reppin: west palm beach, fl // joyful noise records // 2009 - present
sounds like: according to John Paul Pitts (JPP) - a dog chasing its tail, pure joy, a bit goofy..I’m going to catch that tail.
last album drop: snowdonia (feb, 2017)
featuring: john (lead vocals/guitar) // mike (guitar) // lindsey (bass) // tyler (drums)
Not so often does a band come across your ears that gives you a sense of calm no matter what the situation or headspace you are in. Maybe you are floating in the clouds and want to tell everyone about that new significant other or you had a shit day and you hate everyone. Flick over to Surfer Blood on your select music service and pop in your buds. JPP's soft and soothing vocals will bring you to write space. Mike’s simple guitar riffs and pleasant solos will lift your spirits. Lindsey’s running bass line will keep your head moving back and forth. Finally, the drums will bring it all together. These kids hail from West Palm Beach and you can feel the ocean almost as you flip through their albums.
My favorite thing about these kids is that they are constantly teetering back and forth between a harder punk sound and a lighter flow of indie rock. It’s pretty special when a band can widen the spectrum and bring different feels to you with each song. There is overwhelming respect for them as well. While they played musical chairs with some band members for a bit, one of their dear friends, Thomas Fekete, passed away from cancer last year. It can really put some perspective on life and what you are trying to accomplish as a band.
These non-stop road hustlers have been making music for quite some time. They’ve played alongside the likes of Broken Social Scene, The Walkman, The Pixies and more. On top of that, their albums have constantly been hitting the top 200 on the US charts and show no sign of slowing down. As I got to interview frontman JPP, I came to realize the humility and love for playing music he has. Simply wanting to be part of the music scene is something pretty special.
You’ve been at it for almost 10 years, sorry to make you feel old, but I love your take on just constantly chugging out new records and touring. That concept, how does it help you find your sound and identity?
The reason we all got into this wasn’t to get rich or anything...it is more about making memories and having crazy experiences together. I turned 30 last year and I was looking back at my 20s and realizing I wouldn't trade it for anything. Traveling opens your mind, learn a lot. you meet a lot of interesting people and that certainly contributes to how we make music. We always want to stay consistent and to stay busy. All my favorite artists growing up were constantly putting out music and it is good to be one of those bands. We tour all the time and haven’t taken much time off in 7 years. It is a big world and there are lots of places to play and it keeps us really busy.
Jared: I really appreciate that. As a music fan, when a band always wants to be out on the road, be with their fans and constantly make music...that is when I see bands that are level with their audience. As a band, I can totally see how that sort of connection and communication can help you grow musically. There is something about really holding onto the individual.
Yea, I think we are one of the more acceptable bands around. It is just the four of us, We drive ourselves, we sell our own merch after the shows. We talk to people and sign stuff for them and while it is tiring to do that whole DIY approach, it is probably more fulfilling. We’ve been in situations before where people would sell our merch and schlep our gear and it felt weird.
Speaking of constantly touring, how do you channel your identity to the live stage. When you make eye contact with that fan or are warming up a room, what do you want people to feel?
That’s a good question. I guess, when you go to see a band and your favorite song plays and you feel that rush of energy. I want people to have a good time. We’ve played stuff from every one of our releases and we have a ton of material...over 40 songs now. I’m very proud of the fact that the albums are all different from each other. There are your 3 minute pop songs and your longer moody songs. Hopefully people get to have that feeling of hearing their favorite song. Also, maybe get exposed to some new stuff that they really haven’t listened to yet. Something old, something new.
Your lyrics where do you draw inspiration from and how ...You’ve experienced of some band members switching out, medical conditions, how does that affect you personally and help you grow as an individual and band?
For one, it builds character. Going through all this stuff gives you some really great perspective as a band. You are constantly playing these shows, you are tired. I think seeing everything that Thomas went through gives you an appreciation for being alive and doing whatever you want. Thomas came from a family of musicians and music was always something very sacred to him. That is something I always try to keep in mind all the time, even when I am tired and want to go home. Doing something like this is so precious, so fragile.
Jared: Does that appreciation and experiences channel through into your lyrics?
It does man. I never sit down and say I am going to write a song about this. A lot of times, when I am done writing a batch of songs, I’ve really figured out what is going on in my head. You know what I mean. It is hard to keep tabs on it sometimes. If anything, writing is quickest way to sort that all out. How could it not come through, you know.
The fact is people go through their lives and never reflect or think it’s necessary. I feel like it totally is. I’m a more sane person, I have a clear idea of where I am.
I always use funny metaphors to describe bands and artists i write about, what would you use?
A dog chasing its tail - pure joy, a bit goofy...I’m going to catch that tail. (He came out firing right away with that answer)
suggested listening experience: hanging in your backyard with your best buds // cruising down the highway with the windows down // getting your day started