Unprecedented times bring Texas-based music duo Surfaces unprecedented levels of creativity.
For those who have been obsequiously following quarantine guidelines for the better part of 2020, boredom and sloth have run amuck on the masses. Platforms like Netflix and even OnlyFans have seen a record amount of subscriptions in 2020, but the good news is that artists are still making and releasing music at a standard rate.
As we’ve seen with previous eras of adversity, hard times make good music. That’s why punk music and N.W.A. exist – and this year has been the Grand Poobah of hard times. If you’re frustrated like most, you might have opted into digging up old punk albums and other forms of vociferous music. As we wait the situation out, it would be prudent to add music to your rotation that reflects greener pastures. Texas-based duo Surfaces has just that going for them.
The two boys of Surfaces, Forrest Frank and Colin Padalecki, are both pleasant and approachable almost to a level that reaches the serene. In a myriad of ways, they’re symbolic of a long-standing tradition of American uniformity. They enjoy the beach and outdoors, which can be easily found as a theme in their tracks. They enjoy going out to eat and family traditions. They enjoy concerts and festivals, with many slated for them to perform at this year until the pandemic hit. “We never played a festival,” says Colin. “And we had eight or nine lined up. It just wasn’t in the cards for us.”
A recent graduate of Baylor University, Forrest was married just last winter, which is not necessarily a life plan for many artists in their early twenties. He talks about having grand plans for his big day with his wife and how they went up in smoke in a matter of days after the world shut down. “We cancelled our wedding that we’d been planning for a year, all the bells and whistles,” recalls Forrest. “It was the week that everything was going crazy and the news was just breaking that we had to decide. Do we cancel now or wait it out?”
That was the breaking point. Coronavirus can only take so much, right? Not quite. Forrest and his wife took it on the chin. “We knew the owner of this local barn and had a wedding of fifty people,” he says.
The duo hasn’t let the lack of concerts affect their motivation to create music, either. They performed live on Late Night with Seth Meyers right before the lockdown and rode the experience for all it was worth back into Texas. More songs are being demoed, fleshed out and being polished to keep “flexing their music muscle,” Colin says. He assures that doing so is neither a tiresome act nor a way to drum up fanfare. They meet up as they did before and do what they do best. “Our creative process was always just making music in our rooms or sitting outside on a deck and we can still do that.”
In August, the band returned to the late-night stage and performed their most popular song, “Sunday Best,” a jazzy amalgamation of horns, piano and drums, on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. They then played for The Late Late Show with James Corden in October. With the constant stream of appearances and “Sunday Best” racking up more than 500 million streams on Spotify, it’s safe to say that the duo is splitting the proverbial atom in regards to finding new ways to create and inspire during these times.
They talk about their song “Sunday Best” and how their new interpretation of the hit song contrasts the frustration felt during the pandemic in a creepy but serene way. “Both Colin and I are very simple people,” laughs Forrest. “We wrote that song when anything was possible in the world and we talked about just taking a walk around the neighbourhood, and now the whole world is forced into simplicity.”
“It’s definitely eerie how it fits the times,” adds Colin. “We definitely didn’t go, ‘maybe in a year and a half there will be a worldwide pandemic and this song will help people’ or anything like that.” Well put for sure, but still, “Sunday Best” has a 1984 feel to it when listening to the current climate.
The song, like the band, is making waves in the world of entertainment as it is now the de-facto anthem of ESPN’s Sunday morning countdown anthem. It is almost impossible not to hear the most-streamed Surfaces track not accompanying football on Sunday, and it has been pretty tranquil to hear the band’s work over highlights of Patrick Mahomes and D.K. Metcalf running and jumping around the turf.
One aspect they have tried to work extensively on in the cover art for their albums and singles. The muted hues and pastels of pink and blue attribute to the duo’s essence in their music as well as their design, but not in a tacky Vineyard Vines frat guy sort of way. “We always liked pastels but in a tamer sense, not in your face, highlighter pastels,” tells Colin. Designed and worked out by Colin himself, the artwork pairs perfectly with the music in a composed way that channels the band through another artistic endeavour.
In terms of the sound they are after, Colin describes his home as a way to be both within and distanced from their home state of Texas. The prairies and tallgrass serve as a composite for the duo’s music as much as faraway mountains and oceans do. “We always lived in the middle of Texas, so no beaches, none of those vibes, but Forrest and I always appreciated bodies of water and adventuring, and I think that comes across in our music a lot,” he says. “We have always longed for it.”
Surfaces take you where you want to be anytime you’re feeling bogged down by other constraints, global pandemic or not. The world may have stopped for the time being (depending on where you call home) but with these guys, the vivid mental picture of the star-lit canyon or ataractic ocean can be jump-started with just a few plays of their songs.
Words by Sam Farrell – Discover Surfaces on Spotify.
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