Trout Club playing at Old Town Coffee in Goleta | Photo: Courtesy

Welcome to the Trout Club was the 2019 debut EP that introduced listeners to the dreamy indie tunes of Trout Club. Now, they’re back with the new single “Stage Door” and a sophomore EP to be released later this year.

After becoming elementary school friends at Open Alternative School, Quique Hernandez-Black, Kai Zheng, Malcolm Bobro, and Cedric Bobro naturally fell into the groove of playing classic rock covers together. Throughout high school, the band practiced at the Bobros’ garage in San Marcos Trout Club, a neighborhood above Santa Barbara. “We’d all drive up the mountain, lug all of our equipment up, and play,” Hernandez-Black says. “We spent hours and hours shooting out band name ideas, until eventually, we settled on Trout Club.”

Trout Club | Photo: Courtesy

With Hernandez-Black on lead vocals and banjo, Zheng playing lead guitar and keyboards, Cedric on drums, and Malcolm playing bass, Trout Club progressed from jamming in garages to performing original songs at popular Santa Barbara venues, including SOhO and Cold Spring Tavern. Still, memories of the band’s origins are fuzzy for Hernandez-Black. “I’ve known these guys for so long that I just think of them as a part of my life from the beginning,” he chuckles.

Trout Club’s friendship is what keeps their music alive — even when the band is hundreds of miles apart — with Hernandez-Black in Santa Barbara and the rest of his bandmates in the Bay Area. The band records their parts separately, then meets on Discord to listen to the mix and see what can be improved. While their first EP was recorded in a rush over one weekend, Trout Club now has the luxury of time to work together and polish their sound. “I’m really grateful for the Trout Club and for having grown up with those guys in Santa Barbara,” Hernandez-Black says. “I felt like we had a really special upbringing here. It’s allowed us to keep making music together.”

Artwork for Trout Club’s new single “Stage Door” | Credit: Kai Zheng

Beyond friendship, Trout Club’s growth as a band is evident, particularly in their new single. A culmination of Hernandez-Black’s inner thoughts, “Stage Door” captures the feeling of realizing your best friends from elementary school are suddenly twenty-somethings with nine-to-fives. “Do you remember going to Astro Camp when we were in 6th grade?” Hernandez-Black calls out to his bandmates in “Stage Door,” recalling when he was told that the sun would one day implode. “That memory from childhood really stuck with me and sparked the whole [way] of thinking that led to this song,” Hernandez-Black says. “I didn’t plan on writing a song about depression, mortality, and existentialism, but it just kind of worked out that way with all these bits and pieces of songs that I’ve written throughout the year.”

Since elementary school, Trout Club’s friendship and music have never stopped evolving. “My best friends moved away, but being in this band has definitely helped us keep in touch,” Hernandez-Black adds. “I’m really grateful for that.”

“Stage Door” is streaming on all platforms starting April 14.


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