Bruno Mars: ‘This just feels right and it’s important to us’

Silk Sonic’s Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak join Ebro Darden for a special episode of R&B Now Radio on Apple Music 1 to celebrate the long-awaited release of their collaborative album ‘An Evening With Silk Sonic’. They tell Ebro about writing the hit single “Leave The Door Open”, the album’s musical concept, why rollerskating is the essence of the album, how pandemic anxiety influenced the album, celebrating musicianship and the use of real instruments, what makes a great collaboration, and more.

Bruno Mars Tells Apple Music About Writing “Leave The Door Open”…
Me and Andy come from the school of performing and playing live instruments and all the groups you’ve mentioned with the orchestras and harmonies and stuff, you know, we wrote that song it was just one of those songs like “Dang, I can’t believe we apart 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 to us. So no matter what, if it did what it did and it hit number one or it didn’t, me and Andy both knew that that was the best we could do. And we were cool with that.

Bruno Mars Tells Apple Music About Their Music Video For “Leave The Door Open”…
This was our first video together. We were both nervous ‘cause we had this special song and we didn’t want to mess up the song with the visuals, which can easily happen. And the night before we were trying to figure out what we were going to do, right, and we were like, ‘We just gotta sit our asses down and sing the song.’ And I think it caught the essence of me and Andy in the studio. And you know, in a fantasy world, if you could take it in one take like that hopefully that’s what it would look like.

Bruno Mars Tells Apple Music About The Album Concept…
We needed this to work. We just wanted it to feel like… feel special. Instead of trying to get too cute with the concept it’s like, man, what’s more special than Anderson Paak behind a drumset singing a song and, you know, me having his back when it’s my turn, you know? And the band moving in the same direction, it was just like… it’s like a musician’s dream. You know, being in the studio recording a song like that.

Bruno Mars Tells Apple Music Rollerskating Is The Essence of the Album…
I mean rollerskating,you know it’s hard to be mad on some roller skates. So really the subject matter, you know, like, that’s kinda the essence of this album, of me and Andy, if we were to host a party, a skate party, what would that feel like. Summertime. Outside. Set up the congos and the drums and amplifiers and what would that sound like? And that’s what our best effort was, was “Skate.”

Bruno Mars Tells Apple Music How The Pandemic Led To The Project…
All of a sudden, my shows get cancelled. Andy’s shows get cancelled. This fear of “We’ll never be able to play live again” comes into play. And take that away from guys like us, that’s all we know, so we kinda don’t know what to do. So we’re thinking, alright, let’s put an album together that sounds like a show. That feels like a show.

Bruno Mars Tells Apple Music What Makes a Great Collaboration…
There were definitely moments in the studio where he was pushing me and that’s what I think a good collaboration is– is “Aight, I’m gonna push you to do something you’ve never done before and you gotta do the same.” And Andy would tell me, “Try this note, try this note.” And I think that’s why, you know, we didn’t plan it like that, it was just organic, it felt organic, that’s why the video was supposed to be organic. Everything that fell into place, happened naturally, and you know, it wasn’t like a record label plan or we’re gonna hit this lick if we do this song, it was just like, “Yo, this is too fun.” It was honest like we wanna be in and record this stuff and write this stuff let’s just keep going.

Anderson .Paak Tells Apple Music About Expanding His Artistry with Bruno Mars and Silk Sonic…
Yeah, it was big for me. Like I was just, tryna just take it all in. Live in the moment, like being in the studio with them, like I’ve done collabs with everybody. I don’t know not one person old, young, everyone on my checklist I’ve already checked and I’ve done all kinds of stuff, I’ve had records that have gotten Grammys but there’s stuff– but like theres always a place that an artist wants to go and I wanted to go straight to the top. And there’s a cheat code, you know what I’m sayin’. Everybody told me the cheat code is linking up with this dude. Get Bruno on your side, and um, yeah, it’s dope. It couldn’t have happened unless it was organic and natural and everyday we would get to the studio and it was a blast. It was just jokes. Some days we didn’t even make no music, we just laughed all day and talk s*** and, um, ramble. We was having too much fun, man, and um, I tell him all the time I have a lot of trust in him and that felt good too. I felt like a large part of my career I’ve done collabs and everything but it felt good to be able to trust a dude to, you know, try it like this, great vocal producer, one of the greatest vocalists I’ve ever worked with and just pushing me to a different level.

Anderson .Paak Tells Apple Music About Musicianship and Using Real Instruments…
That’s the scene we come from as musicians, bro, and honestly, there ain’t too many left that are really doing it like that as far as like no tricks, no gimmicks. We just real drums, he on the bass, we on the guitar, the piano. We working these songs out. It ain’t drenched in autotune, not taking it from anyone who uses that but it’s just like, sometimes I look around and I feel like we’re the last ones left that are really trying to take it there and so we gotta– we gotta do it. It’s just dope that we were able to keep that energy, keep it modern, keep it fun.

Silk Sonic Tell Apple Music About Translating The Material To a Live Setting…

Bruno: You in the studio life for a long time and that’s kinda all you know and we been in the studio for a year putting this together…so it’s like a shock to us coming outside of our four walls and once it comes down to live, we gotta go into live mode. That’s a different switch. So coming up with ways how to make it better live is the new thing now.

Anderson: Yeah, it’s fun even the little stuff we’ve done, these awards shows. Anytime we gotta get some arrangements, I think we’re naturally– we’re both in these– we both come from doing shows in dive bars and having coverbands and tryna swoon the girls and play and yeah. Showin out, showing off, trying to over do it and that’s just our plan and I think these songs are perfect for that kind of stuff.

Bruno Mars Tells Apple Music What He Learned Being In The Studio From Babyface…
He’s like a sniper in the studio. It’s spooky to watch, you know? He starts thinking and he’s all about feeling and if it ain’t giving you that emotion then Babyface ain’t got nothing to do with it so he’s all up finding, making sure he’s always telling me it’s gotta have some love in it, you know, whether its a breakup song, love song, dance song, whatever it is, it’s gotta have some love in it. So he’s in a constant search for that and that’s what he taught me, that’s what I learned being in the studio with him.

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