When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Lion's Lair, 2022 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, 303-320-9200
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: The Sink, 1165 13th St., Boulder, 303-444-7465
The name Summa and the band's symbol come from Jake O'Neal's engineering education at the University of Colorado, but the music isn't math rock. O'Neal -- a singer, songwriter and guitarist -- and drummer Max Grossman joined forces as Summa in the fall of 2012 and soon fell into an indie rock groove. As they approach one year as a band, they're readying an EP and playing a steady stream of gigs around Boulder and Denver. With two shows coming up this Thursday and Friday, we decided to catch up with O'Neal.
Normally I wouldn't ask about the band name, but I understand it has some significance.
Essentially the name Summa came from my graduating summa cum laude from CU. That's where the original name came from. You know the logo with the capital sigma? The actual definition of summa means the comprehensive study of a topic. I got all engineer-y on it and took one of those summation formulas you use in calculus and modified to our logo. We took our all the other stuff and just kept the summa symbol.
The band only just got going last fall -- are you still feeling out your sound?
I think things are starting to solidify. The project started with a totally different vision. It started with a Sigur Ros vision -- this grand things with strings and all that. I think the newer songs show the direction Summa is going.
And that's indie pop rock.
"Microlove" is on the softer side of the stuff that we do. It's probably one of our only songs in a major key. They're all kind of poppy, but "Microlove" is definitely poppy and the rest is more alt-rock.
Tell me about the EP you're working on.
So it's a five-song EP and it's four originals. We're gonna put one cover on there. We're recording it in Denver with Mighty Fine Productions. We already recorded and released "Microlove," that's going to be one of the tracks.
Are you both writing songs?
I'm the primary songwriter.
And you've been doing this for a while, right?
I started writing in high school, I guess, and throughout college. And then I went to school for electrical engineering, and then I decided I wanted to be a musician and started songwriting more seriously.
Boulder isn't exactly a breeding ground for indie pop rock. Are you planning on sticking around?
That's a great question. I really don't know. We've played more shows in Denver because it's open more to the indie pop rock thing. I love Boulder. I don't know if I'm gonna leave. There's definitely a few good indie rock bands here. I love South of France. I love Jeff and Kelly. This other band, Hermits, that we're playing with is good. I think it would be cooler to stay and be part of the beginning of branching out from jam bands and bluegrass.