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May 3, 2022

Interview with JOHNNYSWIM

We had the pleasure of interviewing JOHNNYSWIM over Zoom video!

JOHNNYSWIM, the acclaimed husband and wife singer-songwriter duo of Amanda Sudano-Ramirez and Abner Ramirez, release their fourth full-length album, JOHNNYSWIM.


We had the pleasure of interviewing JOHNNYSWIM over Zoom video!

JOHNNYSWIM, the acclaimed husband and wife singer-songwriter duo of Amanda Sudano-Ramirez and Abner Ramirez, release their fourth full-length album, JOHNNYSWIM.

Predominantly produced by Abner, the album includes additional production from Grammy Award-winning producer and songwriter Malay (Frank Ocean, Sam Smith) and Harold Brown as well as a feature collaboration with acclaimed Houston-based artist Tobe Nwigwe on “Desmond’s Song.”

Created during the height of the pandemic, the self-titled album gives voice to life’s ups and downs while Amanda and Abner translate their memories, moments and milestones into spirited anthems steeped in the singer/songwriter tradition. The new work marks a notable evolution for JOHNNYSWIM, pushing the pair to a new level as they shed light on relationships and the challenges that have emerged in a changing world.

JOHNNYSWIM met in Nashville in 2005 and quickly started writing songs together. They clicked musically and personally, beginning a romantic relationship alongside their creative connection. The couple married in 2009 and relocated to Los Angeles where they currently reside with their three children. Throughout their career, the group has released three full-length albums, a Christmas EP and a live record, which have garnered over 500 million streams worldwide. Last year, the duo premiered the second season of their television series “The JOHNNYSWIM Show” on discovery+ as part of longtime friends Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network.

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Hello! It is Adam. Welcome back to bringing it backwards! A podcast where both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieve stardom. On this episode, we had a chance to chat with Abner and Amanda of Johnny swim over zoom video. You should do yourself a huge favor as well, and check out the video version of this interview. Cause they are doing the interview from a hotel room where they're quarantining two to four out of five of them in the family got COVID, which is horrible, but they tested negative, but you kind of see the chaos behind their life. At the time we recorded this interview, Abner grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, where he got into music at a very early age, ended up attending art school for four music, moved to Nashville and went on to pursue a career. 7 (2m 18s): As a songwriter. Amanda is the daughter to Bruce Sudano and Donna summer. So she grew up in a very musical household. Her dad wrote songs for Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire and Donna summer. And of course her mom, Donna summer, the queen of disco. So she grew up in a musical household, Abner and Amanda married that happened later, but they, they met, they tell us a story, how they met at a coffee shop. They both attended the same church in Nashville. Amanda was going to college in Nashville and us. So as Abner, they went to the same church, ended up meeting at this coffee shop. Eventually started writing songs together and performing just around the Nashville area. 7 (2m 60s): They talked about getting their first booking agent, doing tours around the country to really nobody which eventually led them to this tour. They're currently on playing massive rooms. The grand Ole Opry here in Nashville is one of them. They talked to us about some of the milestones in their career when they're actually able to support themselves and pay their bills with music. How big of a moment that was into all about this brand new record, their self-titled album, which is really their fourth record, but Abner explains it as this is really a Polaroid of them as a band. That's why it was the self-titled record. There's a lot of new songs. They're all new, new to us, but a couple of them were written years ago, one even written 15 years ago. 7 (3m 43s): So definitely check out the video and check out their new self-titled record from Johnny swim. You can watch that video up now on our Facebook page and YouTube channel app bring in a backwards. It would be amazing if you subscribe to our channel like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Tik TOK at bringing back pod. And if you're listening to this on Spotify or apple music, Google podcasts, it'd be awesome. If he follow us there as well and hook us up with a five star review, 8 (4m 10s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcasts, wherever you listen to podcasts, 7 (4m 17s): We're bringing it backwards with Johnny swim. I appreciate you guys being here today. Thank you so much. 9 (4m 23s): Thanks for having us our week. You know what I 10 (4m 26s): Mean? 7 (4m 26s): Oh, that means a lot. Oh, well I'm Adam and this podcast is about the both of you and your journey in music and the new record you have coming out as well, 10 (4m 38s): Man. 7 (4m 39s): Amazing. So why don't you guys tell me born and raised Abner. I saw you're from Florida originally. 