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Malo on Mono

Mavericks front man on the magic of recording in mono

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Musically speaking, Raul Malo is a selfish man.

In a day when songs are basically constructed piece by piece, each part recorded separately, he and his band, The Mavericks, wanted to do something different.

"We talked for a long time about wanting to record in mono," Malo says of the band's new record, Mono. "We were sitting in the studio one day and [producer Niko Balos] said, ‘Hey, do you want to record this in mono?' And I was like, ‘Hell yeah I do.'

"We know it's a self-indulgent record, but I think you have to be a little selfish and a little indulgent. This is the life we lead. We are artists and we are musicians and we are by nature self-absorbed, selfish, hedonistic creatures. We have families to keep all that shit in check, but musically you have to do what moves you."

The result is an album that features a variety of musical styles featuring songs based in country, ska, blues, and driving Latin beats. Most everything you hear on the record was recorded live, all at once, with little overdubbing.

"When you record in mono, you just lay it out there," Malo says. "In this day and age, everything is overproduced, overedited, tuned and fixed, with nothing left to chance.

"Everything is fine-tuned, there's nothing out of whack. Basically, the humanity has been engineered out of the recording process. We just thought we're not going to fall into that and play that game. This record is our band, as is."

The difference is a record unlike any the band has produced before. (check out our playlist to hear how the Mavericks' style has changed over the years.) The record, Malo says, is an evolution of the band and an expression of its love of all kinds of music — something he wants to pass on to today's music fans.

"My take on music is maybe a bit different than others," Malo says. "As easy as it is to access all kinds of information, when it comes to music, people only hear what they like to hear. If they don't like punk, they won't listen to punk. If they don't like jazz, they won't listen to jazz. So despite the increased access to all of this type of music, the world has seemed to have gotten smaller. To me, it's all very one-dimensional and has to be categorized in some way.

"So here we come with this record, throwing all of this stuff in there and people can't categorize us. I like that, and so far our fans have been liking it too."

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