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Surf City

Surf City

Interviewed by
Courtney Sanders
Tuesday 20th August, 2013 11:13AM

Surf City will release their sophomore full length album, We Knew It Was Not Going To Be Like This, this Friday August 23rd on Arch Hill Records. It's their first release since 2011's Kudos and encompasses - as the title aptly describes - the disillusionment that accompanies both being a band and being a member of a maligned Gen-X in our current socially and economically unstable times. Songwriter from the band, Davin Stoddard, explains all of this as well as five tracks from the album - which you can also stream - below.

What have you guys been up to as a band since the last album, Kudos, which was released a few years ago?

We started writing and recording ages ago,  it was before we went on tour in 2011. We had a few written at that point and then after the tour Jamie (Kennedy) and I stayed in New York. Jamie stayed for a month and that’s when we found the little China Town basement studio. We recorded for a while there and then Jamie went home, and I stayed and travelled around a few other places for a little while. I came home,  broke my arm and couldn’t play guitar for a few months – I had shoulder surgery and stuff, it was a skateboarding accident. Then I decided to go away to South Korea so we swapped tracks over the internet and finished it like that.

There seems to be themes of disillusionment and alienation running across the album - is that a fair statement?

Oh yeah definitely. When I was writing it some stuff was going down. When I was in New York I had just broken up with my girlfriend and the band was breaking up so things like that play on your mind and end up in your work. And then I was in South Korea and I was, you know…


Haha, yeah.  It’s like “I’m so lonely, so depressed”…

Was there anything that you were into sonically at the time that you wrote these songs?

Yeah there was but it probably doesn’t translate onto the record except for maybe in the second song, ‘The Starring Role’. One of our favourite bands are The Clash and I almost wish the whole album sounded more like The Clash, but maybe that’s something we can work on for the next record...stuff like that.

This is sort of a turning point for you guys in the sense that it represents a change in priorities -  you’re writing music while being focussed on other things in life, rather than pushing for careers as musicians, yeah?

I don’t think we were ever pushing for a career; there was no career focus. It was rather “we want to go travelling” and we’ll just see how long we can make it last.

Your label Arch Hill have given us some tracks, so if you could tell us about these songs a little bit that would be awesome.

‘It’s A Common Life’: that was written off another song. It’s a classic chord-progression and we wrote it four years ago. We had it sitting there for a long time and it went through about four different changes. We picked it up one day and decided to do something with it. Jamie did a Rolling Stones thing with it and it happened from there.

‘I Had The Starring Role’: That’s the song that was based around The Clash. We wanted to get a reggae feel across; it’s not necessarily reggae at all but we wanted a rolling bass line and we wanted it to be, ah, groovy. It’s funny to talk about these songs because I don’t really listen to the album anymore at all…

‘Song From a Short Lived TV Series’: That one was written in a day or two. Logan (Collins) and I needed to record some drums so we went around to our friend Tom’s house and wrote and recorded it over two days. The song title I saw on the Internet somewhere and thought was kind of cool; it doesn’t relate to the song at all.

‘NYC’: That’s a funny one. Everyone takes it as this “I was really disillusioned with NYC itself” but, as pretentious as it sounds I think it’s more of a metaphor for being in a band in general. New York City is this thing that everybody holds up to being the holy grail – a place we’re all after rather than the city itself. And more so it’s about being in a band in general and the things that people prioritise over the music itself.

‘No Place To Go’: That was based on ‘White Riot’ by The Clash and that one is about being young, with a student loan, even though I’m not young any more. But it’s about having a huge student loan and stressing out about getting jobs and getting by and things…

Something that our generation is pretty familiar with because we’re all a bit screwed…

Yeah, exactly, it’s about all of those things.


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