Some might think the name Surf Curse holds connotations about the group’s musical style, but the band’s moniker isn’t directly related to the type of music they play; it’s actually a nod to The Brady Bunch.
“With surf in our name I guess it could be easily confused [for surf rock],” says band member Nick Rattigan, who strummed the strings of his guitar as he spoke. “[Our music] sounds like surf rock, but we don’t try and write surf rock, which is a … common misconception.”
Band mate Jacob Rubeck came up with the name after he noticed the tiki necklace a friend of theirs wore resembled the haunted tiki necklace in The Brady Brunch, and from that, Surf Curse was born.
The friends, who grew up together in Las Vegas, call themselves a DIY band.
“It’s always just been, like, weird whatever we can get our hands on for instruments,” says Rattigan. “We’ll have, like, pieces of drum sets or just, like, keyboards and finally we decided just to do a drums and guitar band.” He said the band’s less-than-stellar amp isn’t always reliable and has been known to go out during shows.
Rattigan and Rubeck say they only like playing music with each other, which could explain why they chose to be a two-piece.
“Jacob is, like, the only person I can play music with and actually enjoy it,” says Rattigan, who said their attempts to play music with other people usually feels awkward or uncomfortable and rarely makes it past one session.
It’s obvious the band mates and childhood friends have a lot of respect for each other musically. Rattigan credits Rubeck with getting him into “good” music, while Rubeck boasts that Rattigan “knows like notes and stuff.”
The self-proclaimed movie geeks, who both write songs for the group, pull lyrical inspiration from films.
“Pretty much everything we do has, like, a pop culture reference behind it,” Rattigan says of the band’s influences, which include a lot of ’80s movies—even though the band’s two members, both 20, weren’t even alive during the decade.
The group has songs called “Sculder,” which is about Scully and Mulder from the X-Files getting together; “Pony Boy,” a song they imagine Pony Boy from The Outsiders would have written for his girlfriend, had he had one; and a Heathers-inspired song that came to Rattigan while he was home sick watching the flick on Netflix.
“Eighties movies are awesome,” Rubeck says of the band’s inspirations. “The ’80s was, like, the last of legit, awesome, good, thought-out movies.”
But their influences don’t stop at films and television, the band also credits their musical influence, and interest, to bands they listened to growing up.
“I’m like a fan boy over bands,” says Rubeck, who likens his enthusiasm for lo-fi indie bands to that of a “Bieber girl.”
“Reno isn’t all hardcore bands,” says Rattigan, who describes the band’s sound as lo-fi garage rock. “There can be indie music in Reno and there can be lo-fi music in Reno.”
“Most of our music is simple but it’s … catchy, too,” Rubeck says.
“We want to just be an example that people can kind of make a band out of nothing,” Rattigan says. “It’s so easy to start a band and more people should start bands in Reno… all you need is shitty instruments and catchy tunes.”
So where can you catch the dynamic duo?
“We pretty much just say yes to anywhere that will take us,” Rattigan laughs.
However, the group is a regular at the all-ages Holland Project and has also been known to play bars and house gigs, as well.