10 (4m 47s): The great state of Florida. Sorry. Our has got to go potty and we're locked in a room together. So this is what it is. Is Joaquin in there? Well, everybody, all right, I'm gonna keep going. Sorry. 7 (5m 1s): No apology necessary. 10 (5m 3s): All things are lovely here on COVID island. But may I, I was born in Jacksonville, Florida, child of a Cuban immigrants that came here in 1980. My family came in 1980 during the Mariel boatlift with not a nickel to their name, not clothing other than what they were wearing. Not a change of clothes, nothing, just a dream to risk everything. My dad told me he was dying day. We risked everything so that you guys would have a chance of living the life that you want to, not the life that is forced upon you. And so 1983, I was born in Jacksonville, Florida. My, my parents learn to speak English run the same time I did English second language, dude, I grew up, you know, the youngest of three, the only boys super active, my family wanted to put me, I wanted to take karate classes, which my parents thought would be wise to show me some discipline. 10 (5m 57s): Sure. My parents also didn't want me to only take a class that showed me to fight. They wanted me to take something that would temper my energy. And so they put me in violin lessons when I was seven years old. 7 (6m 7s): Oh wow. 10 (6m 8s): Violin and karate. And then violin was what changed my life. I studied art school in Florida. Douglas Anderson school of the arts, got a scholarship to a college here in Nashville where I played in their small symphony and in Nashville is where I was able to chase my dreams. My dad told me one day after I told him, I didn't want to go to FSU there in Florida. That said, well, where do you want to do that? I want to be a songwriter. I want to be a performer. I said, well, where do you got to live to do that? I said, I got to live in LA New York or Nashville. And he said, well, bapa 11 (6m 38s): Can't afford New York LA. So you're going to Nashville. 10 (6m 43s): That's where I ended up. That's where I met the love of my life. Life changed. 7 (6m 45s): Amazing. I'm actually we, my family and I moved to Nashville or south of Nashville a year ago. A little over a year ago now from San Diego. But love it here. Yeah, 10 (6m 57s): Actually right now. 7 (6m 57s): Oh, I could probably throw a rock and sorta near where you're at. That's amazing. Yeah. 9 (7m 6s): Near the CoolSprings wall. That's probably us. 7 (7m 8s): Okay. You're not too far from where I'm at. Actually. That's amazing. I know you're doing a show here at the Opry coming up in a week. Yeah. That's amazing. And you're touring with Katelyn Tarver who I've had a chance to interview and she is such a sweet person as well. 9 (7m 24s): She's really sweet. Too much fun, 10 (7m 26s): Crazy town. Beautiful. It's awesome to have her. 9 (7m 28s): And she brings a karaoke machine on tour. So, so it makes it extra fun. 7 (7m 35s): So good. Oh, that was funny. Yeah. She brings her karaoke machine. Is that what you said 9 (7m 42s): Was like one of those karaoke microphones. 7 (7m 45s): Okay. 9 (7m 46s): I didn't know this until the last night we were all on the bus and, and she brought it out and we just had a night of fun karaoke and it was, it was the best night of torso. 7 (7m 59s): That's amazing. That is amazing. And Amanda, you obviously grew up in a musical household born in LA that I 9 (8m 7s): Read that's right. 7 (8m 9s): Okay. And 9 (8m 11s): My parents were songwriters and singers and, and yeah. The music was like everywhere in my family. Like you couldn't get away from it. Like even if you wanted to, I always say that my biggest rebellion in life was going to college and getting a degree Why to college. Okay. But yeah, you know, everybody in my family writes music sayings. I am probably like the least talented of all the people in my family. But somehow I think the most tenacious, I think 10 (8m 43s): It's supposed to be like humility, but it's also ignorance 9 (8m 49s): Is everybody's position and we all love it, which is kind of awesome because even though I was raised with people were successful in music, that was never really the goal. The goal is to just do what you love, you know, and everybody loves music. And 10 (9m 6s): For 9 (9m 6s): Some people that worked out as living for some people, it was just a hobby, but either way, the, the goal was always do what you love. And it just happened to be that music was kind of what we all love. So, 7 (9m 17s): And that's amazing that you have something that you were really interested in. Cause sometimes if you're what your parents do, you're not really fond of. I mean, into kind of where you in the studio from being a little girl like being on, was that just life? 9 (9m 32s): Well, we have a studio at our house in LA. We had like, we had, we lived in like a ranch. And so my parents like renovated one of the stables into a studio. So after school I'd ride my bike down to that stable and go check on my dad and check my mom. And they would, you know, if they weren't busy, we'd record songs together and stuff like that, which is something that Abner does with our son Joaquin a lot now, too, if they're they're bored, they go into the studio and they'll write a song. Usually, usually the theme is about poop. Generally speaking, 7 (10m 2s): Solid bam, 9 (10m 4s): All the themes 10 (10m 5s): Relate. 