Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 22nd 2010 3:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
Good fortunes notwithstanding, the New York City trio recently found itself needing a change of pace. One came in the form of 'If I Had a Hi-Fi,' a collection of covers available now at the band's live shows and due in stores June 8.
"It was just to switch things up," Nada Surf singer and guitarist Matthew Caws tells Spinner. "We were on the touring-and-writing, touring-and-writing, touring-and-writing cycle, and I wanted a break from being behind the 8-ball, but I didn't want to not be doing anything. If I don't work on anything a long time, I'll start to feel weird. I don't feel good in my skin. This was a way to 'stay healthy' but have it come from a different place."
It was also a good excuse to spend some time listening to records -- something Caws can't always do while slaving away on his own music.
"Sometimes, I don't get to indulge my curiosity as much," he says. "But this was great. And the selection process was totally free and open. There was no sense of wanting to make a brochure of our personal canon, the things you would think we were made of."
In addition to songs by power-pop cult heroes Dwight Twilley and Bill Fox and revered Aussie jangle aces the Go-Betweens -- artists one can imagine Caws and company rocking in the tour bus -- 'If I Had a Hi-Fi' includes selections by several less-obvious influences, such as Kate Bush and Depeche Mode.
"In the case of Depeche Mode, I'm not a huge fan of theirs," Caws says, explaining Nada Surf's decision to cover 'Enjoy the Silence.' "There are, like, two songs of theirs over the years I've really liked. That one, I've heard a lot in my life, in supermarkets and stuff, but one day, driving to the airport -- and this may have had to do with the weather, since it was a gorgeous day -- I was like, 'It really is a great love song.'"
"The most fun part about this for me, that song in particular, was I changed it a little bit to sustain this illusion/fantasy I'd written it myself," Caws adds. "I changed it a bit, like, 'I'd have done it this way. Can I change a chord? Why not?' That was fun. The other songs, in general, I just like to pretend we wrote."