Interview: Aaron Taos on his new album Birthday Boy
By Alexandria Monterrubio
Former New Yorker and new LA native Aaron Taos recently sat down with Echo Echo Wine to talk all things music and vino. He just released his first full length album Birthday Boy at the beginning of March. The record tackles the frustrations with growing older and the expectations we place on ourselves as a result. Aaron dives right into this theme with the first track “Birthday Blues”, which is worth a listen if you haven’t checked it out yet. So get to know Aaron a bit more below and find out whether this birthday boy drinks his wine with pinkies up or down.
Thanks so much for chatting with us Aaron! How’s 2019 going for you so far?
Not bad, not bad. Just moved to LA two weeks ago. So can’t complain!
Wow, big move! Well first off, congrats on the release of Birthday Boy. How does it feel to have put out both an EP and full length album within a year? What would you say the major difference between the two are and have you noticed yourself change as an artist within this period?
Thanks! It feels great. I’m someone who gets antsy when I’m not creating or releasing things so it’s pretty liberating to be able to get stuff out there so easily these days.
In terms of difference, my EP Night Thoughts was a way larger sounding project. For the first time I was able to get in the studio with seasoned producers and writers. The whole process really up’d my game as a songwriter.
Birthday Boy is a much chiller, more personal project. I wrote, recorded, and produced the whole thing myself between two summers spent at my parent’s house in Connecticut. It was nice to be on my own again and let my creativity go whichever way it was feeling. If Night Thoughts was the album that helped hone my craft as a writer and producer, Birthday Boy was me trying to dig deeper and express myself more.
So you recently made the move from New York to Los Angeles. How’s that transition going? And, of course, which one wins… east coast or west coast food? Choose carefully.
Yes I diiiid. The transition was actually pretty seamless. I’ve been coming to LA so often over the last year or so that it honestly doesn’t feel like a big deal. The major difference is instead of crashing on couches, now I have my own spot.
RE: food. Without copping out of that question: different type of food, different answers. I LOVE Mexican food, so for that LA is King… I’ve eaten it almost every day since I got here. I do miss pizza and bagels though, NYC is leagues better at that.
Fair enough. So it seems fitting that you made the move to LA around the release of Birthday Boy as this move marks the next chapter in your life/career, like any big move does. It’s clear the theme of this album is about growing up. You explained, “For me, birthdays serve as important milestones for introspection. With this as the thematic foundation of the album, Birthday Boy is a personal exploration through the lens of the expectations we place on ourselves in relation to getting older.” Personally, this definitely hits home with me. The pressure of deciding what it is you actually want to do with your life can be way too overwhelming. So what would be the number one thing you want your fans to take away from Birthday Boy? And how has writing this album helped you in your own life?
Birthday Boy was a cathartic album for me. Around the time of its recording, I was dealing with a lot of self-imposed (and external) pressure as to what I thought I SHOULD be doing instead of where I was actually in life. Personally, a lot of this had to do with my career as a musician. It’s a cliché, but the ups and downs and in betweens of pursuing this stuff was messing with my emotions and perception of reality. Instead of just ignoring it, writing about it and producing everything myself helped me regain my voice and agency as an artist. Those feelings are still there to a degree, but less so now and I think the album played a big part. If there’s a message in the album to people listening it’s probably along the lines of don’t get sucked down the rabbit hole of expectations, especially in relation to getting older and your career. Take a step back frequently and appreciate other things in your life rather than focus on what you want so badly but don’t have yet. It takes a toll on your psyche without realizing it.
I know picking a favorite song on Birthday Boy is probably along the lines of having a favorite child (you’re not supposed to), but which song do you hold closest to your heart and why?
This is true. Hmmmm, I’d probably say “Birthday Blues”, the first track on the album. That was the song I wrote on my birthday a couple years ago that was the inception of the idea behind the album.
Speaking of birthdays… any plans for your upcoming birthday in July? Jumping out of an airplane? Swimming with sharks? Hot dog eating contest? Free soloing El Capitan? Or just keeping with chill with friends?
You know what, I don’t have ANY plans yet. I’d really like to go back to CT and spend time with my family. Nothing too crazy, maybe go fishing and enjoy the summer on the east coast. Who knows, maybe eat a lobster roll or two.
And while we’re talking about daring things… would you let someone hook up your “Recently Played” Spotify playlist to speakers in a room full of strangers?
If my last answer is any indication of how PG I’m feeling, then it’s no surprise I’d be wary to let someone do that. I just scrolled through my recently played though and it’s not thaaaaat bad haha. There’s a LOT of rap, a sprinkle of pop, and some indie. What’s embarrassing is that there is way more plays of my own stuff than there should be :/
Can we start expecting some upcoming shows for ya or are you taking some time to get adjusted to this crazy LA life? Cause trust me I know that can take a minute!
I’m ready to play! Nothing to announce at the moment but I’ve gotten some offers recently so we’ll see what I can make happen. That’s a goal of 2019 for me, play a shit ton more.
Great goal. If you had to describe your music as if it were a wine, what would your discography’s wine label say?
Hmmm, I’d say it’s a full-bodied slightly sweet taste with hints of nut, maybe cashew. A very accessible flavor, but with an aftertaste that is hard to place…
When it comes to wine: red or white? Do you drink with pinkies up or pinkies down? Very important.
You know what, I’d say I’m a red guy. A nice Malbec with a nice Argentine steak is pretty close to heaven for me. That said, the summer I graduated from college I was on a white kick. At the time, I was working at a restaurant and would come home and record into the wee hours of the morning drinking my mom’s pinot grigio. I have very fond memories of that time… sorry mom! Pinkies up of course.
Birthday Boy is available now on all digital platforms for your listening pleasure.