Feature: Ingredients of Heaven Surrounds You with Surf Curse

Friday, September 13, 2019
Photo by Julien Sage

Spanning twelve exquisite tracks, Heaven Surrounds You (released via Danger Collective), the new album by LA-based duo Surf Curse, is an absorbing and cinematic release that channels the stories and energy of their most loved cult films. Not only inspired by the themes within the films they love, but also the intricacies of them and the various elements that can be found within the artform. To celebrate the release of the album Nick Rattigan of Surf Curse explores the inspiration behind their new album for us below.

Wim Wender’s The American Friend
When Jacob and I were talking about album art, we both had a similar idea that we wanted to base it off of Wim Wender’s The American Friend. This album feels so cinematic and big and we wanted to create an atmosphere with the album art that could help expand the mythos of the album. I guess the original idea was that I would be the Bruno Ganz character and Jacob was Dennis Hopper. We used harsh noir green lighting similar to a lot of the scenes from that film. After getting the final picture I think we captured something that goes beyond being referential and created something that really reflected the world we want the album to exist in. Jacob ended up writing a short story to go along with the photo too.

Last Days of Disco (Dance Scene) 
This scene was a huge influence on the 'Disco' music video. I pretty much ripped the whole setup of a couple coming home drunk and dancing to a song from this scene. But I think the scene and the mood that it portrays was also a big influence on the tone of the song as well. When there is just this attraction that is just so impossible it goes beyond all space and time. Where two people are just completely smitten and the right song is playing in the background.

There is another scene from a different Whit Stillman movie called Barcelona which echos that sentiment pretty nicely as well.

Company Studio 
Heaven Surrounds You was the first time we've ever recorded in a proper studio. We ended up doing it at this little studio up in Burbank, called Company. For two weeks we would get up early and drive to this studio where we would be bunkered down for several hours without any natural light. We brought in Jacob's VHS TV and would just constantly have VHS's playing in the background while we were recording or mixing. The atmosphere was so warm. Just lying on the floor of that studio, eating every meal in this yellow kitchen with a bunch of framed clown and ship pictures, driving back and forth between our homes and this studio, never seeing the light of day. It was one of the greatest experiences of our lives and I’d have to say a piece of that magic from the studio gave us definitely made its way onto the record.

Our Friend Group
The people that we surround ourselves with here in Los Angeles, really have an effect on us. We’d always show them what we’ve been working on if its demos or whatever means of showing them and we would get positive reactions. Even had a few homies come by the studio to hang out. After we’d record, we’d meet up to go dance or watch a movie. It’s the balance we absolutely need when we’re working hard. We love the people in our lives a lot.

Dennis Hopper 
I was reading this Dennis Hopper interviews book where it’s different conversations he’s had over the years. He really cared about his vision and what he wanted to accomplish. It really made me think about how to always push ourselves to get what we wanted or find out what we exactly needed. Thanks Hop. <3

Listen to Heaven Surrounds You by Surf Curse below:

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