Surf Gang is evolving right before our eyes, and their new album At Least We Tried acts as a milestone in the history of what this New York collective is about to become. As a return to form, Surf Gang is transforming into a Bauhausian brain trust of culture, audio and visual identity, powered by the nucleus of EvilGiane, Harrison, and Eera, and guided by the blind passion and ingenuity that brought them together in the first place.
In the days leading up to the release of the eight kinetic tracks that comprise At Least We Tried, BRICK connected with the Surf Gang brain trust trio to learn more about their next chapter.
Let’s start at the beginning. What Does Surf Gang means to you?
Giane: Surf Gang is a wavy crew. It was really a random name that stuck, and it originally started as a skate crew, back in 2017. Eventually, we moved to making music and around like 2018 we started to make some moves, started tagging the beats, working with our immediate friends for vocals and things like that.
Who were some of those immediate friends that you reached out to for vocals?
G: A lot of them made up the core of Surf Gang, like Polo Perks, Smoove Dinero, Moh, Sub9k, and then also people like Babygoyard and Five Finger Posse.
Where did Surf Gang start?
Harrison: It started in Brooklyn, but really it started even before we all actually met in person, since I’m from Minneapolis...
Eera: ...and I’m from LA. We all knew each other through Soundcloud, and we probably had all heard each other’s music at some point. One night, a mutual friend of all of ours had a studio session and we all pulled up and met for the first time. From then, we started consistently meeting up to make beats and art stuff, shoot videos, all that. And we’ve been locked in ever since.
When did you know that Surf Gang had the “it” factor? Was there a definitive moment when you realized that the music was working?
G: Probably our first LA show was when we really realized that we had it. People were in line chanting “Surf Gang” while we were on the bus and shit. That made me stop and go, “Oh, this shit is kinda real.”
H: Before that, we were doing everything basically through the internet, but you can’t see those fans or people in real life - it’s just comments and plays and follows and shit on Soundcloud. But finally seeing that shit in real life at the LA show was big.
“That’s what Surf Gang was really meant to be - a place to experiment with our sounds and ideas.”
You have a new album out, and there’s a rumor that this is your last album?
H: It’s not our last album. I think it’s funny that people are saying that - but it’s not the end at all. Surf Gang is not going anywhere, it’s evolving into something else - maybe like a record label type thing.
E: From the beginning, it’s really been Harrison, Giane, and me (Eera) using cover art to promote things that are interesting to us, and put a new spin on other people’s stuff, and bringing our own style of beats. It’s going to be way more of that, like a return to form. This is the last Surf Gang album of all the same people every time, and now we’re moving into new things, working with new people, new artists, and trying to make different stuff.
This sounds like you’re going back to what you guys started Surf Gang wanting to do, yeah?
E: Oh, definitely. Like we might make clothes, we might score a film, we might make a fucking ambient album. We want to make cool and interesting art that people can relate to, and artists can interact with to break out of their comfort zone. That’s what Surf Gang was really meant to be - a place to experiment with our sounds and ideas. We’re going to have a lot of Surf Gang projects, but they’re all going to be way different, and whenever we want to go to SGV2, it’s going to be way bigger.
So how do you guys balance workload, or make sure that everything you guys do individually all makes sense under the Surf Gang identity?
E: We collab on pretty much everything anyways, and we try to keep most things in-house. Harrison is the lead on all the graphic stuff, but we all come to agree on the direction of everything at the end of the day. We’re all so aligned on everything that every one of us is an extension of the next person, through each other.
G: It’s been this way since we met really. We’ve never changed the formula - even all the old music sounds pretty much on the same wave that we make right now.
What would be one thing you’d want to tell the world about Surf Gang?
G: We gotta keep the hoes guessing - you can't put one little label on us! We’re just going to have to show you, better than we can tell you.
Record & Tape Exchange is a series where artists share the songs and projects that hold special meaning, transport us to moments in their lives, and beyond. For our latest instalment, Evilgiane, Harrison, and Eera share some music memories.