Arts, Culture & Entertainment

SC Unplugged: Producer Maverick Fabela breaks down his process on the recent song ‘Beaches & Sushi’

The USC producer is joined by singer-songwriter Samuel Lim to talk about their collaboration on the hit song.

A photo of Maverick playing the keyboard on stage with a blue background.

Producer and songwriter Maverick Fabela is a junior in jazz studies major at the USC Thornton School of Music. Fabela’s own music and producing is influenced by his jazz piano background and inspirations of Herbie Hancock and Tyler the Creator. Fabela’s production has crossed across multiple genres and styles, finding adaptability with each artist. He recently produced the indie piece “Beaches & Sushi’' for Los Angeles based singer-songwriter Samuel Lim.

Annenberg Media spoke with Fabela and Lim to learn more about their inspirations, creative processes and time working together on “Beaches & Sushi.”

SC Unplugged graphic by Steven Vargas

Full transcript has been edited for clarity

Fabela: Hello, everyone. My name is Maverick, Maverick Fabela, and my major is Jazz Studies at USC and I’m minoring in music production. I’m from Lafayette, California, which is in the Bay Area. And yeah, I mostly produce music. I do do a lot of jazz piano, but that mostly stays in school. And I’ve been at USC for three years, but I’m still completing my second semester as a junior because I took some time off to go on tour. And yeah, here we are.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Fabela: My own music is still in the process of being developed, which is why I enjoy, you know, going out and working with different artists to help me find my own sound. So as far as my production goes, it’s definitely more bedroom pop, Steve Lacy. All of that kind of alternative music that has jazz bleeding into it in certain places is definitely the lane that that I’m in, you know.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Fabela: Oh, man. I remember the first time that I cried to a song was in the car when I was a kid, and it was “Beautiful Day” by U2 and it made me so emotional. And I was like, ‘Wow, music is great. I love music.’ And so after that day, I was really interested in making it. So I went home and my grandma was a church organist, so I found a piece of paper with music notation lines and I took a marker and I just drew random notes and I thought it was going to sound so good. And she was like, ‘Honey, I can’t even play this.’ And so then I was like, ‘Okay, now I got to learn, like, how to actually make music.’ And so my parents started me off in classical piano lessons and I hated it. I strongly disliked it because my teacher was definitely more like, ‘You got to learn this to get to this place and then you got to do this piece because you’re not good enough to play that piece yet.’ And that was kind of, you know, from like fifth to seventh grade. I was just kind of in a rut. And so I was just like, ‘I quit. I don’t like music and I’m going to be a criminologist.’