9 (10m 9s): It's like it was all, it was always there. I was on the road with them all the time, but I was definitely the most shy kid. Like my sisters are performers at heart and I was like the shy one. So, so I think everybody was a little bit surprised that I was the one that was like, no, I think I actually want to like do this for work. You know, I want to do this for my life. And they were like, how you don't sing in front of us. And I was like, I don't know yet. I'm going to figure that part out. And that's what came in. Cause avenue was kind of the one that was like, okay, stop writing songs in your room by yourself. And like, let's go play some shows together, which I was like, I don't know if I'm ready. And he was like, yeah, you are, come on. We're going to do it. 7 (10m 45s): Okay. And did you go to college in Nashville? What took you to Nashville? Oh, you did. Is that where you went as well or? No? I 10 (10m 53s): Want at Trevecca Nazareen university. 7 (10m 55s): Oh, okay. I, a couple of neighbors that went 10 (10m 57s): There. 7 (10m 58s): Amazing. So how did you then meet each other? Was it out songwriting or songwriting? 9 (11m 6s): We we'd gone to kind of the same church. And so we knew a lot of the same people from this church and then whole night at a coffee shop, cafe Coco. I don't know if it's still, 10 (11m 14s): There must be it's Kevin Cook with an institution. 9 (11m 17s): We were in line. I was in line behind him and we're like, 10 (11m 20s): Oh no, you were sitting down when, when, when I got there. No, 9 (11m 23s): No, No, you did not. 10 (11m 28s): I 9 (11m 28s): Know you remember the table cause you did come over, but I was in line behind you and the girl I was with said, oh, there's Abner and Matt. And I was like, oh yeah. And I was like, Hey Matt. And you're like, oh, I'm Abner. And I was like, I'm Amanda? And I was like, oh yeah, I've never met you, but I know a lot about you. Okay, cool. And then we went and sat at the town on the table and then he came over and said, I've heard so much about you for so long. Is it okay if I sit down and hang out with you guys for a minute? And I was like, oh, of course. 10 (11m 54s): It sounds good to me. Yeah. But yeah, my roommate at the time is a songwriter named Matt Carney. And so Matt knew Amanda already. And Matt actually is the one that introduced a man and I 7 (12m 4s): Wow. Okay. And were you, did you know that Amanda was a songwriter as well? 10 (12m 9s): I did not know. She was a soccer. I knew she was ferociously gorgeous. That's about, as far as I got in the resume, I may have been handed more information, but that's all I knew. Okay. So I'll let you get attention too. 7 (12m 20s): And when did you start writing together? 10 (12m 23s): So, I mean, and I became friendly after that night, that fateful night at cafe Coco. And at the time I had just gotten out of a really bad record deal and your Nashville. 7 (12m 33s): Okay. So you had already had a deal in your assigned and everything already. At this point, 10 (12m 37s): I was signed at 18 here in Nashville and it was in a lawsuit when I was 19 here in Nashville. You know, it was one of those crazy production deals where like, they're the label, they're the publisher. They're literally everything and they own everything. And they gave me a car in a guitar. And so I was very thrilled until I realized I'd signed away my entire life for ever. And so that was tough. So when Amanda came to a show of mine, I was playing to 12th and Porter, downtown Nashville. She came and met me at the bar afterwards and I was super nervous cause I was really into her. And I was nervous that she was there for this performance. I had a buddy grabbed me by the shoulders, Robert Campbell. He said, Abner, Amanda Sudano is here tonight to hear say, and I just remember like the blood felt like it left my body and I was like, okay, cool. 10 (13m 26s): Yeah, no big deal, no big deal. So nervous. I sang a few songs and I went back through like the, they had a, they used to have this attached teaching shop. I don't know if it's there anymore. I went back through like the kitchen at the pizza shop inside of the bar next door to hide from Amanda. Cause I was so like nervous that I'd just like performed for the room. Might've had a million people in it. It didn't, it maybe had a hundred people in it, but I only saw her. I played just for her. I performed for her. And so I was sitting at the bar next door. She came down and sat next to me and she asked me, so what are you doing with the music thing with this music thing? I was like, absolutely nothing. I had just got out of a bad record deal. Just got out of a lawsuit. I, I'm not really pursuing it as a career anymore. 