In 2020, Rudy De Anda moved his homebase out of California for the first time. He was headed East. Somewhere in the back of the U-Haul, among the boxes and baggage, was a mostly finished record. Upon arriving in Chicago, Rudy quickly found the final pieces of his new LP, Closet Botanist. It’s due out April 28, 2023, on Colemine/Karma Chief Records.
The album was recorded in Austin, Texas at the Electric Deluxe recording studio. The space is owned and operated by Adrian Quesada (Black Pumas), who helped produce and engineer Rudy’s new LP. “In the past, I’ve done most of my recording in California,” Rudy explained. “The new location changed the vibe. The band and I were 100% focused on the process.”
Rudy’s previous releases have grown synonymous with California sunshine. He was born in Los Angeles and spent most of his formative years in Long Beach. “People often tell me my music reminds them of the beach and the sun,” Rudy said of his older songs. Closet Botanist isn’t a total departure from Rudy’s beachy, psych-rock roots, but it does sound more mature. “These songs are personal to me. More than ever before, I was able to get to the point and get some things off my chest. It’s about lost love and lost friendships – it’s more visceral than any music I’ve made before.”
Most of the songs were written back in California with the help of Rudy’s previous bandmates. “Tu Mirada” was one of the first songs he wrote in Chicago. Then, a local friend helped him find “Hey Mr. Sun.” Rudy connected with Blake Rhein (Durand Jones and the Indications) during the final weeks of writing. “He showed me a song and asked if I wanted to record it. I hadn’t done that before, but I loved the song. It felt like I had found the missing piece.”
To get the sound just right, Rudy called his California bandmates to the studio. Jon Rivera played bass, Daniel Villareal laid down the drums, and Kyle Davis took care of the organ, piano, and synth leads. Adrian Quesada produced the album, and Aaron Glembowski engineered the sessions. “Adrian saw my initiative and trusted me to direct the band. He and Aaron made me feel extremely comfortable. They helped us get to where we wanted to go.” The band recorded directly to tape to channel a classic rock n’ roll sound. Rudy points to The Velvet Underground and The Kinks for direct inspiration. “I glorify those bands – I’m a 60s psych-rocker at heart.” For the seasoned listener, there’s a trail of psychedelic breadcrumbs to find throughout the track list.
Rudy dedicates the album to those who love so hard that they neglect to water their own garden. Even in a much colder climate, the closet botanist continues to grow.