Stag Frenzy By Whitney Bekolay

Stag Frenzy is a new project, but it’s not Ayal Nistor’s first songwriting endeavor. The musician previously recorded and performed as My Second Surprise, which started in Israel, where Nistor was born and raised, and traveled with him to San Francisco, where he’s lived since 2007.

After two well-regarded My Second Surprise albums, however, the artist found himself ready for reinvention. Instead of My Second Surprise’s third LP, he realized that the music he was recording in his Richmond District home was actually the first album for a new band, Stag Frenzy.

But enough backstory: today, we’re premiering the new video for “California (You Can Have It All),” which comes from Stag Frenzy’s just-released, self-titled album. It’s a warm slice of surf-inflected pop with an infectious melody. As Nistor describes in the thoughts he offers below, it’s a song that’s lyrically focused on a sense of place, a theme that’s amplified by the accompanying visuals.

According to Nistor:

This song is kind of a pep-talk I wrote to myself. I was having a bad week and was on my way to a friend’s place when the chorus melody came to me while walking on the street. When I got to his place, I asked him to excuse me for five minutes- I closed myself in his room with his old nylon-string guitar and found the chords to that melody. I recorded it as a voice memo on my phone and completely forgot about it for a couple of weeks.

Then one morning at home, I went over my voice memos, found it – and finished writing the song. The chorus is more general, but the verses are more specifically about questioning my decision to emigrate to the States. In all my ten years here I had questioned this decision only for a couple of months, right before I received my Green Card (now already a citizen!). Writing this song kinda threw me back to that period. After writing it, I experienced this natural ‘high’ for 3 whole weeks. It’s the same ‘high’ I experience every time after writing a song, but this was the longest and most intense I’ve ever had. I felt like this song might actually be a game changer. It wrapped the entire album together and made me a lot more excited about it.

Stag Frenzy’s debut album can be streamed in full and purchased on Bandcamp.Stag Frenzy’s just-released, self-titled album.