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Cayucas: Still California Dreamin’

Winter is coming but for twin brothers, Zach and Ben Yudin, they bring the west coast heat wherever they go. Eight years have passed since the twins embarked on what’s been the marvel of their lives. Since transforming his bedroom into a makeshift studio, Zach composed music just as an outlet. But his identical brother urged him to pursue and release his music for others to hear. Neither of them would expect that Zach’s small hobby would grow beyond the walls of their own house. In an overnight release of their debut album, Bigfoot, the brothers went from playing in their community to playing around the world.

The sleepy city of Davis, California is where it all began for the would-be sensational twins. After spending five years training as a musician, Zach would gain enough exposure to sign with a local record label. As a soloist he would release and perform his music under the name Oregon Bike Trails. The feelings of a missing ingredient to his music would manifest as Zach wanted to expand. He would find the solution to his problem almost as plainly as looking into a mirror. Ben would join Zach in his pursuit and together they became Cayucas. A misspelled name reflective of their favorite town on California’s Central Coast.

The twins developed their sound inspired by their roots of the surf style music scene. By adding a modern twist to the old school genre, the twins would catch the eye of Secretly Canadian. A Los Angeles based indie label that has thrived on a roster of eclectic artists over the years. After moving out to Santa Monica, Cayucas would drop their full-length debut album with the single “High School Lover” earning high praise. Pitchfork commended the band on their surf pop vibes and melancholic sound. Ian Cohen contributed to the review stating, “Next time some jerk tries to act like there aren’t any transcendental, life changing bands in indie rock right now, slide them a copy of Cayucas’ Bigfoot.” Though, their 2013 debut would be just a warm-up as the twins intended to gain a further reach internationally.

Critics wondered how the twins could follow-up their initial success as doubts began to surface. Lack of experience and musical limitations crept into the minds of the identical brothers. What transpired was their breakthrough of a true-to-themselves record inspired by their childhood. 2015’s Dancing at the Blue Lagoon captured all of what made the “California Myth” in the 1960s. The nostalgic memories mixed with the modern, aesthetic of Californian sound became a recipe for greatness. A backbeat rhythm and transcending surf guitar reflected the new confidence Cayucas developed. Incredibly catchy riffs and carefree appeal made the single “Moony Eyed Walrus” exemplary for their work. Rather than slow down, the twins sought to expand their raw style and tropical oasis of songs further.

Summertime can lead to a fresh start for a lot of people during the season. For the twins, a fresh start is just what they needed after realizing a break from music could be beneficial. Their wave ride of a journey produced two successful albums that showed growth. Not only as songwriters but as men out in the world. But Cayucas still had enough belief and potential to set the bar higher than what they’ve already accomplished. Their step forward in a new creative approach led to the production of the band’s latest album, Real Life. A nostalgic induced record that stretches the sound Cayucas has become known for to a pop, lo-fi progression.

Zach’s appreciation for his latest work is expressed through each track on the record. As he says, “We were able to view things in a positive light. And when you’re coming from a place like that, that’s when things can creatively become more interesting.” The tracks of “Winter of 98” and “Jessica WJ” encompass what’s been an evolution on songwriting and maturity. While their buoyant melodies and sunray vibes take listeners cruisin’, they remain humble. In reflecting how far they’ve come Zach states, “I still sit down at a piano every day and write. We made the album we wanted to make, and that’s the goal, creatively. I can’t imagine it playing out any better.” The words of a songwriter who’s coming of age journey is blasted through the rhythm and waves of Cayucas.

Written by Trenton Luber


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