Just For Kicks – An Interview with Perry Gershkow

Once in awhile, a perfectly good surf film gets ruined by a shit soundtrack. Fortunately, Perry Gershkow, a San Francisco based filmmaker, has eerily similar music taste to The Aftmth, and his recent film, Just For Kicks, features artists like Future Islands, Ruby Haunt, and Avid Dancer.

I’m always curious, do the visuals come first? Or does a specific sound inspire a director’s eye? We were lucky enough to ask Gershkow a few questions about how he struck such a harmonious chord.

Watch Just For Kicks here.

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For a project like Just For Kicks, what’s your process for selecting music?

Without the right music, surf films would be boring to watch, even to the surfer’s eye. For each section of every surf film, it’s important to find the mood you want to go with.  When you figure out what sort of mood you want your audience to be in while watching this section, then that’s where you can start finding music. With so much music out there, I wanted something that would create emotion as well as something that would get people excited.

You chose two Ruby Haunt songs. When did you first hear them? Why do you think their music works so well here?

Luckily, my buddy Victor Pakpour is in the band Ruby Haunt. He’s also a fellow filmmaker and a damn good one. His music possesses an emotion that I really think works for the parts I’ve been putting together, especially for this film.  I used some of their music in my last film, and people really enjoyed it. They came out with some new tracks this past year so I immediately was drawn to using their music again.

How do you discover new music?

Discovering new music is definitely a tricky hobby.  There are so many different kinds of music out in the world that it can be tough to narrow it down to something I can use for my films.  For me, I have a certain sound that I go for.  Being in the industry for a while, I’ve been able to make friends with people in really good bands.  For instance, two of the songs in the film are from a good friend Sara Damert, who scored these two songs for the film.  She has a very unique voice, which I think is crucial to have for originality.

Future Islands – Ran

It took an eccentric, chest-beating performance on Letterman to open people’s eyes to Future Islands’ sticky appeal. Slow and methodical, against drums that beat like a throbbing heart, people found solace in Future Islands’ emotive sound. Or maybe just stopped to stare and listen to Sam Herring’s ghoulish voice.

But since their rise in 2014, we haven’t heard any new music from the trio. Until now, after the band released a single from its upcoming album, The Far Field.

Ran, the new single, fits nicely into Future Islands’ gothic past, opening with a sweet, ambient soundscape, before turning to ascend into the oxygen depleted realms of the high country.

Mark those calendars! (4/7/17)

Trouble Knows Me, Samuel T. Herring, Madlib, Hip-hop

Trouble Knows Me

Genre blends, they’re mostly quirky if not plain ol’ repugnant, but when it works, another light bulb turns on in the Bat Cave of your mind. Samuel T. Herring, the frontman of Future Islands, and the rapper-producer Madlib have released a self-titled track under the moniker Trouble Knows Me.

Find this bit of #existentialrap on Cymbal

Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You)

About a year ago, we posted a video of a group of dudes chopping melons with chain saws and setting off explosives with their runaway RV. The track featured in the clip is Future Islands’ rally cry, Balance. The antics make for a great cut, but the video is nothing without lead singer Gerrit Welmer’s voice to lead it forward. It’s as rough as gravel – a deep baritone, sulking and growling, before soaring upwards as if possessed by a gothic demon.

Since then, Future Island has gained some mainstream popularity after they performed Seasons (Waiting On You) on David Letterman. Gerrit Welmer’s stage presence was so electric that the video became an unexpected hit, going viral and inspiring several memes. The band says that they feel “in their element” when they play live. And it’s certainly no humble brag. Search “Future Islands” on YouTube and see for yourself how the group can captivate an audience.

That being said, I’ve never encountered such a polarizing act. Some people (specifically one anonymous YouTube commenter) can’t stand Gerrit Welmer’s ghoulish presence on stage, while others relish in the strangeness that is Future Islands. So, time to decide for yourself.