Summer Fiction is the latest project of Bill Richini, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The music is rooted in 60's pop but is not at all limited to (or by) that. It is, instead, the starting point to a journey through a range of musical styles that go from folk ballads to instrumental waltzes - comprising everything in between. It evokes The Beach Boys in happy moments, The Zombies in sad memories... but the thing that it's really special about it is the fact that isn't a fulfilled, complete happiness or sadness: it has shades of a complex mix of feelings translated through beautiful melodies and lyrics that are simple, nostalgic and evocative.
The album, was created in a way that the songs should work together as one piece, with a sense of a story being told. My personal interpretation is that the album comprises the entire summer: first a certain excitement of infinite possibilities and then slowly – day by day (or song by song) – reality starts to sting. And you realize that reality had always been there but the love infatuations made you blind for it. The end of it has that feeling of the last day at the beach, when you suddenly realize that those days are not gonna last forever.
The band's Last.fm description also has a pretty good line/interpretation:
"The album loosely follows a young girl's coming of age but reads like the journal entries of the guys who fall for her".
Also, watch Chandeliers.
Here's our interview with Bill. We talked about the creation of the project, summer memories and creating music while riding the subway...
01. So Bill, you have been making music by yourself for a while now... how/why did you decided to create Summer Fiction? Did you felt the need to create a different project to express another side of your musical being? And why did you choose this particular name for it?
I thought the name really tied in with the concept of the album as sort of summer pop but also literate. I liked the idea of shaking the singer songwriter tag and forming a real band.
02. If you had to translate your music into an image or landscape or planet, how it would look like?
It would be the Garden of Eden. Beauty but with a dangerous undercurrent.
03. I normally ask a few questions about the meaning of the album and stuff like that to the artists I interview. I’m not gonna ask you to give me your interpretation of the album because I think the story being told throughout the songs it’s very subjective and by not asking for your interpretation, I think it will allow people to build their own without being trapped into one view. But what I’m gonna ask is – and I think it’s directly connected to the feeling of the album - to tell me what’s your best memory (ies) of the summer and its magical (and nostalgic) infatuations.
I think it would be childhood. Every summer my parents would take my sister and I to the Jersey Shore for a week and I remember this feeling of total excitement. The freedom of swimming in the ocean, playing video games, amusements, funnel cake, trying to win a cassette on the boardwalk for my Walkman.
04. Could you tell us – in terms of creative processes – how the album was made? And how long it took for it to be ‘born’? The album was released independently… why did you decided to do so? Could you share your views on music distribution nowadays and the role of record labels?
05. I’d like to ask a question about one song in particular, if it’s possible to take it out of the context of the album as a whole. The song is ‘Kids In Catalina’, my favorite. Could you tell us what were you thinking about when you created it? What sort of mood were you in and what do you think the song evoke in terms of imagery and memories.
I think the song is about coming of age, recklessness, lust and then sort of leaving that island for more stable waters in your 30s. The lyrics are also literally about Catalina Island- the gum trade, the Brown Beret rebellion, the landscape. A lot of sex in that one.
06. I read that most of the melodies were created while you were riding the subway. What so fascinating about subway rides for you?
Well it is more of an escape. I can really think when I’m moving and on the subway I close my eyes and tend to hear these melodies in my head. Other people have iPods for that.
07. What’s the best place and time to listen to Summer Fiction?
It sounds really nice driving in your car during sunset. Late at night too. Hell, anytime!
08. Could you recommend us a music video that you think it’s ‘simply beautiful’?
This Best Coast one by Kevin Chia who does the Summer Fiction videos.
09. What have you been listening lately?
Harry Nilsson, “Friends” by The Beach Boys, Tusk by Fleetwood Mac, and lots of Nina Simone.
And also a great Philadelphia singer named Birdie Busch.