"...In 2012 the Australian duo—credited on LP sleeves as the rather fanciful Penny Van Hazelberg and Leroy Nania, today answering as simply Penny and Lee—released their debut album Deep Fantasy. Its 10 tracks of sun-warped yacht rock and ’80s boogie came on like a fever dream of idyllic summers past, and was met with a modestly positive reaction, selling out a couple of runs of 75 copies on Penny’s own cassette label, Airlines. Then, not much happened—until about 18 months ago. “The Facebook page likes, the view counts, suddenly started going up and up and up,” says Lee, over Skype from their native Melbourne. “But we sort of still don’t know why,” he puzzles. “We don’t know what triggered it.”
Today, Deep Fantasy sits among Bandcamp’s top sellers; original cassette copies of the album sell on Discogs in the region of $400, and a recent vinyl pressing on the New York label 100% Electronica sold out in the blink of an eye. All this must be a strange turn of affairs for Lee and Penny, who have played just a handful of gigs as S U R F I N G, and by reflex, remain modest about their prospects. “When George [Clanton, 100% Electronica founder] said he was going to press 400, we thought ‘He’s going to be holding onto those for a while,’” confesses Penny. “We were sort of concerned about that.” Lee agrees: “We didn’t want to leave him in the lurch or anything.” They needn’t have worried: the entire run sold out in just six hours.
Their humility is such that perhaps it’s Clanton who remains best placed to advocate for Deep Fantasy. In addition to running 100% Electronica, Clanton also records as Mirror Kisses and ESPRIT, and is one of the leading lights of vaporwave, a largely internet-based genre dealing in hazy, hypnogogic textures and a wistful, sometimes curdled nostalgia. Clanton says that in this scene, Deep Fantasy has attained legendary status. “In 2012, the vaporwave genre was still relatively new. Anything that seemed vapey was studied closely by all the would-be vaporwave producers of 2016. From inside this community, Deep Fantasy is seen as a kind of outlier, with its original vocals and traditional song structure.” Which, he thinks, works in its favor. “I liked that S U R F I N G seemed to use more real instruments and the songs were catchier,” he says. “The thing I like most about it is that the melodies are first class.”
S U R F I N G, says Lee, began as a side project while the pair were playing in another band. “The creative direction [in that band] was just a little bit different than what we wanted to do,” says Lee. “Just a matter of taste I guess.” Then, one day Penny sent him an idea he’d worked up in his spare time. “It was just like, do you want to try to do something with this?” And just like that, S U R F I N G was born..."
-Louis Pattison, Bandcamp Daily (daily.bandcamp.com/2016/09/13/surfing-deep-fantasy-interview/