Surfer Blood is an indie pop band hailing from West Palm Beach, Florida. Their upcoming debut, Astro Coast, will be released January 19th on Kanine Records.
Epilogue: How did the band start, and what made you change the name from "Jabroni Sandwich" to “Surfer Blood”
John Paul Pitts: It’s been changed a bunch of times. We called it Jabroni Sandwich because no one could decide on a name. We had a bunch of retarded names.
Surfer Blood started out with me and TJ, the drummer. We had been playing together for years in different bands, friends bands, this that and the other. We had this material written for a little while, and were in the process of recording it when I met the other dudes: Thomas, Brian and Marcos.
We met at an after party in Miami. We went down there to play a show at this place called Churchill’s. We didn’t want to go back home after the show, so we decided to stick around, and a friend called us to say they were at some crazy after party with free Red Stripe and they just saw Lil' Jon. We went there, had a good time, got to talking about touring and putting the album out. So I said “If you are serious, I’m totally down.” From there it got really serious really fast. Within two months we had already booked a tour through Georgia.
What’s your relationship with The Drums? They had a role in you hooking up with Kanine right?
Jacob (of The Drums) is actually from Cocoa Beach, Florida. I moved to Orlando straight out of high school and played in a lot of bands. He was up there also playing in a lot of bands, so our paths crossed a lot. We were never really close or anything, but one day he contacted me through an email asking if they could have “Swim” to play on their DJ night up in Brooklyn. So I said, “Sure, you can have it.” Then they came down to Florida to play a show and I recognized him, and realized who he was. He said he liked Surfer Blood a lot and told me his friend Leo (Kanine) has a label and they are really good with up-and-coming bands. They have a small roster, so they give you the attention that you need and everything. Leo came out to a show when we toured up to New York, the next day we went out to dinner and he could tell we were pretty serious. We started talking, and now we are official Kanine roster people.
Surfer Blood played twelve CMJ showcases this year, can you recall playing all twelve, or did it feel like one very long show?
I can recall different ones; there were a lot of different types of shows and showcases. You wake up around 11 AM and by 1 PM you are already playing, which is pretty cool. I feel like I pretty much lived at Cake Shop, we played there four times or something. It isn’t a total blur, but looking back it is pretty amazing that we actually did that. It wouldn’t have been possible without Kay and Leo from Kanine. They really helped us out with directions and stuff and Kay came with us to a majority of the shows, and they let us sleep on their floor.
When did you begin recording Astro Coast?
Around January of this year. We started recording in a studio in Port Saint Lucie, Florida with this engineer who records a lot of metal bands. There was a bit of a language barrier because of that, so after we recorded the drums I took it into my apartment in Boca Raton and did everything else there over the course of the next six months. The album was fully done by early August.
People are getting a bit of a nostalgic feeling from listening to Surfer Blood, though they have actually never heard Surfer Blood before. Does that come from a specific influence or are you conscious of the void that your music is filling?
I grew up listening to a lot of that college radio, 90s music. I was really fortunate having older friends who listened to cool music. Dinosaur Jr. was my favorite band when I was in 7th grade and I was some punk kid running around in a Black Flag shirt or something.
As far as a void, we are a band without a drum machine or a laptop, but I think the secret is to write music that you want to hear, and that you want to play and someone out there will like it.
In a recent interview, you talked about the importance of the blogosphere and how bands fall out of favor very quickly now and people move on from them to the next thing.
Now more than ever that’s the case. We’ve seen it happen to so many bands. The best example of that is the band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Their first record was really great, and then they came out with their second album the first one completely stopped selling. It can be disheartening especially now people are so exposed with different types of music over the Internet. You just have to keep getting out there and doing shows, putting out singles, EPs, or whatever you can. I think live shows are the way people really connect with bands these days.
You guys were also the CMJ pick from Justin Timberlake’s blog. That had to be a big win for the band.
I saw that, that was pretty hilarious. I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t written by JT himself. They said we were not hunks, and not the best looking band in the world. We can’t all be Justin Timberlake.
The next step then is to push yourselves as sex symbols.
Exactly, for Christmas I’m getting everyone gym memberships.
Surfer Blood Interview