Coming straight out of Logan Heights, San Diego’s Beach Goons are much more than the sum of the collective noise they make on hoodratscumbags, released on Aug. 24 via GRNDVW. Theirs is an intriguing and arresting hullabaloo: part garage punk, part surf rock, part trippy power pop, and part Mexican indie. Beach Goons’ unique style grabs the listener not by being weird—though they embrace that wonderfully—but by allowing their art to be, first and foremost, fun as hell. Vocalist and guitarist Pablo Cervantez’ reflective aspirations add another layer to the weird and wonderful hoodratscumbags.
“I truly want people in my neighborhood—and communities like my neighborhood—to realize what we’re capable of doing,” he says. “We’re young, we’re Mexican, and we’re kids from the barrio just trying to showcase our culture, our world, our community, our arts, our lifestyle, and our talents. I want people to see we can make it without being afraid of where we came from or who we are.”
Whether Beach Goons speak to your head, heart, or both, Cervantez’ voice is loud and proud—as it should be.
“Ultimately,” he continues, “I just wanted to make something I was extremely proud of and something I knew I put all my sweat, tears, and blood into. I worked on the album for about two years, just scrapping, replacing, and fixing songs. I always try to keep punk characteristics in our music by keeping it simple and fast, but for this record, I was influenced by everything and anything, from Chalino Sánchez, Cornelio Reyna, Ramón Ayala, [and] Christian Nodal to Marvin Gaye, Frank Ocean, DeBarge, Sly, Slick And Wicked, Ponderosa Twins Plus One, and a ton of Los Ángeles Negros, Los Saicos, Roberto Carlos, Leo Dan, and Álvaro Carillo. There are so many more artists, but these are the artists I listened to over and over for inspiration. Regardless of the music I was listening to, I focused on what I wanted to hear myself and what I personally enjoyed when I wrote the songs, not what album [or] artist I wanted to sound like. I just wanted to make something I genuinely enjoyed. I wanted exactly what I heard in my head, and every single one of these artists helped me shape that.”
Regarding hoodratscumbags’ perplexing yet evocative cover art, Cervantez wanted the image to drag potential listeners in.
“My good friend Ángel Gutiérrez made the front piece of the album cover. He goes by LEGNA, and I’ve always loved his art,” Cervantez explains. “I just remember sending him my all-time favorite album covers, and what I noticed about them is that they were all just very subtle, simple, but had something about them that was just really interesting to look at. I’m not sure if I really have a specific meaning for the piece, but that’s the point. Staring at it just makes me feel something, and I don’t know what, but it does. It’s a bit secretive—or, at least, to me it is—and I hope that being so subtle and secretive drags people in deep enough to give it a listen.”
Top photo by Joe Calixto