The Record Company is coming to the Hamptons, spinning into the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on Saturday, February 10 at 8 p.m.
The Record Company is Chris Vos on guitar and lead vocals, Alex Stiff on bass and backing vocals, and Mike Cazorla on drums and backing vocals. Although the band has been around since 2011, they really started to get airplay in 2016 with the release of their first full-length CD Give It Back to You. With hits like “Off the Ground” and “Rita Mae Young,” this three-piece out of California plays a throbbing blend of blues and rock that will keep your head bobbing all night.
Given that the band’s name is The Record Company, you might be expecting to hear a night full of pop hooks and slick productions. Isn’t that the stereotype of what record companies want out of their artists? But clearly the band’s name is meant somewhat sarcastically, as the music they make is raw and intense, to some degree modeled on the scorching power of early electric blues.
“That’s some of our favorite stuff to listen to,” says guitarist and lead singer Chris Vos. “Somebody like John Lee Hooker—obviously we can never emulate that sound or his experience, but as a young artist you hear that authenticity and it’s inspiring.” So when it comes to making records, The Record Company works to capture some of the magic of the bare-bones recordings of the legendary electric blues players.
Part of that specific kind of magic, says Vos, is tied to spontaneity. It’s a spontaneity that they’re always trying to achieve. “We write it and we cut it,” he says. “What you get is the sound of the song being born. If it’s exciting you’re gonna know—it makes you feel something.” The goal is not a recording without flubs or rhythmic mistakes—the goal is a direct communication of excitement and feeling to the listener.
This method of working hearkens back to the earliest days of rock, when as-yet-unknown performers stopped into small recording studios to take a stab at making a hit record. They weren’t trying to make perfectly played masterpieces, but they did manage to convey the fun and excitement of the new style they were inventing—a different kind of perfection which has come to be highly prized. In the years since, artists like Bob Dylan and Neil Young have often worked this way in the studio—trying to capture what Dylan called the “wild, thin mercury sound.” And now The Record Company has joined this tradition.
A similar philosophy guides the band’s approach to playing live, where communication with the audience happens even more directly. “All of the guys in the band are big fans of the Grateful Dead,” says Vos. “Every show is different, I never try to anticipate.” Again, it’s an openness to spontaneity,
allowing the members of the band to make spur-of-the-moment decisions about how and what to play depending on the energy flowing between the band and the audience. “That energy exchange is what can lead to the best thing, which is a collective experience.”
According to Vos, the Westhampton show will be the band’s second foray into the Hamptons—the last time around, the band played at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett. “I remember that show very well. It was a blast!” WHBPAC is obviously a very different type of venue, both in size and character. Moving into the larger venue won’t be a problem for the band, though. “We’ve played in living rooms and small clubs, and then we’ve played at Madison Square Garden. You have to find a way to get your band to be your band in any space. Don’t try to force the experience—we want to allow it to occur. Between the band and the audience we build that fire together.”
For tickets and more info visit whbpac.org or call 631-288-1500.