Katherine De Menno, is vocalist of the five-piece power-pop outfit, Summer Scouts, a band that brings an electric mix of pop with a tinge of post-rock dynamics to their signature sound that is both anthemic and intimately heartfelt. The band set out to craft a project that not only conveyed each member’s penchant for emotive instrumentals, but incorporated enticing vocal hooks that provide a fulfilling and memorable package.
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Chris Remmers: We’re going to talk about where you grew up, the experiences you’ve had and the places you’ve been to and seen. Then we’ll talk about how that’s influenced what you guys are doing now. Why don’t you start by the going through the conception of the band. How did that get started?
Katherine De Menno: Yeah, all of the guys had been involved in music in the Lehigh Valley or [Philadelphia] since they were teenagers, like 14 on up. They were in projects just separately, or together, but they were never all together. I was kind of just going around to shows never a part of the band. Finally, after college they kind of all just realized that they were into the same sound, which ended up becoming Summer Scouts. They needed vocals and I’d been like doing vocals on and off for various projects and pre-shows for Ross all the time.
We found a project that fits for us, so that’s how it came together. It was just by friendship too, because we all ended up hanging out. We were like, “Let’s make this more than just a hangout and friendship kind of thing, because we’re always together anyway. Let’s make something of this. So, we all joined forces and that’s kind of how Summer Scouts came about.
Photo courtesy | Nicholas A. Tonelli
CR: Which city or venue have you performed at that is the best thus far?
KDM: Oh jeez, I guess Philly always has a cool feeling to it, just because it’s local-music oriented and combined with huge acts, too. It’s like so neat that the city blends the two levels of professionalism in music. I’d have to say a lot of the shows in Philly have been awesome. One “omg” moment was when we played Winter Jam, Radio 104.5, radio station outside of Philly. We opened, essentially, for Elle King, Tripping Man in the Wilderness and Nathaniel Raitliffe.
We were on local dates with other bands and the energy of the crowd was so awesome. It was a beautiful day in January, and it was outside. We felt like we killed it and another time that felt unreal to me was opening for Echosmith here in our own Lehigh Valley. In Bethlehem we got to play and we opened directly for Echosmith, which was huge.
CR: On to a more personal level, when you’re traveling are you more into a city feel? Or, do you want to just relax on the beach?
KDM: I’m down for anything and I think that’s the same for the rest of the band. I mean, who doesn’t want to be like a wanderlust and just travel through states experiencing life? If I could do that through our band, that would be the ultimate achievement. I love that deal. I grew up in suburban Allentown, Pennsylvania, so I’ve seen a decent mix of small city and suburban areas, as well as very rural, agricultural, country. I get a beautiful mix of everything, but every time we go to a major city, like New York City or Philly, I continue to feel such a cool energy and vibe. The culture in the city has been awesome. I could relax on a beach or experience something a bit more landscape-oriented, too.
Photo courtesy | John St. John
CR: It’s funny you say you’re from Allentown, Pennsylvania. I was just there, actually, this past weekend.
KDM: No way! Really?
CR: Yeah and I went to the best ice cream/candy/chocolate shop that I’ve almost ever been to. I don’t know if you know what I’m talking about. I don’t know how to describe it. I don’t go to Pennsylvania too often, we were there for a wedding and we’re driving down the street. I was like, “I want ice cream. Where we can we stop?” All of a sudden we see this giant ice cream/chocolate store and everything in the store was homemade.
KDM: Was it kind of on a country road?
CR: Yeah, yeah, it was.
KDM: Like Kutztown?
CR: Towards Kutztown — farms everywhere.
KDM: Yes, yes! They have such good ice cream!
CR: I think that’s exactly where we were. That’s amazing. That’s too funny! So, back on track here, if you had to go to three destinations in the world where would you go? Why?
KDM: Oh, man! I guess from a performing, band standpoint, definitely Europe. I’d be just good to travel in Europe. I probably don’t have the budget for this, but it’s always been my dream for me and Ross to honeymoon in Italy, because my family is part Italian. I would love to be able to go to Italy. That’s definitely on my bucket list. I’ve also heard that Scotland is gorgeous, just the rolling landscapes and all. I’ve always wanted to go to a beach with clear water. I’ve had the Jersey Shore all my life, but clear water would be nice. Then again, I’m really into hiking and wilderness. My best friend lives in Oregon, so I’ve wanted to be able to visit her and her awesome hiking trails.
Photo courtesy | Angelo Amboldi
CR: That’s awesome. I’m a nature boy myself. There’s nothing like getting out into the wilderness.
KDM: Yeah, my other best friend’s in [California], so they’ve got clear water and I can wait visit her there, too. So, yeah, I guess definitely Italy, anywhere with clear water I can swim in and just a beautiful forest — rolling hills and landscapes.
CR: Right. I couldn’t agree more. I love the water. I love the mountains, so I totally feel where you’re coming from. I could be happy anywhere that’s just outside of the mountains. So, lastly, when’s your next big trip and what for?
KDM: Well, I’m personally going with my little brother to, I guess it’s kind of like market research for the band, Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware. That’s considered a big trip from me, because I don’t get a chance to really travel anywhere, but that’s coming up in June. I’m super stoked for it. There’s going to be tons of music, I guess it’s kind of like networking for me. Maybe I’ll be able to throw some CD’s at people.
Photo courtesy | Moyan Brenn
CR: Absolutely. You never know who you could meet.
KDM: Yeah. You never know who you’re going to run into! But, we’re camping there and that’s my next “vacation”. I’m not able to travel the world or anything quite yet. One day!
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For more on Katherine De Menno and Summer Scouts visit their website: