In this two-parter interview, we talked with Frankie and Marcos from the dream pop project Surf Club. They are currently on tour with Weekend and Cities Aviv, and playing a show at Harlow’s in Sacramento March 23rd (21+ only). For the second part of the interview we talked with Long Nguyen, an important figure in the Stockton music scene. Surf Club also sent us an awesome mix, which you can stream below. Thanks guys!
Where did the name Surf Club come from?
Frankie: I cant really remember. Its been about two years since we have been A band and came up with the name. I mostly just wanted something that didn’t sound too dumb.
Marcos: I’m not sure I was not in the band when they came up with the name.
Describe the Stockton Music Scene?Are there any local bands you’re pumped about or any bands releasing stuff right now in general that you’re excited about?
Frankie: Definitely the bands we play with when we play in Stockton. Satan Wriders/Monster Treasure/MLTD/Kismet Aura and some we don’t really play with but know. Filbert/Get Bent/Place Called Home
Marcos: I’m sure it’s good, but I’m not really that interested in it myself.
What is the songwriting process usually like?
Frankie: I will usually have an Idea or chord progression or riff and show it to each member and then “jam” it out once we are all together.
Marcos: Frankie usually comes to us with a chord progression during practice and we all work off that.
Pick one movie that would use your music on its soundtrack
Frankie: Would have loved to team up with Kevin Shields for Lost In Translation.
Marcos: Lords of dog town or Nick and Norahs Awesome Playlist
Favorite guitar pedal?
Frankie: Probably my DD3. It was the first pedal I have ever got and Its been through a lot
Marcos: Chorus because of how beautiful chords sound with it
How’s your new record coming along? Do you have plans for a physical release or touring?
Frankie: Just write as many songs as we can. We are playing A few shows With Weekend and Cities Aviv – very excited for that
Marcos: To improve from previous releases. I’d say it’s going well, a lot of writing. Not sure about anything being released yet.
Favorite “shoegaze” song or album?
Frankie: Loveless was the first “shoegaze” album I ever heard. I was about 17 or 18 and Justin from craft spells showed me their song “When You Sleep” and I was speechless.
Marcos: The depreciation guilds spirit youth. Kurt Feldman is probably the best songwriter out there now.
How has your sound changed from when you started making songs as Surf Club or even before as Craft Spell to now?
Frankie: I never really wrote too much for Craft Spells, Just maybe a riff or two. The only song Ive ever played on that was recorded was “For The Ages” and that was just a short guitar line. Everything else was just small parts written to play live. For Surf Club we are definitely going for a more mature sound I guess. We started out playing like twee pop and kinda just moved from that.
Marcos: I was not in the band from the beginning so I was not involved in the writing of surf clubs first songs from their EP but In my opinion the songs have matured a lot.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Frankie: O’Doyle Rules.
Marcos: Not really.
PART 2: Long Nguyen
Can you describe what it’s like growing up in Stockton?
A: I actually didn’t grow up in Stockton. I pretty much grew up in the San Jose or South Bay Area back in the 80s. (yeah OK I’m old). My family purchased the Normandy Village Shopping Center in Stockton in 2006, so since then, Stockton has, pretty much, been my second home. Stockton has an amazing history, I’m always astonished that Stockton doesn’t have more of a night life.
I heard that you’re the godfather of the Stockton music scene can you elaborate on that?
I don’t take that title too seriously. I thought it was kind of funny that Frankie (Lead singer from Surf Club) would give me that title. I think I got it, cause I see so many “culturally” hungry people in Stockton and I’m super supportive of having an underground music venue at Normandy Village Shopping Center. A few years ago, Frankie’s band played at SF POP FEST. I told him at the time that if he ever needed an venue in Stockton to play he can always play at my shopping center. Of course, I told him at a bar and naturally you shouldn’t take any offers at bars. People tend not to be who they say they are in bars, hahaha. But I was dead honest. Anyways, a few months after the SF Pop Fest I got a call from Frankie asking if my offer was available. At the time I had an empty unit that used to be an illegal online gambling joint that I forced out, so the unit next door to Baskin Robbins was available. I let Frankie and his band play. I thought it was going to be 2 or 3 bands but it turned out to be like 7 or 8 bands that played? Anyways…It was kind of a magical experience. The energy was real positive and fun loving, and the bands were awesome. It was real fun and I was happy to help them get the show off the ground, Since then (2012?) I’ve been letting them use the empty units for have local shows. Like I said I’m super supportive of Frankie and his friends and the emerging music scene…I suppose every music scene needs to have a start at some point? So why not now and why not Yung Stockton? The energy at these shows speak for themselves.
Talk about D Thrift and doing “illegal” shows?
I think I covered it a little bit above, but let’s just sat these are “underground” shows rather than “illegal” shows? Hahaha.
You’re currently the tour manager of Surf Club? What’s your history with the band?
I’m actually am Commercial Real Estate Investor and Manager, I also own a few businesses here and there. Frankie is artist, its always good for artists to partner up with or have friends who are good in business. I think that’s where I come into the picture. I handle the business side, so that Frankie and everyone else can focus on making the music and the magic.
What bands are you excited about right now?
I have a lot of friends in LA, that I’ve developed in the last few years and I’m always super excited when they play. So I guess I should say local bands in the LA area like: Dead Angle, Sea Lions, Shark Toys, of course Surf Club.
What were your favorite bands growing up?
Like I mentioned early, I’m old. Back in the 80’s I used to listen to a lot of the Jam, Selecters, Style Council, English Beat, Madness, the Specials, etc. Based on that you probably know what kind of an 80’s kid I was. Despite that I think if I had to choose my favorite top three bands from when I was growing up it would be Echo and the Bunnymen, The Smiths and Art of Noise..actually….I think I can rattle on and on for days…The Wild Swans, Let’s Active, Aztec Camera…I havent even begun to get into Reggae, Gregory Isaac, Lone Ranger, Steel Pulse….OK maybe if I had to choose one it would be Bob Marley and the Wailers…but then I need to shut up now….Its such a broad answer I’m going in 100 different directions… Anyways, it’s endless what my favorite bands were growing up.