Yeah, so in eighth grade, I remember not having much of a sense of community in middle school either. So I showed up to jazz band and I loved it and I was like, ‘This is the kind of thing that I want to get involved with because the community was so great and the music was there’ and I just started practicing every day because I was like, ‘This is awesome. I love jazz.’ And I think around sophomore year of high school, my dad started listening to EDM performances, like while he was working from home and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s cool. Maybe I should get into production.’ And so he was obsessed with this thing called Tomorrowland, which is this huge festival that people camp out at and go listen to music at. And so I was like, ‘I’m gonna start producing music because I want to be the guy who’s up there, you know, being the DJ.’ And I tried to make EDM and it was awful. And then I think two months later I heard Tyler the Creator and Rex Orange County and that’s easily what changed my life because I was like, ‘No, I wasn’t doing that because I loved EDM. But now I could say that I was producing music because I love the music.’ And yeah, so around junior year of high school is when I started production and I was still doing jazz piano in school and jazz band. But around senior year I was conflicted and I think both my parents were kind of like, ‘do the jazz piano thing’ because they didn’t really hear my production stuff. I was very secretive about it. I didn’t think it was good enough or I didn’t want people to know that I was producing music cause sometimes I was embarrassed about it. And so I applied for jazz piano here at USC and I just kept producing the whole time. And I think a few of the friends that I met late freshman year, Grant [Conley] and Connor [Christ], they were [in the] music industry, and they heard my demos and Grant was like, ‘I want to manage you.’ And then from there that kind of opened up a lot of doors for me to work with more underground artists who were making really cool indie music like Frank Sativa and Jonah Roy and Paco and Tommy Richman. So I think that kind of started me on to the production journey that I’m on now.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Fabela: Herbie Hancock is definitely my main inspiration for I think everything because he released a jazz piano album and he kind of shifted with the times and he’s still like in the eighties, he was making funk and he was also making really soulful stuff. So his diversity of palette, but still being able to know that it’s him whenever he makes something is just a really cool thing. So I think I look up to him because I can sort of find a way to bring jazz into other genres of music without people knowing and going like, ‘Oh, that’s jazz.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, well.’ It’s like fitting it in there where it needs to be and not overdoing it, which Herbie Hancock is really good at. So I think I’ve looked up to him for a long time. My high school graduation gift was a signed photo of Herbie Hancock. Yeah, which was really cool. And then I think another musical inspiration would definitely be probably Tyler the Creator, especially because he also found ways to bring jazz into his music and it was a lot different at the time. And now there’s a lot of people trying to do it. But he inspired me because I was like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know you could rap with jazz and with funk and with crazy, weird production.’ Yeah, so I think Herbie, Tyler, I’d say those are my two go to inspirations always when I need to find something to get my creative mind going. I’ll just sit there and listen to their discography.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Fabela: It’s really important to act on it when you have the creativity, but I’ve never found a way to harvest that creativity from nothing. And sometimes I’ll just have nothing to write about and take a week break from music and let myself breathe. And then when I come back, I have a lot to write down and to get on to, you know, my computer and make music. But it’s very hard cause creativity isn’t a concrete thing either. It’s kind of just like a feeling. And sometimes people base their creations off of how good they think they are, even though it’s still very creative. And I think a lot of it is just being able to know when you have that feeling to create and being able to go straight to the laptop and make something or go straight to the piano and make something. And that’s the toughest part about this summer, me and my brother went on a backpacking trip for about a month and we were around Europe and it was so difficult when I had those moments to not be able to do something about it. I think it’s just catching it in the moment when you have it.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Fabela: If we’re going all the way back, it was my friend Marco Caipo and me decided to make a beat because he’s a rapper and I made the worst beat. And I thought gunshots sounded cool, so half the beat was like jump scares because I thought it was cool. But we put it on SoundCloud and we actually were like, ‘Man, how do we get people to hear this?’ And we’re like, ‘We have to get more plays on it.’ And so for two hours, we sat in a room and just replayed it on our phones and in our iPads and our laptops. And we’re like, ‘Yeah, man, like this is going to get us listens.’ And so that was the first release. And then I think the first real Spotify release was my own song called “IDK Your Name” by Maverick on Spotify. And I don’t tell anyone about it, so this is a rare occurrence. But that was like, I had creative direction for it and I put it out and then I realized I wasn’t ready to be an artist. So I’m like, ‘Let me start producing for other people,’ you know.

The first artist I produced for, who officially put something out was probably, I’d say as far as writing goes, it was Jelani, Jelani Aryeh. And it’s because I met Jack and this is when I was still getting to know my whole musical side, so I was like, ‘Yeah, let me just lay down some piano and help out with some writing parts.’ And I laid it down and it’s the title track on his most recent album. So that was like my first official, with another artist, release.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Fabela: First it was EDM and it was interesting, so I switched to trying to make Tyler the Creator beats all day, every day. And then my song that I put out was definitely more Rex Orange County, Tyler the Creator inspired. And after that, I think it definitely shifted more towards the hip-hop side and the rap side. But I think now I’m definitely in a lot of different lanes because I really realize that it’s my job to be able to like make the platform for an artist to build whatever they want on. Which is why I think that I’ve made a lot of rap stuff recently, and then I’ve also done indie stuff, indie singer-songwriter like Sam [Lim] and definitely some more jazz stuff like Frank Sativa, because I realized that you need to be able to expand yourself as a producer into other genres and just be able to give them, whatever artists, what they need to make a good song.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Lim: My name is Samuel Lim. I am an artist/actor from Los Angeles. I grew up out here, actually, and I loved music. It was something I did as a kid, but it was never something I had access to- the music industry. So for me that was never an option on my mind to pursue. I didn’t know producers or anybody of that sort to get me started. I didn’t really have any clue of what was going on in the music world. So my focus was in acting. I got my start in musical theater and that’s where I really built my voice and my confidence, and that’s where my love for singing came. And I think COVID hit and I was acting and pursuing that after traveling for some time and. I was like, ‘Dang, I don’t know what to do.’ Acting, like all the productions, are shut down and all I have is my guitar and my piano. And so I started writing a lot cause I was going through some difficult times. And I posted them on Tik Tok, and through the power of Tik Tok you meet so many cool creatives and so a lot of people were just asking to collaborate and it just kind of rolled off from there. So it’s been about a year since I started that journey.

