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Nada Surf- The Popular Vote

Nada Surf 11/19/00- I introduced myself to Matt from Nada Surf last Sunday at Valentine's Music Hall in Albany before the show the band was setting up to play. "You from BUMrock?" he asked... "I really like your site."

Funny... that never happened before. Guess there's a first time for everything.

And Nada Surf's first time releasing an album to the public received a similar warm reception. It contained the single "Popular," which became a radio and MTV hit in 1996. But two years later, things took a turn for the worse- just when the band was about to release their sophomore album, The Proximity Effect in the U.S., Elektra Records dropped them, but refusing to give them back the rights to their music. Typical record label.

That brings us to today. After another two years of legal battles, the band finally won the needed ownership rights to release the album they wrote and recorded. And that they did. This past August, the New York-based trio comprising of singer/guitarist Matt Caws, bassist/singer Daniel Lorca, and drummer Ira Elliot, finally released The Proximity Effect stateside on their homemade MarDev Records.

click to watch clip
Matt responds to Katherine Wells' question- What did you guys do since the 1996 High/Low album?
And from this album, BUMrock Reader's voted the single "Hyperspace" to the top of the chart for the fifth straight week in a row with #2 nowhere in sight. If only a presidential election was this clear.

Who better to choose the questions for the band, then the same reader's that put them on top? And send in questions you did... here are some of the highlights-

Q from Todd Hunter of Donalsonville, GA: I have read reports of a video for "Sleep," but no one appears to have seen it. Does it exist? Is the cover of "Blue Moon" still expected to be released?

MC: The video for "Sleep"... we nearly made one. But the single was changed at the last minute and we did a video for "Treehouse" instead. We did "Popular" first and then we did "Treehouse."
DL: There is a 120 Minutes video for "Sleep." I only saw it for the first time last week. When we went into 120 Minutes we recorded "Sleep" and "Popular." So that's out there. It's not a real video though.
MC: "Blue Moon"... yeah, definitely. They're just waiting for some other people who are on the compilation to do theirs. We find ourselves in situations where we did it really fast and in the deadline and then the deadline has obviously moved. But yeah... it should be out really soon.
click to watch clip
Daniel and Ira discuss xgoodwill7's question referring to the cost of the production of an album in relation to it's sound quality.
Q from Christain from Vienna, Austria: Considering that High/Low and The Proximity Effect are rather different albums musically, what can we expect from the new material? Will that certain sadness that creeps up in several of TPE's songs be a part of the new album... or will it be more of an enthusiastic pop record?

MC: There will be both. There's just no getting away from it.
DL: I think it's a lot easier to write sad songs than happy songs. If you're happy, you go to the beach or go have dinner with a friend of yours. If you're sad, then you're being introspective and sad and it's a great moment to channel on the energy to write a song.
MC: I've defininitely been in the mood to make music when I'm in a really good mood, too. It just comes out a little different.

Q from Marcus Boleman of Bedfordshire, England: What 3 bands have been the most significant influence on Nada Surf?
MC: The Who, The Clash, and The Pixies. There are plenty of others but I think those are the big ones...
"xgoodwill7" asked: Who are you going to use to produce the next album? What will be the name of the next album/songs?
MC: We're talking to Fred Maher (the producer of The Proximity Effect) about it. But it might be us, I don't know... Don't know the name of the album yet; some song titles are "Treading Water", "Inside of Love", "The Way You Wear Your Head", "Neither Heaven or Space", "Blizzard of '77".
Andy Soya from Crystal, Michigan has a couple good questions: Would you rather have released The Proximity Effect on Elektra Records if they haven't dropped you, or do you prefer being on your own? For your next release, do you plan on seeking major label support?
MC: This probably reveals the uncareerist nature of the band. If they released it right away, that would have been good, because it should have come out, when we made it- that's clear.
DL: But see, knowing that they're capable of doing what they did, I'm happy to be out of it as soon as possible. We knew when we signed that we were kinda rolling dice, and they don't care so much about music, more about money. They try to make you believe otherwise and you tend to want to believe them. It's kinda nice to be done with that baggage and not carry it around any more. Not be in the dark as to why they do things. Now it's completely obvious why they did what they did and why they do what they do. The sooner we get out the better. It took us two years to get the record back. Now it's back, and I wouldn't sign with Elektra for a five million dollar advance.
MC: The only way it would make any sense to look for major label support is if there is another change in the mainstream like there was nine years ago. Those few years post-Nirvana where the stuff we do is actually commercialable.
"Fender9879" asked: What is the song "The Voices" about?

MC: "The Voices" is about when you first start going out with someone, and all you're thinking about is the relationship itself, so you start to go a little crazy and have strange questions and doubts because you're putting to great a magnifying glass on it. It's just about doubts and shutting them off and making yourself believe it's the right relationship.

click to watch clip
Ira and Daniel talk about Javier Marc del Pont's (from Buenos Aires, Argentina) question: Do you think there is some influences of the Velvet Underground and possibly Luna in some of the songs on The Proximity Effect?
Thierry Lafarie wanted to know: Will Nada Surf be on tour in Europe Soon? And when?
DL: We'll start touring Spring. As soon as the record comes out we will hopefully divide our time up between Europe and The States. I know we're downn for the tour of Spain that the people there want us to do, and of course we're dying to do too. And I'm sure we'll do France, and hopefully Belgium, Holland, and I'd love to go back to Scandanavia if we can.
Q from Marc Rollot in France: How was the tour this year?
IE: The tour this year has been fantastic. We've toured about a total of six weeks here in America. A blast.
And finally, a question from Carly down in Australia: What is your definition of "selling out" and if it meant your band would be commercially successful and you would be able to travel the world and make lots of money, would you prepared to do it?
IE: I think "selling out" is genuinely doing something against your ethics. Having a hit song is not selling out... it's something else. "Selling Out" is becoming a tool for something that's not yours. When you sign a contract with a label, particularly major labels, "exploitation" is a word that's actually used in their contracts. They're there to exploit you. They will use your image in advertising, etc. That's the way music is sold to people. So you know some of that is going on, but how far are you going to play that game and schmooze up to radio, and TV. But are the Flaming Lips selling out for being on Warner Brothers Records? I think they're one of the most interesting, innovative, american bands that there ever was. And they're lucky to be on a major label that supports them despite the fact they don't sell a scad of records. But they continue to be innovative, that's all you need.
MC: So would we sell out? Of course not.
IE: But we'd love to make money and tour the world. There's nothing wrong with that.