Welcome to the underground lair of Dead by Mono... Franz Rothko will be asking the questions today. Hope all is well with you guys. Here we go...
- Hi Franz, Klas Fjellgren of the Surfites here. Hope all is well with you, too.
Do you see your recent participation on a compilation like a test to your songs?
- Not really, but more of a way to promote the band and get people to be aware of our stuff. However, it's always nice to be part of a compilation if it's a cool release.
Is it fair to say that most of your musical influence comes from the old school surf American scene?
- Yes, we would say that all of our musical influences in the Surfites comes from the early to mid 1960s U.S. 1st wave period. In our opinion, "surf bands" that are too progressive and picking up influences from anywhere doesn't really "get it". Of course anyone can play and look like whatever they want, but sometimes we feel that surf music have started to lose its roots. And that certainly won't do it any good.
I guess that in Sweden the surf music spirit is hard to find...is that because of the cold weather? How did you manage to get into this hot musical scene?
- Actually Stockholm isn't that cold except for a couple of months in the winter. Anyway, today there isn't much of a surf music scene in Sweden but during the 3rd wave boom in the mid '90s, surf music was quite hot even up here.
For us it all started in the late '80s when me and ex-Stomach Mouth Lars Kjellén formed the Daytonas, a band that did both surf vocals and surf instros and released four albums during the '90s. Then a couple of years ago me and my brother Jack (who also played drums in the Daytonas) decided that we would like to give it another go and put together the Surfites. In the band, we two write and arrange the songs and then for the recording sessions we play all the guitar parts. At the same time we have some buddies of ours dropping by on bass, electric piano and drums.
So... being from Sweden how did you turn out to sign with an all North American band record label?
- We haven't signed with any label yet!? But if we would do it in the future, it's in the U.S. that most of the labels dealing with surf music are located.
Are you planning on sticking with a small label or do you have big plans?
- Any big plans wouldn't be realistic. We would be more than happy to release records on small labels. Also we feel that it's a good thing that the surf music scene isn't that big since when something gets too mainstream, it often gets bland, boring and dorky pretty quick.
Well... what about concerts? As you're mostly a studio band do you usually have gigs? Any challenging venues in the next few months?
- For the moment the Surfites are entirely a studio band and we are happy with that. In the Daytonas we did quite a few shows over the years but now we would like to concentrate more on recordings since we were never really happy with how those turned out in the Daytonas.
Which was your best live experience so far?
- During the Daytonas years we had some pretty amazing live show experiences. It's hard to pick out a single one but our two appearances at Hultsfredsfestivalen (Sweden's biggest rock music festival), our 2 weeks California tour and several private party gigs with awesome crowd responses comes to mind. At the first show at Hultsfredsfestivalen, we played the smallest stage but the crowd quickly got too big and finally went totally wild over us so the organizers had to call in extra security to calm things down a bit.
We also had a couple of lousy shows though. One time, due to some confused booking, we had to play in front of a crowd of senior citizens. They expected a pleasant evening with musical entertainment but they were shocked about how loud we played. They told us to turn the volume down... well, we told them to turn down their hearing aids!
Now... tell me a little bit about your rehearsal room... would I find for e.g. an “Elvis Presley” poster in it... or a “The Raveonettes” one?
- You won't find either, although we really dig the King! Instead, our basement studio "The Surf Shack" is cluttered with wacky surf graphics all over the walls. For the right inspiration, it would be nice to hang up some early '60s surf movie posters, too.
Which are yours all time favourite surf bands?
- Dick Dale & his Del-Tones, The Astronauts, The New Dimensions, The Beach Boys, Eddie & The Showmen, The Surfaris, Jan & Dean, The Super Stocks, The Trashmen... just to name a few of the more well known. There were also loads of great surf bands during the 1st wave era that only released a 45 or two. However, many of these obscure tunes are now also on compilations released during the last 20 years.
Any prediction about when your debut album is coming out?
If yes, will you be promoting the album in other countries or only in Sweden?
- Nothing is settled yet but hopefully a debut album for the Surfites will be released sometime next year. Most of the promotion will be over the internet so I guess one could say that it will have world wide promotion.
Make sure you tell us how to buy it, listen to it or (if you're into mp3) where to steal your album when it comes out. :)
Where is the album going to be available? (maybe with us as well…)
- We expect it to be available at least at record shops and online stores that are into surf music and hopefully with you as well!
Good luck! Hope to see you soon on stage...anywhere! …