Junkie XL Takes A Look At The History Of Surf Music for Distance Between Dreams!

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Distance Between Dreams by Tom Holkenborg AKA Junkie XL is out now!  The synth-heavy score was composed for Red Bull Media House’s second feature in The Unrideables franchise, with this installment starring surfer Ian Walsh.  The film documents surfer Walsh as he sets mind and body in motion to redefine the upper limits of what’s considered “rideable.”

Holkenborg’s score owes as much to surf music as it does to synths and with that being said, Holkenborg recently took to his official Facebook page to give you his account, on the history of surf music.

The first wave of surf music was basically instrumental rock and roll between 1956-1964. It featured spring reverb-drenched electric guitars played to evoke the sound of crashing waves, largely pioneered by Dick Dale and the Del-Tones. Despite being quite synth heavy, my DistanceBetweenDreams score does indeed honor this tradition of reverb-heavy guitars at key moments.

Surf music really came into the mainstream around 1964 led by The Beach Boys. They and other groups like Jan & Dean and Bruce & Terry gave life to what became known as “vocal surf”. It had more African-American elements like doo wop, scat singing and tight harmonies. However, Dick Dale was famously quoted, “[their] music wasn’t surfing music, the words made them surfing songs. That’s the difference, real surfing music is instrumental.”

Hot rod music (or hot rod rock) was an evolution from surf music. Hot rods were a common theme in American pop music, but “hot rod rock” was closely associated with the unique California sound of the early to mid-1960s – rich vocal harmonies, amplified electric guitars, and youth-oriented lyrics (hot rods, surfing, and girls).

Author Geoffrey Himes was right on the money when he said hot rod music was, “Less percussive staccato and more chiming riffs. Instead of slang about waxes and boards; you used slang about carburetors and pistons; instead of name-dropping the top surfing beaches, you cited the nicknames for the top drag-racing strips; instead of warning about the dangers of a ‘Wipe Out,’ you warned of ‘Deadman’s Curve.'”

Surf music (including hot rod music) essentially died with the British Invasion around 1964 with the emergence of garage rock, folk rock, blues rock and later psychedelic rock. Only The Beach Boys were able to maintain their popularity, but only after attempting to move away from their initial surf image.

In the early 80s, we got our first taste of surf punk – a revival of the original surfing sound. Groups like Forgotten Rebels and Agent Orangerecorded punk covers of surf classics like “Misirlou”, “Mr Moto”, and “Pipeline”. These groups really pushed the boundaries of the punk/hardcore scene.

Distance Between Dreams (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Junkie XL

01. Stranded
02. The Shore
03. The Workx
04. Always Ready
05. Dark Beaches
06. Dark Blue Hours
07. Deep Cut
08. Distant Lights
09. Increasing Vibes
10. Jaws
11. Wave Waters

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