Brooklyn’s own Surf Rock Is Dead brought their set to a sold out Mercury Lounge last Wednesday as the opening act for Day Wave. This show was super laid back as the Brooklyn duo set the tone with their atmospheric, 80’s reminiscent indie-rock, in league with such bands as Beach Fossils and PORCHES. With thunderous bass lines and masterfully executed guitar effects, ‘SRID‘ laid down their riffs to a chilled out crowd that seemed to be ridin’ the wave. Perfect for the tail end of Summer, their sound is a mix between the puffy clouds and the roaring ocean, but with a ton more reverb!
After moving to New York City from both Chicago and Melbourne respectively, Kevin Pariso and Joel Wittenberg met at a studio in Brooklyn, where their musical worlds would collide. In a few short weeks (end of September) they will be releasing their debut EP. I was lucky enough to hear all about it before the show.
So you guys are from Chicago and Melbourne, what brought you to New York City?
Kevin: When I was in college I was in a band with people that were all older than me. When they all left, they moved to New York. I was still in school at the time so I figured I should finish that, but I knew I would be coming to New York to join them so it was a music based choice.
Joel: I used to play in bands in Australia, but I felt it was time to do something different, so I came to New York. I needed a change of scenery. I was even considering this to be the end of music for me. That’s what I did; I would play drums in bands, and tour a little bit, and it sort of got old. It became just like a normal career. So I wanted to just focus on different musical things.
Cool, so then how’d you meet once you were here?
Kevin: So my old band had a practice space and I would just go and jam there. Joel was working there at the time, and he looked like a friendly guy so I was like, who is this? So we just started talking about music, and then worked on something very briefly. I just remember the dynamic was very good. It was very professional but friendly. If I asked him to try this he would do it, and If he asked me to try something it would make sense and I would do it. There was a foundation of respect in just trying each other’s ideas, which is a huge part of what is happening in this.
Joel: Yeah, I had to go away for a little while. So I was over in England for a bit and then I came back and I was working at a studio over in the city. I think drunkenly after one of his shows one night we just jammed and started switching instruments, and we realized we should do this.
Kevin: I think we were both at a point where music felt like work, and this wasn’t in this category.
Joel: And it was super collaborative as well. We were both putting ideas out that you don’t often find work in other environments.
Nice. Well you answered my next question, but how do you guys write? What feelings or experiences do you draw for the material?
Kevin: Well a lot of it comes from personal experiences and such. We’re not like Bob Dylan, telling a tale..
Joel: Often it’s the little fleeting experiences like, people you meet in the city, or things that happened in the past, sometimes girls, sometimes friendship, sometimes work. It’s the little fleeting ideas that we sort of work our songs around.
Kevin: It’s a lot more atmospheric. But the lyrics we have we like to make them count, because there aren’t too many.
Joel: Yeah I try to make them concise, so in a very short period you know what’s going on. Either obvious, or elusive.
Cool, good answer. So what’s the ideal setting to listen to your music in?
Kevin: Let’s see, not the subway. I’m imaging like a bunch of people longboarding, But on a safe road! *laughs. That or just laying in bed with your eyes closed, imagining.
Joel: The serious response I’ d say to that is road tripping, but the non serious answer would be maybe snorkeling, like underwater but you can hear the tunes.
Kevin: Does that exist?
Joel: No! but it should. That would be awesome! *laughs
I think you’re on to something. As for the EP coming out in September, Did you do everything you wanted to creatively? Did you record and mix yourselves?
Kevin: This dude definitely did.
Joel: Yeah that’s what I did. I used to work in Red Bull Studios in the city, so I cut my teeth over there, did a lot of the mixing. It was all us.
Cool! What’s next? Tour in the works?
Kevin: Yeah we definitely have shows in the works, a little bit of regional stuff. But we’ll just be keeping the momentum going and tracking the other songs we have.
Joel: Ultimately, we’d like to tour nationally but I think over the winter we’ll probably just be doing the Northeast. We have a bunch of tracks we’re working on too so we’ll continue writing.
Cool, that’s the fun part. So sounds like there’s a sold out show tonight.
Kevin: It’s going to be fun.
They certainly had a good night on stage, and more to come. Make sure to come check these guys out as they join the beach vibe revival that is slowly seeping back into consciousness here on the east coast. Catch them August 21st at Cameo Gallery in Brooklyn, September 6th at Palisades, or October 10th at The Boot and Saddle in Philadelphia.