10 (14m 7s): I just I'll do it as a hobby for the rest of my life. And she said, well, that's dumb. We should write. And when she said we should write, she could have said anything. She said, she could have said furniture, let's learn the blacksmiths. Let's learn whatever she offered to do together. The answer was yes, but I'm grateful. It was something that I had a skill set at when she asked to write songs together. And that was the beginning of the end. 7 (14m 33s): Wow. Wow. Okay. So then you start writing together, obviously chemistry and writing chemistry. And you put what, put some songs together first and then do you hit the streets of Nashville and just start playing to people? Or how did it start? 9 (14m 47s): I think we just started like writing some songs and then somebody asked him to open at 12th and Porter and he was like, oh, sing with me. Like play, like let's say like do the songs together. And I was like, okay. And then I think that's how it happened. Yeah. We just like started playing at coffee shops or like literally there was a Chinese, like Asian fusion restaurant downtown that would have live music on the weekends. And so we would do like four hour sets. Like, you know, we had like maybe three total Johnnyswim songs at that point, but we were like, oh, we're going to play the three Johnny sort of songs four times. And then we're going to like learn a bunch of covers. 9 (15m 27s): And that's like, that's basically what we did for first, several years just played wherever anybody would let us have a microphone. And sometimes we even had to bring our own microphones and we were like, fine, that's fine. Let's 7 (15m 40s): And what was the first like big milestone moment? Kind of like a validating thing that you both were like, this is awesome. This is something amazing. We need to keep doing this. 10 (15m 49s): Oh my gosh. I mean this the very first time we sang together ever, it was the house I was living in with Matt Carney and we sat down to write a song and we started singing a little thing together. And as soon as we started singing together, I knew this is what I knew. I knew that I now had an excuse to hang out with her a lot alone because I knew that we sounded good together. And ultimately we didn't get together. Some plan like make a band together. That was it. I wanted to be alone with her for as much time as possible. I told her early on, I would, I will marry you tomorrow. I'll be your best friend, the rest of your life. But I plan on being around you for as long as I'm alive. And I'm glad I didn't have to get friend zoned forever because now it sounds less attractive. 10 (16m 30s): And I'm looking at my beautiful babies. I can't imagine having gotten friends zoned. So it was that moment when I realized the very first note we sang together, man, I knew there was something to this and you know, especially in Nashville, I think back in those days back, you know, we're talking early two thousands, but the sentiment still permeates all, all systems of art for commerce. You often expect someone to discover you and take you to a place that you've always jumped and gone. You you're waiting for that gatekeeper to open the door and launch your career or take you to, you know, the mountaintop and for the vast majority of us, 99.9, nine, nine and 99% of professional creatives that never happens. 10 (17m 12s): You never have it. It ends up being a, a series of spokes in a wheel where if anyone spoke didn't exist, the wheel would be weakened and maybe damaged, but no one spoke is any more important than the other one. There's not one Elton John at the Troubadour moment. We don't have a hanger hat moment where our life changed forever. Other than for me two things. The first time we sang together in 2005 and the first year we paid our bills, our bills and music, 2012, those are the two defining career moments for us. 9 (17m 50s): I think it's super interesting. Cause I think there was points where we looked at each other and we're like, we definitely want to keep doing this, but it wasn't because somebody externally was like, oh, you guys are great. We want to like, you know, champion you. It was more like we're having a really good time doing this and we're having fun playing these shows. And, and you know, I think lucky for us, I think, you know, as different as our upbringings were, we did, we both had parents that were like, do what you love, go for it. You know, he had immigrant parents that like came over here with nothing but the clothes on their backs and we're