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Along with Kitsch, Sommerset were one of the biggest name in New Zealand punk before their demise. They play a melodic brand of hardcore with strong choruses and quality songwriting. The band got together in 1995 with the end of the band Pacecar in which Ryan Thomas, Stefan Thompson and Jay Dougray all originally played. Stefan was also a member of Balance at the time.

Christian Humphreys (who has also performed in Day One and So to Speak) joined shortly after the release of the band's debut recording.

Sommerset's releases to date include their self-titled CD EP and their first full-length album 'More Songs From Last Century'. The band have also featured on several compilations, both local and international, a split 7" with Australian band Mid Youth Crisis and a split CD EP with another Australian band 28 Days. Their first CD EP and 'More Songs...' have been out of press until recently when they were both re-released on one disc by German label Get up And Go.

Sommerset have played continuously throughout New Zealand and Australia. This includes an independent national tour, repeated trips around the North Island as well as a North Island tour with HLAH.

Sommerset have been to Australia three times to date. They have played with visiting international bands such as NOFX, Sick Of It All, The Smugglers, Living End, Less Than Jake, Frenzal Rhomb, Mindsnare, Code 13, All You Can Eat and Good Clean Fun.

Band Members:
Jay Dougrey (drums, vocals)
Ryan Thomas (vocals, guitar)
Stefan Thompson (bass, vocals)
Milon Williams (guitar, vocals)



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muzic.net.nz Admin

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Sommerset - All good things must come to an end
Posted: Sat May 28, 2005 12:34 pm
In the last ten years, Sommerset's following has swelled from a dedicated core of hometown supporters to thousands of listeners in over 15 countries. From Invercargill to Prague, Sommerset's dedication to touring their heartfelt blend of hardcore, punk and rock has been virtually unsurpassed. Their live shows are the veritable geometry of exhilaration - equal parts grace and chaos, contempt and charisma.

2004 was the most intense year in Sommerset's existence: the first half of the year spent writing, rehearsing, recording and releasing what is to most Sommerset fans (and to the band themselves) their magnum opus - "Say What You Want". Their third and final album, “Say What You Want” captures the live energy of the early live shows and couples it with new-found songwriting prowess. A mature, darker record with braver and more truthful lyrics, "Say What You Want" encompasses anthems ("Faded", "Say What You Want"), riff-rock ("Inside", "Harmony") and introspective melodies ("Reason", In Between"). The album was released in the middle of the year, in New Zealand, Australia and Europe. It was named one of Rip It Up magazine's Top 10 albums of the year.

In the middle of recording the album the band also had to deal with the departure of founding member and drummer, Jay Dougrey.

The second half of the ‘04 was devoted to rigorous touring. The drum seat was filled by Ritalin's Stu Young, who was thrown in the deep end immediately when the band supported Gyroscope on a three week tour in June. That was followed by hugely successful release shows in New Zealand.

The band then embarked on the longest tour of their existence - 11 weeks in Australia, Europe and the UK. The release shows in Australia were just as successful as the New Zealand shows, with a sold-out show at the legendary Tote Bar in Melbourne.

The move to Eat The Beat Music in Europe ensured tour of larger magnitude, and Sommerset found themselves on festivals sharing the stage with bands such as The Bronx, Velvet Revolver and The Offspring.

Upon returning to New Zealand in November, guitarist/vocalist Milon Williams announced his intention to leave the band. He remained with the band to play shows until February 2005.

Shows in New Zealand and a tour of Australia, supporting Strike Anywhere, were made possible by two fill-in guitarists - Ben Crawford from Kitsch in New Zealand and 'Beltsy' Pritchard from Blood Duster/Mindsnare in Australia. Although the band was as good as ever live - sound engineer Mark Hamil (ex-HLAH) told the band that a recent show in Wellington was the best he'd ever seen them - the loss of half of the band that had recorded "Say What You Want" inevitably took it's toll and in May 2005, while still releasing successful singles and videos, the remaining original members decided to finish the band, 10 years after it's inception.

Sommerset will play four final shows in June/July 2005, in Australia and New Zealand.

Sommerset formed in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1995 when drummer Jay Dougrey and vocalist/guitarist Ryan Thomas got together with bassist Stefan Thompson.

After a string of successful EP's, Sommerset’s debut album “More Songs” was recorded at the end of 1997. The band forced engineer Andrew Buckton (The D4, Crowded House, Bic Runga) to record and mix a 12-song album in 4 days. The first press of the “More Songs” sold out completely both in their homeland and Australia. The album was released in
New Zealand (Kafuey), Australia (Trial and Error) and Germany (Get Up And Go).

In 1996 Sommerset released a split single with Mid Youth Crisis, this brought the band their first trip of many across the Tasman. A second split single with 28 Days was released in 1999, Sommerset's contribution included the song ‘1998’, an integral part of the Sommerset live show. Again this single release saw Sommerset tour Australia to sold out rooms, and cemented their reputation as the killer live act.

Over the summer of 2001, Sommerset recorded their second full-length album, working again with Andrew Buckton. Entitled “Fast Cars, Slow Guitars”; the New Zealand and international press met it with critical acclaim. The album is now released in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, USA, Canada, Europe and the UK.

