Let’s Pretend It’s Summer is out now.
So. Black Surf are a Leeds based power pop/alternative rock quartet who enjoy chunky as all hell fuzzy guitars, Weezer melodies, and synths. They formed back in 2014 via the modern wonders of Facetime and Dropbox transcending distance and time zones to craft their most glorious noise fun. Back in August they released their debut EP Let’s Pretend It’s Summer, which was a four track slice of stone spilling glory.
But then they also released a seventeen track deluxe edition of that very same EP, which basically encapsulates every single song they have written up to this point. Running the gamut from synth pop to soft ballads and plenty of power pop, the collection is a humdinger and comprehensively blow the four track EP out of the water.
Ali Epstone (vocals/guitar) had a sit down with us to take us through the meaning behind the title of the album and give us the inside scoop on each track on the record.
Let’s Pretend It’s Summer
The title ‘let’s pretend it’s summer’ pretty much sums up the general mentality and mindset of the British people I think. It’s a phrase you can use in any season to put an end to that dreaded small talk on your commute.
The sun came out one day, momentarily, and obliterated the rain and my mood in one blast. I saw this thistle on the ground and took the photo of it against the light on the wall. It was all so random and surreal, it was one of those gut feeling moments that ending up serving me well. A year later, we were thinking about what artwork would fit the title Let’s Pretend Its Summer. That photo ticked all the boxes on so many levels. The decay of that winter thistle against the bright summer background had so many layers.
I was going through a year long detox when we started the band and writing this record. I was replacing old habits with a pretty strict yoga & meditation regime, so lyrically, there’s a lot of self discovery/reflection and positivity references on this record. I didn’t realise at the time but this album was the perfect therapy for me. This album is a 50 minute blast of that process.
My childhood mate Phil Jones (Guitarist) writes all the music and somehow creates an endless supply of songs. It’s amazing! I get to basically choose from a catalogue of demos to write to. It’s insane! It’s pretty much my dream job and position in this band.
We’ve just finished recording the demos for our next album which we’ll record at Greenmount Studios in Leeds in February 2017. I think we could go as far as saying, we’ve found our sound on this next record. We’re going to collaborate more now we have full line up with Tom Ramsden (Bass) and Tom Moore (Drums). Let’s Pretend It’s Summer was the album we needed to make to get to this point as a band and we’re super proud of it too.
Listen for free or buy the album for £5 via Bandcamp.
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1. Interlude 1
You can’t please all the people all of the time.
2. Rebel & The Saint
A self investigation into the battle and conflict between one’s inner rebel & saint. Taking that photo of the thistle is a perfect example. I so easily could have just left that as a thought and walked on. It makes you wonder what other thoughts we just shake off on a daily basis. Sometimes trusting that gut instinct can break you from your own mould.
Written from the perspective of a self destructive former self. The most vulnerable lyrics I’ve ever penned for sure. It concludes, with the knowing that one can just simply start again in any moment.
4. Get Up
A phenomenal song to exercise to. Play it loud and give yourself a three minute workout. It’s about a friend dealing with a psycho girlfriend and being lost in the delusion of a crazy relationship.
5. Bastard Man
Inspired and influenced by my hero Larry David. Partly a confession of my own ignorance too. When you work in a bar for over 10 years, you should be exempt from remembering names and faces, right?
6. Screaming At The Sky
The practise of being fully present in each moment with the intention of one day, looking back at a memory, knowing that you were fully living, right there in that moment.
This song was influenced by an Ani Difranco poem/song called ‘Fuel’. She’s a huge hero of mine. Dive – It’s an angry, righteous, existential ramble with hippy ideals. The solution being, less talk more rock, create or support something you believe in. Just do something!
8. Interlude 2
Possibly, future members of Black Surf.
9. Army of Sheep
This was the first song that we ever wrote. It could potentially be an insomniacs anthem. My missus has a habit of talking about anything and everything late at night. Then, like a switch, she’s fast asleep, leaving me with what feels like the weight of the world to play around with internally, for hours.
10. Burn It To The Ground
This song was a helpless and failed attempt of getting a friend see the light at the end of the tunnel. A well intentioned shallow promise. In hindsight, it was probably more for myself as I never shared the song with them. Might have been an idea?
11. Are We Getting Closer?
This was my hippy swan song that was brewing and needed to pour out. It was inspired by Ram Dass’s – Be Here Now (The Hippie Bible). An amazingly, mind melting book about LSD, enlightenment, Buddhism and eastern philosophy. The only thing missing from this song is the smell of sage.
12. Baby Blue Washburn
A love letter to an old regret. I said “I think I’ve just written a love song”. The missus said “Oh, is it about me?” I said “No, it’s about an old guitar that I drunkenly dismantled and left in a locker at college”.
I’m a charmer like that.
This song is an ode to transcending your senses through meditation. It quite a monumental feeling when you experience first hand, that you are more than your physical body and physical awareness. Through doing so, anxiety and stress has dissolved and my creativity and focus has levelled up and I wanted to share my gratitude somehow. I now teach this as my day job. It really is the shit! More info here- www.mindwavemeditation.com
14. Always A Way Jose
This song is for anyone who hates their job or current situation. Again, another experiment in sound. One that we most likely won’t return to, but it needed to see the light of day nonetheless.
15. Lights Out
A song about closure on the one that got a way. The song and the lyrics “I’ll see you next lifetime” were inspired by an Erykah Badu track ’Next Lifetime’.
16. Interlude 3
Is my legendary Uncle Paul. He’s been known to stand in for us on the drums from time to time.
17. Army of Sheep (Live Acoustic At Australia Hall, Sydney)
I thankfully met a producer called Jaco Naude (Audio Culture) whilst living in Sydney. He was monumental in the beginnings of Black Surf. He massively encouraged me to pursue the band and recorded my vocals for ‘Army of Sheep’/’Getting Closer’/’Dive’/’Burn It To The Ground’ in his mums house. I’d never really sung properly before so It was quite an experience. We recorded a whole bunch of acoustic tracks too and this one felt right to end the album.
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