Asbury Surf Music Fest Interview: Night Birds

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On Saturday July 11, the 2nd Annual Asbury Park Surf Music Festival will take place at world famous Asbury Lanes.  Joining the festival this year are the Jersey-based, Fat Wreck Chords signed band The Night Birds. The band will be performing at 10:00pm doing a full instrumental set. We recently caught up with singer Brian Gorsegner to talk about joining the fest, their new drummer and all things surf music.

The Night Birds Are:  Brian Gorsegner: Vocals, Joe Keller: Bass, PJ Russo: Guitar,  Darick Sater: Drums

We Formed In: 2009

We’re Based Out Of: The Jersey Shore

The Story Behind Our Name: We stole it from this horror / thriller movie. We like to steal ideas from The Misfits.

Our Sound Has Been Likened To: Surfy punk stuff, in the vein of the Dead Kennedys or Agent Orange.

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You’ve recently brought Darick Slater back to the band – can you talk about why you chose him as the replacement for Ryan McHale?

Darick actually filled in for a tour for us in 2010. I’ve been friends with him through playing in bands for years. Our bands had toured together a few times. He lived in Maryland at the time (still does) and our band was at a point where a long distance relationship really wasn’t going to work out. We were making little-to-no money, playing a ton of local shows which didnt make sense for him to make six hours worth of commute for.

He was also considering a move to California and had a pretty full time job going on… Lots of reasons it wasn’t going to work out for him to join full time at that point. So Ryan Joined, and then fast forward five years later. My wife and I have a baby which puts a limit on the random one-off local shows we could do, we sign to Fat Wreck, and part ways with Ryan. We asked Darick and this time it just made much more sense, and we can afford to work around the semi-long distance relationship thing. In the past few years Darick has roadied on tours we’ve done, released an all surf instrumental 7″ we did on his label, Wallride Record, has put us up at his place and even let us play his basement. He’s always been one of the bands closest friends, so it was a really natural transition.

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You’ve got a new record coming out on Fat Wreck Chords, how do you feel this record stands out from the rest of your albums?

Personally, overall I think it’s our best full length. From the song writing, to the playing, and production. We knew that for a lot of people this would be the first Night Birds album they would hear, so it had to be strong. Writing an LP is so much god damned work, and hard to create. Especially a 3rd LP! 12 songs of punk music is way more difficult to keep interesting than a two-song 45, or even four songs. But we took our time and worked it out over two years and the end result is exactly what I’d hoped it would be.

What do you love about being in Night Birds?

Getting to go rad places that otherwise my broke ass would never be able to afford to go. Hawaii, London, Slovenia, Paris, Vancouver, Copenhagen, Italy, all over the US! Basically, traveling around making noise with my friends.

There’s an endless sea of surf bands, and bands influenced by the surf sound — what separates you guys from everyone else?

We’re more a punk band than a surf band, but we think we do the surf sound justice. Not a whole lot of bands doing this kind of stuff at the moment, not to my knowledge anyway.

What is it about surf music that inspired you to form a band and play this type of music?

It’s manic and fast and full of hooks and jerky time signatures. Just fun to play.

What is the ultimate surf rock anthem of all-time, and why?

Uhhh… Helen Keller’s “Surfin With Steve and E.D. Amin”… sounds like cave man rock. I don’t even know if this would be considered a surf song, but has surfy tendencies. It’s a good example of of how I think surf and punk can meld in a rad way.

What is your ultimate go-to surf-inspired/beachy style drink (e.g. Mai-Tai, Zombie, Margarita, a specific beer, etc.)?

Sex on the beach. I don’t drink, but it’s got a cool name.

What are you most excited about for the band for the rest of 2015?

Our new album coming out in the Fall then touring and getting the fuck outta here!

The Night Birds perform at 10pm at The Asbury Park Surf Music Festival at The Asbury Lanes. The play an instrumental set at 10pm. Click here for tickets.


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Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites