TRMRS Shake Things Up

Orange County and Long Beach have seen a steady stream of great, scuzzy surf bands arise in the past few years. Case in point: TRMRS (pronounced “tremors,” like that Kevin Bacon movie). This Costa Mesa four-piece
play self-described “trash pop,” which sounds like teenage energy
spread furiously over punk and surf-rock riffs.

They started when two of its founding members, singer/guitarist Anthony Perry and singer/guitarist Tommy Stewart, met at a Growlers/Soft Pack show in 2009 and “have been writing songs and surfing together ever since” — how fucking awesome and kind of cute is that?


To solidify your band crush on TRMRS, head to their bandcamp page to stream their scrappy debut, Sea Things, and their more out-there EP, Tape: Side B. More TRMRS is coming next year, too, in the form of a split 7″ single with Seattle's Night Beats slated for the spring released by Volcom Entertainment & Ressurrection Records. The band said they'll hopefully release another full-length record in late spring as well.

I sat down to talk about the band with Perry and Stewart, who make up TRMRS along with bassist Loui A. Tomic and drummer Max Royer.

OC Weekly (Billy Gil): How do you guys go about recording? It usually sounds live to me — it really captures the experience of playing in a small club or someone's house.

Tommy Stewart: We really enjoy the raw energy and warmth of that sort of vibe, but we're always trying to experiment and do other shit when it comes to recording. I know that nowadays me and Anthony really like recordings from old dub like King Tubby or Lee “Scratch” Perry and '60s fuzzed out garage records like Adrianna Lloyd, the Kingsmen, the Seeds and even the old punk shit like the Germs and the Milkshakes. All of that is entirely because you can feel the high energy off those recordings is the main reason we like them.

So for the first record, we tracked out everything live, but we did it oursevles digitally, so it gave us time to experiment and overdub some parts and have fun with it. Then we took the tracked out stuff over to Scott Montoya from the Growlers and he helped us remix everything through their analog equipment. Really beefed up the sound a lot. For the EP we released this past summer, we went to Mike McCugh at the Distillery in Costa Mesa. It's an all-analog studio with a ton of vintage equipment. We were super stoked on the way that sounded.
Who came up with the name “trash pop” for your sound? Does it feel like you have to invent genres in order to not be pigeonholed?

Anthony Perry: “Trash pop” was just a term coined by the band over a year ago, I guess. It wasn't really meant to invent a genre — more to just accurately describe our sound in two words. We never want to be pigeonholed to any genre aside from just rock, I suppose. We like to mess around ideas from surf, psychedelic, noise, punk, garage and especially pop music.

There seems to be a great community of bands like you guys between The Growlers, Audacity, The Soft Pack, and Tijuana Panthers in Orange County and Long Beach. How do you think that cropped up? Out of necessity?
: Yeah I definitely would say it came out of necessity. I honestly just think that Orange County and California in general needed something cool to be a part of, and now I feel like the rest of America kind of follows what were doing here. There's a huge California culture that all the music really lends itself to that relates to a certain kind of surf and skate culture, fashion forward, art that has become something really modern and cool, and in return, people really want to be a part of it.

So do you think surf punk, trash pop and the like will mean the end of people thinking of the Orange County music scene as just ska and Social D bands?

Stewart: It's funny you say that because growing up in Orange County, all of our dads and older people I work with, who also grew up in OC, are all about Social D, The Adolescents, Caddillac Tramps. Our friends in Fidlar, their dad' played in the Dickies and TSOL and our drummer's dad played drums for the Adolescents and sang for D.I. So I think it's really rad to think about. It's just the older generation of California music, but it totally affects the next generation which we are apart of.
There are a lot of cool noise interludes spread throughout the music, like on Sea Things' “Reality Waves” and throughout Tape: Side B in particular. Does that point to new directions for the band?

Perry: Yeah, definitely. I suppose we're just trying break free from the oversaturated, super reverby lo-fi garage scene. I love garage bands, but there's definitely a lot of it happening right now. So I guess this is just what feels like a natural transition for us. 

TRMRS play the Galaxy Theater this Friday, Dec. 2, with L.A. greats Warpaint, Pangea and Long Beach's Tijuana Panthers. The show is a benefit for friend Haley Butcher, who died in August due to complications from MDS. Proceeds of the show will go to the family and to foundations of their choice. The show starts at 8 p.m. and is all-ages. Tickets are $10. Read Haley's story and buy tickets here.

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