In a previous interview with Paul (link below), he talks about his former band Procession imploding after two albums, there was also a failed attempt at getting a record deal with ZTT. I got back in touch with Paul and asked if he sees it as an opportunity missed to step up in the music business.
We were all in our early twenties, young and headstrong, and we knew that ZTT had a reputation for totally changing the sound of a band a la Frankie Goes to Hollywood. We were definitely not up for that, so we were hoping they liked us for what we were.
Their A&R guy saw the potential but seemed more interested in me than the band, and that was never going to fly with me, despite everyone in the band thinking I should go for it. I would have ended up like Seal just adding my face and voice to big ZTT produced tracks.
We were sure something else would present itself – because as one door closes another one opens. I’ve always been in it for the music rather than any kind of fame. Being creative is the whole point and we’ve made some wonderful music together since our time in Sarm West studio/ZTT.
It was their loss as we created two albums in the immediate aftermath, armed with no money in tiny studios with 100% passion and belief. The songs still sound marvellous and don’t seem to have aged.
I’ve tracked down three of the Sarm West/ZTT recordings on tape and am intending to release them on our Bandcamp when we have cleaned them up and remastered them.
After Procession called it a day, McCarte dusted himself down, and along with Nick Crozier (guitar) and Ken Napper (bass) started working on a new project together.
demon summer was born out of a desire to continue making music together. To begin with Ken Napper was just pitching in but like a moth was attracted to the bright light of what me and Nick Crozier were creating and just kept turning up and slinging his bass on.
This was fine with us as we’re all lifelong friends but at that point Ken had no desire to develop things toward a new band, although that is where me and Nick were headed.
Where did the band name originally come from ?
In 1999 we wrote some new songs as a four piece with former Procession drummer Mark Lloyd, recording them at Polaris studio in Hartlepool and this three track session saw the first use of the name demon summer.
I had a dream just before the recording session where we went to see New Order playing and got to meet them afterwards. The singer asked me if I was in a band and when I said yes he asked the name, to which my reply was demon summer. I wrote it down when I woke up, Nick liked the name so we used it on the Polaris session tracks.
After the session Mark Lloyd left to drum on his project (NEEB). Me and Nick Crozier realised changes need to happen in order to move on so I hatched a plan to get Ken Napper motivated again.
We needed a bass player and drummer so I asked a friend, Eddie Rees – who was playing bass in a local punk band if he wanted to join. He was very interested, so that part was sorted. We arranged a meeting with Ken Napper and told him we had replaced him on bass but what we really needed was a drummer.
Ken had always been able to play drums but never had the chance so he jumped at it and committed fully to the project buying himself a drum kit. We rehearsed with the full line up of myself, Nick, Eddie and Ken, at that point we became demon summer.
Where were your first gigs and what venues did you play after that ?
Our first gig was on 12 December 2001 at The Studio in Hartlepool and it was sold out as it had been a long time since we played. We had released the one EP earlier in the year so locally everyone knew about us and our second gig was supporting Icelandic band Leaves at The Cornerhouse in Middlesbrough.
We’ve played over a hundred gigs and festivals with a lot of famous venues among them such as The Cavern in Liverpool, London venues The Borderline, Roadhouse, The Garage, Underworld, plus Carling Academy Liverpool, The Cluny Newcastle and a few Universities but probably our favourite venue has been The Empire in Middlesbrough.
Did you support any name bands ?
We played gigs with Doves, Echo & the Bunnymen, Longview, Bloc Party, The Boxer Rebellion, The Ordinary Boys, Maximo Park and toured extensively from 2002 to the end of 2005. After that we mostly played in the local area. An odd little thing that demon summer were involved with is providing all of the music for the Morrissey documentary The Jewel in the Crown.
Are there any gigs that stand out ?
Playing The Empire was always fantastic. We were the opening band at Middlesbrough Music Live in 2004 and it was packed to the gills, also in 2005 when we played there during the tour for the single burn, it was a special night. The Borderline in London was really full and we got a great reception.
Also great memories of playing at the Tall Ships festival with Doves and Echo and the Bunnymen.
Did you record any of your material ?
We built our own studio called PulseArt on the top floor of my house which is where the one EP, debut album Sideshow and singles empty heart and burn were all recorded between 2001 and 2004.
Between March 12th and 17th 2004 we recorded in Liverpool’s Parr Street Studio laying down four new songs, three of which – founder, mary celeste and created were released last year as the Parr Street Session. The session was engineered and mixed by the renowned Liverpool sound engineer Michael Hunter who has worked with some of the biggest bands out there such as Supergrass, Marillion and The Charlatans.
In 2005 we recorded the follow up single to burn which was a re-imagined poppier version of empty heart along with a song called you draw the line, all recorded at Tower Street Studio in Hartlepool.
But our record company Waterside Records folded just afterwards so we never released it. We remastered the songs and released them last year as the single empty heart two.
Between 2011 and 2015 we recorded the second demon summer album in PulseArt and this will be released later in the year preceded by the first single it’s a trap.
When did the band call it a day and why ?
Technically demon summer have not disbanded. Mark and Andy wanted to return to NEEB to work on an album so we agreed to put gigging on hold and just record the album which myself and Nick would produce with a very loose ‘We’ll talk about what to do next when it’s finished’.
What are you doing now ?
We all work on various projects. Mark and Andy have alongside their band NEEB been working under the moniker ATM and also Subliminal Vineyards with Tony Waite, Mark Hand and Mark Folland. Andy Wain (keys) also works under the alias Pixelate. Myself, Nick and Eddie have been working on a new project since 2015 which we would have played live by now but for the pandemic.
Check the demon summer back catalogue:
Link to the first interview with Paul McCarte:
Interview by Gary Alikivi March 2021.