Huntington Beach, California quintet HB Surround Sound are currently on a run opening up for Sublime with Rome, Pennywise, The Descendents, and Julian Marley… Not a bad gig for a band that is only 2.5 years old! With a wide range of influences and a genre-bending style, the group fuse some of the finer elements of New Wave, Rock n Roll, with a nice touch of Ska/Reggae to make for a great soundtrack to an epic party.
Catching the guys on July 9th in Utica, NY of all places, I chatted with singer Jake Bushnell for a few minutes and found it only appropriate to get his words down in print for a quick Drive-By interview, so here you go!
G- Jake, what’s going on, man? How’s everything going?
J- Everything is going absolutely great! We’re on a big tour with bands we’ve always looked up to, and I couldn’t be happier.
G- Nice. Now, there’s a first time for everything, and this is the first time I’ve ever heard of or seen you guys. For some of our readers and those who aren’t here, introduce everybody in the group… Who is everybody ,where are you from, and what does everybody play?
J- Alright. Well, we are HB Surround Sound, and we are from Huntington Beach, California. We’re just 5 dudes who’ve known each other our whole lives.
I’m Jake. Our bass man is Mike, our drummer Tim, the other singer is Matt, and our guitar player is Mr. Cooper. I don’t know what else to tell you… We’re just surfer kids from Huntington Beach and we’re doing what we love: Playing music!
G- Dig it. So, when did you guys get started, man?
J- We actually got started way back when we were little kids in 1999, if you can believe it. And we played for 6 or 7 years, but we were just kids. We were partying, and we were really just having a good time more than being serious. So, we took a few years off, went to college, and finished all that stuff, and then we decided to do this again, except be serious about it. We started back up in 2011, and look at this… 2013, and we’re on a nationwide tour with some big bands!
G- Sublime with Rome, Pennywise, Julian Marley, and The Descendents on some of the dates, too?!
J- Yup! I am so excited to play with The Descendents! Growing up in Southern California, we grew up right next to The Descendents and right next to Sublime and Pennywise. I’ve really looked up to these bands since I was 13 and 14, so I cannot wait to meet The Descendents!
G- Right on. Now, you just handed me a 4 song EP for free… Are you currently touring an album? What are you guys working on right now?
J- Well, here’s the deal: We are a newer band and we’ve never been to the East Coast, so we realize that not many people know who we are, and it’s hard to ask somebody to buy a cd when they don’t know you. They are there to but stuff from the big bands that they came to see.
So, we said let’s just prove to our fans and give them a free cd, and if they like it, they can support us in the future. So, that’s what we’re doing.
G- Dig it. So, is this the first national tour that you’ve ever been on?
J- Full national. Well, we were lucky to go on tour with The Dirty Heads, Sublime with Rome, and Cypress Hill last summer, but we only got as far as Pittsburgh. So, this is our real first time on the East Coast.
G- Damn man!
J- We couldn’t be luckier.
G- Yeah man!
So, are you guys partiers? You’re touring with Sublime and Cypress Hill… You party animals or what?
J- You know what, we’re not. I mean, we do drink and we’ll do our thing but, for those of you who can’t see us, we dress very sharply and we tuck in our shirts. Our hair is combed just so, and we really take this serious. We’re here to play the best music we can play. Partying is easy. It’s not our first concern.
G- (Laughing) Alright! And you are very sharp dressed fellows.
J- Thank you, sir!
G- In regards to the 4-song EP and the 10 songs you have going on over there, tell us about the recording and writing process… Who was behind the boards and how long did it take you guys to write the stuff?
J- Cool. We did our EP at Revolution 9 recording studios in Hollywood with our boy Danny over there, and the recording process was brilliant.
Danny’s roommate actually saw us play live, and then told Danny that he needs to work with us. So, he called us and said come into my studio. This 4-song EP is the direct result of his roommate seeing us, him calling us, and us going in there. We did two or three 26 hour sessions where we did not leave. We plugged it out and didn’t leave until we loved what we had, and it took us about 3 solid weeks of really busting our ass to get the four songs.
G- And this is all DIY, correct?
G- Are you shopping it around right now?
J- We currently now have a booking agent. We haven’t met him yet… We got him on this tour. We do have a label that wants to do a record with us. Nothing is signed, so I won’t say anything, but things are happening.
