Updated: Apr 7, 2020
Punk rock icons, Surfbort, fight back against the soul crushing social systems at play with their signature blend of friendship music.
Photo by: Allen Ying
For about five years now, these Brooklyn-based legends have been kicking ass across the globe, decimating every stage they grace, their freak flags furiously waving in the air ready to be sacrificed to another hungry mosh pit. Together, vocalist Dani Miller, drummer Sean Powell, and guitarists Alex Kilgore and David R. Head have found a way to incorporate aspects of openness and vulnerability into the punk rock stratosphere. A sneaky new tactic in the fight against oppression and normality.
Their discography acts as a nice little timeline that encapsulates the band's struggles and triumphs. Tracks like "Hippie Vomit Inhaler" and "Trashworld" helped the group fashion their own lo-fi thrash aesthetic while calling out those in power. It's not too surprising that luxury brands like Gucci have reached out to further promote the band's image. The juxtaposition of high fashion and street punk is a pairing made in the back alleys of heaven. Collaborating with Gucci has opened a bunch of doors for the group which is why Miller's smile has become as memorable as Mac DeMarco's mug over these past few years.
Friendship has been a driving force behind Surfbort's rise to notoriety. Their release, Friendship Music, is centered around the relationships they've made while greeting the world with their gritty tunes. Playing gigs with the likes of Amyl & the Sniffers, Idles, and Tropical Fuck Storm has allowed the group to really appreciate their place in the world. All these bands are on a similar journey. They're all about breaking boundaries and meeting people on an equal plane.
In a world where competition and corporate greed fuels the lives of the masses, being consensual and empathetic toward everyone is about as punk rock as it gets in the 21st century. Is violence or upheaval really necessary when people can attempt to understand each other's perspectives? Complacency is overrated and Surfbort knows it, that's why their in-your-face rock n roll will continue to uplift and empower fellow misfits for years to come.
I had the opportunity to catch up with guitarist Alex Kilgore at Desert Daze last year right before DEVO absolutely destroyed the main stage.
Here's what he had to say:
Q: How’s your weekend at Desert Daze going? A: So good. We just got here and played. It was really fun and everyone seemed into it.
I jumped in the water and now I’m waiting for Devo and the food to be served.
Q: Does Surfbort like playing festival shows like this or do you prefer more low-key venues? A: We love both actually. Ya know, it’s great to play festivals because you get to see great bands and hangout with a lot of friends of yours that play music. Also, small clubs are kinda where it’s at, because you get an energy ball of connection. It’s hard sometimes...I mean it’s not hard, but if there’s dividers at bigger festivals with a big separation between the crowd and the band, it’s tricky.
Q: As a musician yourself, why do you like making music? A: That’s a bit of a stretch, (laughs) no I like making music because it brings people together.
Q: So does Surfbort have a sort of mission of unity or bringing people together?
A: For sure, yeah. We’re all about breaking down barriers and loving your haters. If you face someone who seems like they have a mindset that’s like an obstacle, you can help break down the barriers that they have up by finding a way to connect with them on some level.
Maybe shift their perspective a bit, that could help. Q: Has Surfbort been touring pretty frequently, do you often get breaks? A: Oh yeah, this summer we played some festivals and we did a tour with Interpol that was so fuckin’ fun. They’re great people, but yeah we had some time off in the summer and now we just did a little run with Idles, who very much are on the same mission of bringing people together. They totally walk the walk, they’re incrdible. After Desert Daze, we’re leaving on tour to Australia with Tropical Fuck Storm, who’re amazing too. Q: Does Surfbort enjoy playing shows with bands who follow a similar mission of bringing people together? A: Oh fuck yea, I mean they become like instant family. We’ve made so many family members over the years since I’ve been in the band which is like almost 4 years now. Ya know, Black Lips, Iceage, Viagra Boys, Amyl & the Sniffers, Tropical Fuck Storm, Interpol...like there’s so many fuckin’ people. Every band we’ve gone out with, we fuckin’ wind up falling in love because everyone’s just doin’ the same thing.
Photo by: Fleetwood Jack
Q: Out of curiosity, how did Surfbort get involved with Gucci? A: Yeah, Gucci’s helped us a bunch. They asked us to play a show like two years ago, the opening of their store in SoHo, for the MET Gala. So we played for like 10 or 15 minutes. It was great, but it was like scary not because it was some VIP thing but it felt like such a strange setting for us at first. Then it turned out to be like one of the funnest shows in the world. When we first started playing, it was very loud so people were kinda stunned and grimacing. But within two songs, people were dancing and getting so into it. It’s cool when you win people over, ya know.