Before the show, we sat down for a quick chat with Surfer Blood to discuss their latest album 1000 Palms and their band’s history.
You’re all from West Palm Beach, Florida – how did being from there influence your sound?
Even though it’s not a small town, the music scene there is small. We knew about each other for years – we all went to the same high school and were floating around different scenes, but it’s a small world and it was only a matter of time. We’ve all played in various bands together, so eventually it all came together as one.
You got together in 2008 and now it’s 2015 - how has your sound changed in the last 7 years?
We’ve gotten a lot better as a live band, for sure. When we first started off we were playing these rooms with tiny stages and we all just wanted to turn up as loud as possible and play as loudly as possible, but that’s not always the best thing to do.
We’ve learned to listen to each other more and play off each other and listen to what’s someone’s doing and where they’re going with it.
What inspired the sound on your latest album 1000 Palms?
We had just been on a major label for our second record and we got the whole experience of recording in a really nice studio in Hollywood and it was an amazing experience - we wouldn’t trade that for anything - but that’s never something we needed or asked for. When we parted ways, we decided we were going to write ten songs and record them ourselves.
That was pretty much all the planning that was into it. We wanted to move fast and trust ourselves.
What was it like to create an album without a label?
It felt a lot like a fresh start. Being on a major label opened a lot of doors and was amazing but in a lot of ways, it was nice to feel like we’re starting over. It takes the pressure off. We wrote it all when we didn’t even have a label at that point, so we really were just writing the record exactly as we wanted without trying to fulfill any expectation.
How does the song-writing process work for you guys?
It’s different from song to song, record to record, but for this one we got together at our friends’ house in Portland. Their band was on tour so we moved in and started writing songs there. We locked ourselves in for a couple weeks with all of the ideas we’d had kicking around. Then we played a few shows around town, around the Northwest, and by the time we were done we had rough demos for most of the songs that ended up on 1000 Palms.
What do you do to get psyched up before a show?
We listen to a lot of Shaggy and do anything physical from climbing stairs to doing push-ups or we walk around and do vocal warm-ups.
What are your must-have road essentials?
An app that tells you where there’s vegan food. Coffee – we stock up on it our van. A Kindle. And earplugs to sleep.
What are your favorite things in to do Chicago?
The zoo, which is really nice and free. At the Chicago Music Exchange, we can kill hours of time there and they are very generous with their facilities. Chicago also has tons of great venues and restaurants.