Soon, Tangerine will be headed through that exit to California. Photo by Agatha Pacheco

Leaving Seattle

Tangerine Is Growing Into a California Orange

The local indie band is packing its bags and heading to L.A.

For local indie band Tangerine, California will no longer be a fantasy influencing its coastal sound. In preparation for its new album, the band is making its dream a reality, and moving to L.A. Sisters Marika and Miro Justad and longtime friend Toby Kuhn will say goodbye to Seattle on July 1 at a farewell show hosted by KEXP at Neumos. Tangerine made a name for itself beginning in 2013, when the trio broke ties with city tradition and burst onto the music scene with a sunny pop-rock sound that stood out among the gloomy weather.

Driving through California over the years, they’ve been longingly looking back after returning home tour after tour. They even found their California away from California in Wedgwood’s Broiler Room, an old-school diner with what the band calls a Mad Men vibe. Underneath dimmed, low-hanging lamps surrounded by senior citizens, it’s not where you would expect to find the youthful trio. “It’s definitely a gem in Seattle; it’s very hard to find diners within the city limits with this kind of menu. It actually has an L.A. vibe,” Marika says while eating a salad garnished with Cheez-Its.

Tangerine joins a long list of artists who have left the Emerald City for the City of Angels. Many, like La Luz and Shaprece, are leaving for change and inspiration, rather than the typical scapegoat, rising housing prices. La Luz’s Shana Cleveland told SW last year that while Seattle did help the band gain momentum, being comfortable isn’t how you achieve goals.

The trio grew up and lived in Wedgwood, but they’ve always had their eye on California. They invited fans to “fall into a Hollywood dreamscape with us” in the description of their “Sugar Teeth” music video, and fan reviews of their records on Bandcamp often note, with slight bewilderment, that the band sounds Californian despite its Seattle roots. “I feel like every time we go on tour through there, it’s like there’s such a creative energy there, and it feels so weird to be driving away at top speed toward Seattle,” Miro laughs. “Every time we felt like there’s a magnetic pull there.”

For the past few years, the members have discussed their desire to move. Besides the fact that their local rise came fast and early with attention from VICE’s Noisey and MTV, it was a tough decision for Miro and Marika, who needed time to cope before they moved anywhere. “When Miro and I started the band, our mom had cancer and we were taking care of her. She passed away a couple of years ago, and I feel like we’ve been sort of working through that,” Marika says.

During that time, the band played everywhere from Capitol Hill Block Party to Bumbershoot, Sasquatch, and SXSW. Their last big bill before Saturday’s farewell show was Upstream in Pioneer Square, where, they said, they got to be with the community that gave them their start. “There’s so many things we like about Seattle, and it’s a wonderful place for any band starting out,” says Kuhn. If not for the supportive Seattle music scene, Tangerine says it may not have ended up where it is now. “It’s almost like an incubator for small bands,” Marika says.

For the members, whose goal is to get their next album off the ground and make moves within the industry, the shift makes sense. “When we made the decision to move down, that’s also when we started connecting with more people down there, and it was like, ‘Oh yeah, it must be a good decision to move down there,’” says Toby.

But to locals smarting from yet another band relocation, the trio says it will always be a Seattle band. But their ultimate goal is to go global, doing music full time. They’re hoping L.A. will be their big break, where they can completely focus on recording their new album without too much pressure. Seattle still has them for one last weekend, though, so make the most of it. Tangerine Going-Away Show with Emma Lee Toyoda, Fauna Shade. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., neumos.com. $12–$15. 21 and over. 8 p.m. Sat., July 1.

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