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Quiet Life Motel

3/20/18 - Special Guest: Surprise Attack

Thanks to Ian, Jay, and Tom, of Surprise Attack, for hanging out with us in the studio this week!

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Podcast:  iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, TuneInPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your app of choice




  1. ***You and Me and Howard Cosell, by Quiet Life Motel (World, Jazz)

  2. M.D.M.A., by Surprise Attack (Funk, Jam)

  3. Petrified, by Chris Cassaday (Folk, Folk Rock)

  4. ***Come Up, by Jae Alexander (R&B)

  5. Dopener, by Of Tomorrow (Rock/Funk)

***The first time we've played this artist for you on the show, & a new artist profile added to our DC Artist Database! 

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-


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Our 2018 New Releases by DC Artists’ Spotify Playlist:


Thievery Corporation - Voyage Libre

Handsome Hounds Tiny Desk Video 2018

Our ‘DC Artists Official Music Videos’ Youtube Playlist:


Check the calendar, linked below, for the full list!

Fri Mar 23
Human Country Jukebox @ Hill Country in Downtown DC

Sat Mar 24
Womxn Screw Stuff Up (Clean Words) Festival @ Songbyrd Music House in Admo
Split Seconds & Curse Words @ Milkboy Arthouse in MD

Sun Mar 25
Two Ton Twig @ Solly’s on U St

Wed Mar 28
Ardamus @ Milkboy Arthouse in College Park, MD


Would you support us?  We'd love to grow and do more!  We're giving away shirts, access to our private facebook group, and more!  We also intend to set aside 10% to contribute directly in the DC Local Music Scene through charities, sponsorships, events, etc.  We want to continue to pay it forward!

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Surprise Attack

Video - Bio - Links - Transcript

Surprise Attack's Bio:

SA Full Band.jpg

Drawing inspiration from across the musical spectrum to create their unique "Mountain Funk" sound, Surprise Attack thrives on collaboration and improvisation. The group’s five members share a deep connection and a passion for uncompromising, progressive music that keeps listeners guessing and always lands somewhere unexpectedly familiar.


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Brian:     On DC Music Rocks, we're shining a spotlight on the great songs, artists, and incredible people behind the DC region's local music scene. And Surprise Attack pushes the envelope when it comes to seamlessly blending genres and improvisation. Their unexpectedly eclectic blend of funk, jazz, rock, roots music, and hip-hop, is something they often call Mountain Funk. Multi part harmonies, searing instrumental leads, dynamic rhythmic breaks, and nostalgic covers are only a few of the tools Surprise Attack uses to entertain and delight you when you come and see them.  This five piece group demonstrates a keen ability to reflect the energy of an audience back at them, and creating unique and unforgettable experiences. They're also great dudes. I came across these guys way back when I started the show, and I've been following them for two years ... two plus years, at this point, and I love all these releases. It is such a treat to now get to share you guys with everybody listening. Thanks for being here, guys.

Tom:     [crosstalk 00:00:57]. Thanks, Brian, yeah, it's great to be here.

Brian:     This is awesome. What is it that makes Surprise Attack special? I talked about the blend of the different genres of the Mountain Funk, and then there's also that ... I talked about the ... sending the energy back to the audience. What else? What makes you special?

Tom:     It's the friendship at the core. Really, we've been extremely close friends for a really long time. We're all odd. We're quirky. And I really think when we get together, we just ... we really click in a way that is special, and I think the music that we put out is a direct reflection of that.

Brian:     Absolutely. And if they haven't been to a Surprise Attack show, what's it like?

Jay:     We try to project fun. Fun is what we've got from a lot of people, so we try to read the crowd and sort of the venue, and try to cater the musical experience to that, because you don't want to just come up there with the same couple songs that you always do.

Brian:     Right.

Jay:     People might get bored of that really quickly, so we like to really ... Our name is Surprise Attack. We like to really [crosstalk 00:02:12].

Brian:     Surprise attack them?

Jay:     ... any idea of what's coming, so when you hear, it's supposed to give that feeling.

Brian:     That's awesome. So now, right along those lines then, when it comes to memorable moments where you surprise attacked someone, what comes to mind for the most successful moment for surprise attacking people?

