photo from Surefire Broadcast’s MySpace
In the most recent issue of Magnet there is an article on the magazine’s hometown of Philadelphia which pays tribute to the past and present Philly music scene. As I read through the article I kept expecting to turn the page and see something about the vibrant DIY indie scene that currently inhabits the city which is touched on briefly below. There was no mention of Surefire Broadcast, I like to think that it is probably only because they don’t actually reside in Philadelphia, because certainly the band’s pension for perfect low-fi pop songs should be getting alcolades from much less obscure places than this blog. If you read these pages regularly you are quite likely already familiar with Surefire Broadcast, since they were featured in my One Last Kiss recompile this past summer and also showed up in my favorite singles from last year. The trio is based in southern New Jersey about 30 miles from Philadelphia. The’ve just self-released a 7 inch with two songs they recorded out in Portland with Dustin Reske of Rocketship fame, and have eight more songs ready to put out as a mini-album, which are available from their website (links below). They have a fuzzy, jangly sound that is easily reminiscent of many the great bygone bands of the mid 1990’s like the Blake Babies, Small Factory and Velocity Girl. This past summer when I heard their heard their five song ep, Live From the AM, I was immediately a fan. The boy-girl vocals and the bright, sunny, innocent pop are infectious and will brighten even your most dour mood. There is a comprehensive interview that the Dagger zine did a few years back that you can read here. It’ll bring you up to speed and ready for this little interview they were so gracious to do with me.
Surefire Broadcast is based in Hammonton, New Jersey which is a small town. Small towns are usually not synonymous with indie pop unless they are college towns. Do you feel exiled from the rock world? Do you guys ever play in Hammonton, or anywhere in South Jersey?
No, we don’t feel exiled because we live 30 minutes from the sixth largest city in the US, a short car or train ride to be exact. We have played in Hammonton twice besides our annual pool parties that we host every summer. I think our parties have actually put Hammonton on the map for the indie scene. We have had bands from New York, Philadelphia, Sweden, Belfast, and Virginia to name a few. We sometimes play Atlantic City, but there doesn’t seem to be much of an audience for indie pop in South Jersey. We are trying to slowly change that.
With your proximity to Philadelphia, and the city’s amazing indie scene with so many great bands right now (Creeping Weeds, Brown Recluse Sings, Scary Monster, Ports of Call, A Sunny Day in Glasgow to name a few), do you feel like you’re a part of, or have an affinity with that scene?
Absolutely. We have played the majority of our shows in Philadelphia and have made great friends with many of the bands. We really consider Philly our stomping ground since we are there most of the time.
Your songs have a sound and aesthetic that evokes the early 90’s indie pop scene of SpinArt and Slumberland. Are you guys fans of (and influenced by)bands from that era?
Yes. We have a wide range of influences amongst the three of us, but we all love the early 90’s indie pop. Our favorites of that era would be Henry’s Dress, Lily’s, Black Tambourine, Swirlies, Go Sailor, Holiday, Unrest,and of course Rocketship.
In 2005 you self-released a five song ep, and now a single this year. What has happened between then and now and why so long between releases?
Well, we are very busy people, and all have careers. After recording five more songs in summer of 2006, we received the mixes in January of 2007 from Dusty and we weren’t sure what we wanted to do with the recordings. We were talking about recoding 5 more songs to put out a full length, but our careers put the project on hold. We finally decided to release 2 of the 5 songs on a 7 inch, and released it this fall 2008.
The new single is from a session you did with Dusty Reske (Rocketship) out in Portland. How did you connect up with him, and how was it recording with him?
Dusty and I (Lisa) met back back in the 90’s when Rocketship played a Slumberland showcase at the Frying Pan in New York City. We recently reconnected via MySpace and Dusty offered to record us. Being a huge fan of Rocketship, we were honored, and flew out to Portland for a short session. We recorded 5 songs and played a house party while we were there, and made time to visit with some friends. It was a lot of fun, even though it was extremely hot that week, and we had to stay cool by drinking lots of milkshakes and cold microbrews the whole time.
Up to this point you have put out everything on your own, is that what you plan to continue doing?
Yes, we will continue to put out our own recordings until a pleasing offer is made.
It seems like being in a band and while holding down jobs or going to school can be a delicate balancing act. Does your daily life ever get in the way of being in a band? Do you ever get frustrated because you can’t devote as much time as you would like to the band?
All of the time. Early mornings and late night shows seldom go hand in hand. We wish we had more time to spend writing and touring, but unfortunately we all work a lot. It sort of comes with the responsibility of being homeowners. Lisa is a teacher and teaches dance at a high school full time and a college part time. “My schedule just doesn’t give me much free time, and it can be frustrating when we have to turn down shows because of my jobs”.
What do you guys have in store for 2009? I heard you had a CD-R with new songs for sale at the New England Popfest. Are there any album plans ahead?
Yes, we recorded 8 tracks. As soon as the mixes are complete and mastered we will have an official release. We brought some of the current mixes to Popfest to get the tracks out there. We are really hoping to record more songs in 2009 and play out as much as possible.
mp3: Surefire Broadcast – Stars Hang Bright (rough mix from the new 8 song mini-album)
mp3: Surefire Broadcast – Miles Apart (from Live from the AM)
Links: Surefire Broadcast website | Surefire Broadcast MySpace