Although the 131ers aren’t the only band to self-record their first album, it wasn’t with the kind of janky laptop setup most young artists are forced to use. The Torrance-based quartet runs their own handcrafted studio for both their own music and other musicians, but the indie rockers decided to go a slightly different route for their upcoming sophomore record.
“This time around, we were able to go to Pot o’ Gold [Recording] in Orange and work with some really great people,” says singer Kaleb Davies. “It was such a massive help, so I think we were able to do some different production that we hadn’t really been able to conceive before. It wasn’t really a difference in fidelity, but it was the difference of being able to go into a space and not having to mic ourselves or worry about anything like that. We’re working with other professionals who have got our back and are invested in this, so it added a level of professionalism for us and improved our work ethic. It’s been a really good experience.”
More than anything, Davies, drummer Ryan Dawson, OC-based bassist Chris Graue and new guitarist Greg Wilmot (who was formerly a video game-playing YouTuber) are looking forward to showing the world what they can do as a quartet. That’s not to say they aren’t happy with how last year’s self-titled debut record turned out, it’s just that they believe their upcoming release is a more appropriate representation of the band’s current status.
“We’re really excited for [the new record],” Davies says. “Compared to what we put out last time, I think it’s a much better representation of who we are. We’re excited to get that across, because we’ve been playing all of these shows, and we want a record that represents what we’re doing on stage. With what we’ve been doing as the four of us, we’ve only been doing that for about a year or so, so it’s still pretty new to us.”
But even if the 131ers are most excited for their new record as a foursome, Davies and Dawson have a history that predates the band itself. The two have been musical comrades ever since high school, so when they decided college wasn’t for them, both knew exactly what they wanted to do. Even the name of the group dates back to when Davies was just a kid and “131” was the unnamed digital genre label that would come up on any track that would now be considered indie.
“Ryan and I have been playing music together since way back when, and of course after high school we tried to go to college, but that totally didn’t work out at all,” Davies says. “We stopped doing that and got back together in our hometown to start playing music together again, and then in a really weird way, the two other guys jumped in and it formed a band.”
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For now, the guys from Torrance are focused on their full slate of upcoming shows. Firmly in the midst of making the rounds all throughout Southern California in support of their single “Face On,” the 131ers are bringing their energetic party of a show to the Wayfarer in Costa Mesa on Monday June 19. For the crowd that may not be willing to drive up to the South Bay to check out a band, Davies and crew know that their upcoming OC dates are as good of an opportunity as ever to show their distant neighbors what they’ve been missing out on all this time.
“One thing we really try to get across in our live shows is just having fun,” Dawson says. “We describe ourselves as ‘fun’ all the time, and we’re not trying to be weird about it. We just want people to come to our shows and have fun.”
“We want people to come to our show at the Wayfarer, sit down with a delicious beer, and listen to our set to forget about how crappy their Monday was,” Davies adds. “The last show we played there was really great, so we’re excited.”