Ian:     Well actually, recently we played ... What was the name of that bar we played?

Tom:     The Midlands?

Ian:     Yeah, the Midlands. And we went into ... Oh, sorry. And we went into Cali Love ... California Love, but Tupac.

Brian:     Stop it. Really?

Ian:     Yeah. That surprise attacked the hell out of everybody.

Brian:     I can only imagine. Wow. And knew all the words? Rapped to it?

Ian:     Yeah, the bartenders were all taking videos and everything. They loved it.

Brian:     That's awesome. What a cool thing. I love it.  And now, the story behind the name. Surprise Attack, where did that come from?

Tom:     Believe it or not, Surprise Attack formed a little over 10 years ago, the first time. We were a pop/punk sort of outfit.

Brian:     Really?

Tom:     Yeah, we were a pop/punk sort of outfit, so Surprise Attack was a great name for us then, and then we came back, we all loved jam music, and yeah, just the [segging 00:03:29] from one song to the other, the unexpected songs that come in and out of the sets. Surprise Attack just worked, and we've kept it ever since.

Brian:     Got it. The name was actually ... That was the name of the pop/punk group too?

Tom:     Yes.

Brian:     So, it's been Surprise Attack since the beginning.

Tom:     Yes.

Brian:     Wow. And how long of a break was it between when you stopped and came back?

Tom:     It was like eight, nine years after our pretty much permanent hiatus, that we all decided to move back to DC and then start playing music again.

Brian:     And when you say, "We all", describe all the members and the pieces of the band. What makes up Surprise Attack?

Ian:     Well, at first was me and Tom, the guitar ... Sorry, this is Ian on the drums and Tom the guitar player, and then we had [Gerry 00:04:13] on the keys and Danny on the base, originally. That was when we were in high school. Then once we split up, got back together, and [Jayro 00:04:23], the percussion player joined the band, and that's been over a year now.

Jay:     Yeah, it was kind of ... I knew all these guys back then too, as well, but we all ended up going to different colleges, and so we were spread out.

Brian:     Oh, of course.

Ian:     Except for Tom and I. We both went to Virginia Tech, and that's where ... I had my electronic drum kit there that I could make work in the townhouse that I had. Then Tom would come over and jam, so that's kind of how me and him started musically collaborating. Once we all sort of moved back to this area, after the college period kind of, then got back into it.

Brian:     You described ... I hear six people. Yeah? There's six?

Tom:     There's five of us.

Brian:     Five of us. Got it. And the instrumentation is two drums ... What is it? Tell me the rest.

Tom:     We've got the standard traditional drum kit. We got Jayro who plays percussion, like [tongos 00:05:25], bongos, all sorts of random fun loud-making stuff.

Brian:     Okay.

Tom:     Guitar. We got keyboards, and we've got base.

Brian:     And base. What a great ... And that means you can play any cover too, because you've got all the instruments you need to do that. Oh man, guys, that's fun.  What about ... Outside of the music thing in your personal time, I want you guys to each share. What do you do for fun? Outside of that.

Ian:     Well actually, coincidentally, I started doing music lessons. I know this is music related, but that's actually what I do for my job now.

Brian:     Really? What kind of ... so you teach lessons?

Ian:     I teach drums, guitar and piano.

Brian:     Where is that? Where do you do that?

Ian:     It's at a place called Bach to Rock.

Brian:     Nice.

Ian:     Yeah. Teaching kind of from six to 13 or so. Younger kids.

Brian:     Very cool.

Ian:     Yeah. It's a lot of fun.

Brian:     Teaching music lessons.

Ian:     Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jay:     This guy can play everything, man.

Brian:     Everything drums, or everything ...

Jay:     Like everything.

Brian:     [crosstalk 00:06:29], like whatever you want. Wow, man. That's amazing.

Ian:     All the rock instruments.

Brian:     Awesome. And what else? About the rest of you?

Tom:     This is Tom, and I'm a huge yoga advocate. That's probably-

Brian:     Really?

Tom:     ... the thing that eats up the most of my time outside of the band.

Brian:     Now, when you say, "Huge", does that mean daily, twice daily?

