Próxima Parada has been a staple in the SLO music scene for as long as I have lived here. I’ve seen them perform many times, with a number of roster changes over the last 6-7 years. It’s been refreshing to watch them adapt to the changes that time has thrown their way. It’s inspiring to hear how they’ve used that change to develop their sound. Though change seems to be a constant theme in the bands history, one thing that has remained consistent in their music is the obvious love for the art form and the soul they put into it.
When the bands original lineup changed with former singer/guitar player Bryson Bailey moving out of state, keyboard player/singer Nick Larson filled the void as frontman. At first I wasn’t sure how Bailey’s absence would affect their music. He had such great presence as a frontman with powerful, soulful vocals and guitar chops to match. I can say that some of their best work has come out of this change in the dynamic. Nick has been able to maintain the energy that drives Proxima Parada’s music. The songwriting has continued to evolve nicely. This is evident in the bands new release, “Paying For It”, which Larson describes as the most “transformative song he has ever written.”
Bass player Kevin Middlekauff is also an original member. His presence is pivotal in maintaining the groove that is so fundamental to their sound. One of the Central Coast’s most seasoned young musicians, guitarist Josh Collins, brings to the table a style routed in Jazz that branches out to the feels of Soul and RnB, complimenting Nick’s vocal/keyboard performance both effectively and tastefully. Drummer Aaron Kroeger has added something to the rhythm section that I didn’t know was missing until I heard it. I always thought that former drummer Andy had a great chemistry with Kevin. Never did I feel like there was anything lacking in the drum sound; it fit the style well. Aaron however has added just the right amount of flavor to the Proxima recipe to keep listeners’ pallets engaged. I’ve heard Aaron rehearsing on his own a lot over the last few years. Like Próxima, he is a long time tenant here at The Sauce Pot. To see him find a home with a great band is awesome.
The Cimo Factor
An important curator of Próxima’s sound is Vince Cimo, who has produced the majority of Próxima’s catalogue. His knowledge and creative preferences in the realm of audio production have been the perfect match for the band. At a time when I myself had very little experience under my belt producing bands, I admired what Vince was able to accomplish with Próxima. It certainly inspired me to work harder towards quality bodies of work. Vince is a unique breed of brilliance; there’s not much he doesn’t seem to know damn near everything about, and he’s able to harness the many extremities of his talents into tangible progress. I remember thinking how much I’d love to produce a record for Próxima Parada, but that it’d never happen because Vince was their go-to-guy, and he had much more to offer them. I was excited when Nick came to me and mentioned that they’d like to record their next single here at The Sauce Pot.
Paying For It
“Paying For It” is an autobiographical soul jam that comes in bouncin’ and goes out jumpin’, with a little time in the middle to recline, inhale life’s sweetness and exhale it’s sour. My main focus in producing this record was to not mess it up.
I knew the band would be coming in well rehearsed. I knew we were shooting for an organic sound. Since the band was also filming a video for the NPR Tiny Desk competition, the preference was to have all the amps in the same room with no headphone monitoring, as opposed to utilizing isolation rooms. While this isn’t ideal in regards to optimizing mix flexibility in post production, I was confident we’d be able to get a great sound, in large part because of the bands great dynamic control and Nick’s vocal ability to belt it out enough to create some separation from the bleed in his vocal mic. We were pleased to find that we didn’t have to do much in post production to create the instrumental mix we wanted; it all came together smoothly. It took a few revisions to get the vocal sitting in the right place in regards to volume, compression and reverb sound, but without too much trouble we were able to dial it in.
You can enjoy the experience we had in tracking this record by watching their live #InTheStu video! Share the video and help support these guys in their campaign to be featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Series!