Met de release van hun zinderende nieuwe single ‘Hard Times’, geeft het rock duo The Cold Stares uit Indiana een voorproefje van nieuw materiaal, dat gepland staat voor 2021 via hun nieuwe label, Mascot Records. Met tot nu toe meer dan 20 miljoen Spotify streams heeft de band in de laatste jaren een fanatieke fanbase opgebouwd. ‘Hard Times’ is de eerste release sinds hun album ‘Ways’ uit 2019.
“I had written ‘Hard Times’ in December of 2019 right before the world kind of collapsed,” geeft Tapp aan. “The song is about the feeling when you just can’t get on your feet no matter how you try. I had originally recorded the vocals in February, but after listening back to the track in October of 2020 I felt it was right to re-sing it. After a year of covid, elections in the US, seeing friends losing loved ones, small businesses being closed, I had a new empathy for what ‘Hard Times’ can really mean. I re-recorded the vocals with that in mind, and I think the song was directed from even more of a real place of despair. To me it’s always about capturing as honest of a sentiment and vocal as possible.”
Gitarist Chris Tapp en drummer Brian Mullins kennen elkaar al jaren en zijn opgegroeid in West Kentucky, op een steenworp afstand van de grens met Indiana. Toen ze beiden in de twintig waren, speelden ze al samen muziek, gingen daarna hun eigen weg, om elkaar een decennium later weer tegen het lijf te lopen in een andere band. “There’s a lot of great musicians around here, but it’s hard to find someone who really wants to do it,” legt Mullins uit. “People who want to make records and they’re that much of a glutton for punishment that they’re gonna stick it out.”
“We were playing together in 2009 in another band that was doing really well”, vult Tapp aan, “It didn’t work out, so we both kinda exited that band and contemplated retirement.” Het duurde niet lang voordat ze daar weer op terugkwamen. “A buddy of ours asked us to open the show for him. We ended up doing that, but we were so adamant that we weren’t going to be a band that we didn’t hire a bass player or anything else.”
Dat éénmalige optreden was een enorm succes en overtuigde Tapp en Mullins dat ze het toch maar eens moesten proberen als duo. De unieke ontvangst die ze bij dat optreden kregen was de inspiratie voor de bandnaam.
Het album is opgenomen in één dag in de legendarische studio van Sam Phillips in Memphis. “I feel like I’m saying what I want to say a little bit more concisely and elegantly, and I think that Brian and I together, from playing this long together and making records, we are pretty clear on the statement we’re trying to make now”, zegt Tapp. “We’ve never been one of those bands where we said, ‘On the next record, we’re really gonna do something completely different.’ We were happy with the sentiment that we started with. We want to be the band that we are.”
“I’ve been a big fan of The Cold Stares for several years now”, vertelt Mascot Label Group US President, Ron Burman. “I flew down to see them play a local show in Evansville, Indiana a few years back and was blown away. When Chris sent me the new songs during lockdown, I got chills, and knew the time was right for us to work together. They have such a great focused DIY work ethic and are great collaborators. We’re all extremely excited to be working together!”
“We were very excited about the prospect of signing with Mascot Records”, aldus Tapp. “I’ve had a relationship with Ron Burman who had been following our career for a while, and obviously been a fan of many artists on the Mascot roster. I think we were looking for a label that would allow us to be who we are, and love that enough to get behind it without changing it. I think Mascot was the perfect choice for that.”
“I think Mascot has become a great home for rock and blues acts that step outside of the normal box that the word ‘genre’ tends to draw you in”, voegt Mullins toe. “We have one foot deep in the blues, but we also have a passion for heavy rock and roll.”