- Posted on Mar 4th 2011 6:15PM by Joe Tacopino
Rachel Been, AOL
You were down in Austin for SXSW last year. How did you like cramming all those shows into a few days?
It was really fun. We stopped in Austin a day early and hung out. I think we played 13 shows last year. I'd say we only played 12, because the 13th one was such a disaster. It was really fun. We were always running around, lugging our gear down 6th Street and stuff. I didn't sleep a whole lot, but it was awesome.
Why didn't that last show work out? Was it just exhaustion?
The last show, we were show physically and emotionally exhausted. Maybe we just didn't care anymore. I'm not sure. All of the other shows went really well. We held it together pretty commendably, I think. We got to play in every different type of venue, from a really nice house party with a Grammy-winning band to an old bingo hall outside of town. There's a lot of variety.
The band has a '90s-influenced guitar sound. What records influenced you?
Probably Modest Mouse, 'The Lonesome Crowded West'; Dinosaur JR., 'Living all Over Me' -- stuff along that lines. Pavement, obviously -- probably 'Watery Domestic' and 'Crooked Rain.' Those are the records I grew up listening to. We all listened to a lot of music, but I think that's the common ground we share.
I've read that you don't actually like surfers. Is that true?
No, that's not really true. I guess I don't have anything against surfers. Maybe I would if I interacted with them more. I guess I don't see a lot of surfers, probably because I'm always on tour. I think surfing is cool, though. I'd like to try it again sometime. I tried it a few times when I was younger. It sounds like it could be a lot of fun.
Where did the name Surfer Blood come from?
It was our drummer Tyler's idea. He has kind of a weird affinity for scrambling things; like, he'll try and use idiomatic expressions, but he'll never get them right. They'll always be off, so they'll sound kind of interesting. You really have to know the guy before you can understand what he's trying to say.
We were all on a road trip up in Gainesville to do a few shows. We packed some bags quickly. He had this weird paraphernalia, this really goofy bag that was, like, Rip Curl or something weird -- some super "surfer dude" thing to have. I was making fun of him for it. Somehow, he came up with, "C'mon, man, you cant make fun of me. It's in my blood, man. I've got surfer blood." I thought that was really cool. We really were just going to use it for a song title or something, but it ended up becoming the band name.
You're coming out with a new EP this year. How is it coming along?
We've been working non-stop. We've been in the studio pretty much every day tracking. Right now, we're doing guitar and vocals. It sounds really good. The rhythm section sounds really tight, and we got a lot of really good takes. I'd the songs are more focused than some of the stuff on 'Astro Coast,' which is all over the place in so many directions. I'd say because it's an EP, it definitely has the ability to be more focused, maybe, but there still a lot of variety in it.
The last recording was very low-budget. A lot of people describe it as lo-fi. How would you describe it?
It was kind of strange when people tried to lump us into the lo-fi category, because we were never actually going for that on 'Astro Coast.' It's essentially a bedroom recording. We had a lot of limitations and not a lot of money. I still think the songs sound big on that. 'Swim' is a huge song. It's pretty cool that we could do that in a bedroom.
There is a song called 'Twin Peaks' on 'Astro Coast.' Are you a David Lynch fan? Which of his movies had an influence on you?
Yeah, I do like David Lynch. I guess I really have kind of an attachment to 'Eraserhead.' It was the first David Lynch movie I ever saw, when I was in the 8th grade. I'm pretty sure I'd never seen anything like that before.
Your song 'Floating Vibes' made it onto the video game 'Rock Band.' Is it weird for something like that to happen?
Yeah, I think I've seen a YouTube video of two 12-year-old kids trying to play 'Floating Vibes' on 'Rock Band' and I thought that was pretty cool.
Is that really how you found out about it?
Nah, I was just joking. I was not really opposed to it. There's nothing wrong with bands licensing songs to video games and TV shows or something like that. There was a time when a lot of fans would have a huge problem with that, that sort of model, but in this day and age, nobody buys records. There's a lot of stuff we don't do, because we think it's stupid, but licensing a song for stuff that's off your record, I think that's fine. You use every avenue you can to make money and keep making records, especially young bands that are trying to break through and get exposure.
For young bands, it helps break through to new audiences. There's a huge gap between a really savvy indie crowd and kids who go to high school in, I don't know, Clearwater, Fla. I'm not going turn down some kid who heard my song on 'Rock Band' because he didn't hear it from somewhere cooler.
Catch Surfer Blood's SXSW Sets on Tuesday, March 15 at Emo's Main Room (603 Red River St.) 1AM, Wednesday, March 16 at Beauty Bar/Palm Door (401 Sabine St.) 1AM and Thursday, March 17 at Habana Bar Backyard (708 E 6th St.) 1AM.
Keep Austin Weird: Fun Things to Do at SXSW | SXSW Survival Guide: Advice, Tips and Tricks From Artists | SXSW Road Trip Guide | Top 100 Bands at SXSW 2011
Latest SXSW News | All Things SXSW