Malibu West Long Branch

Malibu: Bringing the West Coast to West Long Branch

By now, most Monmouth students have heard of Malibu. But if you haven’t had a chance to jam to their beachy vibes yet, you’ll definitely want to add them to your playlist.

The band consists of Scott Buksbaum (bass/vocals), Ray Laux (guitar/vocals), Eric Schwartz (guitar), and James Spavelko (drums). Since coming together to create music as freshmen last year, the members of Malibu have experienced major success.

To celebrate their one-year anniversary, Malibu has over 14,000 Spotify streams on the song “Brighter Blue.” They also recently announced that they will be supporting Natalie Claro during her upcoming tour, throughout October.

In regard to how they began to create music together, Buksbaum, a sophomore music industry student, said, “I knew Ray through a couple classes and I knew he played guitar and sang, so I asked him if he wanted to start a band. I never met Eric before our first band practice, and I met James through a mutual friend.” Once they began to play together, there was instant chemistry. 

Blue Hawk Records, Monmouth’s student-run record label, has infinitely helped Malibu grow as artists. Schwartz, a sophomore political science student, said, “Blue Hawk Records gave us our first outlet to write and record our songs, which we’re really grateful for.”

“We recorded and released ‘Brighter Blue’ with them, which has since been our most successful song. They’ve also given us plenty of opportunities to perform on and off campus, letting us reach a bigger audience,” he continued.

Joe Rapolla, Chair of the Department of Music and Theatre Arts, has had the chance to work closely with Malibu. They collaborated on two Blue Hawk Records releases: Volume 11 and After Midnight.

“When the guys came together as freshmen, they had a lot of great energy and enthusiasm. That energy was what helped them attract a fanbase so quickly,” he said.

“Over the last year they have coupled that with focus, and a sense of who they are as a band. That is what will propel them to the next level,” Rapolla added.

This past summer, Malibu played shows all around the country, including stops in Brooklyn and Georgia. To kick off the school year, Malibu had their first headlining show at Long Branch’s own Brighton Bar, on Sept. 8. What can we can expect to see from the band next?

Spavelko, a sophomore music industry student, said, “Malibu is currently working on moving into a more alternative-pop sound. The band will be working with a whole new set of professional musicians and producers from across the East Coast, creating a completely new and fresh take on the current trends of the alternative genre.”

If you’re looking for something different to do one weekend, come out to support your fellow Hawks at one of their shows. Also, go ahead and check out their Spotify, so that you’re prepared to sing along.

For those who haven’t listened to Malibu before, Laux, a sophomore music industry student, said, “I would describe us as guitar driven pop. We have a lot of pop sensibilities, but we keep our rock backgrounds prominent. Our music is full of catchy hooks and guitar riffs.”

Malibu will offer you the perfect way to keep hints of summer in your playlist, as we quickly progress to the official onset of the fall season.

Maybe Malibu will even inspire you to start your own band. In that case, Rapolla has some advice.

“It’s always great when it happens naturally like it did for Malibu. But then you have to channel that hard work like these guys are and keep catching that magic in a bottle,” he said.

Rapolla continued, “That’s what this band is doing. Raw talent and energy is key. Then like anything else, hard work is what makes the difference.”

Malibu’s passion for their craft is evident in every performance and recording. If you want to stay updated on the band, you can follow them on Instagram, @MalibuNJ.

IMAGE TAKEN from Malibu’s Instagram