Since first introducing their collaborative Silk Sonic project back in March with “Leave the Door Open,” Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak have kept the music world waiting for word on their first album. It looks like we still have a few months to go, as the duo have revealed their LP, An Evening with Silk Sonic, is targeting a January 2022 release.
The pair confirmed the news in an extensive new interview with Rolling Stone. Apparently, the album was initially set for a fall drop, but they wanted to release a few more singles to give the songs their own space. “I don’t want to be binge-watched,” explained Mars. (Since “Leave the Door Open,” we’ve only received one other Silk Sonic track: “Skate,” which arrived in late July.)
Speaking about their detailed collaborative process, .Paak admitted he’s the “more free-form” personality, while Mars is more like a “math professor.” “He’s thinking about every aspect of the song, the math of it all,” .Paak said of his musical partner. “It’s deeper than just talking slick, or good drums, or anything like that — it’s ‘What are we talking about, what are we trying to say, what does this look like, and how are we gonna kill ’em on the hook?’”
With “Leave the Door Open” as the band’s “mission statement,” Silk Sonic are aiming to create feel-good vibes after a year of pandemic despair. Mars detailed the goal of An Evening with Silk Sonic:
“I hope you don’t flip the shit I’m about to say around and say, ‘These dudes are deep as a puddle.’ It’s not that. It’s just that we feel our purpose is this. We need to light up a stage, put the fear of God in anyone performing before us or after us, and bring so much joy to the people we’re in front of and the people listening. Especially in times like the time we’re in right now. For me? I know I wasn’t listening to any depressing music. We’re already in a weird spot — so to try to get in there? No! I want the escape!”
That sonic escape route came via the ’60s and ’70s, “the old school,” as Mars called it. “I don’t know what year it is. I’m not looking at the charts. So we’d just come here every night, have a drink, and we play what we love.” In fact, .Paak apparently wears those influences right on his chest, having got a tattoo of Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, and Prince over quarantine. “This is the Avengers,” he joked. (No word on if that tattoo about not wanting his music released posthumously was also a “bored” lockdown decision.)
In order to create a sound that felt like their idols, however, they had to completely readjust how they played in the studio. Mars had his longtime engineer, Charles Moniz, to look into the specifics of how music was created back then, going as far as to “get the right things, down to the skins on Andy’s drums.” Added Mars, “I’ve never realized till this album how much the right guitar pick matters. The right gauged strings. All this science kinda stuff.”
Still, even with all the proper gear, things still weren’t sounding right as Mars listened back on the speakers in his Cadillac CTS (a standard real-world test for the meticulous artist). Not only did they need the proper equipment, they had to shift their performances. “Those players back then were playing with such patience,” said .Paak. “The music we grew up with is heavy drums, bass smacking, so we got all the instruments but were still like, ‘Why doesn’t it sound right?’ Because we were fucking bashing!”
Read the full interview over at Rolling Stone, and keep an eye out for the An Evening with Silk Sonic album early next year.