Summer Twins: Our reminder of the blooming creative talent rooted in Riverside

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Posted: June 15, 2015 | Written by Isela Quijas

The Summer Twins are a blossoming band which licks the ears of listeners with its dreamy tongue of sounds that balance between a soft and loud rhythm inspired by those of the 50’s and 60’s.

Signed to Burger Records in the U.S. and IRMA records in Japan, the band is making ripples in an ocean of accessible music and gaining recognition across seas.

But before Japan became aware of Chelsea and Justine Brown, who make up the band known as the Summer Twins, Riverside residents knew them first as their customers, their classmates and even their neighbors growing up.

Born a year apart, these sisters are not actual twins as the name of their band might imply. However, like actual twins, they share an evident but unspoken bond.  

“After many long drives to Los Angeles or Orange County for other gigs, it is always nice to play in our hometown,” said Justine Brown.

Our own stepping stone, Riverside City College, was once theirs too.

Before finishing their general education courses, they participated in RCC’s study abroad program, which was offering to go to Italy. 

“There was no way I couldn’t go! So Chelsea and I both went and studied abroad in Florence for a semester. This was seven years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday,” said Justine, the drummer of Summer Twins. That trip definitely changed my life. We even have a song on our new album called “Florence” that will be released later this year,”

The band’s most recent performance in their home town was at Saturation Fest in downtown Riverside—the yearly community event that celebrates various mediums of art and the value of the community.

This set began with Chelsea’s voice casting a tune. It expanded like a net over the intimate crowd cramped inside the Back to The Grind coffee shop, while Justine’s drum stick waited to set the beat that would hook the crowd within their musical net.

Immediately, the band snagged their audience within the barriers of its dreamy rhythms and harmonies. Like fish, the crowd began to awkwardly dance and wiggle but with a replaced joy instead of fear. Heads bobbed, shoulders rolled and feet accidently stepped on other feet—all of them seemingly happy to be captured by the Summer Twins.

“Back to the Grind has let us set up our own shows to get things started. We get a lot of friends and family that show up to local shows and lately the Riverside crowd has shown us amazing support and enthusiasm” said Chelsea Brown.

The crowd remained in their musical net for over an hour before the last song came to a close.

Someone randomly shouted “Encore!” and the abrupt request was accepted by the band.

Once the encore ended, the net unhooked and released the crowd.

“The music was very welcoming,” said Ryan Ashburn, a local artist and attendee of Saturation Fest. “The crowd dancing and enjoying themselves just brought sweet vibes.”

As the sisters draw from the subjective point of view of personal experience to feed the universal themes that seep into their music, they focus on matters of love and explore the tussle of identifying and pursuing one’s dreams– rendering music that rarely alienates listeners.

Riverside has birthed and continues to cultivate many talented individuals with creativity and the Summer Twins are no different. 

With Los Angeles only an hour away—the city which is often heralded as the central hub of opportunity for creative types – many students in Riverside County who are ready to plunge into a creative community focus their sights on the big city completely unaware that a creative community with grit and heart is blooming in their own backyard.

The Summer Twins are a reminder to us all that not everything is centered in Los Angeles.

We can begin to create something in Riverside for ourselves.

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