The ever stylish and unpredictable TexMex Shaman has pushed the boundaries even further of late, presenting music fans with a decidedly creative and refreshing take on a classic – The Commodores’ infamous Easy. We loved the cover, so we caught an interview with the man behind the music to find out more about what inspired it and what’s next on the agenda. Here’s the conversation in full.
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Hey – thanks for the interview! Loving the new release – what prompted you to want to re-work this particular song?
Hey – thank you for having me, I’m glad you like the new tune!
I chose this because it’s one of those songs I’d hear in the car when riding around with my mom as a kid and it always kinda grabbed me because it was so mellow and had a great hook. As I grew into playing the guitar as a teen, I realized how awesome the guitar solo is on this thing with having to have the feel and ability to lay back some, you know. That’s not as easy as you’d think. Then as an adult, I realized it’s a great getting over a heartbreak song. You have this guy who is totally at peace with letting go because he realizes he’s tried everything he could, you know. The whole thing is mellow and its definitely a ballad, but it also packs a punch if you flip it over in your hands a few times.
How did the process go – random jam to it, pre-planned arrangement?
This one has been on my “want to do” list for a while and it’s the first cover song I’ve recorded. I worked with my partner in crime OASPM (yes I said OASPM) – he’s a buddy I go way back with. We played together a lot in college and did countless live shows and basically had a hell of a time. He grew up to create a record label as well as open a recording studio, so it was a natural fit for us to work together some. I had created the arrangement I liked and made a rough mix with some electric drums and he came in and laid down the bass and suggested we try live drums, which he played and sounded great on. So it came from a planned arrangement but evolved somewhat organically to the final product.
What was the general reaction you were hoping for from listeners?
Well I hope that it will be well received of course, but typically my music tends to either grab you or it doesn’t, which is actually fine with me you know. I am hoping some fans of the original song can groove on it as well as some from a younger generation who can appreciate the whole unique vibe of it.
What’s going on musically in the track – how much is organic musicianship, and how much is production or digitally sourced?
In this tune, it’s all organic except a couple of parts. I do recall at one point OASPM saying “dude, there’s 20 f’ing guitar tracks here” haha. So, he wasn’t too happy with the task of us mixing that down, but it got there. The subtle lyrics you hear in the main melody throughout come from me using a talk box on the guitar tracks doubled (tripled?) with a standard lead. The bass is live, the drums are live. The keyboard parts I played via MIDI interface and I kinda borrowed the theme from the Sci-Fi classic there at the end during the key change. The bubbly sounds at the ends of the verses and in the end after the solo are just a wild ass delay applied to a guitar part I had. And then, of course, the laser sound at the beginning of the bridge after the epic “I wanna be high!” – I think I played around with that sound for at least 6 hours haha.
To me though, the production plays a huge role in this song. I told OASPM early on – dude I have it in my head but can’t get it onto tape with my DAW skills or lack thereof – so he was a huge help in getting us there with the production.
Where do you imagine the best setting is to experience this release?
Haha, well… I know how I like to listen but that can vary. It’s definitely not a drive down the strip on a Friday night song, or hell I guess that could depend on your town. Given the somewhat … I don’t even wanna say ‘experimental’ because to me, this is how my music comes out, but for anyone who likes to tickle their brain some with something new, I’d say somewhere you could lay back with headphones and however you choose to relax and put a smile on your face, that’s where you’d do it.
What qualities do you think make a cover of a classic song hit with new yet likable impact?
I’d say you have to walk that line of keeping the heart and soul of what makes the song – which you first have to determine what that is you know. Then extract that and put it through your own filter as an artist and what makes you _you_. Then you gotta keep it flowing so that people listening feel safe that you haven’t butchered their favorite song of all time or whatever you know, it’s not easy. Well … I won’t bother with the bad jokes here… it’s not an easy thing to do, but like I said before if you can keep the soul and change the shoes you’ll be ok with a cover song.
Do you have a favourite cover from someone else that you could recommend?
Listen to I Want to Hold Your Hand by the Melvins. I promise
What’s next for you – what do you have planned creatively throughout the rest of 2019?
Yeah – I plan to release an LP in January of 2020 so I think I need about another 2 or 3 songs in addition to this song and my EP Fever in the South. So I’ll be working on those for the next couple of months before I have to hand it over to the printers and distributors etc..
Is there anything else we should know?
Let me say thanks to everyone who has ever pushed the play button on any tune of mine (Even if it only lasted 5 seconds haha). I appreciate you and the Stereo Stickman crew for doing this review and interview and for being such professionals in your craft. Thanks for your dedication to independent music. And to everyone out there playing your music… keep that shit up!
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