The four piece from Florida, Surfer Blood, is stopping in San Diego this Hallow’s Eve for a show on 91X’s Boo’s Cruise. We caught up with Kevin Williams, bassist, about their current tour, writing process, and which San Diego taco shop is Surfer Blood’s favorite.
Surfer Blood has been on tour for about a month now with Team Spirit– where are you now?
Kevin: We’re in the van driving from Phoenix to Dallas today. I just woke up from a pretty nice van nap.
How’s the tour going so far?
Kevin: It’s good; it’s definitely nice to have a proper head-lining tour. Early this year we were on tour in support of FOALS and have played a few festivals in Europe and the US, so it’s nice when you know everyone is there to see your band and knows all the words to your songs.
What’s the relationship like with your opening act Team Spirit?
Kevin: It’s great. The lead singer of Team Spirit [Ayad Al Adhamy] is an ex-member of Passion Pit so we actually met him a few years ago at Splendor in the Gras (a music festival in Australia) and we all hit it off really well.
What’s been your favorite show on the tour so far?
Kevin: We were pleasantly surprised by Ohio City. We had never played Ohio before as a band, so we just assumed we didn’t have a large fan base there. But the crowd was great. Another highlight was playing the Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. The crowd was wild, had really high energy.
Is it true the band moved to California last year?
Kevin: It’s partially true- JP (lead singer) moved to Los Angeles last year. Tom (guitar) was living in New York for a while but stopped because we were on tour so much, but he has plans to move back. And Tyler (drums) and I both still live in West Palm Beach, Florida. But we’re on the tour so much; we see each other more than we don’t see each other.
What is the songwriting process like then, a lot of writing on the road?
Kevin: Some songs are born out of jam sessions during sound check. We also plan time spans into a tour schedule where we can rent out a practice space for a week and work. Writing at home obviously has a lot of comforts, but it’s also nice to be removed from your element and write in an isolated space. We would black out the windows of a tiny space and be in our own worlds.
Is this process mostly collaborative or does one person take the lead?
Kevin: This process changes on every record. With Astro Coast it was JP who took the lead, writing songs in his dorm room and the band came later. With Tarot Classics, we’d all work on songs during sound checks and it started to be more collaborative. And on Pythons [released in June 2013] it was all four of us writing together, bouncing ideas off each other. JP would take the demos and come back with a vocal idea. We would then spend about two weeks in a small, blacked-out studio in pre-production. Then in later stages, we had Gill Norton, our producer, in the studio taking notes with a notepad and pen. He basically become a fifth band member. He was happy to get up and dance around, acting really goofy and give us feedback. The whole process was really fun.
So Surfer Blood is playing a show in San Diego on Halloween, do you have plans to dress up?
Kevin: I can’t speak for the whole band but my girlfriend and I are doing a couple costumer. We’re going to be Richie & Margot Tenenbaum.
What’s your favorite venue to play in San Diego?
Kevin: Last place we played was The Casbah and it was a really good time, the crowd in San Diego is one of our favorites. We love spending time down there in general. And of course, we have to grab a taco or burrito while we’re there.
Do you have a favorite taco/burrito spot?
Kevin: Lucha Libre. That place is amazing.