When your band forms in a place called the San Marcos Trout Club, why not honor the mountain community’s natural inspiration by taking that unique moniker as your own? That’s what Quique Hernandez-Black, Malcolm Bobro, Cedric Bobro, and Kai Zheng decided to do by calling their rock band Trout Club.
Friends since attending elementary at the Open Alternative School in Santa Barbara, the four — all former SBCC students, and three of four attending UCSB — started playing classic rock cover songs together about five years ago. “Eventually, after grinding cover song after cover song into the ground, we took to writing our own original tunes,” said Zheng, who plays lead guitar and keyboards; Hernandez-Black handles lead vocals and banjo, while Malcolm plays bass and Cedric bangs the drums.
They released the EP Welcome to the Trout Club in December 2019, and graced such stages as SOhO, Earl Warren Showgrounds, and Cold Spring Tavern. Their single “Dreamboy,” which came out in March 2020, tallied nearly 8,500 downloads, and Peyote Pictures produced their first music video “Only a Boy” in late 2020, clocking more than 1,200 views so far.
During the pandemic, they worked on their follow-up recording from their own homes. “We thought that the songs we wanted to record were at a good place anyway, and we resorted to recording from each of our separate homes,” said Zheng, who’s been using high-tech tools like video chat and Google Drive but also a simple metronome to get the job done. “So far, we’ve been really digging what we’ve come up with.” The forthcoming single called “Space” is one early result.
With the pandemic easing up, Trout Club is starting to play live again, with upcoming shows at State Street’s Music Alley on June 6, 8 p.m., M.Special in Goleta on June 23, 6-8 p.m., and Earl Warren Showgrounds during the Santa Barbara Fair & Expo on June 25 and 26.
“Being able to play live shows and see actual faces feels very surreal,” said Zheng. “This summer we’re just focusing on playing as much live music as possible and expanding our audience as much as we can.”