like, you're here. We want you to be able to dream big and do what you love. That's why we came here. And my parents, you know, we're on a different spectrum, but they got to already live that, you know, they that's what they did. 9 (18m 35s): Their parents said, go do, go do whatever. So my mom had moved Germany when she was 19 and was in a play. And my dad, you know, at 17 was moving to LA and like, so we both had parents that were like, no, go do the thing that you love to do. So our like our litmus test was, are we loving it? Are we having fun? Paying our bills was kind of like down at the bottom, you know? Cause we were like, whatever, I can work at Starbucks, he can be a bus boy, as long as we're flexible. So we can go play shows or we can take time off to like go do like college tours or whatever. You know, that was, that was the big thing. And then, you know, I think when we finally got our first booking agent was probably like the moment where we were, we were like, oh, we can just do this because it was, you know, years of us having other random jobs, you know, still, still doing like little tours at colleges and stuff like that, but you know, still had other jobs. 9 (19m 28s): And then once we got our first like booking agent, Bobby could I remember him saying, you know, so I'm going to put you on this tour. You're going to play all these really small rooms and maybe a couple people show up and then we're going to go back and we're going to the same thing again. And the next time more people are going to show up. And before you know, it, there's going to be 500 people at these places, maybe more some of the places. And I remember thinking 500 people like in Kansas city. Like I remember like just being like, okay, sure, whatever you say, sir. And you know, before we know it, like, you know, I think a year or two, after that we were playing jazz Fest for, you know, 50,000 people on the main stage. And we were like, how did this happen? And still, still I kid you not, sometimes I wake up at our house that we somehow afford from music and our three kids and our life. 9 (20m 17s): And I go, how we're just looking at a coffee shop because we were having fun. You know, there was, it wasn't a, I, you know, like you said, there was no one moment where like, oh, we've made it. It was like a bunch of moments and a lot of gratitude at every moment 7 (20m 35s): For you when it comes to like, you were an unsigned band, right. Abner. And then when like you're getting these big, like apple and these companies are coming to you to use your song for campaigns and was like not signing to a label, something that, or was the label you were skeptical too, because of the experience you had prior. 10 (20m 55s): No, I wasn't so scared, but this is the fact of the matter. In fact, the matter is at the time there were no duos, this is like pre civil wars pre like everybody having a boy, girl group. I remember being in multiple meetings where like, who was, don't make sense? Like, what are you studying? Share? And we were dating at the time when were married. They're like, so they're like, what's going to happen if you guys break up, which we did break up while we were making music and we kept the band together and then we got back together. So everything. Wow. But it was, there was no we to this day, we're still weird for people because we don't make folk music. We don't make RNB music. We don't make pop music. We don't make rock music. We do a hybrid of it. All right. We don't 12 (21m 33s): Call it regular music. 10 (21m 40s): You know, you get, you get used to being fed, especially coming up as a, as an artist that wants to make a career out of it, that you got to pick your lane, find your lane, there's these five preexisting lanes and you really got to fit into them. And sure, maybe it's easier than carving your own way. But if you're meant to pave your own way, nothing's going to make you happier than paving your own way. Which is what I believe we've done from, you know, in, in LA there's the term ethnically ambiguous when it comes to hiring talent of color and they can kind of be whatever you want them to be in the movie. You know, I feel like we're that musically. I feel like we're not ambiguous, but it's just, there's so much to it. There's so much flavor to it in different directions that labels and stuff never really got down. 10 (22m 23s): People still, we make a living at the shock and awe of many people who we've walked away from. And obviously, you know, there's plenty of movies and documentaries where the that's the greatest opening is all the no's right. We just haven't stopped getting them yet. We've gotten still plenty of nos, but that's why this what's so exciting is we built a career, a sustainable career, not a flash in the pan thing. Not, not a, I hope you like that one song. Cause that's all we're gonna be able to play forever off of really playing for folks in person getting in front of people, improving it, showing folks because