Couchsurf is not your everyday artist. From homeless to Harlem (NYC), he has not gone unnoticed. Couchsurf has travelled the country performing everywhere from private house shows to Vans Warped Tour in 2018 with Survival Kit. He aims to inspire the world with positivity and realistic views on self-growth.
His latest EP ‘Don’t Be Sorry, Do Better’ is one of the most upbeat, positive, pop tinged rock outings of the year and is an absolute blast from start to finish. We recently caught up with Couchsurf to talk about his debut EP, his upcoming single ‘Between My Thighs’ with partner Lexis Yelis and the time he did acid...
"It wasn’t until working huge music festivals that I fell back in love with live performance and had to get back into writing for those types of experiences. Music makes me whole and I couldn’t imagine building any other dream from scratch."
Firstly, I have to ask this at the moment, how have you been coping in the lockdown, what kind of things have you been up to since the lockdown came into effect.
I’ve been cooking a ton and loving being kind of lazy. I’ve lived in 4 states since the pandemic. Watched every season of American Horror Story. Written a bunch of bops. It’s been a hell of a time. It would have been a hell of a lot better if I was traveling and playing shows for people, but it hasn’t been bad.
Let’s be honest 2020 has been a weird year so far and things will probably be weird for a while. As an artist, especially an artist with your debut ep ‘Don't Be Sorry, Do Better’ releasing July 10th in the middle of the pandemic. How has this affected your rhythm? This is the time you would want to be out there promoting the tracks!
I would love to be out at festivals sharing my music with the world, but the majority of my music is found online anyway so I just have to find new ways to keep up with my audience. It’s frustrating at times, but I do truly love the challenge of getting the jams out to people that want them even in the toughest time we’ve faced in a while.
How did you get into writing and creating music? Was there a decisive moment or event that you remember that made you stop and think, wow, THIS is what I want to do with my life?
I picked up a guitar at 11 and was singing by 13. Played metal-core in high school and barely played at all in college actually. It wasn’t until working huge music festivals that I fell back in love with live performance and had to get back into writing for those types of experiences. Music makes me whole and I couldn’t imagine building any other dream from scratch.
"For sure, I never want any 2 songs to sound too alike. I know several artists that eventually end up defining their sound too narrow and give themselves a ceiling in terms of their career. I want to be open and versatile to doing absolutely anything as my career grows."
Your latest single release, ‘Hundreds & Tree’ released on April 10th Can you go into the creation process of this track a little more? How did this track come about?
I wrote the whole track on my acoustic and brought it to the studio wanting to keep some of the twang in it. Aaron Pace (my producer) suggested we take it on in the vein of The All American Rejects “Gives You Hell”. Basically, it’s just acoustic,bass, and drums until the last chorus where the electric guitar comes in. You would never know if I didn’t tell ya!
‘Kung Fu is an absolute belter of a track and is a personal favourite of mine. Is it always the ambition of you when creating a track to always push the limits of what the definitive Couchsurf sound can be?
For sure, I never want any 2 songs to sound too alike. I know several artists that eventually end up defining their sound too narrow and give themselves a ceiling in terms of their career. I want to be open and versatile to doing absolutely anything as my career grows.
You are currently teasing a new track ‘Between My Thighs’ with your partner Lexis Yelis which is releasing on the 28th August. Can you give us any insight into this track? Is it about what we think it is about?
Most definitely, straight up, all about eating pussy and having sex. This is an exclusive for folks that want to see how my writing style works in R&B music. Hopefully, I can just put out a whole sexy EP with Lexis for the world to make love to.
"I don’t want to ever put out a sad/depressing song... I understand sad music has its place...but if I have a sad subject to write on I want the outcome to make people feel empowered."
Speaking of you and your partner Lexis Yelis, you guys have just decided to move everything you own into a van and roam the country. How did this decision happen?
We moved to NYC in December and really didn’t get to dig in our roots for the year like we wanted. This led us back to my trustee van that surprisingly didn’t sell when the pandemic began. I lived out of the van for 2 years and she’s always wanted to tackle #vanlife with me so we figured this was as good a time as any.
With everything still up in the air, what do you think the rest of 2020 will look like for you as an artist?
I’m just going to keep making connections and put out content as if a pandemic never happened. I’ll probably travel and stay in places that are flattening the curve of COVID. If people continue wearing masks and are diligent about washing their hands, we can get back to live music a lot faster. Look at NYC...KILLING IT.
Nearly all the music you create has massive positive overtones which really fill the listener with optimism. Tracks like ‘Change Your Life’ and the title track ‘Don't Be Sorry, Do Better’ encompass this the best. Is this something you aim to do when you sit down to create a track?
Oh yea, I don’t want to ever put out a sad/depressing song. There’s enough sadness in the world and I want to be putting out content that makes people feel good. I understand sad music has its place...but if I have a sad subject to write on I want the outcome to make people feel empowered.
"To be honest, each EP is going to have its own vibe and story. It may end up being one of a kind unless it just blows up. If so, you best believe I’ll make a whole LP."
‘Don't Be Sorry, Do Better’ is honestly amazing. It’s easily the best EP’s I’ve listened to this year. Are there any plans to turn this EP in an album? Honestly I can’t get enough Couchsurf!
Thank you so so much seriously! To be honest, each EP is going to have its own vibe and story. It may end up being one of a kind unless it just blows up. If so, you best believe I’ll make a whole LP.
You are also a member of the band Survival Kit who feature on ‘Don't Be Sorry, Do Better’, are Survival Kit still a thing or do you love the solo life?
I was once a singer & songwriter in Survival Kit, but once I left they decided to lay it to rest. The track itself was the last I ever wrote for the project. I decided to give it the light of day because we worked hard on that project and the fans deserved some closure. I miss those guys, but I love doing this by myself now.
If you had to choose one song from the Couchsurf catalogue that you feel encompasses your signature sound, which song would you choose and why?
I’d definitely say “Hundreds & Tree” was my defining vibe of DBSDB. It has the swagger that will give everything a good foundation from here on out.
Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?
I did acid one time and saw soundwaves in the sky at a Bassnectar concert with a stripper.
What is on your playlist at the moment?
My favorites are all on a Spotify Playlist called Bald Head, Twisty Stache. It’s a solid mix of rap, rock, pop, and funky vibes. Def gotta peep Soran, Co-Stanza, and Chelsea Shag.
Finally, as we are called Not A Phase, were you a scene kid when you were growing up? If not, what kind of music were you rocking out back in your formative teenage years?
Hell yea! I was def out there moshing and hardcore dancing in its prime haha. My favorite artists from that time are definitely Circa Survive, Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, August Burns Red, Whitechapel, Hit The Lights, All Time Low, Four Year Strong...I could go all day.
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