In The Beginning...
The concept of The Summercamp was initially established back in 2013 as Connor Lindsay and Harrison Wayne transitioned from making hip hop music to rock and roll. The duo began writing their first songs on an acoustic guitar in parks, living rooms and cars. It wasn’t until 2015, when they added guitarist Mitchell McDermott, drummer Eric Englert, and rhythm guitarist Sam Geffrey, that they became a full band.
The band’s debut show was a sold out venture that ended in true rock and roll fashion, complete with crowd surfing and fist fights. This show sparked a fierce interest from local music lovers who had great anticipations to see how the young musicians would progress.
Around the same time, the guys received an amazingly generous namedrop from their heroes in Portugal. the Man for their cover of the Alaskan-bred band’s single, “Endangered Song.”
The Early Days
The Summercamp’s original sound was youthful, with an angsty desire to play as loud and as fast as possible. They spent hours a day in an 8’ by 8’ storage unit with no air conditioning, fighting through 90 degree heat to perfect their sound. Though material for their first record was written, recording those ideas proved to be a challenge considering their lack of money and the experience required to achieve a product that holds up to today’s standards of professional music. Eventually, Englert and Geffrey departed to pursue other life passions and Mitch left to study at Berklee College of Music.
The Awkward Middle School Phase
During their separation, however, The Summercamp continued to remain active by recruiting instrumentalists from Berklee. Drummer Louis Giannamore and bassist Ryan Yobs showed interest in the project and quickly learned all of the material necessary to perform a show when Harrison was able to travel to Boston for gigs. With that particular lineup, they performed a handful of packed shows in the Boston area and also embarked on a mini-tour from Pittsburgh to Boston. The band eventually came to a crossroads as demo-recordings again fell short of their expectations and members were seeking different paths in life. Shortly after, Louis Giannamore returned home to Europe to tour with metalcore group, TheCityIsOurs, and Mitch moved back to Pittsburgh to finally reunite with Connor and Harrison.
After a small effort to perform with live drum loops, the trio made the essential decision to add drummer Sam Berman (Nox Boys) to the group so they could play their newly written material live. The group played a number of shows at venues ranging from basements and attics to clubs and stages. The group highlighted their live performances by playing at the Pittsburgh stop on the last cross country tour of the Vans Warped Tour. Playing live has always been met with a warm response from listeners, but the lack of recorded music was hurting the band from progressing.
The Making of Incognito Mode
The music that would eventually become Incognito Mode was birthed in a very unorthodox process. Mitch purchased an Ableton Push during his last semester at Berklee and was struck with a new inspiring manner of creating. He spent hours a day toying with the machine and real instruments to develop the barebones arrangements of many of the songs heard on the record. When he returned home, he met up with Connor and Harrison and they began workshopping everything to build upon what Mitch had already started. All three core members contributed to the music and lyrics heard on Incognito Mode. The Summercamp is inspired by many forms of music: ex. Arctic Monkeys, SZA, Portugal. the Man, Vulfpeck. Throughout the year it was made, they experienced several life transitions. For several months of the writing process, members were living in a storage unit in the South Side of Pittsburgh, which had no windows, no shower, no kitchen, nothing. They had little money, but high aspirations. The music on the record comes from a place of yearning for a life better than the one they had. It's about hitting your lows, only to rise up stronger than ever; it's about the anxiety of contemplating fate in the digital age; it's about pulling your desires into reality to achieve your dreams.
95% of the record was produced by the band themselves, using Ableton Live, Logic Pro X, Vulf Compressor, Serum, Kontakt, Massive, and a plethora of other plugins. They recorded most the tracks in bedrooms, basements, and living rooms, with the exception of the drums. Jake Hanner (Donora) engineered our drums and mixed and mastered the final product. Five years after the initial idea of The Summercamp took place one summer night, the band released Incognito Mode on January 3rd, 2019.