By Brent Thompson
The Record Company is a prime example of a band forging its way in the modern music industry. Recording and mixing its debut full-length debut album [2016’s Grammy-nominated Give It Back To You] in its Los Angeles living room, the trio quickly garnered exposure via heavy rotation on satellite radio. In 2018, the band – Chris Vos, Alex Stiff and Marc Cazorla – released All Of This Life, 10-track collection that mines the raw, blues-based sound of its predecessor. On Friday, October 4, The Record Company will perform with Blackberry Smoke at Avondale Brewing Company. Recently, vocalist/guitarist Vos spoke with us by phone from his California home.
Birmingham Stages: Chris, thanks for your time. We are enjoying All Of This Life.
Chris Vos: Thanks. It was fun to make and it’s fun to see these songs get out there. It’s been a cool experience.
Birmingham Stages: I can only imagine the whirlwind your life has been since the release of Give It Back To You.
Vos: It’s all good. You can’t work to create chaos by being a musician and, when it happens, not enjoy it. It’s a crazy life but – to paraphrase Willie Nelson – it’s my life.
Birmingham Stages: With the touring and promotion demands that surrounded Give It Back To You, was it a challenge to write material for All Of This Life?
Vos: You get better at it. To borrow another phrase, you make hay while the sun shines. If you’re going to wait around for conditions to be perfect to sit down and write a song, those days are gone. If you want to continue to be out there, you have to continue writing and taking information. It’s just having your antenna up every day. Back in the day, you’d carry a pad and paper in your pocket and if an idea hit you you’d get it down. But now we’ve got these [digital] voice memos and you get it down on there – it’s a nice little tool to have. You have to be listening to your soul and mind at all times because they go by real quick. Inspiration does not knock loudly all the time.
Birmingham Stages: Were the songs on All Of This Life newer compositions, older ones or a mixture of both?
Vos: Most of it was brand new. There were a couple that were concepts that had laid around for a bit. There were song fragments and lyrics that had been laying around. Sometimes you’ll have a lyric or a melody that you feel like is good but you can’t find the personality of the song yet. You try to beat your head against the wall in those moments, but sometimes the song just isn’t ready to be born yet so you move on to the next idea.
Birmingham Stages: When you take songs into the recording studio, is there ongoing tweaking that takes place?
Vos: I think it’s different on every record. For All Of This Life, we had a release date set and we hit the deadline and we said, “That’s that.” Deadlines sometimes are good because you can sit and horse around with something forever. We tend to be more of a “let it be what it is” kind of band, but as you go on in your career you never know what will happen.
Birmingham Stages: Some artists say this is a great time to be in your position given the technology and the instant accessibility it brings. Others say it’s a difficult time to be found among the crowd given the clutter that technology creates. How do you feel about the current climate?
Vos: The one thing I’m always hesitant to think about is the concept of the good old days. I don’t think it was ever easy is my point. Back in the day, there were gatekeepers telling us what’s cool and what’s not cool and they controlled the whole game. A band like us probably wouldn’t have had much of a chance to get out there. I wasn’t making music when people bought music so I didn’t get the benefit of that. I’ve never had checks just rolling into my mailbox. I’m of the era where you put out a record so you can go play shows.
It’s a complicated question. Everybody has a chance and I see a lot of diverse artists out there. Artists I meet these days are not motivated by money. I think musicians that are out there truly love what they do and they do it because they don’t want to do anything else. They are looking to be fulfilled spiritually and musically. You just have to get in there and work hard.
The Record Company will perform with Blackberry Smoke at Avondale Brewing Company on Friday, October 4. Advance tickets to the 6:30 p.m. show are $35 – $40 day of the show – and can be purchased at avondalebrewing.com.