Fabela: Wow. Only a year?

Lim: Yeah, it’s only been a year, but it’s been so much fun meeting so many cool people, so many talented people. Like, it’s insane. I was like, ‘I didn’t know there’s this many people that just had these chops hidden’ and it was crazy, but it’s been so much fun.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Lim: Yeah, so I think I haven’t been song writing for that long, so my music style is very still in the air. I guess it’s still developing because as I said, it’s only been a year. But I guess I would describe…I don’t really know if I have a style. I just want it to be authentic really. I think just music can be taken in so many different directions. It’s so hard to narrow down to one style. But for now, my style is very chill and I have more of a chill voice when I sing. So I like to use that to my advantage and sing a little bit of slower songs because I think that captivates people a little bit more than the upbeat stuff, but it’s always in the air. I think there’s always room for different creative opportunities and to experiment with your style. And as I’ve said, it’s only been a year and the more I meet with different creatives that have different styles, the more we collaborate, and the more we just explore I guess it’ll just be taken in a different direction. So I’m excited to see where it goes, but.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Fabela: So recently we…actually not so recently. How long do you think it’s been?

Lim: It’s been a few months.

Fabela: A few months? Yeah, a few months ago. Man. Me and Sam hit it off over Instagram, and I was like, ‘This guy is extremely talented. I would love to be able to facilitate his music making, especially because he already, you know, has an idea of what the song is going to be about normally.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, so how can I, you know, help him make this come to fruition?’ And I think it just kind of went very smooth in the way that, you know, I was able to create that foundation for Sam to work off of and not get in the way. And I think that a lot of the song came from you [Lim] and your artistic vision, which is great. And, yeah, so I think it was what was it one session or did we do it in one session?

Lim: Yeah, pretty much.

Fabela: Yeah, I think we did it in one session for a few hours and we left with the product that we were both pretty happy about. I was like, ‘I love this song and my mom loves this song because I can send it to her.’ And yeah, so it really wasn’t a crazy process. I think that both of us just worked together really well and it was really cool to watch nothing come into such a nice song.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Lim: Yeah, so with “Beaches & Sushi” I had—normally, when it comes to songwriting, I’m very all over the place. But, music for me is very connected to my emotions. And so when I write, it just directly correlates to how I’m feeling and it’s really hard for me to separate the two. And so my writing is a direct correlation to that. And so I often write in my notes different little bits. And I remember maybe a week before I was writing, I got a line. I think it was like, ‘I broke all my rules for you, but it didn’t matter cause you say you didn’t ask me to.’ So, I wrote that down and I didn’t have any melodies, but I knew I wanted to use that somewhere. And I had that session set up with Maverick because my friend Paco, shout out Paco, he introduced me to Maverick. I was asking for more producers that can maybe—my style is very chill and simple, and I’d like to think that I’m a very simple guy when it comes to my music. So it’s always fun working with producers that can throw a little flair in there. So I was asking Paco, you know, ‘Hey I’m trying to look for maybe—I’m trying to experiment with a few different producers, see if I can come up with any new sounds and any new styles.’ And Paco gave me Maverick’s Instagrams, so I hit him up. We hit it in the session and he was like, ‘Yeah.’ It was just crazy. We were just kind of talking and getting to know each other. And I was like, ‘Dang, this guy’s so good at pianos, so good at jazz, and he has all the chops.’ And I was like,’ Damn, this is what I need to kind of add little ear candy,’ is what we call it in songs. And so, we just started jamming and he was like, ‘What do you have?’ And I had these just two simple chords that sounded very indie, and I was like, ‘Let’s just work off of this.’ First thing we were like, It’s so hard because you overthink in the studio, but with “Beaches & Sushi,” I was so determined to just not overthink it- just get into the song. I had a style in mind. I really like The Neighborhood and like Cigarettes After Sex, a lot of that vibe. And so I wanted to create a song kind of more chill, like indie band, where you kind of get a whole band because with my other songs, it was just kind of acoustic guitars and my voice and we just layered that. And so I wanted to get kind of a whole indie band sound going. So we whipped out those two chords. We just recorded them, put them on loop, started writing them.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” guitar chords by Samuel Lim]