really I feel like that's one of the things we're called to not just get I say called too. And I really, I really mean that one of the reasons I believe we were put on this earth is what happens at a Johnny swim show. 10 (23m 6s): I believe people can walk out better than they walked in. I believe people can get into Johnny swim show at a bar with a gin and tonic and hand something that maybe they could have gotten at church. And didn't maybe they won't ever get a church because they'll never feel accepted or loved or welcomed. I know I have a hard time with that growing up in church, being a person of color in Southern Baptist, you know, it's, it's a tough place to be. And so I really we've got to create off of this thing and it's, it's really interesting how I don't answer the question yet. Somehow continue talking. So that's really fun. This is where I just stopped. 7 (23m 37s): I love that. 10 (23m 41s): I forgot where I started. 7 (23m 43s): Yeah, well I've, I've, I've heard. Okay. So my neighbor knows you too. And through through church, he was at a church or ran a church in, in LA I don't Brian or cheese Ryan and Rachel are, T's amazing people. Our kids are like best friends now. And so what I, and I'm just going to, is that where you, that's also probably where you met, where Caitlin for the first time and she's on the store with you or no. 10 (24m 14s): Well, that's where we met Andy Barron to the stars. We've known. We have tons of mutual friends with Andy Barron, but Andy Baron is a photographer who also plays bass. And he used to play bass for Brian at the church there. And that's where me and Andy were kind of reconnected. Even though again, we've got tons of mutual friends. It was through my friendship with Andy that he brought up, he brought up Caitlin to us. We did this thing over the pandemic called live from the backyard that we'll probably be doing again. And Caitlin was our first in-person guest live. We'll look it up on YouTube. It was a really, she made it, she did a spectacular performance on our show. 10 (24m 54s): And from then on, it was like, no question we wanted, if the stars aligned, we'd love to have her on tour with us. 7 (25m 0s): Awesome. Because I think she went to that same church or they know her because of the church. Yeah. It's funny. When we first met him, we were there. They brought you guys. It was really funny. And then I told him like, oh my gosh, I'm going to be interviewing them. He's like, no way. I'm like, yeah. He's like, that's so random. But anyway, I'm curious, speaking to the pandemic and this new record, you guys have out the song, most recent song you put out, I read that you started writing it or you wrote it like 15 years ago or something like that. 9 (25m 29s): Yeah. Desmond 7 (25m 30s): Size. So this is like a, an album that's been in the works for awhile. Not just something you started during COVID. 9 (25m 37s): Well, what's funny about Desmond song is that every album that we've done, we've always been like, oh, we gotta put Desmond song on there. And actually our last album, we light, we fully recorded it in the studio. And then we're just like, I don't know, just, it just always was like, oh, it's not quite right. And, but we couldn't figure out why. And it was like kind of one of those things where I'm like, all right, well, let's just be a song that we play around the house to each other for the next couple of decades and, you know, whatever. And then it was like we got in the studio and we're like, well, let's just try it one more time. And we had our dear friend, Erin Redfield, who's a drummer in the studio with us that day. And so we were like, let's just try some stuff. And Abner was producing and, and we just kind of started messing around with like different sounds with it, you know, kind of just going a different direction than, than we had tried before. 9 (26m 26s): And at some point after came out of the room and it was like, I think I love it. I think we got it this time. And so it was really exciting. And then, so we were personally excited cause we were like, oh, finally, like this song is gonna see the light of day. And then we played the whole album for our friend Toby <inaudible> who's a rapper. And he was like, I want to be on that song. And we were like, all right, let's go. So it was like, the song got like two upgrades or row and finally made it to the album. So that one's really exciting. Most of the album was either that's the oldest song, but most of the album was, there's a couple of songs that were written. Like, do you have to go to the bathroom again? 9 (27m 8s): Can you, can you start? And you might need to help her finish telling them about, 10 (27m 15s): Sorry. I'm like stuck in the seat of it. So I can't do the bathroom duty. No, it's all good. All good old wisdom. We listen to the whole album. 