Back in 2014, The Dangerous Summer frontman AJ Perdomo released a statement explaining that he and the band were going their separate ways. Electing to not divulge too much at the time, with the later revelations of former member Cody Payne’s arrest for burglary, and the allegations of him withholding band funds – it all suddenly made sense.
Fast forward to 2017, and when their social media darkened in mid-summer, it was clear that The Dangerous Summer were on their way back. After releasing their return single ‘Fire’, the announcement of the new, self-titled album swiftly followed, heralding the start of a new chapter. All bets were off, and it was no longer business as usual.
“One day I called the guys, and it was just like, ‘Let’s do this again’,” explains AJ, reflecting back on the first sparks of reformation. “It felt like no time had passed. We stepped into the practice space and just started playing songs, old songs, then we started writing new ones immediately, and it just felt good to be back in that headspace.”
Kicking off their rebirth is both the first track on the album, and the first track this newly reinvigorated band penned – ‘Color’. A reservedly melodic and heart-wrenching reminiscence back to the early days of The Dangerous Summer, the melodies are freely constructed around lines that deal with the realisation of those cherished moments in the past.
“There’s a hole somewhere where my old self lives, and it burns like fire so I might live again.” It speaks volumes that these are the first words AJ utters. ‘The Dangerous Summer’ is a celebration of their lives now, everything from growing as people to the welcoming of new members – and AJ’s daughter Luna, who has a track named after her.
“We needed to take a step back from everything, rejuvenate, and just kind of come into it,” he explains. “Especially with a new album, a fresh outlook was very important for us.”
This fresh outlook stemmed from each band member choosing different paths after The Dangerous Summer had seemingly run its course. Barely remaining in contact, AJ, as well as Matt Kennedy and Ben Cato, all found normal life far more appealing than the idea of carrying on. “I started working a 9-5, and it’s like we all went our separate ways,” AJ affirms.
The breakup was plagued with rumours and allegations, some of which were confirmed by Cody’s sentencing in early 2017. Amid the messiness, the musical component to The Dangerous Summer also took a hit, according to AJ. “Our last record [2013’s ‘Golden Record’] was strained. We were just in the motions of being a band.”
While it may not have been the highest of notes for The Dangerous Summer to disappear on, it was all a part of the legacy that began to show itself when the group were silent. The generation of bands that grew up with The Dangerous Summer and their peers began to break through, and with it came a whole new audience.
AJ recalls this with wonder. “That was one of the craziest things; being inactive and just watching our band grow and take on a whole different life after we’d died. It was like seeing all the people that show up to your funeral. So many people were showing up who had just heard our band. There’s a whole new energy coming into the world.
“I feel like all these fresh new bands that keep coming up, they’re the future. A band like us, we can only do so much because we’re already established. Jimmy Eat World isn’t going to come out with an album that’s going to blow people’s minds anymore; they can only do the best they can with continuing on their path, you know?”
Which is why ‘The Dangerous Summer’ is exactly the type of record they needed to make upon their return. Deviating from what people expected simply wouldn’t have worked, but coming out with an album that’s pure emotion, and pure energy? It’s what both these fans of new and old need, as much the band do.
“With this album, it was just, do everything you’ve ever wanted to do, do everything that feels right. We’re not worried about what happens with people hearing it, or loving it and hating it. The big thing is we’re freer than ever. The artistic freedom we have, we don’t have anything to prove to anyone, we’re just being ourselves at this point – that’s all we can offer the world.”
For AJ, this was a go hard or go home situation. The Dangerous Summer may have fallen apart once, but it’s certainly not going to happen again on his watch. “I needed to put my whole self into this,” he considers. “I needed to rearrange my life, put The Dangerous Summer back on top.”
“Now we’re even talking about the next record,” he continues. “What’s the next step? What’s the next step for us as musicians, what are we going to do? Just making this album brought the energy into us, and we’re here for the long haul, we’re ready for this.”
The Dangerous Summer’s new self-titled album is out now. Taken from the February 2018 issue of Upset. Order a copy now bellow.