Serfs - Marijuana Mom + Exclusive Interview

Serfs - Marijuana Mom, interview, barrel~dEM
Not long ago, I came across a band from Charlotte, NC on Youtube. It was the band Serfs and their video and single Marijuana Mom. I couldn't just watch the video once - it actually turned into at least a dozen rewinds the first time. The video itself - superfresh and full of color, nakedness and energy ... the song - a juggernaut of that same energy, an incessant guitar riff and lead singer Phil Pucci's raucous vocals make this one a winner.

I had to find out more about Serfs so I reached out to them and lined up an interview:

Who is in the band / who plays what / and how did you come together as a band?

 I'm Phil and I play guitar and sing. Nicholas Holman plays drums, Patrick Doherty plays bass and David Scanlon plays guitar. Nicholas has been travelling in Southeast Asia this year and Alex Ruiz has been filling in. He also plays drums in It Looks Sad and Couches. 

When I listen to your music, I hear influences from Foo Fighters to Sonic Youth to My Bloody Valentine; in my mind .... who are some bands that have inspired you? 

All four of us are definitely influenced by Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine. We'd probably be quicker to cite Sonic Youth though. Sonic Youth are one of those classic bands that we all agree on. I love My Bloody Valentine to death but I feel like if I tell people we sound like them, we are pigeonholing ourselves and they will expect something very specific. And then they might see us and get upset that we're not shoegaze as fuck, riding our tremolos on every chord or whatever. Another band from the shoegaze genre that I think we identify with more are Swirlies.They have such great guitar tones and their sound is so expansive.

What is your definition of success as a band?

I think about it the same way I think about my own success as an individual in society. It's likely I'll never find financial success -- certainly not from playing music. There are bands on hot indie labels, selling out theaters and living well below the poverty line. So I'd prefer to think of success as being happy with what I'm doing. If I could make a living playing music, that would be good enough for me

How supportive is the local scene in Charlotte?

Charlotte is very supportive of us. We have a nice, growing music community. I've been playing in bands for twelve years but it wasn't until I started Serfs a few years ago that I felt like I was truly part of the scene. I have the honor of calling some of my favorite musicians my friends. My only gripe about the music scene is that I wish more people would start bands. I go to shows at least two or three times a week and I can't get enough of them.

You once played as an Interpol cover band - what other bands would you like to cover?  

We did that for an annual Halloween show at The Milestone here in town last year. This year I think we are going to cover Joy Division, which I guess is an obvious natural regression for us. We used to talk about covering bands a lot but this year we've been so focused on writing our first full-length that we haven't thought too much about it. I want to cover Blondie at a show sometime.

How has the music business changed since you started playing music? 

I started playing music in 2000 when I was 14. I think that was around the peak of Napster's popularity, before it was shut down and changed over to a legit subscription service. So when I was in high school, I bought CDs AND downloaded music illegally. Those are the pivotal years in a person's life, too, so I was soaking in music any way I could get it. It was fun. After high school, it was 2004 and downloading music illegally became so incredibly easy that I was just putting all my music on an iPod. I missed owning physical copies of music for so many reasons. And I kept hearing about a new record store in town called Lunchbox that sold mostly vinyl. So I got on a vinyl kick that never really ended. Nowadays I use Spotify to find new music and buy records that I really like. I'm 100% legit now, so get off my back, feds.

Let's talk about Marijuana Mom for a bit. I've watched the video at least 3 dozen times and I can't quite make out all the lyrics, which I actually like - but I imagine the song is about a hot milf who comes to the club with the best weed. The potency of the pot along with her hotness makes her the object of affection for everyone there - male and female ... or something along those lines. Am I close at all? 

Hahaha, that is pretty funny. I think I will tell people that whenever they ask about the song from now on. 

The video looks like it was a lot of fun to make. I'm guessing these are all friends of the band? And the ending reminds me of a skate video I saw once.

The video was very fun to make. We basically hung out and drank beer and had a good time. I heard our songs more times than I would have ever cared to. During most of the shots where we are dancing around or crowd surfing, we weren't listening to Marijuana Mom, we were listening to random rap songs. Three people in particular came together to make the video happen - Blake Raynor, who shot, directed and edited the video, Christine Rebich, who did a lot of fashion design for the shoot, and Nicholas Holman, our drummer, who rallied to get all our friends there to participate. I think the video captures the spirit of the song really well.

Anything else you want to add?

The only thing I can think to add is that we are currently crowd funding our debut LP via indiegogo: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/serfs-make-an-album 

Thanks so much for taking the time to interview me and feature Serfs on your awesome site.


Here is some more great music from Serfs:


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