The arrival of Silk Sonic, the new band anchored by multi-talented frontmen Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, has lit up the internet in the days since its announcement.
On Friday, the band shared its first offerings from forthcoming debut album, An Evening with Silk Sonic. In addition to the silky single “Leave The Door Open” and its stylish live performance video, Silk Sonic released “Silk Sonic Intro”, a swirling signature of sorts for the new endeavor. Here, we’re introduced to our “host,” funk legend Bootsy Collins, who helps set the stage for the project.
“Well alright,” Collins coos. “It is I, blaster of the Universe, Bootzilla himself. Fellas, I hope you got something in your cup, and ladies, don’t be afraid to make your way to the stage for a band that I named, Silk Sonic.”
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To mark the release, Silk Sonic sat down with Apple Music‘s Zane Lowe at the Beverly Hills Hotel for an interview about the origins of the project, the record’s funk influence, inspiring each other by trying to impress each other, and the album’s underlying concept, the “Setlist of Doom.”
“Look at us having this secret meeting. No one else is around, just us,” Lowe joked to get things moving. “A secret meeting about the secret meeting that led to the secret meeting. Man, you guys keep a secret. I’ll give it to you.”
All smiles, .Paak responded, “[Mars is] good at that. I would’ve told everybody. … He said, ‘Andy, just trust me, you do it my way, you’ll never be the same.'”
Getting into the origins of the project, the duo revealed that they have been working on material from the album since 2017, when they toured together on part of Mars’ 24k Magic outing. “Theres a song on the album,” Mars noted, “that we started in 2017, and it was just a little phrase that we had, joking around, going back and forth about. And when we got to the studio, I actually called [.Paak] on his birthday and I said, ‘I think I figured out that little hook we had, come to the studio. He’s like, ‘It’s my birthday.’ So he came drunk.”
“It was my 25th birthday,” .Paak conceded. “What’re you gonna do. I was feelin’ myself.”
Mars continued, “That’s what it was, it snowballed. It was like well, wanna come back tomorrow? We kept coming up with music and it felt like why you fall in love with music in the first place. Jamming with your buddy, there’s no plan. Just working out the parts and trying to excite each other.”
Speaking about the ambitious musicality of “Leave The Door Open”—for which .Paak recorded the drums in a single take—the duo discussed Andy’s increasingly recognizable playing style. “It’s great to be able to utilize that,” .Paak explained. “You get so many collaborations where a lot of it’s done through email, you never meet the person, it’s texts. It’s like a play. And people don’t understand that when you get in and you can jam with someone, another artist that can hold it down… that’s different. And you really creating a groove from scratch. You guys are trying to figure out what’s gonna work, what’s the math behind this that’s gonna get everybody feeling good. What is it? Is it too heavy? Is it not heavy enough?”
“He’s one of the baddest drummers I ever seen, you know” Mars added. “And you’re gonna hear that all over the album. That’s what really inspired so much. I had never created music like that, with drums being the focus. … He comes from a different era, that’s what it felt like when I heard him play drums in the studio. It’s like, man, you don’t come from this new school of musicians, you come from those old school musicians back in the day that one drummer would play on everyone’s record, like the Funk Brothers at Motown.”
“Bruno played drums, too.” Anderson added, to which Mars replied with faux incredulity, “Thank you, I was waiting.”
“This wouldn’t happen if it didn’t make sense and it didn’t feel natural and organic,” Mars added. “This was a series of events that led us to, ‘Man, why don’t we just do it?’ Starting with the tour, us creating a friendship and a bond and talking to each other and sharing the same love for music, getting into the studio, quarantine. All of these things was the equation to get this album.”
Getting to the overall “live” feel of the album, .Paak interjected, “[It’s] the Setlist of Doom! We can’t do shows right now. We just, we in there, so we created a show within the studio. It’s always showtime with us. We can’t help it. We could try to be regular, probably, at some point in our lives, but we can’t help it. It’s not in our nature. … So we needed Bootsy to kinda like [bring it together].
“Well for me,” Mars added, “Bootsy is the definition of a superstar, just for everything. The songs, the vibes. There’s so many artists that you can see that grew up on him. … We thought it would be incredible if we could dream up a dream setlist—that was our motto in the studio: ‘Alright, let’s create the Setlist of Doom, who would be the ultimate host that could string all these songs together, and thank god for Bootsy.”
Bootsy, as he notes in “Silk Sonic Intro”, was the one who gave Silk Sonic its name. As .Paak explained, “Once we got the music, you know, we had a bunch of different names—RoboCop Funk, The Conquistadors, The Atlantic Stars. … Lava Lamps.” After explaining how Bootsy had previously named singer Babyface, they said they immediately took to Silk Sonic as soon as Collins offered up the idea.
Watch Zane Lowe interview Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars talk about the origins of Silk Sonic with Zane Lowe on Apple Music below.
Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak) – Apple Music Interview w/ Zane Lowe
[Video: Apple Music]