Straight out of Huntington Beach, CA, HB Surround Sound are no strangers to the music scene. Having formed in the late 90s and putting out 3 albums before taking time off in 2006, HB Surround Sound was known for originally blending Punk Rock, Metal & Reggae. They were responsible in the early 2000s for introducing Dirty Heads by giving Duddy B (Dustin Bushnell) & Dirty J (Jared Watson) a platform to showcase their talent at live shows. But this is all about HB Surround Sound and their return to the stage after a few years off as they’re back with a new EP titled Back to Reality that clearly indicates the new direction the group is taking with their music. With a new drummer and sound, here’s what front man Jake Bushnell had to say when The Pier dropped in for a few questions…
The Pier: Since we last saw you guys, you have recently added a new member to the group? Can you please tell us about him? What was the reasoning behind that?
HBSS: Tim Tintari is a childhood friend of ours and was always known as the best drummer around. He was the guy that inspired me to start playing drums after seeing him play for the 1st time as a sophomore in high school. When HBSS decided to come back together last year I was adamant about being in the front man position and didn’t want to play drums. The band supported that decision so we called Tim. He was stoked, we were stoked and the rest is history.
The Pier: Can you tell us the reason behind leaving the reggae-rock sound you guys once had and converting over to Rudeboy-Rock?
HBSS: When we first came on the scene Reggae Rock didn’t exist. There was Sublime but that was it. We loved it because it was new, fresh and made people dance but still had an element of punk rock to it. We didn’t know what we were doing we just did what we thought sounded cool. We loved Operation Ivy, The Clash, Bad Brains and we wanted to be like them. There were no rules, we were combining Reggae with Metal and Punk and people loved it. This was epic until everyone started doing it and doing it poorly. It seemed like all the old punk bands were now “Reggae Rock” bands. We pride ourselves on doing what everyone else isn’t doing and we hated being lumped into what we felt was a cheesy scene. We couldn’t stand the white boys with fake Jamaican accents and poppy choruses walking around calling themselves Reggae/Punk. To us it was neither. Now every town has 15 of these bands and it’s hard to tell them apart. When coming back together we did not want to be seen in this light, we had to make sure that people would know that we have a sound that stands out from this scene and would bring back the element of kicking serious ass. It’s not so much that our sound has changed but more that we chose one style and are sticking with it. We grew up on 80’s punk and ska and that’s we are gonna give you. Our music is fast and aggressive yet smooth enough to dance to. We are punk rock Rude Boys for life, never reggae rock.
The Pier: You guys recently released a new EP titled “Back to Reality”. What can you tell us about the recording process? Was there a memorable recording experience?
HBSS: This EP was recorded in 3 days. It was the best 3 days of our life. We recorded in Laurel Canyon LA at Canyon Hut Studios. The team up there Tim Hutton, Kevin, Jesse and Justin Bivona are f#$king genius. I guess the best part about the experience was using so many new sounds. We had plenty of Key board and synth additions as well as live horns. We showed up with good songs and came out with great songs. We owe a huge part of that to the Canyon Hut studios team. We created a solid friendship with them and feel that we found our studio to make magic in. P.S. Check out Tim and the Bivona brothers band The Telecasters… they are the shit.
The Pier: One of my favorite tracks from your recent release is “Hate and Love”. What is the meaning behind this track?
HBSS: Have you ever had a friend who was in a relationship and you can’t tell if they love or hate each other? That’s what it’s about.
The Pier: Can you tell us the writing process of your songs?
HBSS: It’s pretty simple. Matt and I will bring full songs or pieces of songs to each other. We then jam them out acoustically until we love what we have. Then we bring them to the band and jam them out until we love it to death.
The Pier:You took a vacation a few years ago to London, which later inspired you to write a song about your trip? Tell us about the song and why it was picked to be on the EP.
HBSS: My Europe trip was an eye-opener. When you see how other cultures live and immures yourself in it you can grow a hundred years in a day. This trip for me was perfect. A great friend and I traveled all over from Germany to Prag to Amsterdam to Rome and of-course London. London blew my mind. There were people everywhere with crazy styles and epic music playing on every corner. All the famous landmarks were incredible to see in person. My 1st night in London I actually got lost on my own and spent the entire night walking the street in just jeans and a T-shirt. It was freezing out and I had no clue what to do. All I had was my Ipod and my feet so I decided to make a night of it. I must have covered 10 miles that night just walking the streets. I walked down dark alleys and under bridges. I sat against train station walls with the homeless and listened to music. Along the way I met a night janitor who was cleaning a school and he gave me some tea to warm me up. Somehow I just knew I would be alright and it kinda felt nice to be alone like that. The next morning my friend Nik found me sitting against a coffee shop door, waiting for it to open. Wow, a night I will never forget. When I got home I started writing “5 days in London” and that song explains that trip to a T.
The Pier: How would you compare the release of this album to your previous albums, “Kill All the Critics”, and “Mad World”?
HBSS:Our albums before were longer than they needed to be. We never paid attention to proper song writing or album structure. Now, we are smarter and better. We have a vision of what we want and we will not settle for OK. We will love every song we release or it won’t be released.
The Pier: You guys have played some awesome shows this year with Mike Pinto Band, The Aggrolites, Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds, and The B Foundation. Can you tell us if there are talks about a tour with any of these groups?
HBSS: So far no tour chatter butt we are ready so…. Hey Bands! Let’s do this.
The Pier: How would you describe a HB Surround Sound show for those who have not seen you?
HBSS: A fan came up to us after our last show sweating and shaking his head and said “holy shit man, you guys are pure energy”. I really liked that so I will say our live show is… pure energy.
Interview by: Brendon Davis