On one side of my screen is producer Slim, sitting on the family sofa in a burgundy t-shirt as he tries to keep newborn son Freddie occupied with a Bluetooth speaker. On the other side is rapper Turt, sitting on a garden chair shrouded in a thick black hoodie as faint signs of movement can be glimpsed through the window behind him- “Slim’s always bringing the warmness and I’ve probably got some coldness to bring” he remarks with a cheeky smile. This dichotomy speaks to the unique appeal of Summers Sons music- nourishing soundscapes furnished with themes of uncertainty, most recently revolving around the titular Nostalgia. As Turt says himself, “my music is more questions than answers” and this is perhaps more relevant now than ever before as the Sons have both recently become fathers of their own.
Creating with a depth of wisdom that defies the four short years since their debut, Nostalgia is certainly their most sonically immersive yet. With lush instrumental environments that sound almost exactly how the home studio they were recorded in looks (minus a bit of imaginary mood lighting), the brothers Summers are acutely aware of the importance in letting “the beat speak for itself”. Slim’s tracks are often given free-reign to ride over the traditional cut mark, inviting listeners to project their own nostalgic ruminations onto the mix.
To them, this approach is partly owed to experiences with German-based label Melting Pot which has a strong community of beatmakers. A connect primarily orchestrated by producer TwitOne, the boys were invited out to Cologne in the run up to their debut Undertones and, in their own words, “shit got cracking pretty quickly, to be honest”. This soon grew into a fertile international link-up, giving rise to the label’s involvement with the community-based Silhouettes Project of which Summers Sons make up one limb, also counting underground heavyweights Eerf Evil, Bel Cobain and KeepVibesNear amongst their family.
And family is particularly relevant for the Summers Sons, with their previous project The Rain documenting Turt’s coming to terms with the loss of his step-father and now Nostalgia focusing on the gift of new life. The track ‘Songbird’ reads as a powerful vow of his own commitments as a father and it is in creating these musical spaces of vulnerability that their music emerges as something truly special. Throughout our conversation both brothers repeatedly expressed an inability to take part in the bravado and “mask-wearing” so pervasive in rap music- it is this unbridled honesty that gives rise to their tendency towards questions over answers, I guess.
Moving forward sonically as much as it looks backward thematically, Nostalgia is process-based music above all else. Process as individuals, process as fathers, and process whose motion doesn’t cease with the end of a track. This is powerfully reflected in eponymous final track ‘Summers Sons’- as wistful piano keys wander off into the distance, the stage is set for yet further musical explorations of self recognition. Indeed, the boys are already preparing for their next endeavour: a totally live, sample-free outfit (news that comes about 20 years too late for their parents’ poor, scratched up record collection), of which we are set to get a sneak-peak at their album launch party next month.
Fittingly released at the turn of the season, there is a profound synergy in Slim’s cosy instrumental environments and Turt’s cold shudders of realisation, much like their appearances in our Zoom call last week.
Summers Sons are set to celebrate their latest album at Peckham Audio 11th November- in the meantime, catch Nostalgia for yourself on all major streamers now!