Late last year, Bay Area transplants the Soft White Sixties released their EP “The Ocean Way,” a less retro but equally swaggering take on their rock ’n’ soul that found crooner Octavio Genera waxing on familiar relationship themes. Now, setting aside the showman swagger, Genera turns his attention elsewhere: This country’s state of affairs.
“If you build a wall / we’re going to tear it down / brick by brick,” he sings on the Soft White Sixties’ new single “Brick by Brick” — released last week with the companion single, “Piedra a Piedra,” the Spanish version of the song.
It’s the first of several singles the band plans to release in both English and Spanish. “Our first night in the studio was Election Night, so naturally that environment crept onto this record,” said Genera, a first-generation Mexican-American. “It was hard not to take some offense to someone claiming that a wall and the people on the other side of that wall were the cause of so many problems. The song is my version of my grandparents coming here to better themselves and their children, and I’m thankful they did. I am here, and I am who I am because of it.”
The song was made at New Monkey Studio in Van Nuys) and produced by Elijah Thomson. It features Frank Lenz on percussion. Even though he grew up bilingual, it’s the first time Genera has tried to sing in Spanish. “Speaking and singing in a language are two different things,” he says. “There was a feeling of joy and passion when I sang these songs in Spanish that I wasn’t expecting. And then hearing the songs back — it was right.”
||| Stream: “Brick by Brick” / “Piedra a Piedra”
||| Live: The Soft White Sixties play Nov. 4 at the Wayfarer in Costa Mesa. Tickets.