Lim: And yeah, the song just started kind of coming together. We had our friend Jack [Kolbe] come in the room just. And he was like, ‘Hey.’ He just wanted to hang. Also an extremely talented producer and obviously an extremely talented musician. So he was sitting down and listening to the chords and he just pulled up the bass and started playing this bassline. And we’re like, ‘Oh, that sounds so sick.’

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” bassline by Samuel Lim with Jack Kolbe]

Lim: So we added the baseline. Maverick pulled out the drums.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” drums by Samuel Lim with Maverick Fabela]

Lim: Maverick sang in the background to the ‘oohs’ it’s not me.

Fabela: I forgot about that, What!

Lim: Yeah, it’s you. It’s not me. If you hear the little background vocals, it’s Maverick. It’s not me. He just heard the chords and he was like, ‘Oh.’ And he just started working, got to the drums. I gave him a reference track, I think. I don’t remember what song it was, it was a song by The Neighborhood, [I] gave him that. And he was listening to those drums kind of splicing it together. And it just started coming together really fast. I think within like the first hour we had most of the layout done and then I was like, ‘You know what? Maybe we don’t keep it going upbeat and we use this weird chord here and just like one strum.’ And I whipped out the notes and I was like, ‘This line would fit perfect.’ And it was “Cause I broke all my rules for you.’ It was the chorus. And then, ‘I nearly killed myself’ like it was the whole chorus that I was like, ‘You know what? It’s a little weird because it’s kind of like there’s a strum going, there’s a groove going with the bassline. It’d be a little bit interesting to just kind of snip it off into the chorus and just have this beautiful vocal where it’s stacked with falsetto, which a lot of people tend to do.’ My friend Montell Fish, super talented musician, does that a lot in his music, so I’m very inspired by him. After hanging out with him, I was like, ‘You know what, maybe I should.’ I’ve always been super insecure about my falsetto, my head voice, like singing out of my range just because I don’t know, I feel like it sounds cheesy, but, you know, seeing other people use it in creative ways, it was like Maverick helped me and just kind of blended together into something that can not be cheesy. And so it was fun. Such a fun time. And I was just like.

Fabela: I remember that day.

