Cayucas the cure for chronic California dreaming
By Doug Hill
Cayucas is a Golden State quartet breathing new life into surf-frat music. They’ll be performing at Opolis Aug. 19.
Reminiscent of Jan and Dean, the Rip Chords and the Four Freshman, they’re a 21st century wave of sunny bubblegum pop with cotton candy lyrics and bouncy beats. Comparing Cayucas to the Beach Boys would just be too obvious. But they spring from a tradition that holds fond memories for girls in bikinis holding 1960s transistor radios to their ears and the boys who were watching them.
The band’s name is a tribute to remote beach burg Cayucos centered between Los Angeles and San Francisco. They have a song named after the town with a music video of it filmed there. The video has it all: blond beach goddess star, VW surf bum van, noserider boards stuck upright in the sand, lonely fat guy on the beach and long shots of the pier. Not surprisingly, Cayucas’ many music videos tend to be amazingly entertaining. They follow the same light-hearted style as the songs and reflect unmistakable Hollywood professionalism by a variety of different film directors.
“We have a California vibe,” band leader Zach Yudin said. “It comes from growing up in central and southern parts of the state with the beach and good weather.”
That makes for good press but moderate climate and pristine beaches are not the primary inspiration for Cayucas’ musical heart and soul. The truth is their songbook is almost entirely about girls. The band is composed of four young men. It goes with the territory. Women around the world are understandably jealous of California Girls. It’s not from the tune of that title written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love or Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” but because of the continuing real life standard. Cayucas has a song titled “East Coast Girl” about a young lady who carries an umbrella and studies English literature. It’s a left-handed salute to someone who used to glow under the California sun but went home.
“Girls are easy to write about,” Yudin said. “In the future our songs might be more complex.”
He mentioned that an upcoming composition could be about a friend whose college roommate thought he was a vampire one night. Yudin should stick to girls for lyrical subject matter; feminine complexity is undoubtedly right around the corner.
Cayucas is a new band. They’ve been performing together since October. Yudin described the group as being friends of friends. His twin brother Ben Yudin is bassist, with Casey Wojtalewicz on drums and guitarist Christian Koons.
“Our band dynamic is a pretty chill atmosphere,” Yudin said. “None of us party too hard. We really don’t do drugs or anything.”
Yudin began his musical career as a solo project called Oregon Bike Trails in 2011. Needing a snappier name naturally, Cayucas was born.
Cayucas is touring in support of new album “Bigfoot” (Secretly Canadian, 2013). Richard Swift was their production guru.
“Originally the music was to go for a vintage guitar and bass sound,” Yudin said. “Richard is a master of that, so he was a really good fit.”
Besides adding his talent as a musician Swift provided the band with an abundance of good ideas for improving on what they’d brought to the studio.
“He really helped shape the songs,” Yudin said.
Fan response to their music has been immediate and enthusiastic. Some shows have been sold-out and their songs have received significant radio play. It’s difficult to imagine an audience not dancing to their music. Positive comments at some of Cayucas’ You Tube videos go on for pages.
“Our live performances are gradually getting better,” Yudin said. “The flow of our shows has improved in the last six months but I think it would be hard to pinpoint why.”
The answer undoubtedly is that they’ve been on stage a lot in the seven months since the band formed. Already with one European tour under their belts another is coming up in late summer. After Norman they have over 50 shows ahead in 2013 including gigs in Paris, Stockholm and Berlin.
“A year from now we should be a lot better,” Yudin said.
If You Go
What: Cayugas in concert.
Where: Opolis, 113 N. Crawford Ave.
When: 9 p.m. Aug. 19
Cayucas can't stop thinking about California girls.