Hailing from Reno, Nevada, Surf Curse have a fondness for 4-track recordings and pizza. Need to know anything more? Rhiannon digs in with the boys and gets a sense of what’s going on with these lo-fi rockers.
Rhiannon: You guys seem like you’re best buds. When did you first lay eyes on each other and when did you start playing music together?
Nick: We first met about seven years ago in middle school through a mutual friend and a love for movies. I was always intimidated by Jacob because his MySpace background was the Velvet Underground, and that was way too cool for me to keep up with. Around high school we were supposed to be in a band together, but after our first practice Jacob was kicked out. Even though Jacob wasn’t in the band we still hung out all the time and played music together. We have been making music for about five years, but this was the year we finally decided to make a band. After going to The Smells 14th anniversary show, we decided that we would actually start practicing songs instead of just writing them.
Rhiannon: Geographically speaking, Nevada is not a very beachy state. What’s the story behind the name Surf Curse?
Nick: Both of us have a hatred for desert landscapes, so we wanted something that would match our music instead of our surroundings. The name is inspired by the episode of Brady Bunch where the Brady Bunch meets Vincent Price.
Rhiannon: In the beginning of November, Surf Curse ventured down to Southern California to play at KXLU, Burger Records, the Smell, and Pehrspace. Was that whole trip one of the first times you’ve played outside of your home state, how’d it come about, and how was it? I hear you already have another Smell date lined up in February!
Nick: Jacob set up all the shows through Michael Fierstein, a friend that he met at The Smell a few years ago. We pretty much started this band with a goal of playing The Smell, and within a year that has already happened. We have been very fortunate with the shows we have played already for being such a young band. In Reno we have played with Mac Demarco and The Babies, which were amazing, shows. Playing at placed like Burger and KXLU was a completely different experience. It was so surreal to play in these rooms I have seen hundreds of times on YouTube videos. We are really excited to go back down and play another show there. We just got a new amp that hopefully won’t die on us during our set.
Rhiannon: Your song subject matter ranges from violent lesbian rages to being bummed about losing friends. Between the two of you, who usually writes songs? Is it a collective effort?
Nick: We both write songs and then whoever ends up singing it usually writes lyrics. Most of the times its songs that we have written separately and then we work out the tweaks together.
Rhiannon: It’s really not hard to pick up on the film influences in your music, from the Heathers EP, to your album covers, to the fact that pre Surf Curse you were called Buffalo 66. Are movies a big part of your creative process? Do they help you write songs? Or do you just watch a lot of movies?
Nick: We both watch a lot of movies, which in turn inspires the movie references. It is so easy to become emotionally attached to movies, so when I’m trying to write an emotional song it just makes sense to write it about a movie.
Rhiannon: All of your music is free for the time being. Is this a fancy marketing strategy or are you simply nice people?
Nick: I always like it when other bands have free music, and I’m not trying to make a ton of money off of something I just enjoy doing. I just want people to listen to it.
Rhiannon: How far would you like to go as a band in the music world? Are you just seeing where it takes you or do you have certain aspirations?
Nick: We are just kind of going with it. Jacob and I have been playing music for a lot time together, and I don’t think that will ever stop p. Our biggest aspiration was to play The Smell, which already happened. This past year has been great for us and I can only hope that we will just keep on recording and playing shows.
Todd: What’s your recording process like? Is there a conscious decision to make your sound, “lo-fi” and if so, what influenced that decision. A fondness for Guided By Voices or an undying love for a 4-track recorder?
Nick: We don’t have very good equipment, and it is all recorded in my basement on Garageband. If I knew what I was doing with our recordings they would probably sound better, but I just kind of wing it. I’ve always had a love for the lo-fi surf sound like Slow Animal or Bos Angeles, so I’m sure that has a big influence on how I edit.
Rhiannon: Altogether you have enough songs to make up a full fledged album, but you release your songs individually or in little collections. Do you release every song that you make? Do you have an album in the works that you’re going to release all at once?
Nick: Usually, we just put up a song a few minutes after it is done recording. BUT we are going down to LA soon to rerecord the songs for a tape coming out on Big Joy Records.
Rhiannon: As a band, what do you hope your audience gets out of your music?
Nick: I just want people to dance and cry to Surf Curse. That’s all I ever want to do to music.
Todd: I liked Surf Curse, but it was Chloe Kelly that made me fall in love. Was your approach to writing that song different than anything you’ve done before?
Nick: I think the more we play shows and record we have figured out a sound that we both like, so with our more recent songs we are going to try and record them to that sound.
Todd: Last, and most importantly: what toppings do you prefer on your pizza?
Nick: I have been eating this Mediterranean Pizza from a place called Pub n’ Subs. It has olives and artichoke hearts and it’s probably the best pizza I have ever eaten. There are a lot of good pizza places in Reno.
For more information about the band, follow them on Facebook!