after the release of Dead Lakes' brand new single "stamina" earlier this month, the band's frontman Sumner Peterson gave our very own Samuel Stevens the opportunity to talk with him about the band's new track, the evolution of their sound, the band's name, their love of Canada, and more!

American alternative rock/emo quartet Dead Lakes' full band portrait.
Photo courtesy of Chris Echols.

Hello, how are you today?

Sumner: I'm doing great, as I hope you are as well. How would you describe your music to anyone who may have never heard it before? S: Personally, I get really in my head when trying to describe the band to people that haven't heard us before, so I typically describe us as a Vans Warped Tour-type band as it gets straight to the point, even though I believe we are much more than that. What is the significance of the band’s name? S: No real significance, but I like to make up stories about it. The last band I was in did a concept record that eventually had the main character drown in the lake that he loved, so I try to sound intelligent by making it sound like the current band name was somehow birthed from this larger story. In reality, we got together and spitballed names around, only to find they were already taken, so we landed on Dead Lakes. We could all agree on the name, and it luckily hadn't been taken. You guys just released a brand new heartfelt single, “stamina,” last week. Would you mind telling me a little bit more about the back story of the song? S: "stamina" is essentially about a relationship that started off fun, carefree, and easy. But over time, it turned into one that felt like a bad energy constantly looming. Sometimes you'll dream of the times when everything was incredible and felt like it couldn't possibly change, only to wake up to the reality that those people aren't the same people anymore. So, I suppose the song is about relationships I went through and that feeling of having to admit to yourself that those relationships can't get back to the times when both parties were good for one another.

What’s something you hope people can take away from "stamina" after they hear it? S: I hope people can find some genuine clarity for themselves and those around them pertaining to the health of their relationships. I also hope people can take away some peace with the fact that these unpleasant things are normal and there's a resemblance of these situations in everyone's lives.

What was it like working with Sam Guaiana on these last couple of singles? S: Sam is incredible! He's also very kind and genuine. He always heard all of our ideas out. Making music with Sam truly felt like a cohesive project, and it made us all more involved and engaged. Dude is a legend, his catalogue is insane, and I'm still trying to wrap my head around how someone could be so good-looking and good at music. It just isn't fair.

How has the transition over the last couple of years been for you guys going from being a post-hardcore band to being a more prominent “heavy pop” band? S: The transition didn't really feel like a transition. I've kind of felt like I have been in a battle over the last decade to keep surrounding myself with more and more like-minded people who understood where we were trying to go. As roasted as I'll get for saying this, I am still going to admit it. I no longer really listen to post-hardcore or too many heavier artists in general. There are a few that stand out for me, but my taste has naturally progressed towards other genres.

What was the exact process in the drastic change in sound? Was it just a natural maturity in songwriting, or was something just not clicking with being a straight-up post-hardcore band? S: I think a lot went into it. I can't really speak for the whole band, but I think we found it harder to stand out doing straight-up post-hardcore. Not to say it can't be done, but standing out in post-hardcore didn't feel like a true goal of ours unanimously. Through the pandemic, we kept writing and writing until we were consistently finding sounds and ideas we could all agree on, which is what led us to this.

If given the chance, what is a dream musician or musicians, that you would like to collaborate with if the chance ever presented itself? S: I know it would be different depending on what member of the band you ask. I will also preface this by saying there are so many incredible musicians that I’d like to collaborate with. The initial artists I think of when I think of Dead Lakes collaborating with are The Junior Varsity, Brevin Kim, Not a Toy, Chase Atlantic, The Neighbourhood, and PVRIS. You’ve toured with many rising names in the scene -as you are too. You’ve hit the road in the US with names such as Thousand Below, Savage Hands, and AVOID. Are there any bands or artists on the top of your head you’d love to get out there and tour with? S: Oh yeah. First off, a big shout-out to all the bands you mentioned. Those are our favourite guys right there. I know we would like to tour with PVRIS, The Neighbourhood, Chase Atlantic, Dayseeker, and the list could honestly never end, so I'll stop here [laughs].

So, given that the website is based out of Winnipeg, MB, Canada, have you ever toured Canada? If so, did anything or any place stand out to you? If not, any plans to come up and play some shows? S: Yo, I love Canada! We have never toured there. One time I did merch, drove and took some photos for Thousand Below, and the tour went through Canada. The culture was incredible. The people were hospitable. The food was insane. Overall, it was an incredible experience. Also, I live in Washington state, right below BC. I am trying to get up there ASAP. We don't have any plans as of yet, but we are keeping our fingers crossed that we will be up there in 2023, for sure.

What do you currently have planned for the remainder of 2022? S: We currently don't have anything else planned, as we are really planning out early 2023. One last thing I love to ask artists is, what is one thing no one asks during interviews that you wish was asked more, and what would the answer to the said question be? S: "What's your favourite cereal, and why isn't it Count Chocula?" My answer would probably be something like, "It is Count Chocula. Please don't presume that it wouldn't be next time as obviously, it is most people's favourite cereal, thanks." Thanks for taking the time today, Sumner! Is there anything else you may want to add before you go? S: Dead Lakes loves Canada, and we are advocating for more Civic Holidays. We can't promise that we will come through with any real change, but please know we are trying our best. Thanks!


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