Surf Rock is Dead are one of the few bands that give you a predisposed idea of what they sound like just by their name. But don’t be fooled, the music that Surf Rock is Dead play is far from the “Surf Rock” that you know. It is shoegaze-y indie music that has layers of reverb, with a slight sprinkling of surf influence – it’s sort of like a new-age surf rock.
The band started as a DIY two-man project between founding members Kevin Pariso and Joel Witenberg, and has since grown into a trio. Since their formation in 2014, they have only released a handful of singles and EPs – but a full-length is on the way.
Kevin of SRiD took some time to discuss how the band formed, the upcoming debut full-length album, and his advice to aspiring artists.
Hi Kevin! I’m sure you’ve been asked where your name came from, but could you explain that to me? Why Surf Rock, considering the genre you play is more along the lines of shoegaze?
I wish we had a solid answer for why Surf Rock. I think the surf rock part just felt natural and subconscious considering we just had guitar, bass, drums, and a shit load of reverb – while purposefully avoiding effects like distortion or overdrive.
The name was the byproduct of purposefully avoiding stringing 2 random words together to create a band name (NOT that there is anything wrong with that). Joel and I were just texting each other bs band names back and forth, surf rock is dead found it’s way into that, we said “lol thats dumb” and then stopped texting. We just ended up with “surf rock is dead” haha.
So SRiD is based currently in Brooklyn, New York. But it looks like you’re originally from Chicago and Joel is from Australia – how did you find each other?
Joel and I met randomly at a band rehearsal space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I had some solo ideas, he was an engineer intern at a studio and we worked together a bit. He went back to Australia for quite some time and when he came back at some point we had a drunken jam and came up with some good shit. We had at it a couple more times and thought “hmmm we kind of have some songs here, let’s do something about this.” and we kept jamming creating what we have now.
Your EP from early October was titled We Have No Friends. I understand that this title stems from your desire to put your work and passion first, sometimes even before your social life. I kind of wanted to talk about this concept a little further. Because I think for a lot of artists, especially young ones, this is something really hard to do (giving up social life for their art).
What inspired you to have this approach to your music? What advice would you give to other artists about what you’ve learned from having this approach?
The EP title has a general theme to it taking a pretty negative and sacrificial act and throwing some humor into it. The basic premise is that if you want to create a work of art it doesn’t just appear. It takes hours and hours of time – honing the crafts and techniques to first off even become proficient – then creating the art, recording the art, refining the art, marketing the art, performing the art… It all takes time and a can be a burden. I’m not saying we are some masters of what we do by any means. It just takes work behind closed doors before the public persona begins. BUT IT’S ALL WORTH IT to create and share something you love.
I see you’ve only released singles and EPs since you formed in 2014. Any plans on a full-length?
Yes most definitely, we’ve been writing and tracking more songs to assemble an LP and really pumped on what we have so far!
That’s exciting to hear! Is anyone outside of Joel and yourself involved in the production this time around?
As of now we haven’t involved anyone else in the production process but we are definitely open to the idea and always interested in collabing to take what we are doing to the next level.
Is there anything different about the writing/creative process this time around, compared to previous releases?
Something different about this round of writing is that I think we don’t get glued to one idea, structure, or melody. We’ve been coming up with ideas and instead of running with it, tweaking things until they feel absolutely just right whereas before we may have done something cool and thought “rad let’s do that”. Of course that’s a slippery slope where every little thing can be overthought but we think we are finding the right balance.
We’ve also been experimenting with some more instrumentation layers in our tracks. We are really excited for this next batch of material.
Do you have any upcoming shows or tour planned for 2018? If so, do you think you’ll be hitting the West Coast?
Nothing definitive but very down to be hitting the West Coast again.
Listen to SRiD’s latest release, We Have No Friends? below via Bandcamp:
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