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Summa / Press

“Jake O’Neal, the front man of local indie rock outfit Summa, is neither left-brained nor right-brained. He’s both a falsetto-wielding singer-songwriter who pens lyrics charged with emotion and an electrical engineer who graduated summa cum laude from CU-Boulder last year (hence the name “Summa”). But there’s another piece to O’Neal’s perspective, one that partly inspired the single “Microlove” off the band’s new EP — O’Neal grew up on a farm in Holyoke.”

“I can’t not share it though because Microlove the full EP is just stunning. The sensational guitar alone on track 2, Forces should win these guys an array of awards already! It is epic! Amazing! That’s not to detract from any of the other four because, well, you only have to read back to my feature of Microlove to appreciate how much I am in love with that song. Those vocals are what music is all about. Phenomenal! You think they are amazing though and then they knock you over even more with the likes of Love At 16, just to take a quick example. WOW simply doesn’t cover it. Not even EPIC WOW covers it.”

“This is a sweet EP. Full of musical delights that is comparable to a box of dark chocolate. Yum. The tracks are amazing. They sound fresh and intelligent. The vocals are warm and Mr O’Neal has a good range. I have great respect for singers who sound that way. I describe his voice as having a bit of Glen Phillips with an echo of Nick Drake especially when he starts singing softly. The title track has been out for a while. It’s the carrier single. I think it is also a perfect choice because it is a kind of song that pulls listeners with its warmth and intimate lyrics. So it is definitely a personal favorite. If I had a radio show of my own, this EP would occupy the top of the charts because it works! The singing, the melody and the instrumental arrangement all work!”

“I'm not big on technique and power when listening to voices. Whenever I listen to an artist for the first time, I look for qualities that make the voice different from everyone else's. Jake's voice possesses a distinct character that I can only guess comes from who he is, from what he went through. It's the right mix of smooth and raunchy, and it has that old rock feel to it that I like. His music is just as distinct, making it, in every sense of the word, indie. Although I can speculate certain influences - I'm speculating The Beatles, Stone Temple Pilots, and maybe even a little Simon and Garfunkel (on "Out of Sight") - there's still something different in the overall arrangement that makes it original. It's a breath of fresh air from radio airwaves flooded by cookie cutter acts.”

“I use the phrase a lot but then it tends to happen to me quite a lot, so it is only down to the superb music dancing its way to my ears. Blown away. Yes, that's the one - and Summa blew me to Timbuktu with the song Microlove ... An alternative indie rock duo from Boulder, Colorado I was quite surprised how amazing they sounded. Not that I was being prejudice or expecting it to be anything bad you understand. It just completely blew me away. I really can't wait to hear more from these guys because like I say, Microlove just blew me clean away. I explained how it gets really embedded in my head and I play it endlessly on repeat afterwards. On mind radio, I mean. When it no longer pops up on loop I simply ensure I listen to it again and wham bam, it's there for another long stint. I really could listen to it just endlessly.”

“Microlove ... the title is unique so it is something you can’t ignore. The melody is also nice; coupled with the notable percussion and you have a well-crafted folk pop tune that is sure to stick with you for a long time. His style reminds me a bit of Matthew Jay and Pete Yorn. His influences are clear in the tunes of summa and I dub the style as intelligent pop with folk and rock frills. His voice is also pleasant to hear as he glides between falsetto and crooning: a combination which appeals to the easy listening crowd.”

“Summa -- as in summa cum laude -- has a new and fresh sound for Boulder. In a town where indie rock is scarce, the young trio stands out, joining Second Story Garage alumni South of France as one of the new Boulder-based bands of their kind.”

“The fledgling indie pop-rock band gets its name from the fact that frontman Jake O'Neal's recently graduated summa cum laude with an engineering degree from the University of Colorado. It also, O'Neal pointed out, means "the comprehensive study of a subject." O'Neal started playing with drummer Max Grossman in the fall of 2012, and more recently, they picked up 16-year-old bassist Miles Bragg. They've already released a five-song EP titled Microlove and landed a headlining gig at the Fox Theatre in October.”

“Music has always been a part of O’Neal’s life. “Dad got me into music at a young age,” he said. “I’ve always loved music.” High school is where he began songwriting, and locals might remember him playing drums, bass or guitar in just about every music ensemble available, from pep band and jazz band to concert band and choir. He could also be seen on stage in HHS drama productions and musicals. The recent CU grad beat out 87 other vocalists to place second in “CU Idol,” and the idea of pursuing music full-time became a reality.”

“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.”

“IndieVerse proudly presents its exclusive interview with musician, singer-songwriter and electrical engineer Jake O’ Neal from Boulder, Colorado. -Mark-”

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