Although they share similar names and a similar vibe for their music, Texan duo Surfaces and L.A. DJ Surf Mesa are not to be confused. Both artists are huge up-and-comers, chasing the familiar tropical sound in their own way and creating a moment in time for their listeners to escape to. If you haven’t already got some of their hits looped on your playlist, here’s everything you need to know about the rising stars.
20-year-old Powell Aguirre first started messing around with production on his family computer in Seattle when he was only 9. Coming from a musical family (his father played piano and sang in a jazz band), melodies and beats were always around, and Aguirre would play on the piano in the house when he was young. It wasn’t until he was about 16 that he started taking it all a little more seriously.
He started his EDM project Surf Mesa when he was in high school, messing around with beats and uploading them to SoundCloud with no intention of anyone even hearing them. Aguirre knew he wanted to make music as more than just a hobby but wasn’t sure how realistic it would actually be. Right before he was supposed to move to Arizona to study computer science at college, he broke his leg and spent the next three months bedridden. He spent his time crafting his musical talent and making connections with people in L.A., where he’d eventually move and successfully bring Surf Mesa to life.
You’ve probably heard Surf Mesa’s latest, and definitely his biggest, hit ‘ily (i love you baby) (feat. Emilee)’ floating around in the recent months. The earworm of a piece is so catchy (thanks to the rip of Frankie Valli’s 1967 hit ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ chorus on a loop) that it weaves it way into your head and just kind of stays there forever. Its chill, beachy vibe represents the kind of music Surf Mesa intends to make though. In his own words, Aguirre has described Surf Mesa’s niche as being warm, melodic music to fall in love with. “I want people to confidently play my music on Bluetooth while at a beach or in the car with windows down.”
But before Surf Mesa blew up with 71 million streams on ‘ily’ (and counting) and 14 million monthly listeners on Spotify, he dropped his EP bedroom in 2019. The four-track-record features more soft and mellow grooves that help to associate Surf Mesa’s brand. It’s a perfect sound to, as Aguirre said, fall in love with as it paints a memory we don’t necessarily have to live. Aguirre certainly has his finger on the pulse, and we can’t wait to watch him kickstart things to life.
Officially making their debut in 2017, Texas-natives Colin Padalecki and Forrest Frank joined forces to create the easy-going Surfaces after Frank found Padalecki on SoundCloud. The two exchanged iPhone voice memos while studying at universities half-an-hour from one another. Both boys wanted to spread the message of positivity through music, a medium they felt connected anyone and everyone. For Padalecki (production and arrangement), he had always wanted to know the behind-the-scenes of the song making process and for Frank (vocals), his family piano provided him with plenty of chord structure practice before he moved into making beats electronically around age 17.
The drop of their debut album Surf in late 2017 showed exactly what Surfaces as an identity was all about. Transforming your surroundings to a tropical paradise, the duo brings ocean waves, leafy palms and scorching suns to every listener. They got attention with hits ‘Be Alright’ and ‘24 / 7 / 365’ and carried their success to their sophomore 2019 album Where The Light Is. The smash hit ‘Sunday Best’ made its rounds in the social media stratosphere and currently has over 200 million streams on Spotify, its infectious Hakuna-Matata-groove providing the warmth the duo is so intent on giving.
In a world so loud, Surfaces are aiming to cut through all the noise and shed a little light to guide the way. Reaching out to those who are lost or hurting, the duo “want every song to be a pathway that can lead to brighter days.” And there’s never going to be a time when something like that isn’t appreciated. Surfaces continue to make waves (pun intended). They released their third album Horizons earlier this year, performed on Late Night With Seth Meyers, and have toured around the world. They continue to bring warmth everywhere they go and in recent times we just might need a little escapism more than ever.