If you don’t know who Surfjan Stevens is then there’s a good chance you might not be into electronica or indie rock or indie pop. Surfjan is an American songwriter and singer that’s been active since about 1995 and has been cutting albums ever since. He didn’t get really popular until about the year 2000 and since then his fame has been on a slow rise but it’s still be mounting. His songs and videos deal with a lot of intense imagery that pulls at the imagination and attempts to get the listener to think in a much more existential manner, so if you’re more for the visceral one-two punch of other songs Surfjan might not be the right fit. His music is still something to listen to however since it could spark your interest.
If nothing else he’s got his own sound and that’s something worth claiming.
5. His name means “come with a sword”.
It was given to him by an inter-faith community that his parents belonged to when he was born. It’s a strange name to many since it would imply that the person who bears it might be in some way someone to be reckoned with, a recognized fighter/warrior, or just someone fierce and undeniable forward in how they deal with people. It’s an interesting name though.
4. He’s a multi-instrumentalist.
He does a lot of work with the banjo but is able to play many instruments such as the guitar, piano, drums, and many others. I find that impressive since just playing one instrument is hard enough for many people. Playing more than one seems like it would take extraordinary focus in order to remember just how to work ones fingers in the right way without getting confused.
3. He helped to found his label.
Surfjan co-founded his label, Asthmatic Kitty, with his stepfather Lowell Brams. There have been a lot of musicians that have had something to do with their own label whether it be starting it, co-founding it, or at least putting a big investment in it. That seems like the sound and intelligent thing to do in any case, it also shows a lot of dedication to the craft.
2. He doesn’t like to mix theology with music.
His idea is that media of any type isn’t the right place for theological discussions of any form. A lot of people might disagree with this but then again that’s one opinion among many. Every person is entitled to at least think what they want. His idea seems more to avoid any misconception on his part or that of his listeners than it is to refuse theological debate in his music. He is a confirmed Christian.
1. He’s been around since 1995.
He’s been around for a good while but like anything it takes time to really start getting noticed. He started getting famous around 2000 and by 2005 was starting to garner even more notice. Since that time he’s still been creating music and continues to work on his career.
His music is interesting enough to at least give it a try.