One of the leaders in recent years has been 16-year-old Point Loma-based Pacific Records, founded by Brian Witkin, releasing albums from such Billboard chart contenders as boy band O-Town, hard rockers Sprung Monkey and the soundtrack to “America Salutes You: Guitar Legends II” with Sammy Hagar and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Having experienced success behind the scenes with his label, Witkin is now moving to the frontlines, with his group Cambrian Shores.
Based around guitarists Witkin and Cameron Lange, with bassist Sean Witkin and drummer Kyle Kelly, the band plays rock ‘n’ roll, using acoustic guitars, but keeping the energy level high. Though the band are scene veterans, Witkin considers this a new start.
“We have been gigging as a duo over the past six years in North County,” he said. “But that was more of a just a ‘fun’ thing, something to do in between surfing sessions and hanging out. It’s really been in the last year that we have moved to a full band and taken things to the next level.”
On May 24, Cambrian Shores will release their debut single, “Something For You,” via Pacific Records, complete with a lyric video, in advance of a new self-titled album and a series of festival dates that includes a June 1 appearance at Art Around Adams Music and Art Walk (2 p.m.) and June 22 at the OB Street Fair, as part of Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego’s performance area booth (10:30 a.m.).
While some bands consider playing outdoors at events such as these to be a challenge, Witkin sees this as one of their strengths. “We started out at the beach, playing outside,” he said good naturedly. “Our sound is pretty diverse, including instrumentals and rock songs, but most of our songs have that vibe. Everyone in the band surfs, when we’re not playing or working we’re at the beach. All of which fits very well with outdoor shows.”
While he enjoys his work with other artists, he’s happy to be back out playing with a band. “It’s how I got into the music business,” Witkin mused. “I started out as a musician and one thing led to another. However, until recently work and family have kept me busy, but now I’m refreshed and back. Playing music brings me joy like nothing else can.”
Does Witkin feel his band has a shot at the brass ring? “I’m definitely doing this for fun,” he said. “I have no expectations, which is kind of nice. I will use the resources I have around me to get it out there, as I want to share this song and the others with as many people as I can. But really this about having some fun making music.”
Most artists promote their releases through touring, but Witkin isn’t focused on that just yet. “We’ll see,” he said. “We’re just at the start of all this with the album still ahead and I’ve got to balance all that with my job and my family life.”
It’s clear that Cambrian Shores is the culmination of a lifetime in music and Witkin is bringing his career full circle. “I love playing live. Recording is fun, but it’s different when you’re in front of an audience and you make that connection. I started out at 16 wanting to tour and here I am all these years later with that possibility in front of me. It would be wonderful,” he said.