[INTERVIEW] Surf Rock Is Dead

The power of music lays in its ability to transport you – to a memory, to a place, to a feeling. ForSurf Rock Is Dead, it’s the nostalgia within those endless summer nights, on that open road, of the wind grazing a face. The dreamy duo, Kevin Pariso and Joel Witenberg, create a sound that leads you to a feeling of lostness within memories, that you can’t help but lose sense of it all.

By way of Chicago (Kevin) and Australia (Joel), the now-Brooklyn natives joined musical forces after a chance meeting in the studio. Working independently of one another for a while, surfing through solo stuff and band-hoods, the two started jamming together without any real thoughts of making something legitimate out of it. “I never thought it was going to work…I figured if we were going to work together, it wouldn’t be fun. We’d just be both posted up behind computer screens programming beats,” said Kevin. After one of Kevin’s gigs and/or a rehearsal (depending on whose memory is more accurate), the sessions became more serious. Sans computer screens, it was a guitar, a bass, and a drum machine that started the sublime sound and hazy harmonies that is Surf Rock Is Dead.

The guys didn’t start “going hard” until late last year, in pursuit of a natural progression and the right timing. “If we’re gonna do it, we want it to sound good, and we wanted to do it right,” said Kevin. The progression of writing songs – which may start with Joel walking in on Kevin playing a riff on the guitar, scrambling to plug in his bass, and deciding whether or not they have something or not – has worked for them so far. Having released three singles to date (“Late Risers”, “Equinox” and “Zen-A”), they hope to release another single around May, and an EP later this year.

Surf Rock Is Dead’s performance is just as captivating on record as it is live. Their show at Rough Trade this past Saturday was a 7-song set that left us at Joonbug in a daze. The chemistry between Kevin and Joel, both on stage and off, was blatantly expressed through their synchronized two-stepping, sarcastic satire, and evenly spread vocal time. Amidst previously released tracks lingered new music that was equally, if not more, enchanting. The set made room for greater guitar solos, more harmonized vocals and an addictive quality that leaves you wanting more.

Photo Credit: Leah Marks

Photo Credit: Leah Marks

Whether it gets you lost in a haze, a daze, or a lazy craze, Surf Rock Is Dead creates a swoon-worthy sound that’ll surely leave you an enamored fan.