Asbury Surf Music Interview: Coffin Daggers

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We’re proud to be one of the sponsors of the second annual Asbury Park Surf Music Festival. The fest will be taking place on Saturday July 11th at the world famous Asbury Lanes in, you guessed it, Asbury Park, New Jersey.

When we spoke with festival organizer Vincent Minervino he told us that there is a reason The Coffin Daggers are coming back and they’re closing the show again — no one can top them…at all. And that says something, especially considering the massive amount of talent on the festival.

We caught up with Viktor Venom from The Coffin Daggers to talk about their return to the festival as well as their new record.

The Coffin Daggers Are (Members & Instruments They Play): Viktor Venom – Lead Guitar, Theremin, Echoplex; Rob Morrison – Keyboard, Rhythm Guitar; Peter Klarnet – Bass; Pete Martinez – Drums

We Formed In: 1999

We’re Based Out Of: NYC area

The Story Behind Our Name: The Coffin Daggers is the name of the mythical band referenced in Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett’s song “Monster Mash.” A Coffin Dagger is also a small knife with a coffin shaped handle, traditionally used to assassinate people at close range. It’s supposedly the reason handshaking became a custom.

Our Sound Has Been Likened To: Couldn’t tell you. I don’t liken it to anything. Although Pipeline Magazine in the UK said we sounded like what would have happened if instro music had made it through the latter half of the 60’s

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You’ve got a new record, ‘Aggravating Rhythms’ in the works – can you talk about how this record stands out from the rest of your catalog?

It stands out in that it’s new and hopefully is a progression from our last record. The material is maybe a little more varied, but we just try to make the best record we can based on where our heads may be at the given moment.

When can we expect the new record to drop?

The album should be out in the fall at the earliest, or by February at the latest, depending on the backlog at the pressing plant. The album will be available on vinyl, cd, and digital download simultaneously.

What do you love about being in The Coffin Daggers?

Speaking for myself personally, this band is an expression of myself and allows me to play what I want, when I want in the manner that I want to. Plus people seem to like it.

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

What separates us is that we’re not a surf band. Although we play some songs that could be described as surf music, and there is an identifiable thread of surf music throughout our music – such as heavy reverb and ‘surf-beat’ drum patterns, there is much more involved in it, such as punk, metal, jazz, blues, classical. We use no surf imagery or surf type song titles. We’re a lot heavier, louder and more aggressive than most surf type bands.

You’ll be performing at The Asbury Surf Music Festival this year, which will be your second year doing so. Can you talk about the experience of performing at the very first ever, and why did you want to come back?

It’s a very well put together and organized event and the crowd last year was great, and ALL the bands were great. Plus who doesn’t want to be a block away from the beach in the summertime?

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

I was inspired to form this band by a Dick Dale show I attended and a found copy of Destroy All Astromen by Man…or Astroman? at a time when playing punk rock reached a logical conclusion for me. Both these things converged on me and made me realize what I enjoyed about playing the guitar in the first place, which had become lost on me over time.

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

For myself I like “Squad Car” and “Bombora,” but there’s no escaping “Miserlou” is there?

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

I really don’t drink much anymore and I was never really a fan of mixed drinks anyway. So beer I guess as long as it’s not any of the American bilge-water varieties which shall remain nameless. I do like a good scrumpy cider, but it’s not really available in America. And it’s hard to say no to garlic schnapps. (it’s a lot nicer than it sounds!)

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

Releasing our new album, and the shows we have booked for a start… and working on new songs as well.

The Coffin Daggers close out the Asbury Park Surf Music Festival, and their set begins at 10:30pm


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Bill Bodkin is the owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, 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

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