Lim: Yeah, it didn’t feel like a session. It’s just where I think it’s so important when you’re working. I think working with friends is the best. Maverick and Jack are just two incredibly chill, talented men, and so, so much fun. And it just came naturally, you know, when you’re in an environment that feels like you can just express yourself like that. Because these lyrics aren’t just words, you know, they’re actual, real meaning and it’s heavy and it’s something that takes vulnerability to just kind of express. And so being in an environment like that, that’s just so judgment-free, caring. They just want to express themselves and they just care about art, like there’s nothing else but the art. And that kind of environment was so important for a song like this to kind of just be able to be birthed in its most natural, vulnerable state.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Fabela: My vision was for it to be whatever this guy wanted, which is why I think that’s something I’ve learned was very helpful. Because I think when I first started sessions, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I see how I could change this and change this person to fit the artists that I think they’d sound good as.’ But it was definitely, ‘I want to make Sam the best version of himself and this to be the best song that it can be.’ And I think that the ear candy is really important and that’s where I can take liberties and add little things here and there. But yeah, overall I think it was just to really support Sam.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Lim: I think as in elements of the song: it was interesting with this song because I had only had one song out when we started the session. It was my song, “Eleanor” and it was doing very well, performing very well, and I felt a lot of pressure to kind of stick within that genre or perform in that way or live up to that song. And so there was a lot of judgment in my mind when I came into the song. So, I came in this specific element and I was like, ‘I don’t want to- I want to explore other sounds.’ You know, I only have one song, although it’s doing great and I’m scared that, you know, exploring will kind of lose the audience that I have, I was like, ‘You know, I shouldn’t think about that while making art.’ And Maverick and Jack, like I said, created that environment. So when creating the song, I think as a whole, there’s this really interesting aspect that I think is funny. I think only I know about it. I don’t think I’ve really dived in[to] it, but the chords in the song are almost identical to “Eleanor,” but they sound completely different. The only difference is I added like a seventh in the chord, which is just an extra note …And so I think that’s so cool how you can use the same exact chord structure. And even in the end of “Eleanor,” it gets upbeat and it changes to this really weird other chord. I don’t even know how to describe it in music terms. I need to brush up on my music theology. But, in the end, it’s uses this other chords to kind of make it more powerful and make it sound different. Like, ‘Oh, that’s different,’ but it’s the same exact melody and lyrics. We also use that at the end of “Beaches & Sushi.”

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” guitar ending by Samuel Lim]

Fabela: Yeah, I was about to say, I think if there was another part that I’d want to dive into would be the end where, you know, we had the super powerful moment of like, ‘oh, there’s no drums at the chorus.’ And it just, it feels like a breath of fresh air. And then once Sam whipped out those chords at the very end, I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, this is this is awesome,’ because it’s just like, you’re not expecting the chord and it fits and it just like it’s another breath of fresh air to kind of conclude everything that you’ve already heard, you know. So I think that was one of my favorite parts was the chord changing at the end.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Lim: [What] inspired this song?

Fabela: That’s a heavy question.

Lim: Yeah, I mean, a lot of my songs. So like I said, I mean, my songwriting process isn’t very much a process. I’ve never really went to—like, I know other people have been to songwriting schools, like my friend. I have a few friends that went to songwriting schools and they just have structured out they know exactly what to do in songwriting. It’s like songwriting with them feels like I’m building a Lego set. They’re like, ‘Alright. First we’re going to sit and talk about our feelings, get really comfortable, and then we’re going to break down these feelings and break them down into lyrics. And then we’re going to look around for objects that we could use as metaphors, and then we’re going to fit them.’ And I was just like, ‘Dang, y’all have this down packed.’ It’s crazy. For me, I literally just sit. I hear chords in my head. I just start playing them and I just put the words where they fit. And whatever words flow out of me, just kind of flow out of me. It’s what I’m feeling in the moment. And that’s what music means to me. It’s just like it’s a tool to help me communicate. I’m in therapy, and my therapist says that I struggle with figuring out who I am sometimes. I can—I know a lot of people do. If you struggle with people-pleasing or anything like that, you kind of shuffle between different personalities with different people. And sometimes it can get overwhelming and you can get lost in who you are. And so for me, coming back to music is always the most authentic, pure version of myself. So it’s always for me, just kind of what flows. And so when I started writing music, I was going through a really tough time. My best friend passed away and then I had dealt with a very toxic on- and off-relationship that I honestly kept going back to because I was like, ‘You know what? I can make some songs out of this.’ There was a point where I told my brother, I was like, ‘She texted.’ And he was like, ‘Don’t.’ And I was like, ‘You know what? If it works out, it works out. And if it doesn’t, I’ll get a banger album.’ And he was like, ‘You’re so dumb.’ And I was like, ‘Hey, like, I’m...’ And then, you know, I went through that. I let her back in my love in January, and this was when “Eleanor” was doing well. I kind of was just taking a break from music, not break, but I was just kind of not taking it as seriously. And then, of course, she plays me again for the fourth time, you know, and this time I’m just pissed. I’m like, ‘You know, why? Like, why would you do this? Why would you- like fourth time? Like, how can you be that unself aware?’ And I was like, ‘You know what, this sucks.’ And so I did what I always do, and I just was like, ‘I’m going to distract myself with music, you know, and release these emotions through music.’ So, I started just setting up sessions with producers, you know. And then I think a lot. So whenever I’ll be working or walking, if I get a thought or I get triggered and something comes up that’s powerful, immediately write it down in my notes. Great for lyrics if you need them later. If you need a lyric, just, you know, scroll through. I have hundreds of notes that are just random that could be used in a song, but just don’t fit, you know? And so they’re waiting to be used. And so it’s just kind of pieces of me. I guess sometimes they’re not even—it doesn’t even come out all at once. It’s just little pieces from my notes and pieces from my past that I pieced together to make something that makes sense.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Fabela: I really enjoy, you know, getting to know people. And I think that it’s really, really awesome when an artist like Sam is able to open up. And then that really informs the way that I make the song. And well I thought it was like a great song anyways with the structure, but the lyrics just really hit different. I also started therapy,

