Sunday, August 18

Q&A: What makes Surfer Blood pump


Alternative rock band Surfer Blood will be performing Sunday for the second weekend of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
(Courtesy of Frank Maddocks)

Alternative rock band Surfer Blood will be performing Sunday for the second weekend of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. (Courtesy of Frank Maddocks)


After coming together as a band in 2009, Surfer Blood has released two albums, an EP and a number of singles that have contributed to its recognition. The band’s song “Swim” landed on Pitchfork’s “100 best songs of 2009″ and the group continues to release well-received music. Surfer Blood’s lead singer and guitarist John Paul Pitts spoke with the Daily Bruin’s Pauline Yang about the band’s experience at Coachella and its upcoming album.

Daily Bruin: How was your experience performing at Coachella?

John Paul Pitts: It was really fun. I mean it was something that I’ve always wanted to do. It was something on my bucket list that I wanted to accomplish. I actually went in 2007. I just got a flight from Florida and went and I had a lot of fun. I got backstage and saw the whole thing happen. I was already not taking school really seriously and taking my band pretty seriously, and I think that was one of the factors that kept pushing me in that direction.

DB: What’s your favorite part about the festival?

JPP: I like festivals because I feel like you sort of have a chance to sort of wow people because you have a lot of people who’ve never really heard of you and they’re just kind of casually watching you for the first time, so you feel this need to impress them a little bit. Other than that, you know, being backstage around other bands and kind of feeling like you’re at a summer camp with adults.

DB: Your sound and genre of music is hard to define as one specific type of music. How would you describe yourself or your band’s sound?

JPP: We try not to repeat ourselves and write the same song twice. That’s probably part of the reason why you would say it’s hard to pin down. I think we write sort of eclectic pop music stuff that’s kind of outside the box. It’s still something you can sign along to in your car. Hopefully, the way that tries to avoid pitfalls and cliches as much as possible.

DB: Where do you draw your inspiration for your music?

JPP: We all listen to a lot of different kinds of music and that influences what we do. Other than that, I don’t know … the good times, the memorable moments. You know, nothing in particular. Every song’s different.

DB: What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened on tour?

JPP: Something weird kind of happens every tour. I’d say, there’s this once time we were driving a car late at night and we were driving back from Florida in the pouring rain, and someone cut us off and we lost control of the vehicle. Ended up, there was a tow truck already there for another car, and we just slided back right onto it. Just like the right place at the right time. And you know like, “Oh my god, what were they going to say?” because the police were already there and the second they found out we were a band they were so excited. They came in with a walkie-talkie, and the police officers were like, “Hey, we got a band here, and we’re still looking for a band for our Mardi Gras party. It was one of those situations that could have gone really terribly but ended up being kind of funny.

DB: Your new album “Python” seems a little darker and more introspective than your last album “Astro Coast.” Where did you draw inspiration from for the album?

JPP: Well I’d say it’s a lot more focused on the lyrics for this record. I feel like for “Astro Coast,” there was this sort of feeling like, “I have to get these lyrics done,” because we can’t really do anything with this until I write and record the lyrics. But for “Python,” I spent a couple months perfecting them and writing them and I think it has a lot to do with wanting to grow up and mature as a songwriter and prove to people that you know, your band is not just sort of a one-trick pony.

DB: What should we be expecting from your new album?

JPP: Different stuff. I feel like we’re taking a few more chances in writing a few types of songs we’ve never really approached and there’s everything from the very sentimental numbers to a song that we wrote that we think is really punk, and a lot of stuff in between, so I don’t know it’s just sort of new stuff. A new direction for our band.

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