Rudy De Anda talks to ROCKDABEAT about upcoming live shows, the past year in Chicago and recording a new album in Texas. You can catch Rudy in Chicago at Martyrs' opening for Las Cafeteras on November 13 and November 27 at Chop Shop opening for Monophonics.
RBD: As we're talking, you're gearing up to go on the road a bit, so can you tell us a little bit about that? Where are you going?
Rudy de Anda: It's just a small run to be honest, but we're gonna be supporting Monophonics my labelmates on tour. It's just going to be Detroit, St. Louis, Omaha, Kansas City, Wichita, Minneapolis, Chicago at the Chop Shop. Probably one of the colder tours I've been on and yeah, like get a chance to really sink my teeth into the Midwest a little bit.
RDB: Can you tell us about going back to the stage? You had a show here in Chicago that I believe was your first time back since the pandemic kind of shut everything down. What was that like?
Rudy de Anda: Yeah, it was 18 months since my last show that was in March... I remember the date, clearly: March 17th, 2020, when we played in Vancouver on the last show of a tour with our friends Habibi. And yeah, obviously a lot of bands were unable to play for a long, extended period of time. I felt like my version also had to do with the fact that I moved, so those things kind of compounded so that it was like longer. I realized that night how much I needed it, you know, for my own sanity, and it's always like therapeutic, it's always like a release. So yeah, I just felt like I got to do a drug that I hadn't gotten to do in 18 months. And it's really priceless, the feeling and express yourself. I really missed it and it really just reiterated to me how much I really enjoy it.
RDB: In 2020 you actually released your first solo album (Tender Epoch). Can you tell us about that experience and doing it within the confines of not being able to do what you normally would - go out and tour it and share it in person?
Rudy de Anda: Yeah, it was supposed to come out in March 2020. We all know what happened after that. However, in 2019 we went on tour with Black Pumas a few times and Duran Jones. And people who were going and attending those shows definitely got a chance to see some of those songs live and I felt like... like a bear. And I'll explain. Because you know [bears] gather up their berries for the winter and to hibernate, and I didn't know that I was doing that at the time, but all of that experience in 2019 was like...I gathered up enough berries to go into this 2020 hibernation, if that makes sense.
And I think all of that touring also did help when the record actually came out in September  because we had acquired a bigger audience or newer fans or people that were more familiar with the music. Because of all those tours and stuff... and the fact that people were stuck at home and [having] not much to do. I almost feel like that almost benefited the record because I felt like people wanted new music... we had almost like more of people's attention in that sense, where I think it debuted at #12 on the Latin charts and #83 on the general Billboard charts. So, I'm not sure if that would have been the same case, to be honest, if there was no pandemic. I'm not sure...[we'll] never know, but I do feel like people gravitated towards it or had more of a mental capacity and time and extra days to sit around at home and wanna listen to new music.
RDB: It's interesting that you mentioned having that space to hear new music and I think just the idea of, or concept of, listening to a full album as opposed to switching from song to song. Did you find yourself doing some of that? Any albums that you discovered or rediscovered during that time?
Rudy de Anda: Well, you're mentioning how sometimes you're on the run and flipping through songs. l do enjoy that; I do enjoy making playlists. What I like to do is I'll like songs on my Spotify or Shazam them and then like them. Therefore, the next week when I have time to walk around, it's like these 20 new songs or something that are ready to go, for my listening pleasure. So, I don't see anything wrong with that, I mean, that's just the day and age we live in.
But on the other side of that, I do consider myself old fashioned and where like the value of a full album you know and the concept, your conceptualization of a full album versus like a single, it's almost like a dying art... I just think that sometimes an album is like a movie or a book where, so you read chapters one and two, but you don't know how the book's gonna end if you don't go all the way to the end, or you don't know how the movie plot is gonna be on the last song.
So albums that I, discovered or rediscovered during that time... Let's see. I'll bust one out real quick. In no particular order, but this is one that I really enjoyed during that time is called the Louis Wayne Moody High comp... It's cool 'cause they kind of make it look like a yearbook with people, messages and pictures of the school or whatever... It's a song compilation from like the late 50s, early 60s that was put out on Numero Group. And it's the perfect medium between like surf rock and like R&B and like, I don't know, kinda like garage-y, so it's literally right up my alley.
I'll bust one more out... I mean, I love Biggie Smalls too. This is an original press of his Life After Death record. I just remember, well I like some of the songs, but I never really sat and listened to the whole thing. This was one of the albums I for sure went through front to back and saw like where his head was at during that time. And yeah, I mean there's like dozens more, right? But those are the ones that are near me right now that I remember clearly, listening to a lot at the time.
RBD: Part of this whole change for you was also moving from California to Chicago. What brought about that decision and has it influenced your music and what you're working on now?
Rudy de Anda: That was a decision in the making my whole life... For my 20s, I was like 'as much as I want to leave [Long Beach], as much as I want to go backpacking in South America and this and that like I have to stay here and really like solidify this project'. You know DIY shows and this and that, and through my early 20s leading up to, you know the Coalmine [Records] thing, where I was about to give up. Really like I was about to move to Chile and just play music, but on my own terms... So, I was really contemplating that, and that's when Coalmine came around and expressed interest in helping me put out my record.
Once the record was finalized and was coming out, to me, it was symbolic of like that was my ticket out of LA. That's what I'd been fighting for, that decade... The record came out almost simultaneously as I was leaving. I had been to Chicago before and enjoyed it and I knew that...it was dense enough and had enough to offer and had enough friends here and... I was going to choose somewhere. It was just a matter of when not if... I just wanted to inject myself with a new experience and something that'll keep me, you know, alert and excited about life... I mean I'm not saying I'm gonna stay here in Chicago forever, but it's definitely like a good place to start anew, a new chapter. Tender Epoch closed that last chapter and then I felt like this is like a new chapter.
RDB: So, are you starting to work on new stuff? Anything that you can tease for us?
Rudy de Anda: I definitely have an album under wraps and I'm pretty sure it's going to come out next year. It's produced by Adrian Quesada from the Black Pumas. I went this last summer to Austin to get that all done. I also have a couple other songs that are supposed to be on a 45 that I finished before I even moved here. I've worked on a few songs with different friends here in town. I say all that and I still feel like lazy, like I still feel like I could do more... I definitely have written a few songs living here and it feels cool to be like, oh I wrote that song back in Long Beach or I wrote this song here and like how different those songs can be... That's kind of why I wanted to go to Austin and record the record too, 'cause I'd never recorded a record in Texas, you know? I'm sure like even just a little bit... something changed just because of that.
One of the songs in the album coming up...I remember writing it in Nashville when we were on tour opening for Black Pumas and then by the next time we went on the road with them, I already had the song ready to go and we were playing it live, which was like two months later and that was the song that Adrian was like, "hey, what's up with that? I wanna record that", which snowballed into him recording the whole album.
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By: DULCE FLORES for www.ROCKDABEAT.com