Music Bugle Exclusive – Q & A – South Trees

Photo courtesy of South Trees.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

When you take alt-pop and add a dash of shoegaze, you get La Puente, Calif.-based indie rock trio South Trees, who recently dropped their new single “Slow Drive.”

A not-so-subtle shoutout to “fake friends,” the track tells the story of a character who notices that his supporters are only there for him when he is down and those same people aren’t thrilled when he does better.

Their DIY approach hasn’t gone unnoticed, with a loyal online following since their debut EP, whom are eager to hear their sophomore EP, slated to drop in April 2021.

The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with them about “Slow Drive” and more.

Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the band name?

Martin – Aaron actually decided on the band name by putting together two of our favorite songs by our favorite bands. 

Aaron – Yeah, exactly what Martin said! I told them the idea and they loved it. “South” by Hippo Campus – which is a bop, plus “Trees” from “Pulling Leaves Off Trees” by Wallows – mega bop.

Music Bugle – What was it like putting together “Slow Drive”?

Aaron – “Slow Drive” was, like, 90 percent done the first day we began to write it, which was back in late September 2020. After that, we just hammered down, like, another eight or nine song demos and then went back to “Slow Drive” and were like, “Okay, let’s start releasing this good stuff.”

Martin – Definitely took our time on “Slow Drive,” due to the pandemic and just getting it right.

Music Bugle – What would you say is the biggest challenge of being a local indie band these days?

Martin – Biggest challenge for us is trying to create an indie scene in our small city.

Mike – Personally, I feel that the biggest challenge of being in a local indie band these days is finding your sound and then, finding your people.

Aaron – I agree with Michael that finding your sound is difficult when around many other indie bands, but it’s all part of the fun. The not-so-fun part is getting people to care about what we do.

Music Bugle – How would you describe La Puente, California to someone who has never been there before? 

Aaron – La Puente is definitely home! Born and raised, got to love the Raza and anyone who comes through! Of course, there is no scene here though.

Mike – La Puente is home. It’s culturally diverse and there’s a sincere community here. In terms of music though, we still have to work on establishing a scene.

Martin – La Puente is filled with some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?

Mike – The fact that we’re still evolving, experimenting and improving on our material.

Aaron – I love that we are conscious of the fact that we do not want to stay stagnant in our sound and that we are always pushing to change it up. It can be rock music, but we got to move forward in every way possible, whether it be lyrical themes, structures, arrangements or production.

Martin – Our style is always evolving, so it’s exciting where what sound will be in the next few months or years.

Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Martin – Covid has just been separating us for too long and it’s really hard to make music collaboratively like before due to lockdown.

Aaron – Ditto to Martin. It sucks, really and especially the shows. We had it good back then.

Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?

Mike – Social media is without a doubt, one of the best ways to gain exposure as a musician, especially now with the pandemic. Live gigs have been on hold for a year now, so we’ve been finding most new listeners through TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. 

Martin – Social Media definitely helps musicians, only if they learn how to utilize it to grow their audience.

Aaron – Helps completely 10,000 percent. I have been putting in the TikTok hustle to find new listeners and honestly, it’s been pretty good that way.

Music Bugle – If you had to pick your own theme song, what would it be?

Martin – “The Office” theme Song or the original “Pokémon” song!

Aaron – Mine would be either “Deer Dance” by System Of A Down or “Sarah” by Alex G.. No clue why.

Mike – My own theme song? That’d probably be “Watch Me” by Jaden. (Laughs)

Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need an escape?

Martin – My escape is just listening to music or playing music. 

Mike – If I need an “escape,” I put my headphones on and go hit the gym. 

Aaron – I go watch “High School Musical: The Musical” The Series, “The Office,” or definitely, if I am truly in the dumps, I’ll write a song or two, then record!

Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do? 

Aaron – “Trust the process.” Calms me down every time and reminds me that it’ll be alright.

Mike – “Work hard in silence, let your success be the noise,” by Frank Ocean.

Martin – Motivation comes from within, be your own motivation.

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