For garage-rockers and surf bands, playing the annual two-day music festival in Southern California known as Burgerama is an important milestone in their career.
For locals Subpar, this happened last year—while most of the members were still juniors in high school, and they’d only been a band about a year. It went so well they were asked back again this year. Both times, they played to a full house.
“It was awesome. We made a lot of fans from that. It was really cool. They don’t normally pick random bands to play it,” says drummer Austin Corona.
The group were fortunate to have an inside connection. Bassist Lukas Henderson’s aunt works for Paradigm Talent Agency, and has a working relationship with Burger Records, which puts on the festival.
“We were just trying to see if we could get tickets to go, then she’s like, ‘I sent them your demo and they want you to play.’ We said ‘yeah, of course,’” Corona says.
Subpar’s music is a perfect fit for the Burger Records sound. They lean toward surf—with even a couple of pretty straightforward instrumental tunes in their set—along with some strong garage, pop and punk elements.
“We don’t like one genre, which is nice. We try and incorporate as many genres as we like and make it our sound,” Corona says.
Despite their young age, they are all seasoned musicians. Corona and guitarist Avery Murphy have played in local Tess Dunn’s band for roughly five years. While most high schoolers are starting their first bands, the members of Subpar have all been in several bands prior to forming the group. As serious as they take music, they keep the songs pretty lighthearted.
“We’re all fun, laid-back guys. We love writing music, but our lyrics are definitely not super deep,” she says. “It’s basically about standard teenage bullshit.”
INFO: 9 p.m. Saturday, May 9. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $8. 429-6994.