SURF CURSE chat craziest shows and the success of FREAKS

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Surf Curse concerts have been described as “bedlam,” and the band says they’re happy to own the title. “I mean, they get pretty crazy,” says guitarist Jacob Rubeck. That craziness has, in one circumstance, led to the LA-based indie rock band being banned from returning to a venue. “I don’t know what we really did to get banned. They’re the ones that put us in the middle of a steak restaurant,” says drummer/singer Nick Rattigan. “It’s not like we incited violence,” Rubeck adds.

The band is in Montreal to headline Club Soda, and it’s their first visit to the city since 2019, when they played at Bar le Ritz. They say the jump to much larger venues is down to multiple factors, including a global pandemic that gave people more time to discover their music. “Everyone got so bored,” says Rubek. “So they’re like, all right, keep delving, keep delving. You know, and all of a sudden things, it started popping off again. Then we came back, and people wanna see a band that’s like us – rowdy and fun.

Playing larger venues on this tour has allowed them to appreciate the fun they have in smaller rooms, but they admit that “the band has got so big, you can’t hold it anymore, we have to give it a little bit out.”

“You know? I think we’ve also gotten pretty good at the bigger shows,” Rattigan admits. “We’ve played some of the biggest shows we’ve played, and a lot of them have felt like, you know, intimate still. It’s just more of a challenge, you know, you kind of have to rely more on the audience than your own performance cos there’s gonna be people in each section of the room that are gonna have their own experience, and you have to rely on them to give as much as you’re going to give. You know you can only give a certain amount.” “Everyone needs to feed off of each other,” says Rubeck. Rattigan agrees. “It needs to be a whole ecosystem.”

Rattigan and Rubeck say they knew something weird was afoot when they saw a TikTok video about “Scooby-Doo’s” alleged polyamory subtext, soundtracked by their 2013 single “Freaks.” They say the song has always been “the popular one,” but during the pandemic, “the punch was spiked.” It currently has over 650 million plays on Spotify alone!

“It’s Frankenstein’s monster,” they say. “We feel lucky and fortunate that it happened just because, you know, it’s one of our earliest songs that we ever wrote, and it’s the one that people are attracted to. I mean, we recorded a new version of it cos they were like, they haven’t played it on the radio. And then radio took it anyway cos it didn’t matter the fidelity of it or whatever. People were just like, like no, it sounds great. None of the radio people minded at all. What’s nice about having a song that early blow up (is that) we have all these other songs that we’ve made over the years that can also have like a light shine onto it.”

Surf Curse’s latest album, Magic Hour, is out now on Atlantic Records.

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