Lim: Nice, great!

Fabela: So we were talking about, you know, people-pleasing. And you know, I can really relate to having to change who you are for other people and acting a certain way that can get emotionally exhausting because it’s not the way you really feel and it’s not truly who you are. And I think that aspect of me was really helpful because I’m always able to put on different hats. And if I’m in a rap session and there’s like ten guys in the room all rapping like, ‘Oh, you got to change this.’ And I’m like, on edge, and I can still put on a face and then, you know, I go to a different session and I have to put on a different hat. And I think that part of me that is a people pleaser and is really good at shifting personalities for different people, actually really helps, you know. Because I can be having the worst day ever and hop in a session with Paco and then I’m, you know, off my rocker and I’m having a great time. And I think that it’s healthy because it’s not like I’m ignoring those feelings, but it’s just having to wear those different hats for different people and being able to organically dial yourself down for things and be able to ramp things up for others. And yeah, I think it’s really helpful to also, you know, be able to bring yourself into the song. But also I don’t—I want to, you know, build the platform for the artists so I can’t, you know, be super sad because something that happened today and it’s an artist who wants to make upbeat, happy music. So it is difficult and there’s ways that I go about it. So, yeah, I think that’s mostly the life I have to live going between different sessions with different people. And some of them are super late, you know, I have unhealthy habits like caffeine but yeah, it’s difficult. But I really enjoy it, you know, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Lim: And so funny enough, so the song was just kind of birthed, I started writing about this particular ex and beaches and sushi. It’s where we first kissed. It was actually the lyrics completely broken down. I literally just was like, ‘Okay, beaches and sushi.’ Sounds fun, it’s fun. I was like, ‘You know what.’ I had that lyric written down and I was like, ‘you know what, it’s weird, but it’s fun.’ And then Harry Styles came out with “Music for a Sushi Restaurant.” I was like, ‘If he can make a song like that, I can make a song called “Beaches & Sushi.”’ I was like, ‘Let’s roll with it.’ But that wasn’t originally going to be the title. We didn’t know what the title was. We wrote the whole song. And I actually, so this is a funny story too, because Maverick was saving the song when we wrote the song and we’re like, ‘We’ll figure out the title later.’ We finished the song. We were saving it. We’re done for the day, he’s saving it and he’s like, ‘What should I call it?’ And I was like, ‘Just title it Sam and Mav.’ But Mav, I don’t think he heard ‘Mav.’ And he just wrote salmon like the fish, like sushi, like salmon.

Fabela: Oh wait, wait, wait.

Lim: You remember that?

Fabela: I just got that! Wait, I didn’t know to this day that you meant Sam and Mav.

Lim: Yeah, I meant Sam and Mav.

Fabela: Oh, oh my God. Okay.

