In a way, the Record Company’s Chris Vos, Alex Stiff and Marc Cazorla have Vos’ wife to thank for everything.
It was her job that got her and Vos to Los Angeles from Milwaukee. Once there, she rewrote the Craigslist ad Vos posted looking for musicians.
“She’s in advertising so she made me sound cooler than I ever was or will be,” Vos said. “It got Alex’s attention. He swears he had never considered going on there but he had this thing one day where he was like ‘I’m going to look and see if somebody wants to play music.’ He saw the ad and gave me a call.”
Vos’ wife may have set things in motion, but it was the trio’s camaraderie that led to the official formation of the Record Company about a year later.
As Vos recalls, the trio’s conversations were effortless as soon as they met, and the band’s jam sessions just felt right.
Plus, all three musicians were excited by the idea of taking those jam sessions out of Stiff’s living room and onto the stage.
“The fact that playing together felt very natural and the fact that we all really wanted to still be in bands and go take what we were doing out the front door and see where it went was a big part of it too,” Vos said.
The Record Company released its debut album, “Give It Back to You,” in 2016, having written and recorded the album in Stiff’s living room.
It would go on to spend 42 weeks on the Billboard Top New Artist Heatseekers Chart and the Nielsen Alternative New Artist Chart. “Give It Back to You” was also nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album at the 2017 Grammy Awards.
To promote the album, the band embarked on its first headlining tour and opened for John Mayer, a tour that brought them to Madison Square Garden.
In June, the Record Company released its second album “All of This Life,” which brings the band to the Knitting Factory on Tuesday.
Thus far, the band has released two singles from “All of This Life”: “Life To Fix,” which reached the top spot of the Billboard U.S. Adult Alternative Songs chart, and “Make It Happen.”
While writing “All of This Life,” the band couldn’t deny how things had changed because of the exposure from experiences like the Grammy nomination and Madison Square Garden performance.
The band wrote and did some demo work in Stiff’s living room, but when it came time to record, they headed to Boulevard Recordings, where artists like Pink Floyd, Steely Dan and the War on Drugs have recorded.
“It’s reflecting the changes in our lives,” Vos said. “We learned a lot and we wanted the sound to grow as we had grown so we left our little nest in the living room … We went into this record wanting to have new sounds and new options. We want every record we make to be distinct in its own time and sound.”
Boulevard Recordings had a mix of older equipment and new technology, which meant Vos, Stiff and Cazorla had a chance to play around with a few songs that were asking for something else.
While in the studio, for instance, the band completely rewrote “Night Games,” changing the feel of the tune.
“We felt we needed a track that was doing something different than what that track was trying to do,” Vos said. “You create from the heart and edit from the mind, not the other way around, at least in my mind. You reflect upon what you’re doing once it’s done, but when you’re creating it, you’re letting your soul and your heart lead you to the correct place.”
In between headlining concerts, the Record Company will open for Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band on their final tour.
Like they did during their time with artists like Mayer and Buddy Guy, Vos, Stiff and Cazorla are looking forward to soaking up as much knowledge as they can while watching Seger and his band perform.
“These people have so much to teach you and you can sit there and watch them and how they do their thing and you realize why they are who they are and you can take that knowledge and try and learn from it,” Vos said. “It helps you sharpen up your thing and get better at doing what you do.”
Looking back at how far they’ve come and thinking ahead to future opportunities, Vos said he can sum it all up in one word: grateful. Grateful for his wife (“If you find somebody that can cover some of the blind spots for you, hold on to that person,” he said.) and the fans who have helped them get to this stage in their career.
Whatever the next stage holds, Vos said he, Stiff and Cazorla will make sure things feel right, just like they did when jamming in Stiff’s living room.
“Wherever it leads us, so it shall, but as long as we’re always doing our best work as musicians and we’re proud of what we do and we feel like we need to do what we’re doing, I feel like at the very least, it will be the best we can do and it will be an honest thing,” he said.
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