With that epiphany firmly set in motion, Zach sat down and in a week during the summer of 2016 wrote “Winter of 98,” a nostalgia-baked sun ray which utilized a poppier chord progression as well as a more polished production. Excited by the sound, Zach and Ben were encouraged to continue in that direction. “That was the spark that led to the album,” Zach says. “Writing ‘Winter of 98’ was kind of the impetus for how we could go more pop. Those are the moments that any creative person is hoping for, where you get really excited about an idea that seems to be working. Everything changed at that point.” Over the next six months, Zach wrote the majority of what would become Real Life, the third full-length Cayucas record. They spent a few months searching for a producer, and in the fall of 2017, the Yudins entered the studio in Downtown Los Angeles with Dennis Herring (Elvis Costello, Twin Shadow, Wavves, Modest Mouse) to make five songs. They worked in large chunks of time, returning to the studio in the spring with another batch and finally finishing at the end of May 2018. The brothers credit Herring with helping to breathe even more life into the work; the producer loaded the stems of the duplex-recorded demos—drum samples, bass lines, and the like—into ProTools and from that base the songs were built. And if some of the drums sound familiar to longtime Cayucas fans, it’s no accident. “It was mind blowing how Dennis helped us turn the demos into finished songs,” Zach says. “He opened our eyes to what’s possible with songwriting and producing. There was no live drumming, everything was sample based—which is hard to wrap your head around but that was the pop sort of production I was getting into. I had tons of drum hits from our first album’s tracks like ‘High School Lover’ and ‘Cayucos’ and we chopped them up, which was great because it let us hold on to some of that vibe. There’s still a little nostalgia and it still feels like a Cayucas record.” Nostalgia is a concept that will always be a huge part of Cayucas’s music, and the songs on Real Life are no different. As Ben says, “Looking back is on one of our favorite things to talk about. We’re just fascinated by the constant evolution of people, friends from high school and college. It makes for great lyrics and subject matter.” From the lament in “Winter of 98” of “if only I could have back yesterday” to tales of playing pool in Santa Monica bars to the subject of first single “Jessica WJ,” a bass-playing friend from their high school days, the band’s thematic flag is planted firmly in the past. As for the album’s title song, “Real Life” is a nod to both the nostalgia the brothers obsess over as well as the positive thinking they embraced during the album’s beginnings. “That’s another thing I like to write about, this blind optimism,” Zach says. “‘Real Life’ is an ode to my mid-20s, writing music for fun and just waiting for real life to begin. I like lyrics with a lot of imagery, and it’s filled with moments from when I was going through the motions work-wise but writing music, being optimistic about the future and hoping one day to be able to release an album and play a show.”
It’s a sentiment that hasn’t left Zach Yudin’s heart of hearts, and one that he shares dearly with his twin brother. For Cayucas, a full embrace of optimism, the joy of creating, and a fresh start has gotten them this far, and promises to carry them even farther. “I’m just happy to still be excited about writing music,” Zach says. “That feeling comes & goes but it hasn’t died.” I think that’s the only way to be successful is if you have a feeling inside that motivates you through the good times and the bad. The excitement keeps pushing you towards the next big idea—I still sit down at a piano every day and write—but we’re in a good place. We made the album that we wanted to make, and that’s the goal, creatively. I can’t imagine it playing out any better.”

Sam Valdez

Sam Valdez is a Los Angeles based singer-songwriter, whose music is built upon the
fusion of shoegaze and vintage Americana indie folk. Embodying the best of both
genres, Valdez has created dreamy, yet haunting atmospheric soundscapes that resonate with her

Valdez grew up at the edge of the Nevada desert, in Las Vegas and credits the desert as a major
influence in her writing and composing. The vastness and solitude of desert life is apparent
throughout her writing, with cinematic resonance and euphoric arrangements.

After performing in numerous bands, she found the essence of her solo sound and decided to run
with it, indulging in her own creative process and ultimately developing a sound that is true to
her own. As a classically trained violinist, Valdez has a sense of musical maturity within her
songs, adding technicalities that bring her to the forefront of her genre.

$12.00 - $15.00


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