They also find time to tirelessly pimp the band and its upcoming gigs to anyone they meet. Kyle seems to carry a stack of fliers, stickers, and demos on him at all times. Not content with just the flier racks at Zia Record Exchanges, Digital Summer shamelessly shills almost daily at clubs, colleges, street corners, even high school campuses — trespassing laws be damned.

"Cooter's our youngest member, so we'll have him throw on a backpack and go into a quad at lunch and hand stuff out until finally someone's like, 'Uh, you go here?' and kick him out," Ian says.

Aiding them in this nonstop promotion extravaganza are the 20-odd members of the Digital Summer street team, whose guerrilla tactics in plugging the band would make Che Guevara proud. A half-dozen, three-foot A-frame signs were stolen . . . er, "borrowed" from local businesses and pasted over with posters. They've been placed by off-ramps, mall exits, and concert parking. The team also just created a 20-foot-long banner, soon to be hung from a Valley freeway overpass.

Nick Sorensen
Digital Summer: (from left) Ian Winterstein, Kyle Winterstein, Johnmark "Fish" Cenfield, Anthony "Guido" Hernandez, and Chris "Cooter" Carlson.
Jamie Peachey
Digital Summer: (from left) Ian Winterstein, Kyle Winterstein, Johnmark "Fish" Cenfield, Anthony "Guido" Hernandez, and Chris "Cooter" Carlson.

Details

Digital Summer is scheduled to perform at its EP release show with Signs of Betrayal, Giantkiller, 32 Leaves, Versed In Grey, and more on Friday, May 9.
Check out more pics in New Times' Digital Summer slide shows.
Venue of Scottsdale

Digital Summer's attitude, all-business demeanor, and unrepentant promotional drive has surely ruffled a few feathers in the local music scene. (Kyle and Ian are tightlipped about any dissing they may have gotten over the years.)

But whatever hate scenesters may have for Digital Summer, those naysayers would have to admit it's definitely gotten them notoriety, even if it's a little weird sometimes.

"I've actually signed an autograph for some chick while I was out at a scene," Kyle says. "It was a medical call, we were there for her mother, but as I was walking some of the gear out to the truck, this chick was all, 'I like your voice.' My cap's, like, 'Oh, you've got a fan.' And she brought her CD out and I signed it for her."

But besides bizarre fan interaction, the band's seen an increase in the bottom line, with gigs consistently bringing in 500 to 750 fans per show. Larry Elyea thinks it's a phenomenal feat in a time when turnout at local nightclubs has dropped significantly because of the statewide smoking ban and harsher DUI laws.

"They're definitely one of the largest-drawing acts in Arizona," Elyea says. "My band Giantkiller went with them to Flagstaff for a show, and they had a completely packed club in a city they're not from. I watched all the kids in the front sing the lyrics to their songs and it was amazing."

Also worth watching during Digital Summer show are the band's high-energy stage antics, which include leaping into the air, tossing guitars, and climbing amplifiers.

"Dude, if you're not bleeding onstage in front of people who've paid to see you, then you don't deserve to be there," Kyle says.

According to KUPD's Larry McFeely, Digital Summer's solid music, overzealous stage antics, and relentless promotion aren't the only reasons fans come out. The band has a professional demeanor and aura to them, and not just because they got a slick-looking, 12-foot trailer to lug their gear to shows (the kind of thing you don't see outside a major label band).

"They just look like a national-level act with what they do," McFeely says. "And these guys deliver when they put on a concert. You're always getting thousands of people showing up, you're always gonna get a really good show. They just have a metal-yet-mainstream sound about them. It's crossover music that appeals to everyone"

And a lot of people seem to like it. Digital Summer's fan base is broad and varied, evidenced by the diverse turnout for their performance last November at the Venue of Scottsdale. The band was helping celebrate the 15th anniversary of Elyea's Mind's Eye Digital Recording Studio, and the large crowd enjoying their 45-minute set included ghetto-fab hip-hoppers, grungy indie kids, tanned and toned beautiful types, older rock burnouts, and fresh-faced teens.