Sommerset have also shared the stage with many international bands, a brief list includes: Sick Of It All, Frenzal Rhomb, The Living End, Less Than Lake, Guttermouth, No Fun At All, No Means No, NOFX, Millencolin, Strung Out, Grade, Sum 41, Unwritten Law and Goldfinger.

Sommerset embarked on a 45-date tour of Europe, USA and Canada in 2002. The pace of the European leg was particularly manic, with 36 shows in 39 days! Several shows including support slots for names such as Down By Law, Kill Your Idols and Ensign. In the USA, Sommerset played at NYC’s legendary CBGB’s. The tour was extremely successful and Sommerset garnered scores of new fans in new parts of the world.

In 2003, Sommerset returned to Europe for an excess of 50 shows, spanning from the U.K. to the Czech Republic. Highlights include Donots support and a cathartic headline show to a sold out London's Camden Underworld, and an infamous double bill in Italy featuring Sommerset and unbelievably, The Wu Tang Clan!

2003 also saw the release of “More Songs From Last Century” – a compilation of all songs featured on any release to date that had Sommerset on the cover.

After taking a long overdue break from touring, Sommerset returned to New Zealand to concentrate on writing songs for their third album "Say What You Want" late in 2003 after what had realistically been a solid 12 months on the road.

Once again, the band locked themselves in the York Street studios with old partner in crime, Andrew Buckton, only this time Sommerset took their time recording, making sure this album surpasses all their previous efforts judging by reaction across the globe Sommerset surpassed their mission.

1995 – 2005:10 incredible years of amazing shows, amazing friends, amazing music and amazing memories.

muzic.net.nz Admin

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Sommerset call it quits
Posted: Wed May 25, 2005 9:44 am
This just in from punkas.com

In a sad day for the local scene, arguably the greatest genre band in the country and repeatedly voted Best Band in the annual PunkAs.com awards, Sommerset have decided to break up. After tours up and down the country, to Australia, to Europe and North America, the band have struggled to keep a settled lineup in the past year or so. What is especially sad is that over their decade of existence, the band was getting progressively better both in terms of recorded material and their live show.

As a last hurrah, arguably the best Sommerset lineup (as heard on their last and best album, Say What You Want) is reforming for four final shows. Ryan Thomas (vocals, guitar), Stefan Thompson (bass), Jay Dougrey (drums) and Milon Williams (guitar, vocals) will play two Aussie shows and two Kiwi gigs:

Thursday, June 23 - Annandale, Sydney (w/Irrelevant, Grand Fatal + more)
Friday, June 24 - Evelyn, Melbourne (w/Irrelevant, Away From Now, Staying At Home)
Friday, July 1 - Indigo, Wellington (w/Kitsch, Sidecar Fury) [R18]
Saturday, July 2 - King's Arms Tavern, Auckland (w/Kitsch, Missing Teeth, Newayhome) [R18]

The band also had this to say in a press release: "Sommerset wish to thank all their friends and family across the world. The amazing people they've had the privilege of working with - especially all other past members, the people on whose floors they've slept on, the bands and their heroes they've played with, the gear they've borrowed and broken, their partners, mums, dads, siblings and family pets, credit cards, the support from NZ On Air and the media all over the world, and most importantly the friends, their fans that time and time again come to the shows with the fuel that's kept the fire burning for the last 10 years."

Undoubtedly, future musical projects will arise from the ashes - first out of the gate looks to be Williams' band with Dean (Balance) Cameron and Andy (Dayone) Morton, Auckland's Cobra Khan.

muzic.net.nz Admin

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Sommerset Tour
Posted: Fri Jul 2, 2004 5:12 pm
The mighty Sommerset have been a bit quiet as of late - and that's because they've been in the studio with mainman Andrew Buckton recording a new full-length album. Titled 'Say What You Want', the album represents the followup to the highly-successful 'Fast Cars, Slow Guitars' and like its predecessor, will be released in NZ, Australia and Europe on a variety of labels. Naturally, there is a national release tour all planned and booked, with the dates as follows:

Friday July 16 - Indigo, Wellington [R18]
Saturday July 17 - Galatos, Auckland [R18]
Thursday July 22 - Dux De Lux, Queenstown (w/Pike) [R18]
Friday July 23 - Refuel, Dunedin (w/Pike) [R18]
Saturday July 24 - Jetset Lounge, Christchurch (w/Pike) [R18]

The sad news is that the 'Say What You Want' recording marks the end of Jay Dougray's 10-year tenure in the drum seat for Sommerset. The move is described as totally amicable, with Stu Young from Ritalin leaping in to fill the breach for the time being, including the NZ tour as well as the band's scheduled European/UK sojourn in October.

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Sommerset Win Squeeze 2002 Music Award!
Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2002 9:22 am
Sommerset won the following Squeeze 2002 Music Awards:

* 2nd place for Best Song/Track (Clutter)

* Best Live Act

* 2nd place for Best Band/Artist


muzic.net.nz Admin

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Sommerset Nominated For Squeeze People Choice Awards
Posted: Fri Jul 26, 2002 4:33 pm
Sommerset have received the following nominations in the Squeeze People Choice Awards:

* Best Band/Artist

* Best Song/Track (Clutter)


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