Surf Club may be from Stockton, but that doesn’t mean they’ve got the Land Locked Blues. On the contrary, their sound is pretty light and breezy summer pop, with — as you might have guessed — plenty of surf rock sounds mixed in. And as it turns out, their sound is still very much shaped by their hometown, even though it’s miles and miles from the coast.
I talked with Surf Club singer/guitarist Frankie Soto about wanting to escape Stockton, his favorite SF venues, and how 60s girl groups helped shape his sound. Check it out after the jump.
Surf Club plays the Knockout as part of SF Popfest on May 26th with Kids On A Crime Spree and Manatee.
Kids On A Crime Spree, Surf Club, Manatee, Dead Angle, Cruel Summer
Mike G.: You guys are based in Stockton?
Frankie Soto: Yeah we’re all kinda from here except for our drummer, he just goes to school here. I met Fonso, who plays bass, in like fifth grade. Eddie, who also plays guitar, in 10th. And Jose, who drums, in senior year.
MG: I’m sure lots of reviewers like to point out that your band is called Surf Club but you live many miles from the coast. Do you think being from Stockton shaped y’all’s sound at all? How?
FS: I feel like it did a little bit. All of us are really just trying to get out of here, so we kinda play different than most of the other bands that are from here.
MG: What drew you to the surfy, sunny pop sound?
FS: I’m not really sure. We just wanted to be a pop band and then the songs just kinda started to sound this way.
MG: Any influences you particularly cite that you feel helped shape the sound?
FS: A lot of girl group stuff from the 60s. All of us being Mexican American we like grew up on that stuff. And The Beach Boys too of course.
MG: Really? There’s a strong affinity between Mexican American communities and 60s girl groups?
FS: Yeah with the whole “vato cholo” thing.
MG: Interesting. Do you think the “vato cholo thing” shapes your music? Are there any other non-musical influences that you think get brought into your music?
FS: I remember being a kid and every sunday my parents playing oldies on the radio. Otherwise, I don’t really think so.
MG: Cool. Well let’s talk about the EP: The Young Love EP is described as your debut on your press page, but I see you have a couple past releases on Bandcamp. Were those solo records or singles or something?
FS: They were just singles that we put out before our EP. We were kinda still figuring out our sound when we released those.
MG: Ah. You released the Young Love EP on Valentine’s Day. Seems like maybe there’s a backstory there. Care to share?
FS: It just seemed like the most romantic day to me. All the songs are kind of about girls.
MG: Where did you record it?
FS: We recorded it in our drummer’s living room while his parents were away at work.
MG: Digital? Analog?
MG: Have y’all played SF many times in the past?
FS: We’ve played a couple shows before Popfest. Our first show in SF was at Thee Parkside with Part Time. And we played Milk Bar with Permanent Collection and White Cloud, and a Noise Pop show with The Soft Pack. I guess we’ve played a handful of times.
MG: Got a favorite SF venue to play? Or a favorite SF live experience to share?
FS: Cafe Du Nord was a really nice place. And I really love the sound at Milk Bar. I don’t think we have had any cool live experiences yet.
MG: Is your Popfest appearance part of a tour?
FS: Kind of but not really. We play in LA a week after that show, and in Stockton a week after that one. We try not to play in Stockton a lot.
MG: Care to leave us with some last words of wisdom about why everyone should come see y’all’s show?
FS: I’m stoked to be playing with Mike Slumberland and some of his bands. And our vinyl is available for purchase at