Listen Now: Spotlight on Surf Rock Is Dead

Listen Now: Spotlight on Surf Rock Is Dead

This week's music spotlight is on Joel Witenberg of Surf Rock Is Dead, a Brooklyn dream pop duo as wavy as they are delightfully unserious.

This week's music spotlight is on Joel Witenberg of Surf Rock Is Dead, a Brooklyn dream pop duo as wavy as they are delightfully unserious.

Text: E.R. Pulgar

Every week, V shines a light on an up-and-coming artist. This week, get to know Surf Rock Is Dead. The wavy Brooklyn-based dream pop duo has just released We Have No Friends? EP, a small collection that further expands on their dreamy, guitar-laden sound. Between their jangling, ethereal sound and their ironic name, one can deduce surf rock is far from being dead. As their star continues to rise and they prepare to go on tour and release their debut LP, V spoke to Joel Witenberg, half of the duo, about the new EP, the Brooklyn rock scene's ever-changing nature, and the spacey power of their music. 

Tell me about the recording of We Have No Friends? EP.

We Have No Friends? Was recorded and mixed across a few studios in Brooklyn and Manhattan, however a large portion was tracked at Diamond City Studio. Often we’d add parts or change sections and then head over to the studio to record the new ideas. Studio time can easily turn into inspiration itself and spark new concepts for the songs, which we’d find happening to us on a regular basis. The tracks really did transform throughout the recording process to the point where we were extremely satisfied with the vibe we’d achieved.

How has your sound evolved since your self-titled debut EP back in 2015?

Sound is a complicated and often subjective concept. Our songwriting was probably the biggest development since our first EP. Having a more definitive idea of how we’d like our songs to develop and a stronger foundation of the overall harmonic aesthetic really pushed our sound as a whole. We still love that reverb-y, washed-out feel, so keeping that as an axis point for us is extremely important as it acts a cohesion between the two EPS

So, like, do you guys have any friends? Any friends you might be interested in collaborating with?

[laugh] Does anyone really have friends... Our buds from the bands No Vaction and Suburban Living could be future collaborators. We’ll have to see what happens.

Jacqueline Harriet

You guys are about to go on tour with Shout Out Louds. How are you guys preparing, and where will the tour take you?

Doing my laundry! We’ll be heading through the East Coast, West Coast and Canada.

Brooklyn's DIY rock scene is rich and burgeoning, but has also brought forth the stereotype of a "Brooklyn rock band." How are you guys breaking the mold?

As vibrant as the Brooklyn scene is, it’s also going through massive changes. With losses of many of the DIY venues over the past couple years, bands generally have to take other avenues to get their music out in the world. More touring, more experimental writing and musical openness is helping us break our own mold.

Can we expect a full-length anytime soon?

We’re pretty close to 2018, and we’re going to try our best to have a release ready for the summer! That’s all I’ll say right now.

Whether or not surf rock is dead (and you guys told Pancakes and Whiskey otherwise), I see a long, white beach at night when I hear your music. Where do you hope your music transports its listeners?

If you’ve ever seen the film Stargate you’ll know how the archetypical intergalactic wormhole travel is supposed to feel. That’s where I hope people go!

Surf Rock Is Dead's 'We Have No Friends? EP' is out now. Check out the duo's upcoming tour dates and stream the album below.

Surf Rock Is Dead Tour Dates

11/2 - Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY

11/3 - Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

11/4 - Brighton Music Hall, Boston, MA

11/5 - Higher Ground, Burlington, VT

11/6 - The Modclub Theatre, Toronto, ON (Canada)

11/7 - The A and R Bar, Columbus, OH

11/8 - Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL

11/9 - Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis, MN

11/12 - Venue Nightclub, Vancouver, BC (Canada)

11/13 - Crocodile Cafe, Seattle, WA

11/14 - Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR

11/15 - Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA

11/17 - The Fonda Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

11/18 - Constellation Room, Santa Ana, CA

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