Artist: Nada Surf Video: 'When I Was Young' Highlight: "The video for 'When I Was…
- Posted on Jun 19th 2012 4:15PM by Spinner
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Van: How long have you been in Cambridge?
Matthew: Just a week, before that we were in New York for three or four days, we did this thing in Philadelphia called Non-Com, which is the non-commercial radio convention. I have to say, it was really great because it was just people who still get to play whatever they want. It was two stages, a bunch of bands. I call it South by South Manageable. I saw Father John Misty, who is great. Man, what a show.
Van: Yeah, my god. I saw him a couple of times at SXSW, when it was just him and a guitar. Then I saw clips on some TV show with him playing and just singing. It was so nice to actually see a real frontman with moves and some swagger.
Matthew: I was with people afterwards having this big long debate about his moves. I said, "It's like Steve Martin or Jim Carrey or something."
Van: There's definitely Steve Martin in there. It's just so rare these days in the Indie world to have someone that can do that. Oh my god, that would be my worst absolute nightmare, would be to be performing without an instrument, just singing and displaying my moves. I probably have had that nightmare before.
Matthew: Totally. I've done it a few times, and its really scary. And honestly I had to have like three drinks or something before going on. Just standing there, you just kinda have to immediately be a performer, un-self-conscious, feel at home. I wasn't born for the stage or anything. There's this band the Soft Pack from San Diego who I really love and their singer just stands there. Just couldn't care less. And that's a great show too, because you believe them.
Van: Without trying to do too much.
Matthew: I'm really psyched for this tour. It's going to be really great.
Van: Yeah, crazy how many places we've been since we've last saw you. Weren't you in South Africa? South America?
Matthew: It was awesome. Really really good. We went to Buenos Aires and actually played on a pier in the Amazon, a pier that jutted out over the river. It was really flimsy wood, and when the crowd would jump up and down a little bit, the whole thing would start to shake and they stopped themselves, because I think everybody had the feeling, 'Wow, I don't want to get to close to the piranhas."
Van: Holy god. That would be one of the most epic concert disasters of all time. Everybody eaten by piranhas.
Matthew: The microphone was moving back and forth like a foot. I literally let it hit my chin to slow it down, then sing a little bit, then get out of the way. Crazy. We'll all be playing on solid stages, solid rocks.
Van: No deadly fish underneath.
Matthew: That's right. Another thing happened in San Diego. We played the House of Blues, and its a fun show, and Daniel, our bass player, incites this stage invasion on the last song, and there's this guy who's like so big. Guy was huge, definitely 6'7, 6'8, really wide, a giant. He picks me up like a rag doll, basically like at his shoulder level. This guy was so tall I was really very high up in the air and worried about my safety for a second. I'm also holding my guitar -- just a bad scene. I got that kind of can't-breathe feeling because something's too crazy. Finally, our guitarist convinces him to put me down without throwing me or something. I guess he didn't realize how big he was or something. We were laughing, but I was shaken up and afterwards outside I ran into him, and he was this super fan. He was like, "I would do security! I'd take a bullet for you." I was like, "Dude, that's really nice of you to offer but you could start by not manhandling me." So crazy.
Van: I want to be picked up by a super fan. Our guitarist, Nico, we're just stopped at a gas station or something and he'll just pick me up, hold me for a while. Among the weirdest feelings, as a grown man, to be picked up and just held, especially by your guitarist.
One question -- you, Ira and Daniel, how long have you been playing together?
Matthew: Coming in on 19 years.
Van: That blows my mind.
Matthew: It's crazy, Daniel and I are at 29 or 28 years.
Van: That's older than I've been alive. I just can't imagine being able to hold the band together for two years, let alone that long. It's a cheesy question to ask, but do you have any advice?
Matthew: It's like you focus roles, I guess. We've finally come around to this place where we're all kind of neurotic and we all must be annoying or weird at some point, but it's kind of like, "If you let me be my neurotic self, I'll let you be your neurotic self. And if you won't call me on it, I won't." Just don't really call each other on anything. It's like a tolerance workout. It's like siblings. I have an older sister and we used to fight a lot when we were kids, but we'd really appreciate the fact that we've been through the same stuff. It's so comforting to have someone who's had your same experiences, which must be, like you guys too. Do you have any brothers or sisters?
Van: I have a younger sister. I find it somewhat like having siblings on the road, but also like having like a bunch of girlfriends. At times it can feel like that sort of relationship. Just the non-romantic parts. My band that I have now, we get along great. There probably comes this point where you learn how to tolerate each other and be great. Once you figure it out, you can just last forever. It really just does blow my mind, I never appreciated this, but a band like Radiohead, that's five dudes, and its been the same five dudes since 1992. Being in a band really makes you appreciate that kind of thing.
Matthew: Definitely. Those guys in particular, I interviewed them for Guitar World, a magazine I used to write for and it was right when OK Computer was about to come out. I sat in a conference room with all five of them for 30 minutes. I left thinking, "That's exactly the kind of band that anyone would want to be in." They were so cool with each other, it was mellow. Also, after MCA passed away, I was so sad about that and I ended up watching tons and tons of Beastie Boys stuff for a little while just to kind of comfort myself or something. I was watching a lot of interviews and I was incredibly struck how in interviews it was almost like a song. They would keep it kind of short, and hand it off to the other guy who would do another answer that was also kind of short, as if they were verses almost. But it was a really respectful, cool thing.
It's luck of the draw. Whether your combination of chemistry is going to be OK. In a relationship, it's really healthy to talk it out. In the band, I try and avoid that. Dysfunctional relationship is more my style. Talking it out is dangerous sometimes. What if you say the wrong thing?
Van: Especially. With two people of opposite genders, I see how it could be a good idea, but three, four guys, it's probably not going to end well. Too much ego.