Tom:     Not twice daily. It's definitely a daily thing for me. Sometimes more than others, but it's just been a huge part of my life for the past four or five years. It really keeps me grounded.

Brian:     Grounded is such a good yoga word, that they use. [crosstalk 00:07:02] associated with it. Do you go to a studio to do this, or do you teach it, or do you just do it at home, or what?

Tom:     There's a ton of great studios around Arlington, Virginia. Everywhere in northern Virginia and DC has them. I'll do stuff at home. I'll do stuff at studios. I like experimenting. Doing with a community is nice, and then practicing on my own can be nice too sometimes.

Brian:     Very cool.

Jay:     And this is Jay, and I started skateboarding at six years old and used to do it competitively. I don't do it as much anymore. I'm kind of a big guy to be skating. It hurts when I fall.

Brian:     Now, when you say a big guy, if they don't know how big you are ...

Jay:     Well, I'm 6'4" and weigh about 200 pounds.

Brian:     Got it. Yeah, that is pretty tall for skateboarding. You're right.

Ian:     Everybody in this band is really tall, except for me. Everybody is six feet and above, and I'm standing here over here, 5'9".

Brian:     So Ian, the 5'9" under the giants.

Ian:     Yeah, exactly.

Brian:     Oh god, that's amazing.

Jay:     But yeah. I don't do it as much anymore, but I still get out there a lot, and still try to do some crazy stuff from time to time.

Brian:     Nice. I like it, guys. One of my favorite questions to ask, and I want each of you to answer it is, if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Ian:     To other bands, or ...

Brian:     I'm going to leave it entirely up to you.

Ian:     Oh, okay.

Brian:     It's just your piece of advice to whoever.

Jay:     Listen to Surprise Attack.

Tom:     This is why we put Jay [crosstalk 00:08:28].

Brian:     That was Jay, and Jay, you still got to come up with something else. But we do love that advice. I do. I do.

Ian:     That's just good advice for life, in general. Listen to Surprise Attack.

Brian:     Absolutely. I would say, "And then go to a show and be surprised and attacked." There's that too. Go ahead, Ian, what do you got?

Ian:     Well, I guess for bands in the area starting up and stuff, just going to a bunch of different shows and supporting local music and stuff is definitely ... definitely was a big help for us, as far as just making friends and also seeing different styles and stuff like that. Listen to as many people as you can, I would say.

Brian:     Awesome. That's cool. What about you, Tom?

Tom:     I got to say, just in general, do your do.

Brian:     Do your do. It sounds like a Mountain Dew commercial.

Tom:     It's not a Mountain Dew commercial. There's a lot of things that we're told that we can't do, we shouldn't do, things that are just a bad idea for us to go down. In particular, as a musician, that one really strikes home for me. Really, just if you've got the passion to do something, absolutely go for it, and give it everything you've got.

Brian:     Absolutely.

Ian:     I like that.

Brian:     I like that one. Absolutely. All right, Jay. Your second shot. More advice. I was only asking for one, but you're allowed two.

Jay:     Drink a lot coffee, so that it can support you to ... As a musician and everything, it's ... As you're coming up and trying to really make it work, you still got other things in your life you try to balance and get everything together, but just every time that I'm ... just kind of notice I'm sitting around and doing nothing, I just kind of have the realization, and just try to stay energetic, and stay on the path towards achieving whatever I've set out to achieve. I just try to have a lot of energy when it comes to that, just so that I can achieve kind of a good balance with my goals and living life.

Brian:     Absolutely. When you have those moments, take advantage of them and do the stuff that's important, not just [inaudible 00:10:44]. I like that. I like that.  Cool. And for those folks who want to find out more about Surprise Attack, where do they go?

Tom: is the definite place to get any and all Surprise Attack information. Looking us up on Facebook also. There's a ton of information, and all of our music is available for free for download; Band Camp, SoundCloud, Spotify, iTunes.

Brian:     That's amazing. All right. And is there one social media that you guys do more on than the others?

Ian:     Probably Facebook, at this point, but we're getting more involved with Instagram and stuff. We've been thinking about getting a Twitter, but ...

Brian:     Facebook and Instagram