Quickfire Questions #45: J.P. Pitts of Surfer Blood

By on Tuesday, 14th May 2013 at 12:00 pm

J.P. Pitts, chief songwriter of Floridian band Surfer Blood, kindly answered our TGTF Quickfire Questions ahead of the release of their new album ‘Pythons’, out in June.

What song is your earliest musical memory?
‘Barbara Ann’ by the Beach Boys. My best friend growing up had their greatest hits on cassette and we would listen to it the car with his mother on the way to and from school. [This is amazing. I had this cassette too! Wore it out as well – Ed.]

What was your favourite song as a child?
Probably ‘Semi-Charmed Life’ by Third Eye Blind. The ‘alternative’ radio station in the town where I grew up must’ve played that song day and night for half a decade. It was the first ever cassette single I bought, I think it was for sale at a gas station. I had no idea until years later that the song was actually about drugs.

What song makes you laugh?
A song called ‘Son of My Father’ by a band called Chicory Tip. I just love how goofy all of the synthesizer sounds are. The song was recorded in the early seventies when the synthesizer was a very new thing. Consequently the song is really spacey and meandering with all kinds of arbitrary chord/ key changes.

What song makes you cry?
‘Random Rules’ by the Silver Jews is a very sad song and its hard for me not to tear up every time I hear it. The slow pace and the heartbreaking lyrics are the perfect recipe for a good cry.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Pretty much any song off of My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Loveless’ will bring me back to my first feelings of being in love. My first girlfriend and I used to lay in bed and listen to it a lot, the lyrics and melodies are nostalgic and the production is lush and full. To this day I can’t help but feel there is something salacious about the way that album sounds.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
“You Only Live Once” by the Strokes is a song I’ve always turned to when I’ve felt frustrated or disappointed. Something feels triumphant about the arc and melody of the song and Julian Cassablancas’ casual delivery gives you the sense that everything is going to be all right. Its a very life-affirming song and its never failed to cheer me up.

Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
I’m not really sure how to answer that question. I guess I never really ask myself that.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
I’d say that Steven Malknus and Kurt Vonnegut are two writers I always tend to gravitate to. They both have a long list of works to their name, I’ve been a fan of both since I was a teenager and I still haven’t digested everything. I’d say they are two of the writers I enjoy the most and I dread the day when I’ve heard and read everything out there from those two.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I’m not sure, there’s nothing else I’d rather do than what I’m doing now. I’ve always thought that I would enjoy teaching, I have a relatively patient disposition and I like introducing people to new things. I don’t know if I’d enjoy it the way I enjoy writing and recording music but I’m sure I’d find it gratifying.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
That’s an impossible decision; but I’d probably go with ‘Pet Sounds’.

Thanks to J.P. for answering our questions and Tasha for sorting this for us.

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