Producer Surf Mesa has released the follow-up to his viral single, a feel-good dance track titled “Somewhere”.
The Seattle native rose to success earlier this year after his song, “ily (i love you baby)” ft. Emilee became viral on the video-sharing app TikTok, leading it to skyrocket across various international electronic charts. After coming across a short clip of Emilee’s cover of Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” on the app, Mesa decided to remix the chorus on a loop and complement it over a slew of dreamy, soft synth sounds. There is no question as to why the song became such a success, the track puts listeners into a trance-like state and is truly the perfect companion for a moment of pure, serene bliss.
Originally released in late 2019, the track impressively amassed over 300 million global streams in less than three months, and currently has more than 290 million streams on Spotify.
The 20-year-old, who started making music beats and uploading them to SoundCloud in the third grade, released his first EP, bedroom, in 2019. The project included four tracks that featured smooth and mellow grooves that acted as a preview of the true artistry Powell Aguirre holds with the music he releases as Surf Mesa.
As he continues to channel the energy of his recent success and seize opportunities, Surf Mesa is making sure he continues working towards the prosperous future that awaits the rising producer. He recently signed to Astralwerks, and subsequently collaborated with new label mate, Marshmello, on the remix of “Be Kind”, which also included Halsey.
Today, July 31, he releases the awaited follow-up to “ily (i love you baby)”, a new single titled “Somewhere”, a track composed of buoyant pulses, guided by singer-songwriter Gus Dapperton’s beaming, remarkable vocals.
The accompanying “Somewhere” music video features cinematic shots of Surf Mesa as he skates through the LA desert with skateboard crew, GRLSWRL, exuding feelings of warmness and joy.
The Knockturnal connected with Surf Mesa to weigh in on the viral success of “ily (i love you baby)”, his new single, and his most recent musical collaborations completed during the pandemic.
The Knockturnal: How did you first get into music and production?
Surf Mesa: I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by music super early on. My dad is so talented — he’s played in a local jazz band forever. He also has incredible taste in music and played me a ton of influential albums. In third grade, my older brother helped me download production software onto the family PC, and that’s when things got started with producing music. High school is when I began to take music more seriously.
The Knockturnal: Your single “ily (i love you baby)” ft. Emilee became viral across platforms and catapulted itself to various major music charts. How did the song come together?
Surf Mesa: Honestly, a lot of hard work and a lot of luck, combined, which is how I think a lot of things happen in life. TikTok has enabled new songs and new artists to get incredible exposure in a way the world hasn’t seen before, and that’s what happened with me and “ily (i love you baby)”. The singer on the track, Emilee, who is so talented, already had a vocal up on the platform that I used in the record. From there, I uploaded the sound to TikTok and it started to get exposure pretty quickly.
The Knockturnal: Tell us about your initial reaction after realizing the success of the song. What was your day-to-day like at the time when the track was first taking off? Why do you think it became so popular?
Surf Mesa: I feel like I’m still processing my emotions from the success. Some days it feels real, and others I wake up in shock at it all. Overall though, I’m just incredibly happy and grateful. I like to make songs that have a soul — songs that feel like they’re living and breathing. I think when Emilee’s amazing vocals combined with the warm synth sounds and a pulsing drum beat it was the perfect blend of vibes. I also think since people know the original Frankie Valli song, this take is comforting and nostalgic for many people out there.
The Knockturnal: You released a remix for Marshmello and Halsey’s hit “Be Kind” just last month. How did this collaboration come about?
Surf Mesa: Marshmello has become a good friend of mine over the past couple of months. He’s such a good guy and I really look up to him. When he asked if I’d be down to remix his latest single, you can’t really say no to that. I got started on the remix right away. I wanted to put my warm, melodic vibe on the track as well as play around with Halsey’s vocals. I still haven’t met Halsey yet because of COVID-19, but I hope to soon.
The Knockturnal: Your new single, “Somewhere” ft. Gus Dapperton, is a feel-good dance track that not only shows your versatility as a producer but is also a great addition to your growing list of collaborations. What do you value the most from having the opportunity to work with other musicians?
Surf Mesa: I believe so much in collaboration and “melding of minds”. When creative collaboration happens, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences a human can have. It’s a bit harder to work with people in person these days because of COVID-19, but we make due. Coronavirus can’t stop good music. We still need it, and though it can sometimes be hard to get creative when you’re stressed out, there’s some really powerful music being released right now. I hope we’ll be able to get back to regular studio sessions sooner than later.
The Knockturnal: The music video for “Somewhere” features scenic shots of you skateboarding along with the female skateboard crew, GRLSWRL, in the LA desert. You were also shown skateboarding in the video for “ily (i love you baby),” is this a hobby that is close to your heart? How did you get initially get into it?
Surf Mesa: So little known fact, but I actually used to scooter pretty well too. I still have old videos of myself at the skate park when I was around eleven or twelve years old, so I’ve been in the skate culture for a while. It was really dope to have the GRLSWRL girls on the shoot for “Somewhere”, they add such a fun energy to the project that I think shines through in the finished product.
The Knockturnal: Lastly, you recently signed to Astralwerks, congratulations! Can fans expect to hear a full-length project from you soon?
Surf Mesa: Thank you! My team at Astralwerks is really supportive and it feels really good knowing they have my back. I think eventually I’ll get to that point of a full-length, but I really want to just try out different things for a while and hone in on my sound and direction. Expect to hear different types of music from me throughout the rest of this year — we have so much and I wish we could drop it all at once, but just know that it’s coming and I really love it.
Listen to “Somewhere” ft. Gus Dapperton below.
Photo: Courtesy Universal Music Group via Elizabeth Miranda