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Proverbial Cool Aid Discusses Sophomore Album, '2023'

Welcome to Buzz, Proverbial Cool Aid! We're head over heels for your sophomore album, 2023. What inspired the core concept of this record, and what made you want to bring it to life?

Hey guys. Thank you very much. I appreciate that. What inspired 2023? Well, so, after West LA came out, that group of guys broke up. The group of guys in the West LA video. That band broke up right after the song and the music video came out in August or September of 2022. Creative differences, I guess. I don't know. Let's call it indie musician creative differences. That group broke up, and right then and there, I decided to go forward and write another record. I had more material that I wanted to finish. I just was in writing mode. I had just written West LA. And I knew that I could do it.

That I could write another record, I knew that I could compete with what was going on in Houston music. I went out, and I got a practice room, and I set up like a lawn chair or something in the room and my amp, and I just started writing in front of the microphone. Song by song. Pad and pen. After the songs finished, I'd go into Wire Road and record them. One by one. Song by song.

I asked musician friends of mine to record on my tracks. I used session players. Whatever it took to bring my songs to life and fruition and to complete the record, I did it. I had a great producer and a great studio behind me, too. Wire Road and Josh Applebee. Josh and I went through the songs individually until the record was done. And finally, after a year of recording, in September of 2023, it was done. I dropped the record on Oct. 1st, 2023. I dropped the singles prior to releasing the record throughout the year. But, yeah, the record dropped Oct. 1st, 2023. And I just decided to call it 2023. And it did. It turned out fantastic. This first year has really been incredible.

We must ask, what led to your 12-year hiatus, and what inspired you to come back by recording the track "West La" from 2023?

So, I graduated from college in 2000. After graduation, I moved to Houston and recorded the first record. It was a mix of stuff, so I called it Proverbial Cool Aid. We recorded that first record in 2005 - 2009. It came out in 2010. And back then, PCA had another writer and another singer that joined us for the last few days of recording on that first record. But, he ended up leaving the band for two shows or something like that and us going out to play the record. He put together another band here in Houston and started playing the whole record live as his own. The record that I had just written 90% of and financed and walked through the system every step of the way. Man, that so put me off, I pulled the record down, and I gave up music and playing altogether. I went to work. I completely put music down. I worked for 12 years or something like that in the Houston oil and gas business. I was an analyst for these oil and gas companies here in Houston. An oil and gas analyst. Fast forward 12 years, at the tail end of COVID, I was a senior analyst at ExxonMobil.

I got sick. I was in the hospital for a month and in rehab for months after that. I was ill. After six months or so, I had to forfeit my job. I couldn't get well in time. When I got better, that group of guys from the West LA video started playing together. The original PCA singer and I reconnected, and I picked the guitar back up. His dad had passed away, and I had been really sick, so I guess that kind of reconnected us. Anyway, we reconnected for a couple of songs. And he left the band again. But West LA was one of those songs. We had gone into the studio to record another song that weekend in July of 2022. We had some time left on the meter, so I went into Studio A at Wire Road and recorded the rhythm and the vocals for West LA simultaneously. I don't think the guys knew I had finished the song. I had only shown it to them once or twice in practice. Based on the drummer at the time saying, "Hey, that's kind of cool," I finished the song behind the scenes. The guys went in and recorded their parts on top of that scratch track. That's how West LA came to be. And, I'm telling you, everyone, that touched that song, nailed it, from the drums to the bass to the video. Everyone nailed it. But then, like I said, that group broke up, and I took the band forward and started writing.

On a broader note, how has your band and sound evolved during that 12-year hiatus? What's changed since you took a break?

Well, the band used to do more acoustic stuff. The old singer played an acoustic guitar. I did, too, back then on the first record. The first record was almost acoustic. But, it had a very rooty, un-produced sound. Once that first singer left, and I started doing all the writing and all the singing, the sound changed. With the new songs in 2023, as I dropped them, we started getting noticed and getting shows. The writing changed. The singing style changed. I'm a much smoother type of singer versus the kind of guttural singing that was on the first record. The instrumentation changed. An acoustic guitar became a Les Paul. With those changes and new material, I started getting some attention. Some good press. I was picking up some good shows.

The collaboration with Vince B and JQ Musiq on 2023's "Sick & Pool Hall" is exceptional. How did this collaboration come about, and what was that process like?

Yeah. That song turned out great. Vince, JQ and I had worked on a song a year or so ago called Champion. One of Vince's songs. It turned out well, so I asked Vince about getting on one of my tracks. I found a guitar riff that I liked, and I had Josh record it and send it to him. That main riff of "Sick & Pool Hall." He and JQ went to work on it. They sent me back the "Pool Hall" piece. I thought it was fantastic. I brought the band in and had them drop the drums and the bass. That's how that song came to be. That song did turn out fantastic. Tyson Sheath dropped the drums on it, and Glen Ackerman dropped the bass. Those two are fantastic musicians. We did that song live in the studio in 2 or 3 takes. At Wire Road in Studio A, 2 or 3 takes. Josh Applebee did a fantastic job with the production of that song—good low ends. "Sick" and "Sick & Pool Hall" both really turned out fantastic.

In terms of the listener's experience, what did you want them to feel and take away from your album 2023? What was your goal in that regard?

My goal? Well, my goal, first and foremost, was to write a good record. On my own. By myself. To write an excellent record. A full-bodied record like the first record. The first record had that too. Different genres. I think that, though, from a marketing standpoint, this record, like the last one, is hard to market. It's a county record, you know? With Houston Time. It's an American record with My Days. It's an alternative record with It Goes Sometimes. It's a rock record with West LA. It's got a little bit of everything. But it's hard to market from a label standpoint. But I wanted a well-rounded, full-bodied record like the first record was. But, yeah, Proverbial Cool Aid, as a band, and 2023, as a record, is tough to market. It's an excellent record. But hard to market. I'm ok with that. I finish what I want to finish. But, yeah, the record did turn out great. I'm proud of it.

Read our review of 2023, here.


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