Surf Mesa, an LA-based DJ, producer, and songwriter, invites you to his world of “music for good feels.”
After his Certified RIAA Platinum hit, “ily,” reached the masses, Surf Mesa has garnered an enormous following for his vibrant and hard-hitting dance music. Collaborating with artists like FLETCHER and Madison Beer, as well as remixing songs for artists like Shawn Mendes and Becky G, Surf Mesa has reached over 12 billion streams globally and continues to impact the Dance/Electronic music charts on a regular basis.
Just a couple weeks ago, Surf Mesa dropped his latest single, “City Of Love,” which features the phenomenal vocals of Selah Sol. The music video for the song features professional skater Cole Tratta, who provides a dazzling visual to pair with the song’s lyricism about the journey of moving to a big city while still holding on to the past.
Surf Mesa chatted with Pop Crave about his new song, “City Of Love” featuring Selah Sol, his latest music video with professional skater Cole Tratta, and his upcoming plans for music in 2023. Keep reading for the full interview!
Where did the stage name Surf Mesa originate from?
Surf Mesa is a map in Counter Strike: Global Offensive, a game I used to play all through high school! I really wanted to go pro in this game with my friends, and we would skip school and play. Or make beats. But anyways, I got way too addicted and started to fail, and my Twitch streams were not making me money, so I had to quit this game. In 2018, I renamed my SoundCloud name from “Powell Aguirre” to “Surf Mesa,” and it just stuck even though it was a tongue in cheek reference that only my friends knew. Every once in a while, I’ll get a DM asking if it’s a Counter Strike reference, and to that I make sure to always reply “YES.”
In just five words, how would you describe the music and overall vibe of Surf Mesa?
Mellifluous, energetic, expressive, euphoric, driving.
Congratulations on your new release, “City Of Love” featuring Selah Sol! How would you describe the concept of the song and what the lyrics personally mean to you?
Thank you so much! What a weird time in my life that this song came about. I was getting over my ex who was LA-based, and I was thinking how I wasn’t supposed to be here in LA and was just a Seattle boy who wandered to a big city. The lyrics paint this picture so perfectly, and I’m happy this song is out to represent a special chapter in my life.
How did a collaboration with Selah Sol come about?
I am a HUGE fan. She has sang on some of my favorite songs and has a voice I could NOT find anywhere else.
A visualizer for “City Of Love” dropped, which features professional downhill skater Cole Trotta. How crazy was it to watch him skate like that in real life?
Cole is the most bright kid to be around. The talent just flows out of him, and you can sense the passion he has by just being around him. I sat in the passenger seat as we filmed him going down the hill, and it was a very thrilling experience! I came across his Instagram on my explore page and stalked him, wondering how in the world he is going so damn fast down these hills. I DM’d him with the idea to see if he would be down to make a video, and the rest is history!
In the past, you’ve also collaborated with incredible artists like FLETCHER, Madison Beer, Gus Dapperton, and Bipolar Sunshine. Is there anyone you’re eyeing for a new potential collaboration, or potentially someone you’d like to collaborate with again?
I haven’t been thinking too hard about outside artists recently but instead just been going hard on the production side of things. I’m always pro music. I’ll feature any voice on any song just as long as it sounds good. I don’t care how many followers or monthly listeners you have. If you can make the song come to life with your expression, then I want you on my song.
You’ve remixed a lot of tracks, including songs for artists like Marshmello & Halsey, Shawn Mendes, and Becky G. Do you find remixing someone’s song easier or more difficult than creating an original track, and how do you typically go about the remixing process?
I actually find it hard at times. It’s an interesting challenge if you think about it. To hear a song, strip it back from its own art template, and recreate something that sounds like you and unique enough to be a release on its own. Luckily, I’ve had ideas that sparked with these artists and it’s worked out, but it doesn’t always. I’ve remixed other artists, like Troye Sivan, but they never came out because the music didn’t feel right.
You won TikTok’s Song Breaker Award! How does it feel to be part of a social media evolution where the music industry is linked to social media more than ever before?
It definitely provides a lot more opportunities for young artists to be seen. I’m very grateful this platform has gotten me to where I am today. If there’s anything I’m ready for now, it’s to grow beyond “ily” and create more songs that resonate with as many people as possible!
You’ve performed at huge festivals like Lollapalooza and Life Is Beautiful. How would you describe the feeling you get when you head to the stage and see that enormous crowd of faces for the first time?
IT’S MY FAVORITE THING IN THE WORLD. Nothing can describe the feeling and adrenaline rush you get when you’re standing in front of thousands of people performing. It’s like watching your dreams come true for an hour straight. I absolutely love it and can’t wait to be back at some HUGE festivals this year!
What’s one of your favorite memories you have from a live performance you had last year?
Oh, man. It’s gotta be Outside Lands in San Francisco. That was the most amount of people I’ve ever played in front of! I physically couldn’t see the back of the crowd. It went on as far as my eyes could see and as wide as the stage let me see around. It was amazing! I was able to bring some of my hometown friends to that set which made it even more special. Even to this day, I still get DMs from people saying how special it was! I loved every second of it.
You made your Las Vegas headlining debut after taking over Wynn Nightlife recently. What has that experience been like for you?
What an amazing club to play at. Such good energy, and the people there behind the scenes are incredibly supportive to make sure I’m all set to play!
Aside from your latest song, “City Of Love,” what else can fans expect from Surf Mesa in 2023?
LOTS OF NEW MUSIC AND EVEN A REMIX LOL. I’m so excited to share what I can call the best yet. It’s going to be amazing! Thanks so much and stay tuned!
Surf Mesa’s new song, “City Of Love” featuring Selah Sol, is out now.
Article cover taken by Alex Michael Kennedy.