By Sarah Klassen
October 31st, 2023

Summer Eyes makes big music.

The alternative duo’s debut album Bending Towards the Sun is a diverse yet confident exploration of sound, anchored in themes of fear, loss, hope, and second chances. It’s emotional, it’s profound, it’s danceable, and it’s been stuck in my head since I first listened to it. I was so excited to get the chance to talk to the band about this album and learn more about their process as new musical partners.

Long time friends and founding band members Jeremy K. David, and Chris Janzen began Summer Eyes in 2019 during their weekly beer brewing sessions.

Jeremy recalls, “I started playing him just some stuff here and there, just to kind of test the waters, and just see if maybe something was there. And you know, it was good! We actually started jamming a bit, and it was, I think, very good, like, really, really good chemistry.”

Both members had been in their own musical projects in the past, but Summer Eyes is something completely different for them both. You can hear the storytelling element of Chris's alternative country background come through the lyrics, but paired with Jeremy’s lush synth melodies and gritty guitar riffs it becomes even more powerful. Being open minded and sharing honestly with each other was how this new sound came to be, says Chris.

“In the process of recording Bending Towards the Sun, we had time on our side. We were actually pretty honest and brutal with each other in terms of like: how does this part go, let's cut that, let's cut those lyrics, etc. Everything was on the table in terms of honesty and we had a willingness to make each song the best song that it could be.”

About to Happen is the opening track of the album and invites the listener in with a storybook-like allure. To achieve a wandering and colorful tone they actually use a toy guitar originally made for games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero. This allows Jeremy to play using the guitar shapes and patterns he’s familiar with, but instead, it cues synth pads. This fantastic technique paired with Chris’s muffled vocals gives the song a warm and otherworldly quality and hints at what’s to come.

“When we were recording About to Happen, it was one of the first things we really did and it came from a kind of stream of consciousness recording session. It came together in this magical way, and I think we just knew in that moment that this was the beginning of the record.” says Jeremy.

Although unique from the other songs on the album, About to Happen captures an unmistakable flow and creative spirit that is present throughout the entire record. Chris calls this out, noting “I think that this energy, this musical energy, is still palpable. I think that it’s still flowing in me, but we’ll save that for the next album. [laughs]”

Inspired by the Heliotropic Principle, in which plants and animals move towards light, the album’s lead single, Bending Towards the Sun, emulates a sentiment familiar to those of us from the Pacific Northwest. In our interview, Chris reflects “it was one of those days in the park where the sun broke out through the clouds. The cedar trees were wet and dripping like every drop of water was a crystal dripping off the branch. And I just thought, wow, I'm bending towards the sun.”

This narrative lens plays an important role in Chris and Jeremy’s partnership. Almost every song on the album is framed from the perspective of a central narrator, but as Chris clarifies, the songs aren’t always about him.

“I think it’s important for me to feel embedded in the song. All these songs are not just about me, but they're about a perspective of life that I've watched unfold around me.”

Whether pulling from real life, or simply expressing perspective, their lyrics are teeming with emotional truths that offer listeners a real sense of intimacy. The personal nature of the songs makes even the most upbeat of them hit home. It also makes their heavier songs even stronger. One Foot in the Grave is a powerful lament about aging that becomes more profound and meaningful because of its simplicity. The moody piano trudges along, dragging the narrator through time against their own will, and the repetitive verses are emotional and poignant as if plucked directly from the subconscious. Because of this consistency, when the rhythm changes towards the end of the song, you feel it instantly. Jeremy explains “I'm very opinionated about phrasing and how we organize the words. It’s very rhythmic. I'm a drummer, and I'm all about that rhythm and the poetry of it.” Here we really feel this rhythmic influence and the significance of both artists’ perspectives.

Nearing the end of the album, we explore the same themes of self discovery and the human experience, but the mood shifts from introspective to empowering. Guarantees, These Lights, and Rewind all have a distinct anthemic quality to them that make them best listened to while singing along in unison. Rewind is dynamically diverse, taking advantage of the quiet and restrained chorus to emphasize the end of the album. With arguably the most dramatic drum part on the album, and Jeff Harder opposite Jeremy on electric guitar, the climax of the song makes a big impact. A powerful and emotional finish expresses resolve, then pulls back, returning to that same reflective state we heard in About to Happen.

“We almost threw it out many times”, says Jeremy. “We really had to persist and push. Nothing, except for one guitar line, remains from the beginning of the writing process. It's the guitar line that Jeff performs live with us; it starts at the beginning, and it goes all the way through, and it doesn't end. That's all we knew was gonna stay. Everything else was cut, chopped, moved, discarded until it felt right. And I'm proud of it. I love it.”

“Let’s do it better this time” is the fitting final line of Rewind and closes out the album. The duo has really honed in on their process, and Bending Towards the Sun perfectly encapsulates that journey Jeremy and Chris have gone on since the release of their EP in 2020. Beginning the record with their creative spirit in About To Happen, and ending with their dedication to the process in Rewind, this album invites listeners into the studio with them to share in their achievement. Unconcerned with genre, this versatile duo set out to create music that resonates and that’s exactly what they did.

“I think when you put this band into a nightclub or into a backyard, and we start playing, people are not expecting what Summer Eyes is. Summer Eyes is big music.” says Chris.

Bending Towards the Sun comes out this Thursday, November 2nd and the band is set to perform at their album release show on Saturday, November 4th. You can pre-save the album, buy tickets to the show, and find out more at