9 (27m 27s): Most of the album was done. Two of the songs were written right before the pandemic started when I was actually postpartum with our third child and Abner wrote having us everywhere, the shower. And he came out and I was like, so exhausted from the baby, like all night sicker wrote a song and I was like, I hope you enjoy it because I will not be enjoying anything right now. I want complete. 10 (27m 50s): Yeah, maybe she's coming. Hold on. Sorry. <inaudible> wants you to log into my account. So you can play in fortnight parents working on your console or use my console wherever they are. Our daughter just ate. It all is breaking loose right now in COVID island in this latest step. 9 (28m 20s): Yeah. So, so there's a couple of songs that were written like right before the pandemic hit. And so those, those has made it, but the large majority of them were in the pandemic and taken from a lot of interesting personal places where friendships are changing and you know, our life had changed so much and we were learning and growing and feeling challenged and all those things all at the same time. So, you know, and I think especially like within, within these couple, like there's a song called getting older, like where, you know, it's felt like we've all lost a couple of years. You know what I mean? Like we were always joking. Like how old are you? 9 (29m 0s): Okay. But like adjusted for pandemic. How old am I? Because it's different. But yeah, it felt like, you know, like we were kind of like sitting there going, oh my gosh, like we're just like losing time. We're like, our kids are missing out on like normal childhood stuff and you know, and th they don't even remember tour. They don't even remember tour anymore and you know, all this kind of stuff and, and like, what do we want to do next? And like, what's the next season look like? So there was a lot of, kind of an angst in us because of that. And then there was also a part of us that was like, wow, did we need this break? Like, I think we've gotten used to like a fast paced for so long that we, it was really like jolting for us to slow down. And it felt like it took probably a good year and a half before. 9 (29m 42s): We were like, oh, this is what, like a normal life schedule is like when you're not packing and unpacking and touring and sloughing and flying with the kids and find back. And like, this is what, like, just not having like the utmost level of adrenaline going at all times feels like, so, you know, there was just some interesting, like things that we were going through. And so most of the album is a lot of our learning process over this challenging couple of years. 7 (30m 9s): Was it hard to start the record? I'm it sounds like you had, you know, you were postpartum after your sec after your child and then okay. Abner writes a song and you're like, yeah, that's great. Whatever. Like, was it hard to get in the mode to be like, oh, let's really get in the studio and record a new record. 10 (30m 24s): And that ended that we filmed three seasons of a TV show. We wrote a book. 7 (30m 29s): Oh my 10 (30m 29s): Goodness. Same time. Yeah, it was, 9 (30m 32s): It was a little bit wild. 10 (30m 34s): I found it to be arrested. I found it to be a getaway, 9 (30m 38s): Especially once the post-partum thing was over. And we were like settled at home. It was like, what's right. To say 10 (30m 46s): It was beautiful. It was beautiful to be able to sit in the room. It was, it was like, it was like, I imagine Tom Hanks with Wilson, 9 (30m 55s): The soccer 10 (30m 55s): Ball, the volleyball, whatever. When Tom Hanks' character finally gets to see a mirror again, it's like, oh, that's me. Okay. Let me clean some of this cast away and getting in the studio after all that, after TV making book, writing, baby having, it was like, yeah. I was like, okay, let me shave. There's my face. And this is who I am. Let's get back at. It. It's a, it was refreshing. And I think, I think in the, in the most honest way, this album and these songs are Polaroid picture of who we are and the moment we wrote the songs and in the moment we recorded these songs, I think there's a lot, I think oftentimes you can hear a lot of a person's soul in their songs and you can, you can hear a lot of their soul and how a song is produced. 10 (31m 43s): And one of the reasons I'm really proud of having been the producer on this album. There was a couple of songs that I co-produced with way more talented than me producers. Molay ho all Grammy award winning Malaya, ho is the name Harold Brown, but then it's not Grammy award winning yet. But you know, I'm one of, one of two guys on the album that hasn't won a Grammy yet, actually. And it was really amazing. I think to put forward the most honest truth, we could not just lyrically and musically, but also in the production. This is who we are. I'm not trying to be Rihanna. We're not trying to catch levy Rodrigo. I'm not trying to be at Sharon. This is us being absolutely us. And I'm really proud of that. And I think for that reason, the album is eponymous for that reason. 