Lim: But then you heard salmon, and so you wrote salmon the fish. I was just like, ‘Okay! Like sure, why not? It’s not like we’re releasing it under salmon.’ So we were at that. And after a while, it was just trying to think like ‘I nearly killed?’ No. I’m trying to think of titles, and I was just like, ‘Nothing works.’ And I was like, ‘Beaches & Sushi.’ And it doesn’t have to be over thought or overcomplicated, you know?

Fabela: Yeah.

Lim: It’s the first line of the song, and it just draws people in and it’s a story.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Lim: For “Beaches & Sushi,” yeah it was just completely referenced with The Neighborhood. So shout out The Neighborhood. Yeah, And Montell Fish too, like the falsetto part in the chorus, very Montell vibes and so those are the two references that I worked off of with “Beaches & Sushi.’ And then as for lyrically, it was just whatever popped out of my head, all the thoughts.

Fabela: It’s super helpful, like the references that you gave us because a lot of the time I knew your original style. But artists come to do different things and explore. And so I really as a producer rely on references a lot of the time to be able to produce what they want.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Lim: I’ve been doing a lot, actually. Oh, yeah. So I actually last weekend filmed a music video for “Beaches & Sushi.” It’s beautiful. It’s a collaboration with my friend Max. He has this production company that he started called Gum or Flavor That Sticks. And it’s this whole concept of a pack of gum, and there’s a flavor, and each flavor has sticks, and those are the pieces of media. And so each media is something different. So we have the music video. We might do a lyric breakdown, kind of like a Genius setting, a studio, but a little bit more different, a little bit more into my aesthetic and my vision. But the music video was beautiful… And we filmed some beautiful shots of just the skyline and me singing the song, and it’s just going to be amazing. “Beaches & Sushi,” the music video, the visuals. It’s a start to all my visuals. My first ever music video.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Lim: I think for me I have two main goals. One is retire my parents. Once I retire my parents, I’m like, that’s all that matters to me. Just it’s once they stop worrying, they can chill. I can just send them off to Europe and just like, ‘Bye, you don’t have to work’, it’s just like amazing stuff. And then two is, I think just consistency. As an emerging artist or any, any type of emerging creative, whether it’s podcast, music, videos, directing, whatever film, any type of emerging creative, it’s very inconsistent, right? Because each project is different and you don’t know when your next project is going to be because it takes time and it takes money. And as a new artist, you know, you’re in school, you’re working, trying to save money. You don’t have a lot of money to invest. But art takes time, so your life can be very inconsistent with art, you know. One week you’re filming, one week you’re working on your project and then you’re done. And then like for a couple of months or just be, you know, I don’t know what to do or, you know. And so for me, once I’m able to have a consistent like, ‘Okay, you know, I’m going on tour, I’m consistently filming an acting gig.’ It’s just once I have that routine and I’ll be like, you know, this is how I know I’ve made it as an artist when I can just fully be consistent and not worry about that inconsistent, like, uhh do I have to take a break for the sake of me and to save money or, you know, to figure out how I’m going to get the next project alive or how I’m going to bring my vision to life. It’s a lot of those things as an emerging artist is very difficult, especially when you’re independent, have no team. And so, those are the two things: Consistency, retire my parents.

Fabela: I think when I have my own studio and a house, and I’m able to separate my personal and work life as much as I want. Right now, I’m definitely saying yes to a lot of things because I feel like I need to have a filled schedule to validate myself. And yeah, same with school.

Lim: It’s an L.A. thing.

Fabela: It’s an L.A. thing. Yeah.

Lim: Like L.A. makes you feel like one rest day is like you’re falling behind. Yeah, maybe New York, too, any big city, is just like the hustle mindset. It’s tough, you know.

Fabela: The hustle mindset. Yeah, so.

Lim: Especially as an artist.

Fabela: Yeah, yeah, yeah. What I’m comfortable with saying like, ‘nope I take time for myself,’ you know, and I can do that without having to worry.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Host: You’ve been listening to SC Unplugged. A behind the scenes glimpse into the inspirations, creative process and musical goals of your favorite Trojan artists.

[Musical Interlude: “Beaches & Sushi” by Samuel Lim]

Fabela & Lim: [sing an outro]