Nada Surf is an American alternative rock band. Formed in 1992, the New York band consists of Matthew Caws (guitar, vocals), Ira Elliot (drums, backup vocals) and Daniel Lorca (bass, backup vocals).
Nada Surf was formed in the early nineties by Matthew Caws and Daniel Lorca. Concerning the band's name, Matthew said, "it's actually referring to something much more existential, it's just surfing on nothing. Being lost in your head or in your imagination but you know, whenever I listen to music I always find myself off somewhere. Somewhere in space. You know, in mental space and it's a reference to that."
They met in the Lycée français de New York (USA); both spent some of their childhood in France and Belgium. They played in many bands, including The Cost of Living and Because Because Because. Their first drummer, Dan (later alluded to in the song "The Plan" from the album High/Low), was replaced by Aaron Conte, with whom the band recorded its first 7", The Plan/Telescope (1994/Stickboy), as well as the demo tape Tafkans, the raw version of High/Low. Those raw versions were later released on their second 7", Deeper Well/Pressure Free (1995/Deep Elm Records), on the Karmic EP and on North 6th Street.
Conte left the band in January 1995 and was replaced by Ira Elliot, former drummer of the Fuzztones (1984–1985), a very active band of the eighties NYC scene, of whom both Caws and Lorca were fans. Caws and Lorca had always intended to invite him to join, but wanted to wait until they improved as musicians. Elliot's arrival infused a new energy into the band; Caws and Lorca's ambitions greatly increased, partly to ensure Ira stayed with the band.
After a show at the Knitting Factory, Nada Surf met former Cars frontman and Weezer producer Ric Ocasek. With little hope, they presented him with a copy of Tafkans. Three weeks later, Ocasek called back with news of his intention to produce the band's album. At the same time, the band was finalizing a contract with Elektra Records, through an executive, Terry Tolkin, who was working for its indie branch, No.6 Records, on which their release, the Karmic EP had been released in 1995.
Negotiations with Elektra did not pan out, so Ocasek connected the band with Maverick Records. The band flew to Los Angeles for a hectic audition; Caws had the flu, and they had to rent gear.
High/Low was recorded and mastered in January 1996 within a 19-day period. The recording was paid for by Elektra before the band signed its contract on January 18, 1996.
During the summer of 1996, as Nada Surf toured the United States with Superdrag, their song "Popular" became a summer anthem, and the band toured overseas.
In Europe, The Proximity Effect was released in September 1998, produced by Fred Maher. However, the album did not gain commercial success in the United States.
Their record label, thinking the album lacked a hit like "Popular", had the band record many covers, including "Black & White" (The dBs) and "Why Are You So Mean To Me?" (Vitreous Humor), to use them as singles.
Tired of the requirements of the A&R director, the band judged the album was complete and perfect as-is (even though Elektra even suggested the inclusion of an acoustic version of "Popular"), and broke its contract. As a consequence, Elektra did not release the album in the US and dropped the band while they were on a promotional tour in Europe. Despite these events, this album was critically acclaimed in France, where the band made a 30-show tour in March 1999.
Independent period and resurgence
After being dropped by Elektra, the band waged a legal battle to get the rights to The Proximity Effect; the litigation ended in the year 2000 and the band released the album in August 2000 on their own label, MarDev (named after Caws' maternal grandmother, Margaret Devereux Lippitt, daughter of the painter Margaret Walthour Lippitt). Following the album's release, Nada Surf performed at their record release party at Luna Lounge in New York City and toured intensively for several months to rebuild their North American fan base.
During this three-year forced break (1999–2002), the band members took regular day jobs: Caws worked at a nearby record store, while Lorca worked on some computer projects and Elliot did drum and guitar session work for other artists. Caws would later refer to these times as a period of luxury.
In 2001, they recorded most of the songs for Let Go, produced by their friends Louie Lino and Chris Fudurich, who had engineered The Proximity Effect. The band paid them with $1 and $5 bills, the money earned from tour merchandise sales. Let Go was critically acclaimed, with the "Inside of Love" single receiving decent airplay. The release was followed by many months of touring, including many European festivals in the summer of 2003.
Nada Surf followed Let Go with The Weight Is a Gift (produced by Chris Walla, among others) in 2005. The band finished touring for The Weight Is a Gift in October 2006.
In March and August 2007, the band recorded their fifth album, Lucky, with producer John Goodmanson in the Robert Lang Studios in Seattle. The album was released on February 4, 2008 in Europe and on February 5, 2008 in the US.
Nada Surf was featured on the cover of Beyond Race magazine for the publication's winter 2008 issue.
Nada Surf's song "No Quick Fix" was featured as the Spinner MP3 of the Day in 2008.
Their sixth album, If I Had A Hi-Fi, features their take on 12 of the band's favorite songs from other bands and artists. Milwaukee noise rock band IfIHadAHiFi plans to reciprocally title their forthcoming 2011 album Nada Surf.
Nada Surf will be releasing their 7th studio album called The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy on January next year.