RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Most days you’ll find Tristan Alaniz kicked back at the beach looking to catch some waves on his coveted surfboard.
Other days, though, he’s performing as frontman of one of the RGV’s youngest and brightest bands, 10 Foot Overhead.
The band began in 2016 through the brainchild of Alaniz, vocalist and guitarist, and Matthew Gonzalez, drummer, while they were in middle school.
Alaniz chose the name 10 Foot Overhead as an ode to his love of surfing. He described that the phrase is used in surfing to describe a large upcoming wave that those who take it on will need much resilience to take on.
Other band members, though, are not too invested in the surfer lifestyle and see the name as a euphemism that can be applied to other parts of life as well.
“10 Foot Overhead can be anything crushing on you that you need to overcome,” said Jorge Perez, guitarist.
Perez joined 10 Foot Overhead, often stylized as 10FO, when the band was in high school around 2018. Their lineup was later finalized when Ismael Buenrostro joined as bassist. Every member of the band attended a school in the Brownsville Independent School District.
Shortly before Perez and Buenrostro joined, 10FO put out their first album, Life’s a Beach in 2018.
This debut album shows the earliest form of the band with loads of pop-punk and mellow rock on the record.
The album was the result of more than a year of work put in by Alaniz and Gonzalez, who recorded the album through an analog tape recorder.
“I used an old machine my uncle had and had to teach myself how to use this outdated technology,” said Alaniz. “There was no pitch correction or any effects, besides some reverb. What you recorded is what you got.”
This learning process resulted in a raw-sounding but impressive debut from 10FO. Some of the album’s songs like “Mathis” and “Dream Girl” became instant underground hits for the duo.
Perez joined on as a guitarist shortly after and the band began recording their next album, Second Best.
This time, the band opted to upgrade to the 21st century and recorded the album at a local recording studio using digital equipment.
Using this new approach, 10FO found a polished and refreshing sound on Second Best.
The album featured a slightly more mature and deeper sound from the group. While a few of the songs dealt with relationships and surfing, a new theme of philosophy and dealing with personal experiences entered.
Part of this was due to Perez’s influence in the writing, which began as soon as he joined the band.
“Jorge came in and already had several songs he wanted to record,” said Alaniz. “Adding that extra element helped us become a better band.”
Second Best keeps the band’s pop-punk/alternative rock sound alive but features a more high-energy version of the band.
Songs such as “How Much is Good Enough” and “Last Thing on Your Mind” define the 10FO sound at this time with catchy riffs and melodies that have will any listener humming along.
The band reached an early peak in their writing with “You Make Me Wann Punch Stuff,” a song so well-written and executed that it could be confused for a track by a major act.
Following the release of Second Best and subsequent praise from the RGV community, 10FO was expected to keep releasing music.
But with each of the members beginning college in different campuses across Texas, most of the band’s activity was put on halt. This, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic canceling most bands’ plans in 2020, made the year a stagnant one for 10FO.
The group was able to release one single in 2020, “Why Do You Care?” which features a mostly acoustic recording.
Since then, though, the band has had limited time to work on new music. 10FO was able to record their third album in 2021 and is projected to release it later this year.
They have been able to return to performing concerts, which are always received well by the RGV scene.
Alaniz stated 10FO has been highly praised in Brownsville and has even been called on by the city’s mayor to play shows organized by the town.
The band members are hoping this wide appeal continues and hope to eventually be signed to a record label and take on a tour across America.
If they ever do get to play from coast to coast across the country, there’s a good chance you’ll see Alaniz catching some waves on his surfboard.
The Rio Grande Valley is full of musical talent that deserves exposure. If you know a musician or band who should be featured on RGV Sounds, email KVEO-DigitalDesk@nexstar.tv.