By Lauren Chavez, Sept. 21, 2021
After four years spent chasing the spotlight, South Trees band, formed by CPP students, alumnus and Mt. San Antonio student, have sold out their first show.
Playing at Pomona’s Haven on Sept. 11, South Trees frequently engaged with their audience by speaking to them and encouraging them to clap along with the songs. Young adults crowded the front to participate in mosh pits and support South Trees as well as other local bands. According to the Haven, capacity tops at 125 people and guests are required to wear masks at all times.
The social media platform TikTok has helped promote the band. A video of them covering “Freaks” by Surf Curse went viral, and it also served to introduce the band members. The video generated buzz, causing their TikTok following to explode to 22,000. Their Spotify streaming numbers are currently at 8,000 monthly listeners.
The band, made up of political science major Aaron Rodriguez, business major Martin Quintero and CPP alumnus Michael Wheatley (’20, bachelor’s operations management), began in 2018 in La Puente, California. This June, South Trees added drummer and Mt. San Antonio College business student Gabriel Acevedo.
They began performing at high school rallies and private shows, and their dedication continues to show through their persistent pursuit of musical success.
According to Rodriguez, South Trees is a “do-it-yourself” band because their music is usually recorded and produced in a bedroom or a garage, leaving the sound at a low fidelity. Due to the raw sound quality, the band considers themselves to be in the lo-fi rock genre.
New listeners should expect South Trees music to elevate their day with melodic rocky tones and a romantic feel.
Listeners may be able to identify sounds reminiscent of bands like Wallows and Catfish and the Bottlemen. When it comes to songwriting, Rodriguez finds inspiration from writers such as Olivia Rodrigo, Lorde and Conan Gray who express heartache and authenticity in their music.
Hippo Campus and Wallows inspired the name South Trees. Hippo Campus has a song called “South,” and Wallows has a song named “Pulling Leaves Off Trees.” The band members loved both songs and Rodriguez suggested they put the two together, coming up with South Trees.
South Trees is committed to continuing to play shows and create new music, but doing so has required lifestyle adjustments to maintain their education.
“You got to lose sleep basically. It’s the reality of it. We got to do homework, go to work, got to maintain our personal relationships with people. It’s just like ‘oh well, bro.’ We wanted to do this,” said Rodriguez.
The creation of the band was impulsive and random, said Rodriguez. Quintero suggested the idea of being a band before 2018, but after seeing Wallows in concert that same year, the rest of the band agreed.
“It was so sick, and we were just like ‘oh my god, this is insane,’” said Rodriguez. “So, we went to the car after the show and Martin was like ‘see, see? We should do this! I’ve been saying!’ and I was like ‘I’m down.’”
Although the band formed in 2018, the members have been great friends since sixth grade. According to Wheatley, if it was not for the band, they would not be hanging out every week; music is a way for them to bond.
In late July, the band released its first full extended play, EP, and is exploring the possibility of recording an album. According to Wheatley, that is a conversation they were going to have after their first sold-out show.
Feature image courtesy of South Trees.
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