Tom Curren Talks "Summerland Road" EP and More
Mon, 26 Nov 2012 07:10:13
Tom Curren's a legend as far as surfing is concerned, however, he's well on his way to that status as far as music goes as well.
His debut EP, Summerland Road, is a powerful and poetic Dylan-esque collection of rustic folk. Given Curren's impeccable playing and potent delivery, Summerland Road is a place you're going to visit again and again.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Tom Curren talks Summerland Road and so much more.
Did you have one vision or vibe in mind for the Summerland Road EP?
I had a couple of different sounds I really liked. One of them was the ukulele. I had it tuned to A440 rather than the G-tuning, which is the traditional ukulele tuning. That was a sound I really enjoyed. Other than that, the songs are pretty straightforward and simple.
Was it important for you to tell stories with the songs?
I think so. Songwriting is such a fascinating art form. I'm a huge fan of these people that can tell a story. I'm trying to do the same thing. It's such a condensed form of expression. If you have a novel, you can tell a story in so many pages. With songs, you can say something in very few words. There's also use of repetition. It's hard to tell a story in two-to-four minutes and keep the parts that are of value and discard what's unnecessary. At the same time, you want to keep in mind that's entertainment and maintain a positive vibe. It's a whole new world for me.
What does "Unconditional" mean to you?
That's a song I was actually trying to finish for quite a few years. It changed shape, stretched, and ended up how it is. I wanted to make a statement about unconditional love. It's pretty direct. I don't think there's really anything cryptic message in there. I like country music and old school R&B, and I wanted to give it that song as much as I could.
Where did "Summerland Road" come from?
That's also one I'd been working on for a long time. I ended up with that title because there's a place near where I live in Santa Barbara called Summerland. It can be cold and miserable there sometimes, but it sounded good within the song framework.
What's your favorite song on the EP?
I think "You and You Alone" is my favorite. It's upbeat. It's got a slightly different melody. I got that accidentally by doing some fingerpicking on the ukulele. It was a sound I really liked. It was a little bit different.
What artists shaped you?
Obviously, for songwriters, a huge reference is The Beatles. I like Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder, and those high achievers in the music world. James Taylor is another one. When I hear artists like that, they're so good that I marvel at what they're able to do. I come back to those among others.
Is there a rhythm to surfing that matches music? Do the two intersect at all?
Yeah, there has to be. Being on the ocean is a lot of raw power. There are a lot of parallels for me. The ocean is a really energizing place to be. Waves come in sets. There are periods where there are constant waves, and there are periods with nothing at all. I feel really comfortable in the ocean. Songwriting is less of a comfort zone, but I'm working on it.
What's next for you?
I have some other songs I've been working on, and I feel like I'm getting better at songwriting. I have a couple of projects coming on, and I'm planning on doing some more gigs.
Have you heard Summerland Road?