"The last time we played, this lady comes up to me, a friend of a friend who'd heard about us. She's 67, and I guarantee she's in the audience every time from now on," Kyle says. "At that same show, we were taking pictures with 7-year-olds. It's weird. At our shows, we get hit up by everybody."

And then they usually take the audience with them. After Digital Summer finished its gig last November, two-thirds of the estimated crowd of 900 ditched out almost immediately.

"That's why nobody wants to play after us," Kyle says.

At the same time, they're cautious of playing too many gigs, which is why they perform only every two to three months.

"I don't care if you're Metallica — you play every weekend, your crowds are gonna thin out. People are gonna get bored," Ian says. "We space it out so that when do play — killer turnout. And we pride ourselves on having a huge draw. There's nothing better than walking out on stage and having a venue packed front to back and those people are singing your songs."


Earplugs are a necessity when listening to Digital Summer practice.

It's 8 p.m. on a weeknight in late April, and the band's moving through a tight set in the garage of Kyle's northwest Phoenix home. The massive amount of noise-deadening foam rubber might make the neighbors simpatico with the place, but it also concentrates the band's hard melodic beats into a slick-sounding sonic boom. It has also turned the jam-space into an oven after only two songs.

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My Voice Nation Help
15 comments
Chris
Chris

I'll admit....these guys don't suck. Nice to know AZ might actually have something of value to offer to the music world.

Melissa
Melissa

I just wanted to say that the Digital Summer article is awesome and the pictures are fantastic. Let me just say that us street teamers take alot of pride in our work around the valley. There is nothing that we wouldn't do to help the guys get their name out there!!!

Josh
Josh

Killer article, they sound like they really have what it takes to make it big. I'm going to go get there cd tomorrow! Keep up the good work-josh

mark
mark

heard of these guys awhile back. didnt listen to their music till newtimes put them on the cover, and i gotta say i was impressed. they have some really good music. after reading the article, if all is true, they definitely deserve the cover. so to the two assholes above, talking shit isnt gonna take Digital Summer off the cover, and jealousy isnt gonna get u on it! so save ur breathe! good band, great article, good job new times!

dante m.f. white
dante m.f. white

digital summer is the shit. bottom line the first time i realized that they were THE band to represent arizonas rock scene was when they played homeless for the holidays acoustic set. any band that can play acoustic and sound just as good as thier cd has talent.

SANDY
SANDY

Those last two comments are pretty ignorant. Quite obvious that jealousy is playing a role. I went to their show last night. Not only was it sold out, but it was probably the best show I have ever seen, local or not. So you could definitely consider me a fan now, in which case that last moron would be calling ME an idiot....so FUCK YOU. Digital Summer keep doing what you're doing. You're amazing and it shows!!

James
James

Digital Summer are a bunch of poseurs. Their music is totally souless and their fans are all idiots. Fuck 'em.

God
God

Just goes to show..you don't need talent to be on the cover of the new times..Great job new times..another shitty band with a "gimmick"

you disappoint me more and more..

God

Mac
Mac

These guys rock! Great article!!! I must admit I never read the Newtimes, but when I saw digital summer on the cover i was like " oh f*@k yeah!!!"

Becky Patton
Becky Patton

Digital Summer is an amazing band that has so much talent and deserves this type of recognition and much more. They work really well together and have what it takes to make it. I play their CD in my car all the time and all my friends ask who they are... Cant wait for your show tomorrow night! you guys rock!

Dan
Dan

Ridiculous.

Jae
Jae

Bunch of cool guyz! It's good that we keep getting put on the map for bring out good rock bands!

Brandi
Brandi

Great story! Digital Summer is such an amazing band and they are all amazing people! My daughter is one of the 7 year olds they talked about taking pictures with and quit honestly, i don't know many band that would take the time to do that! That is why we love them!

Tiffany
Tiffany

I am so happy to see these guys finally get some well deserved recognition! They are an amazing band that works so hard and is really just a cool bunch of guys. GREAT STORY!

 
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