I’m sure I’m not alone in saying this... I’ve been in a massive rut lately. Creatively in a funk. Mentally checked out. Spending hours scrolling through the photos on my phone that were taken in a time where brushing shoulders with strangers was allowed. Now it’s groundhog day every day. The anxiety of leaving my house and trying to remember if I locked the door and turned off the stove has been replaced with trying to remember hand sanitizer and a face mask. I long for the days when I could run out the door mask-less. Most of all I miss travelling; especially at this time of year. I normally escape every winter to California for a dose of vitamin d, salt water, and dusty cacti filled desert scapes. This winter is obviously a little different.
So this is my love letter to California. To its eternally good weather, the laid-back way in which people move through each day, the vintage cars that’ve been perfectly preserved in their rusty glory, the winding beach paths that lead to the ocean, and of course-the music scene. California has long been a hub of surfers and skateboarders. From the 1970s when the Zephyr surf shop in Santa Monica birthed the Z-Boys, to the new Palm Springs Surf Club using the Waco, Texas wave pool technology to further develop surf parks (sorry purists).
It’s no secret that music plays a big part in the ethos of surfing and skateboarding. The three have been feeding off of and inspiring each other for literally decades. The Van Doren Rubber Company which started in Anaheim in 1966, has now blown up to include gatherings like Vans Warped Tour, House of Vans, and numerous other events that marry music and boards. The 1970’s saw a boom in the punk scene as a Costa Mesa bar called The Cuckoo’s Nest became THE hot spot; bands such as Social Distortion, Black Flag, and Circle Jerks all cut their teeth on stage while skateboarders like Steve Olson cut theirs in the parking lot. The 80’s birthed notable skate teams such as Bones Brigade which fostered a young Tony Hawk. And since the 90s, bands have been playing generator parties in the high desert to set the mood while skateboarding in empty pools at abandoned houses like The Nude Bowl. Plenty of locations around the world are known for their surf and skate culture, but California’s ability to marry it with the music scene is unrivalled.
The California music scene is a perfect reflection of the environment it's made in. It’s bright, warm and fuzzy, and has a certain swagger to it that makes you walk with a spring in your step. There’s an air of optimism that’s always present-like eternal sunshine. This month’s playlist is a mixtape full of California artists who capture that stay stoked mentality. Hopefully it keeps you stoked as the weather warms up.
Words by DJ Waves.
DJ Waves is a Toronto based creative who's been in the music industry for 8+ years. She's a regular on the resident DJ team for Budweiser Stage, moonlights as a guest host on U of T's CIUT radio station, and is a frequent headbanger at local shows. Spinning vinyl and digital tracks, her sets span every genre and time-period, making for an eclectic collection of sounds that is groovy, nostalgic, daring, and euphoric. Her sets and playlists often draw on a variety of experiences and interests that form her unique sound. She's got a penchant for hats, muscle cars, the desert, and coffee. If she's not behind a DJ booth she's most likely at Toronto's Cherry Beach, floating on a SUP or taking an aimless drive at sunset with the radio cranked. Find her on Instagram.