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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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July 2010 - January 2013
Fishdoctor Looks To Turn A Surfing Accident Into Success
Tuesday, September 10, 2013

When most people think of surfing accidents they picture big waves, or perhaps even something that might appear on the latest installment of Shark Week. For New York City psych-surf rockers Fishdoctor, however, there are no shark bites to show, and their accident didn’t even happen near the water, it had to do with their music.

“We never set out to make surf music,” explains guitarist/keyboardist Michael Panico. Fishdoctor singer/guitarist Michael Romano seconds this, adding, “If anything we’re more influenced by psych sounds. The surf thing was kind of an accident.” It’s an accident, but the band understands how it happened.

According to percussionist Rocco Romanelli, “A lot of people, when they hear the music they hear the surf guitars and they immediately think ‘surf,’ because it does have the summery, light, clean guitars, and that kind of sound.”

That sound is heavily influenced by the 70s, a decade more and more musicians in the city are embracing. Romano has a theory as to why there’s a newfound musical love affair with the decade, saying, “It was a golden era, man, and I think everyone just wants to create that warm, nostalgic, sound that we all love listening to.”

Fishdoctor, which also includes vocalist/keyboardist Jared Lindbloom, bassist Alex Shifrin, and drummer Brian Garbedian, feels their warmth comes, in part, from their production method, as they use plug-ins to make it sound as though they’re recording to tape, rather than recording digitally. It’s also due, in part, to how the band conceptualizes each song. Romano explains, “We like to think of everything we’re doing as late afternoon in the summer, which is a warm time. That’s a visual we always talk about, and always want to sound like, and it’s nice when the recordings actually hit that target.”

When performing live, Romano says, “The warm gets kicked up a few notches.” Romanelli explains this further, describing their live show as, “Six sweat soaked guys jumping around and playing music as hard, and passionately, as they can.” Panico adds there’s “a lot of testosterone and chest hair.”

At one such live performance at NYC indie rock hot spot Pianos things became a little too hot when an audience member decided he should be on one of the band’s songs. Romano remembers, “It was a bit of a vocal break. There was a guitar solo going on, and when I had to sing again I went to go grab my microphone, but somebody else grabbed it from the audience, and just ripped my mic stand down.” All Romano cared about was getting back to the song. “I really wanted to continue singing,” he says, “a good part was coming up and I didn’t want to miss it, so I needed the mic back.”

Fishdoctor’s manager was in the house that night, and took matters into his own hands. According to Romano, “It turned into a bit of a fisticuffs down there, but we were able to retrieve the microphone and continue on with the performance.” The band, Panico points out, never actually stopped with their performance. “The band was novel enough to continue the song,” he says with a bit of a laugh.

With their microphone back in hand, Fishdoctor is working on completing their debut album, which they hope to release by 2014. The band is also busy promoting the video for their single “Atlantic.” The clip is filled with old family footage, as inspiration came to Romano while visiting his parents. “My mom was showing my family, and my girlfriend, all this old footage, and I liked the way it looked. I felt like, visually, it’s like the warmth of the sound that we achieved in that song, so I just thought it was a good idea. Rocco, who edits all of our videos, I ran it by him, I showed him the footage, he really liked it, as well, and then he ran with it.”

Fans who want to see Fishdoctor live will have to make the trip into NYC, as Panico explains, “We’re really trying to build our New York audience first.” Part of that audience building involved performing at CMJ last year. In addition to creating new fans for the band, their CMJ experience also included an unexpected placement of their music. Romanelli laughs when he thinks about, saying, “(The band) Foxygen, they did an interview in one of the trailers, it was a Sailor Jerry’s trailer. They’re probably not fans of us, but our song was playing in the background during their interview, and we thought that was pretty funny.”

For Fishdoctor, much like having “surf” becoming a part of their description, it was a happy accident. Any more accidents like these and the band might consider canceling their insurance.

Interview originally ran on Arena.com.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 2:40 PM  
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