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"Eclectic. Indescribable. Fun. Fantastic. Bananas" Meet Trout Club and get acquainted with Trout rock and how they'd love to work with Taylor Swift!






Trout Club is a four piece rock band made up of four elementary school buddies formed in Santa Barbara, California. We’ve all known each other close to twenty years at this point! We started playing music together for fun when we hit high school, but only really got serious about the band in college. What started as a scrappy classic rock cover band slowly began to shape into an indie rock unit with original songs in-tow. Quique Hernandez-Black is our lead singer, rhythm guitarist, violinist and banjo extraordinaire. Malcolm and Cedric Bobro, twins in birth and in rhythm, play bass and drums respectively. Rounding out the group is Kai Zheng, who plays lead guitar, tickles the ivories and occasionally sings. We’re really just four best friends who happen to be in a fantastic band together, and all really dig what each other brings to the table.


TELL US ABOUT YOUR LATEST ALBUM OR SINGLE


Our latest release, “Land Practice,” has been our biggest triumph thus far. It’s our first full album, complete with nine original Trout Club songs, all written, recorded, mixed and labored over exclusively by the group, with engineering help from Marc Bobro of Sink to the Sea. We recorded the basic backing tracks in his little home studio, and finished additional overdubs by ourselves via our DIY setups. The album is the representation of the sound we all heard in our head from the early days. When it came around to finally recording and working on it, we had learned from our previous releases as to how to make that sound a reality, and the result is our brand-spankin’-new album. Prior to our debut album “Land Practice,” we’ve released a four-song EP called “Welcome to the Trout Club” and a handful of singles. We’ve grown a lot, musically and physically, since we recorded our first songs in 2019, and “Land Practice” is the embodiment of that journey. Listening to our older stuff, you’ll notice that the arrangements are very rudimentary and akin to what we were playing live at the time. With our new release, we’ve taken our time with overdubs and studio craft, and the songs sound much fuller as a result. Our music ranges from hard garage rock to tender folk ballads; from romantic bossa nova jazz fusions to indie rock adventures through space and time. It’s kind of hard to describe, but you’ll know it when you hear it. Maybe call it “trout rock”?


WHICH SONG WOULD YOU SAY SUMS UP YOUR SOUND THE BEST?


As mentioned, it’s hard to dilute our sound down into one genre or song. There are different sides of Trout Club: on Land Practice, you’ll find jazz-pop in “Candy (In My Mouth),” folk poetry on “Creature (From the Black Lagoon),” Americana banjo-rock married with hard rock/heavy metal on “Fog,” neo-soul on “B.B.E. (Big Banana Energy),” see what I mean? If we had to pick, the song that might sum up Trout Club as an entity best is our song “Stage Door.” It’s got playful lyrics, a biting backbeat, wacky time signatures and key changes, and diverse instrumentation throughout. We spent a lot of time on that track, and it’s one of our favorites to date.





DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC IN A FEW WORDS.


Eclectic. Indescribable. Fun. Fantastic. Bananas.


WHO HAVE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES BEEN?


In terms of strictly music influences, the common denominator for us is the Beatles. It’s hard to say otherwise. We cut our teeth learning their songs, Rolling Stones covers, and an occasional Led Zeppelin tune. We are lucky in that we all share a collective taste in music, with each of us having our own specific interests too. When we come together to write music, it has a blend of influences. For example, because Malcolm likes Swan and Kai likes Mapache; Quique Oingo Boingo and Cedric Bob Dylan; the result is a unique fusion of genres mostly aimed at being something that the four of us enjoy listening to. The fact that other people enjoy it too is a dream come true. You mightn’t hear the direct influences bleed through, but that’s at least how we all approach making music.


HOW DID YOU GET INTO MUSIC?


All of us were brought up in musical households. Music has just kind of been a part of each of our worlds since we were very young, so it’s nestled deep within our conscious and subconscious. Once we figured out that us, as best friends, could make music TOGETHER, all bets were off at that point, and it became this self-driving vehicle propelled by our love of jamming together.


WHAT IS THE CREATIVE PROCESS LIKE FOR YOU WHEN MAKING MUSIC?


What inspires us to make music together is that we all really dig playing together. For each of our individual strengths as musicians, Trout Club is the perfect outfit. As stated earlier, it began as an excuse to spend time together. The fact that we can gel as players is certainly a bonus, but our friendship really comes first and the music is something that organically follows.

The creative process can come in a few different ways for our group. Sometimes, Quique might bring in a bare-bones song that he’s written on guitar or banjo, and we learn the chords,

structures, etc. That’s the more traditional way of working on a new song. But sometimes, an extended jam on nonsensical chords can lead to inspiration, too. That’s how we got a crazy song like “Fog” down, for example.


A good bit of the song-shaping process actually comes after we have the thing recorded. Over the pandemic, we learned to collaborate remotely, out of necessity. Recording our parts remotely from each of our own bedroom-turned-studios, we’d then come together on a virtual call to mix and discuss which parts weren’t working, which were, and what direction the overall song should be going in.


WHAT DO YOU THINK WOULD BE THE COOLEST COLLABORATION PROJECT BETWEEN YOU AND ANOTHER ARTIST?


It would be so freaking sweet to work with Taylor Swift. She’s incredible. I’d love to see how she’d approach a Trout tune. Are ya reading, Taylor?


PLEASE TELL US A RANDOM FACT ABOUT YOURSELF?


Original potential band names include: “Yesterday’s Clouds,” “Spilt Milk,” Snow Men on Patrol,” and “Tangerine Sundae.” (Each is more terrible than the last).


WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN?


Don’t stop playing.


IF YOU COULD CHANGE ANYTHING ABOUT THE INDUSTRY, WHAT WOULD IT BE?


Streaming sites like Spotify are a bit of a double-edged sword. It’s no secret that streaming companies don’t pay their artists their dues by any stretch, so listening to our music through sites like Bandcamp is the way to go if you’d like to pay the artist their fair share. However, Spotify and the like are essential in this day and age to spread your music to the biggest audience possible. As an artist, it’s easy to toy with the idea of “sticking it” to Spotify by cancelling your plan, removing your music, etc., but unless you’re someone like Neil Young, a move like that can stop your growth dead in the water. So, it’s complicated. Listen to our music however you’d like! But, that’s all to say that the streaming model is incredibly unsustainable, especially for young bucks like us.


WHAT'S NEXT?


At the moment, we’re working on putting together live shows for 2024, and laying down the roots for a new album. From a songwriting aspect, we have the next one ready to go. All we need to do is get into a room together and make it happen. We’re all scattered across California, so regular practice isn’t an option for us. We have to be very strategic about when the four of us can group up and devote time to playing, which is challenging to do in the guise

of our busy individual lives. Still, from the last album we really learned how to collaborate remotely, which is what we’re doing now. We’re currently creating demos for some new songs so that when we DO find the time to meet up, we’re familiar with the songs and we can hit the ground running. We’d just like to keep having fun making music together. Whether that’s performing live shows, recording a new album, or just jamming in a garage, playing together always sparks something between us.


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