An Evening with Silk Sonic

An Evening with Silk Sonic

Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak were already hard at work on what would become An Evening With Silk Sonic when the pandemic shut down live music in early 2020, but they weren’t going to let that stop them from delivering a concert experience to their fans. “All of a sudden, my shows get canceled, Andy's shows get canceled,” Mars told Ebro Darden during their R&B Now interview. “This fear of ‘we’ll never be able to play live again’ comes into play. And to take that away from guys like us, that's all we know. So we're thinking, all right, let's put an album together that sounds like a show.” It began with the project’s lead single, “Leave the Door Open,” a syrupy-sweet piece of retro soul that Mars considers something of a backbone for the project. After its completion, he and .Paak began building out the nine songs of An Evening With Silk Sonic, soliciting help, in the few instances where they needed it, from friends like Bootsy Collins, Thundercat, and even Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. Their access to HOF-worthy firepower notwithstanding, the pair always understood that their own combined musicality was the real draw. “We just wanted it to feel special,” Mars says. “Instead of trying to get too cute with the concept, it's like, what's more special than Anderson .Paak behind a drum set singing a song and me having his back when it's my turn, you know? And the band moving in the same direction? It was just like a musician's dream.” Below, the pair talk through some of the tracks that make An Evening With Silk Sonic an experience fans won’t soon forget. “Leave the Door Open” Bruno Mars: “Me and Andy come from the school of performing and playing live instruments. We wrote ‘Leave the Door Open’ and it was just one of those songs like, dang, I can’t believe we a part of this, and we don't know what it's gonna do, we don't care that it's a ballad or a whatever you wanna call it—to us, this just feels right and it's important. So no matter what, if it hit No. 1 or it didn't, me and Andy both know that that was the best we could do. And we were cool with that.” “Fly as Me” Anderson .Paak: “‘Fly as Me’ is a joint hook [Mars] had for a minute. He was trying to figure out some verses for it, trying to figure out the groove, and we spent some time on that.” Mars: “Andy goes behind the drum set one day and says, ‘The groove gotta be like this,’ and starts playing his groove. D’Mile is on the bass, I'm on the guitar. After all the grooves we tried, I don't know what it is, there's something about someone in the studio, someone that you trust, saying, 'It's gotta be like this.’ And the groove you hear him playing, which is not an easy groove to play, was what he showed me and D. And we just followed suit.” “After Last Night” (with Thundercat & Bootsy Collins) Mars: “That one got a lot of Bootsy on it. And my boy Thundercat came in and blessed us. It’s just one of them songs—everything was built to be played live, so that song is one of those we can keep going for 10 minutes.” “Smokin Out the Window” Mars: “‘Smokin Out the Window’ was an idea we started four or five years ago on tour. It didn't sound nothing like how it does now, but we just had the idea. On [.Paak’s] birthday, I called him over. He was hysterical that night. After every take he was like, 'I'm the king of R&B! I’m the best! Tell me I’m not the hottest in the game!' We were going back and forth with the lines and who can make who laugh, and we end up finishing that song and he was like, 'I’m out, what we doing tomorrow?'” “Put On a Smile” Mars: “I had a song that I played for Andy and I said, ‘What do you think about this?’ and he said, ‘It sucks.’ I start singing it again and he gets behind the drums and that's when the magic happens. So we come up with this hook and these chords and that's when we start cooking, when everything starts moving in the studio. The song's starting to sound real good now. I don’t wanna mess it up, so I call Babyface. I only call Face to know if I got something good, you know, ’cause he’ll tell me too, 'This is wack.' For all of us to finish that record together, that was one of my favorite experiences on this album.” “Skate” Mars: “It's hard to be mad on some rollerskates. So really, that's kinda the essence of this album: If me and Andy were to host a party, what would that feel like? Summertime. Outside. Set up the congas and the drums and amplifiers, and what would that sound like? And this is what our best effort was: 'Skate.'”

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