Летние войны band
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SUMMER WARS travel a complex, emotional journey on their new EP “On Foes”

“О врагах” (“On foes”), the newest EP from Moscow based emo punk / post hardcore act Летние войны (SUMMER WARS) sees the band flourish with candid lyrics and diverse song craft and after many listens  it kind of still feels like it’s holding charms that will unfurl with more listens. We caught up with the band to dive into the details of the amazing 4-tracker and give you the band’s first hand track-by-track commentary below!

SUMMER WARS formed in Moscow around 2011. All of the founding members originate from rather diverse genres and contexts such as jazz fusion, black metal, 90s alternative rock. But it is basically the passion towards emotional hardcore acts like Raein, Loma Prieta, Funeral Diner, Amanda Woodward and La Quiete that helped them forge their own musical language.

The general artistic idea behind our band has been to take the basics of those beloved collectives and develop a more progressive approach, both rhythmically and melodically. A huge inspiration for that comes from contemporary minimalist composers like Steve Reich, Arvo Pärt, Terry Riley and Bryce Dessner. The band name “Летние войны” is Russian for “Summer Wars” – a Japanese animation sci-fi picture by Mamoru Hosoda. None of us has ever seen it, but we were moved by the captivating symbolism of the title and decided to adopt it.

The “О врагах” EP was written between 2015 and 2017. Each song is named after a city and marks a certain period of life, a specific stage of personal evolution, further explained by the band:

I would say the major idea of the whole record – if any – would be an acceptance of the need to change as a precondition of survival. Also, a concept of nonlinear perception of time influenced these songs heavily in a way that denial of past, no matter how dark it was, leads to nothing but failure as past defines who you are now. A William Faulkner’s quote from “Requiem For A Nun” illustrates it perfectly: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past”. The name of the record ”О врагах” (“On foes”) simply symbolizes that very fight with yourself. All the lyrics are translated into English, so if you’re interested go have a look.

Летние войны

Харьков (Непричастность) / Kharkov (Unbelonging)

Written completely in the spur of the moment, this is probably our most spontaneous song. However right from the get-go we felt like throwing in some polyrhythmic figures and repetitive patterns. It took some polishing but all in all we wrapped it up pretty quickly. The lyrics mostly cover the processing of guilt and shame of being defeated. I also sensed the urge to put it down in a way that it would be a teaching to myself rather than just a juvenile lamentation. So it is an instruction written in all cruel honesty but necessary to swallow and move on.

The sun won’t roll out of me today
The light won’t splash out
I know a few words
He pulled it off
I couldn’t

Get out kid, fall whirling off the roof
Just know, we won’t be wealthy

This year, this year
A dog died, a cat was born
I didn’t get on a bicycle and didn’t drive to that city where there’s no you anymore
It’s been ages
He pulled it off
I couldn’t

Get out kid, fall whirling off the roof
You’ve missed too many boats already
Just know, we won’t be wealthy

I know a few words

He pulled it off
I couldn’t

Москва (Ты знала много) / Moscow (You’ve seen much)

I assume this one mostly resembles our previous material but still is a new territory – we tried playing with some post-punk tunes and built in some sudden fast sections. The composition process wasn’t easy as we moved pieces back and forth for a while before the song was done. The lyrics convey a theme of being empty after being filled and damaging yourself even more – just to prove your ache to others. Yeah, a pretty self-centered and cheapish condition but again, it felt natural to kind of confess that. It also has an instrumental outro inspired by This Truly Is God’s Country by Funeral Diner and La Fine Non è La Fine by La Quiete.

Burn and tear, speechless air
Shiver in your fearful silence
The bed of love is lined with winds

You’re restless and motley
The bugs are swarming in your wrinkles
Transforming the image of evil

Will you forgive?
I couldn’t carry you inside down the years
And couldn’t keep the shining

Having gone insane under the burden of time
A poet in the square turned green
A wiseman in the yard got dusty

You’ve seen grief and rapture
And I roamed all dazed
Dragging my load through your alleys

Sparkle, witness of the lie!
Spin on – don’t let your face be seen
I went away from you to bury dads and brothers

And felt like spitting in the sand of graves
The words clashed as sabres, saying
Your sound hasn’t gotten any flatter

And to not weave a nest for you
I’ll smile
Walk out the door
And cut off nose to spite face

Сантьяго (Голоса родных) / Santiago (Kindred’s voices)

A multi-sectional song structurally inspired by classical music. Probably the most progressive we’ve ever got. The guitar interlude as well as the acoustic coda are our humble attempts to incorporate a touch of medieval lute music. The lyrics describe a month I spent in Tokyo in 2015 as a student. Moments of sheer joy and rapture, dear memories of people I met. One of them was a Chilean pilot from Santiago whom I encountered in Nikko. The guy was lost so I helped him find his way around. We talked a bit and told him that I had wanted to get to Santiago because of love at some point in my life but never did. He promised that things would turn out great for me eventually and, as a gesture of gratitude, invited me to Chile with a promise to give me a ride on his private jet.

With mouth agape in rapture
I kept repeating stupidly, who are you?
The forest master, the furry bulk
The wind-riding princess in blue

No one will spot us, and fine
Tenderness will fade out in the mouth of time
Glint in the eyes, dark strands
You’ll explore the area pryingly

The city of brave kids and robots
黄色い線までお下がり
You don’t look yourself today
Dirty wretches, what have you done

First time outside, you step into eternity
You’re sparking and electrifying
Someone else’s shield is fixed to your gates
いらっしゃいませ26

Нарита (Прощание с песней) / Narita (A sung farewell)

A rather straightforward track completely improvised during our rehearsals. The basic idea was to break blast beat cascades with some mid-tempo movements to get a good sense of contrast. Feels like we pulled it off more or less. Lyrics were written spontaneously once I boarded the plane back home from Narita airport. It’s a general recognition of the whirlwind and chaos around and an effort to get along with it. The song has an overall separation feeling not only because of dealing with the past but also as a literal departure from Japan. Voices at the end belong to school kids, I field-recorded them in Fuji-Q Highland amusement park in 2016.

Farewell, beautiful reverie
I hated you powerlessly
Choking with vomit, rattling
Staining the years with smeary bitter

Kiss me, I’m defeated
Dance, dance and strip away the blankets
Crush the rotten chest with a hammer
Search for yourself, search unceasingly

No tears in empty eyepits
I won’t cry again, realizing
You haven’t passed, you’re not even dead
It’s been empty here, from edge to edge

All names are lying and heart aflutter is a hoax
You became me, that’s all
Today the voices merged
A toothless jester, a she-wolf ghost and a Turkish princess

SUMMER WARS travel a complex, emotional journey on their new EP “On Foes”
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