INTERVIEW: Canadian indie rock outfit SUMMER RAIN discuss their new single 'Hold Her Hand'

Summer Rain

Canadian indie rock outfit Summer Rain recently dropped their new single/music video, "Hold Her Hand," a song about true, unconditional love. Made up of Will McLelland (guitar, vocals), Josh Beausoleil (bass, vocals), and Logan Hale (drums), Summer Rain pushes out gleaming, tasty music reminiscent of the Beatles and Gary Lewis and The Playboys.

Summer Rain exploded with the release of "South of the Border," collecting more than one million streams on Soundcloud. The topic of "Hold Her Hand" is love, although not the usual kind of love. In this case, it's adoration for a motorcycle, i.e., a vintage Honda CX500.

The video, shot by Lochlan Moore, opens with the band performing under a blossoming cherry tree. The visuals shift to Josh hanging out with his bike, polishing it to a high sheen, relaxing near it at the beach. Getting into an argument with his automobile lover, he storms off like a sullen lover just dumped by the object of his affection. A text of apology arrives, and he races home to take his genuine love for a ride.

Shimmering guitars, finessed drumming and creamy vocals make "Hold Her Hand" a deliciously alluring song. XS Noize spoke with Summer Rain to learn more about the song's inspiration, the story behind the Honda CX500, and how Summer Rain got together.

What inspired your new single/music video, "Hold Her Hand?"

Will:  I wrote this song when I was 18; in the confessional style, I express my feelings and wishes about an early love experience and failed relationship. As a band, we knew the song fit the ticket as a love song, but with the video, we deviated from the norm of stereotypical love song music videos and saw this as an opportunity to showcase our personalities, humour, and some of our interests outside of music.

The star of the video is a Honda CX500. What's the story behind the motorcycle?

Josh: I purchased my Honda CX500 from my great uncle when I was just 17 years old. He had ridden Honda's for years and dreamed of building a Café bike himself, but he had to give it up due to his health.

When I came to see the bike, it had long been sitting in the back corner of his garage, caked with dust from many years of sitting. He pulled it out, and it fired right up. One week and seven hundred and fifty dollars later, I was the proud owner of my very own 1979 CX500 Deluxe. Complete with leaky carburettors, a burnt-out headlight, and no front brakes.

To say that "Sally" was a great lesson in how to fix, fabricate and otherwise restore a motor vehicle would be an egregious understatement. Instead, my clapped-out old Honda was the perfect way to learn to mechanic, and I owe so much to the project.

As you may have noticed, "clapped out" is not a word I would personally use to describe my bike now. After several years of blood, sweat and tears, I am proud to say I created a motorcycle my great uncle would genuinely be proud of. Rest In Peace, Uncle Don.

How and when did Summer Rain get together?

We got together in March of 2019. Having played gigs and written a host of original material, Will was looking for a collective of like-minded rascals who would enjoy performing and creating original music. Having met Josh, the bass player, through a friend in high school, he knew Josh to be a talented guitarist and singer. He casually approached Josh and asked if he would be interested in jamming sometime. Josh expressed interest and told Will that he regularly jammed with an apt drummer named Logan.

With a gig booked the next month, we learned several of Will's original songs. After a few performances together, we decided we enjoyed how it felt and would like to continue performing and creating the best music we could.

Talking gear for a moment, what kind of guitar do you play and why?

Will: When it comes to recording, the electric guitars I use are Gibson Les Pauls and Fender Telecasters. They're exceptionally diverse and well-crafted instruments. For acoustic guitars, I generally stick to my 1956 Gibson J45. It's the best guitar I've ever played, and, by definition, it's pretty hard to beat the best.

I tend to avoid using acoustic guitars in live situations, but I don't have a go-to when I play an acoustic guitar live. When I'm playing an electric guitar at a show, I play a fender mustang. I have no idea what year it is; I only know it was made in Mexico and costs $500, as embarrassing as that may sound. I wanted to buy a guitar that played and sounded like an upper-level guitar but could also be thrashed and abused without me feeling guilty about it. Almost any song you'll ever hear by Summer Rain was written on that Gibson J45 or a 1970's Takamine.

Did your sound evolve naturally, or did you push it deliberately in a specific direction?

While our sound has evolved naturally, our vision for what we would like our sound to be has changed several times. Although we never forced it, we intentionally guided it as we saw fit.

How did you get started in music? What's the backstory there?

We were all big fans of Nickelback and wanted to start a cover band but weren't quite good enough. So here we are.

Which musicians/vocalists influenced your sound the most?

The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Oasis, Pearl Jam, Arctic Monkeys, and most recently, Coldplay. Except that, for the most part, we're influenced by all sorts of artists from all genres and eras, including modern Top 40s.

How do you keep your sound fresh?

Tide laundry detergent and Subway sandwiches.

In all honesty, keeping our sound fresh is something we endeavour to do each time we write a new song. We aspire to one-up ourselves every time we write something new.

What can you share about your writing process?

Our writing process almost always starts with a melody. We want the melody to tell as much of a story as the lyrics, so we structure the song from the melody, and the song grows outward from there. When we write lyrics, they tend to be words and phrases that we find to fit the melody's story. We find lyrics, melody, and rhythm equally important.

Which artists, in your opinion, are killing it right now?

About half of the artists on Spotify's Global Top 50 are pretty good. As a band, our two favourite albums to come out in the last few years would have to be 'After Hours' by The Weeknd and 'Battle At Garden's Gate' by Greta Van Fleet. If you asked us which of the two we liked better, we wouldn't be able to tell you. The Weeknd is killing it, and Greta Van Fleetshowsg that rock groups still know how to make hit songs even if their style is far outside the mainstream.

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