Raucously authentic: an interview with Surfbort

Punk band Surfbort talks to our managing editor about taking part in a Gucci campaign, working with Linda Perry and their newest single.

From being featured in a Gucci campaign to having drummer Sean Powell serve as the inspiration for Academy Award Winning film, “Sound of Metal,” to being handpicked by recording legend Linda Perry for her partnership with Soundcloud, the members of Surfbort have made their names well known both inside and outside the punk community. Formed in 2014 by singer Dani Miller, Surfbort have time and time again proved themselves to be one of the most authentic bands active today.

Besides their rip-roaring and explosive music, Surfbort is known for their outlandishly unique sense of style when it comes to fashion. Mixing what appears to be thrift shop finds and high fashion, Miller says the band also uses handmade clothes from their friends like RoseCut Clothing and even Zana Bayne, who is perhaps most well-known for supplying your favorite celebrity with their iconic leather gear – most notably Lady Gaga and Lil Nas X. “Whatever, no big deal!” jokes Miller, who says that Powell is a fashion icon with his infamous style of wearing jean shorts with sweatpants underneath.

Gucci featured the entire band in their 2019 pre-fall campaign, which also saw the band performing at the press event. But the story doesn’t stop there, Miller was chosen to be one of Gucci’s leading models for that campaign, proudly showcasing the large gaps between her teeth with her signature smile. When asked about that experience, Miller says, “I had a total blast. It was really cool to be on the forefront of changing beauty standards on a high fashion level. The entire Gucci team also really supports all different artists from different backgrounds and ways of making art.” The singer even attended a fashion show in Milan.

From there, the band has only gone up. 2021 saw the release of their sophomore record, “Keep on Truckin,” which Linda Perry produced — the record legend who has worked with Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus, Adele and even Pat Benatar. “Linda and I are kindred spirits. We come from a similar background. We both were lil’ punks in SD and SF,” says Miller, “It has been such a pleasure to work with her. She is such a powerful force.”

“Keep on Truckin” also brought about another fun collaboration for the band. The music video for “FML,” one of the album’s singles, stars Fred Armisen (known for his roles in “Saturday Night Live” and “Big Mouth”). The music video follows a happy-go-lucky Armisen as he magically helps members of the band, turning their day from dark to light, sharply contrasting the self-depracating and suicidal lyrics of the song. “Well, everyone goes through different life stuff — you can break a nail and it can be the tip of the iceberg or you can feel suffocated in your messy room. We just picked situations that feel impossible when you are in a depression and we had Fred be the superhero that comes around and saves the day and adds humor and joy into people’s life. Which he does in real life too!” Miller says. As part of his role in the music video, Armisen learned the song on every instrument. How did this unlikely friendship come about? Miller and Gilbert Trejo, director of the music video, happened to run into Armisen at a birthday party for Beck. The rest is history.

In 2019, the members of Surfbort appeared in Frank Iero and the Future Violents’ “Great Party” music video, sporting a look heavily inspired by the late and great David Bowie. Most recently, Surfbort toured with My Chemical Romance, opening for them on a handful of their tour dates. When asked about their experience working with Iero, Miller says, “Frank is an angel! He’s so freakin’ cool and supportive of artists. He has come to a ton of Surfbort shows and we had a blast being in his music video. I feel blessed to know him. Having such a lover on your team is priceless! And all of MCR have been so kind to us as well.”

This year also saw Surfbort embarking on their own headlining tour, supporting the Descendents and the release of their newest single, “Never Gonna Be What You Want Me to Be” — a raucous middle finger to both societal expectations and interpersonal expectations. “The inspiration was just kind of a dear diary entry from me. I wanted to be more vulnerable, going through breakups and finding myself and getting through depression and realizing I can’t be what someone else wants me to be. I can only be myself.”

Miller leaves us with the hope of new music next year, saying that the band “is working on a new EP, which will probably release in 23’.” Until then, Miller gives us a reminder to not give up: “Keep on truckin!! Love you!”

“Never Gonna Be What You Want Me to Be” can now be listened to on any major music streaming platform. Looking for an early start to the holidays? Try the band’s cover of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”

Post Author: Madison Walters