I’m a big fan of Surfer Blood’s music, and when I got a chance to produce some performances with them I was kind of at a crossroads because I didn’t know what to ask them to play. The upbeat “Take It Easy”? The more subdued “Harmonix”? The album closer “Catholic Pagans”? Maybe both versions of “Jabroni,” or the entire album from beginning to end, with JP doing his best Paul Stanley stage banter impressions in between?
When I talked to their manager (what up Asif! Where’s my import 7” of “Swim”!), I pitched him the idea of shooting the band performing “Floating Vibes” – which I think will be next single – while we projected images onto them. His response was something along the lines of “as long as you don’t have them biting chicken heads off.” In retrospect, I guess I could have gotten away with much more.
We spent a million years setting the band up in the Delancey; you can see some behind-the-scenes pics here and here. Afterwards the band played “Floating Vibes” over and over again until we got all the coverage we needed and they were happy with the take. This is the result:
At the end of it we still had some time left, and the band had gone through “Floating Vibes” so many times I thought it would be a good idea to let them cut loose on some one-takers. The guys got downright jolly on their track “Take It Easy,” with JP putting down his guitar and then getting it handed back to him at around the three minute mark (by the manager Asif). Oh yeah, that “I’m losing my miiiind!” you’re gonna hear at the beginning of this clip is the percussionist Marcos after 7 takes of “Floating Vibes:”
Finally I had to ask them to play the single “Swim (To Reach The End).” You might think it’s overplayed, but that song is so good. It’s like if I got to shoot Weezer in ’94 and didn’t ask them to play “Say It Ain’t So.” This one was also a one-taker:
Thanks a lot guys! It was stressful but fun! Oh yeah, if you want to see a slideshow of pics taken by staffer Andrew you can click here. Also if you like reading words on a screen you can take a look at our interview with the band from SXSW.