10 (32m 25s): It's our fourth album, but it's the first album we've ever self-titled because it feels the most us, it feels the most looking in the mirror after a few years, cleaning the stubble off, seeing your face again, this is absolutely us good, bad or ugly accepted unaccepted loved adored heralded or not. This is us. 7 (32m 46s): I love that. And I love the record. The songs I've heard thus far are absolutely incredible. The video you guys did for Desmond song is awesome as well. Like yeah, I'm really excited. The record comes out. I think what tomorrow Or tonight? Midnight. Wow. How pumped are you? 9 (33m 4s): It's weird because we're like in a hotel 7 (33m 6s): Room. That's true. True. 9 (33m 13s): Okay. But, but I think tomorrow, tomorrow, the kids will be in a house safely, comfortably, and we'll go on to the next show. And I think we'll be able to celebrate a little bit tomorrow. I think. 7 (33m 26s): Amazing, amazing 9 (33m 28s): That 10 (33m 28s): Island here. 7 (33m 29s): Sure. Well, I really appreciate you both being here, especially with this circumstance. 10 (33m 36s): Well, I'm glad to not be just talking to my kids. I look like Fucking some other people. 7 (33m 44s): Well, that's amazing. Sorry. Go ahead. 10 (33m 47s): First time in a week. Oh, 7 (33m 49s): Well I can't wait to have you real quick. Have you played the Opry before? 10 (33m 52s): No, never the Idaho. 7 (33m 53s): So this is probably a big, big show for the both of you. I mean for Nashville. 10 (33m 58s): Yeah. Yeah. I guess it's like Ryman plus or like Raymond next, The next step after the Ryman, I guess is the apprehend 7 (34m 7s): A 10 (34m 7s): Salary. So it's going to bring me a lot of memories. Oh, 7 (34m 10s): You did? 10 (34m 11s): Oh yeah. For years, even after I got fired, I kept my uniform and I would go back on Sundays, which is the big money day for valet at a big hotel. And I would just show up and just work for tips. No way they were like, I guess Abner's here. All right. But there's so many ballets, as long as I was not. 7 (34m 31s): Oh man. That's really funny brand brilliant, I guess at the same regard. But 10 (34m 36s): Again, Can I work a whole Sunday and make like 200 bucks and I could live for like a month off of that at the time Jack in the box had like dollar burgers, dollar dogs, maybe even a 50 cents, a hot dog or something. Oh yeah. No, the 9 (34m 50s): Green juice is like 7 (34m 52s): 50 cents a hot dog. 10 (34m 53s): Oh yeah. Good. 7 (34m 58s): Well again, thank you both. So, so much for doing this. My last quick question is if you have any advice for aspiring artists. 9 (35m 5s): Oh man. 10 (35m 6s): Absolutely. Absolutely. Here's two. I got two bits of advice. Don't look when you're looking for teammates, you know, a lot of people will tell you, you know, you got to get the right lawyer, the right agent, the right manager. And you do, you want to have all the right people on your team. When you're looking for teammates, don't look for an Eagle to swoop down and carry you to the mountaintop. Look for someone who will stand shoulder to shoulder with you against all odds, face that mountain and take every step with you along the way. That's what you really want. You don't want a hero to come save you. You want somebody, who's going to be a part of your story with you. So that's a note for adding teammates and believing in yourself. You don't need an Eagle. That's that doesn't last. That kind of success. Isn't something that's sustainable. You're going to be looking for the next thing, the next person to either blame or to congratulate for your success. 10 (35m 52s): You can do it on your own. Find people that'll fight right alongside with you. And number two, these are the most important part. And I've heard it said before this isn't my quote, never make a plan B. And this is so their parents at home, you know that wouldn't be squeamish hearing me say this, but if you make a plan B, it will be your plan, a 9 (36m 11s): Still pay your bills, 10 (36m 13s): Pay your bills, do your thing, man. But absolutely never, ever, ever give up, never give up. Never, ever give up. Never, ever give up, never, ever give up. That's the advice that 9 (36m 25s): I was going to say, make it so that every stage is, is these are the good old days. The stage. If you can say, ah, these are the good old days and every stage you're going to be just fine because it doesn't matter whether you're working at Starbucks or valet and you're just playing at coffee shops. We look at that like, oh, the good old days when we were just putting our own microphones in the back of the car and then, you know, later on, oh, the good old days were before we had kids when we were driving ourselves. But we were playing these cool festivals. And right now I'm sure we'll look back and be like, oh, the good old days, we were trapped in a room with our kids with COVID every page. If you can kind of say to yourself, these are the good old days. You'll be all right. And you'll, you'll, you'll, it'll keep your fire burning longer.