Earlier in the summer just as their first European tour was closing out, in between set up and soundcheck, in that quiet moment before the show, I got a chance to get into the origins of The Free Nationals with Jose Rios, the guitarist & producer from Los Angeles who could be considered Anderson’s longest running wingman.
Jose and Anderson go back to when .Paak was Breezy and before they were free. “We’ve been rocking together, me and Anderson, for like almost 8 or 9 years. We started off doing covers, playing like Earth, Wind and Fire, Hendrix, whatever, anything people wanted to hear and that kinda just lead into us starting to do original music and we’d incorporate that into our set. So that just kinda grew from there but we’d play anywhere, anywhere where people would let us play, bars, restaurants, barmitzvah’s, backyard parties – didn’t matter we’d go.”
As for his own solo material, Jose’s already had some serious groove on a project that draws a collective of L.A musicians, on a timeless soundscape – “Yeah I have the Jose Rios ‘To Live and Grow In L.A’ albums, those are projects I just did on my own in my room and I had some additional production help from the homies, but yeah all in all I just had to do my own thing, you know. I was watching all this stuff going on, I was like I have to do something for myself.”
But when I asked about if there’s likely to be a Free Nationals project or solo projects down the line, the guys while realistic about their touring commitments knew it was only a matter of time. With their hectic summer run of festivals now out of the way, looks like the time is finally upon us.
Treating us with a sensual soulful number, “Just Before the Dawn” is produced by Jose Rios and Anderson .Paak with the duo splitting the arrangements with Anderson .Paak doing what he does best on drums and vocals, while Jose strums that guitar and Bass. This is simply pure sweetness in song! Read the full interview with The Free Nationals here and relish dreams ‘Just Before The Dawn’.