G- I’m with that. So let’s get a bit deeper for a minute. Do you have a favorite song that you’ve ever written or one that is most fun to perform? Or, if you could only give one song to someone who’d never heard HB Surround Sound before, to try to make a new fan, what song would you give them and why?
J- I would give them “Coexist” off of our new 4-song EP. Personally, it’s the best song I’ve ever written, and it seems to be one that our fans really love a lot.
We have another singer named Matt, and he writes his own songs, so Matt’s best song, in my opinion, is called “This is Rock N Roll.” Both those songs are on our 4-song EP called Turn It On, and you can download it on our website for free. I think those 2 songs right there really say what we’re doing right now.
G- Alright. Now, 4 albums every fan of HB Surround Sound should have in their collection. Go!
J- OK. Good one. Alright… That’s a shocker, but great question.
I think everybody should have Bad Religion Recipe for Hate. I think it’s just a frickin’ rad album from Bad Religion. I think everybody should have Sublime’s self-titled. I think everybody should have The Clash London Calling. Absolutely. If you don’t have that, shame should come upon you. And I think that everybody should pick up… If you don’t have one of The Strokes albums, then there is a whole style you aren’t dealing with, and you really should.
G- Simple, laid down, just there.
J- I think The Strokes are probably my favorite modern band.
G- I like how they just play their songs. They get up there and knock it out.
J- Every time. And we can’t stop listen to Arctic Monkeys in the van right now.
G- Right on.
Now, this is Sublime with Rome, Julian Marley, and Pennywise. You’ll be on the road with The Descendents, and you’ve already toured with Cypress Hill. I’m sure the list goes on and on, but are there any bands or artists that you hope to go on tour with in the future, or if you could curate your own feasible 3-band dream lineup, who would you want to go on the road with?
J- I would want to go on the road with… I think this would be the greatest lineup ever: Queens of the Stone Age, The Strokes, and HB Surround Sound.
G- That’d be an expensive ticket right there!
J- Yes it would. And the catering would be fucking phenomenal on that tour!
G- Would you have any fun riders on that tour? Brown M&M’s or anything?
J- We’re so not rock stars that we’re shy with our rider (laughs.) We’re like ‘Are we asking for too much?’ We’re not there yet.
G- Towels and water?
J- (laughing) Yeah. People are like ‘Are you sure you don’t want more?’
G- Alright. So, you’re only 3 shows deep into this tour right now, and Utica isn’t the most bustling town, but there’s a good crowd out here…
J- Great turnout!
G- But you guys are 3,000 miles from home and I’d like to know: What was your favorite show to date?
J- By far, the best and craziest show we’ve ever played to date was in El Paso, Texas last summer on the Sublime/Pepper/Cypress Hill tour. We were the first band, and no one had ever heard of us in El Paso. It was a 6,500 hundred person airplane hanger, and it was 100% sold out and 100% packed before we even went on as the first band.
We were nervous as shit, and the second we walked out on stage, the entire 6,500 people started screaming and losing their mind! Not because they knew who we were, but because we were about to play music, and the crowd did not stop screaming for the entire set. You can go to our Youtube page and you’ll find our show in El Paso to see for yourself the magic that was that night. Until something tops that, it will always be the best we’ve ever done!
G- Alright! Now, You guys are working hard and building right now, and the music dream never dies. You guys played as kids, went to college, and are now back to it. From your experience, what advice can you give some of the kids out here who want to come out here and do what you’re doing?
J- I gotta tell you, kids: Be unique! IT’S GREAT TO LOOK UP TO BAND AND YOU HAVE TO DO THAT, BUT DON’T TRY TO BE THOSE BANDS. Be yourself and put yourself out there. That is why we dress as we do… We’re trying to be unique.
There are so many great bands out there and so many cool styles, and if you’re just gonna be lazy about it, you’re going to make it harder on yourself. Get unique. Dress up your instruments and make them unique. Dress yourself up. Make yourself memorable.
And kids, nobody wants autographs these days. They want pictures on Facebook with you. So, man, look sharp! You don’t want to get caught on Facebook looking sloppy, so that’s what I can say, man! Look your best, look unique, make your instrument unique, and bedazzle the shit out of yourselves. Don’t be afraid to be you!
G- Look at this guy! Right on, man!
HB Surround Sound from Huntington Beach! Jake, you guys have a great run coming up, and we look forward to hearing more from you in the future, so thank you very much again for taking the time to speak with Live High Five today. Travel safe, play well, and let’s get you back to the east coast soon!
J- You got it. Thank you very much!