Los Angeles based duo Calling Cadence is the creation of Oscar Bugarin and Rae Cole. The musical kindred spirits work with a wrecking crew-style of session musicians when creating music, and releasing music on Hi-Res records, which specifically focuses on purely analog recording.
As they get ready to release their debut, self-titled album this spring on Hi-Res Records, Calling Cadence have dropped the album’s latest single, the soul and Motown-influenced “Just the Way it Goes”. The duo were kind enough to talk to us about the new single, capturing the classic sound of Motown on record, and combining classic musical forms with modern lyrical narratives.
Indy Review: I love the classic Motown sound and vibe of the new single. What have you found is the key to capturing that tone and magic that those classic artists and records had?
Oscar – It’s hard to pinpoint it really! I grew up listening to K-EARTH 101 out here in LA, and I think I just soaked it all up. It’s a lil’ bit of Sam Cooke, Michael Jackson, Elvis, and Ray Charles sprinkled into a song. One of my favorite parts about this song is the Hammond B3 organ and the brass instruments. Mitchell Yoshida, playing all the keys, started playing the riff that became the horn parts too and glued the instrumentation together. It’s also just the vibe we were all going for and what I was initially feeling when the song was being written. I can’t really say I had the intention for Motown, I was just feeling the rhythm and the blues.
Rae – Definitely the collaboration of everyone. Like Oscar mentioned, the original vibe for the song was more of an acoustic blues-inspired jam. Throughout the production process, ideas were thrown out, from everybody on the team, and we sort of worked up from there. And of course the instrumentalists added their own flavor to the song. To be honest, it sort of just came to be during the recording process, which was super fun and kept everything interesting to be a part of.
IR: Though the sound of the new track is retro, the lyrics address more modern issues with dating and the concept of “ghosting”, which is a fairly 2000’s problem. Did you find any challenges in applying this old school musical style to a song tackling modern issues? Was there something inspirational or fun in the juxtaposition of them for you?
Oscar – We want to make songs with a little different perspectives from the usual love songs of yesteryear, it seems like there’s a lot of songs that make people sound like they’ll never get over love lost, or desperately wanting someone to love you back. We wanted to make a song for people to stand in their power and be able to say “I deserve better” rather than lying down in misery.
Rae – I think it’s awesome that we were able to match the old style with the new concept. Oscar originally brought this idea to the group with just an acoustic guitar, so seeing its evolution into the Motown direction is really neat. I like that this song sort of inspired us to play around with retro vibes and new ideas.
IR: You recorded this song live in the studio. How long did it take to plan out the arrangement, both of the song and the band’s placement in the room?
Oscar – Well we were already in the recording process for the first 12 songs we had, so we were ready to go. I already had the song finished, with just myself and a guitar, so the guys just played off of what I had, and then we painted the rest of the keys and horns over it.
Rae – To plan out the arrangement? Not too long. Like Oscar said, he had the song already finished by the time we had it in the studio. I think it was all finished in just a few days. We may have discussed it in the few days just before actually recording, on and off, but overall recording time maybe two days for the band, one day for the vocals, and one session for the horns.
IR: The vocals on the track are incredible. Was there any specific artist you were trying to channel when tackling the vocals?
Oscar – Thank you! And I really didn’t have a specific artist in mind when thinking about the vocals, although there’s definitely some MJ vibes, and early Elvis. I was just having fun trying to give the track what it needed, and trying to be me. My influences always seem to come out in their own way.
IR: What kind of directions did you give the band to help them find the sound you envisioned for the track?
Oscar – I think I told ‘em I just wanted it to groove.
IR: What has diving into retro sounds like this taught you as a songwriter and musician?
Oscar – It has definitely taught me to be more intentional with my songwriting. Having to think about the instrumentation, and how it can all come together as one piece, and you can’t fake it. You have to be prepared before you hit the red button on tape!
Rae – Agreed. I think both of us like writing songs that come from whatever corner of our brains feel like talking at that specific time and place. The way this song evolved definitely proved there is so much more intention needed for a song to develop its vibe. Also, why not draw inspiration from different genres while writing? It’s definitely opened up a lot of new ideas and opportunities for what and where we are able to draw from.
Take a listen to this soulful jam in our A Single Sit-Down Playlist!