At first listen of Social Club it may be hard to imagine that the indie-rock-pop wave that crashes over you was born from a local San Diego hip hop-group.
Featuring lead singer John Levan and bass guitarist James Spratley, and formerly known as Pull, Social Club made their debut on February 18, 2011, at the Longboard Grill. “We've done anything from Muse covers to the Black Keys during live performances,” says keyboardist Thea Tochihara. “At practices, anything from Stevie Nicks to Justice make appearances, so you never can tell. That Britney Spears has a few catchy tunes too, haha!”
Levan admits that Social Club isn't the best, most Google-tastic band name. “I like the idea that music pulls everybody together,” he says, “but it’s kinda tough to say. It doesn’t roll off the tongue.”
“I moved to San Diego a while back from the East Coast and I didn’t have any connections. I found a band online — Boombox Renaissance, a hip-hop group. All due respect, they’re a great group, but I knew that wasn’t my main focus.” When Levan left Boombox Renaissance, he took bassist James Spratley with him. Soon after, they got a drummer, Jeffrey Litzman, and Thea Tochihara came aboard on keys. An EP was released. A label deal with Pacific Records was consummated. The only job left was to push “pull.”
In 2011, Social Club signed a record deal with Pacific Records and announced plans to release an EP called Pictureshow. A new full-length, Gamma Rays, dropped in January 2013, and the band won MOFILM’s Take Your Band to Texas video competition, earning them a slot in music-industry showcase South by Southwest.
A lot of the success, Levan thinks, is because Social Club does have a social club. “We like to interact with people and make it more than a show — a party,” he says. “Get ’em involved somehow...you can get a ton of people to ‘like’ you on Facebook, but sometimes people use media as a substitute for getting out and actually doing it.”
He laughs, but it is a wry laugh. “Every now and then, you gotta get up and go to an actual show.”
An EP called Shadows was released in summer 2015.