Photos and Interview by Jordan Edwards

In 2021, Sara Kays landed a viral hit with "Remember That Night." Although that track gained her new fans as it pushed past 200 million streams, it was just a hint of what was to come. From the quiet melancholy of "When You Look at Me" to the vulnerability of her latest, "Math," the Indiana native has proven to be a skilled songwriter and a master at capturing the feeling of a moment.

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Photos and Interview by Jordan Edwards

In 2020, Aaron Taos scored a quarantine hit. "Control," which captured the loneliness and anxiety of isolation, blew up on TikTok and racked up millions of streams.

Since then, the LA songwriter has stayed busy with a two-part album. Closure & Campari came out last year. Closure & Campari: After Hours, debuted on April 1.

He spoke to us creating the project and his ability to continuously release new music.

Tell me about the new album. Was Closure & Campari always intended to be two parts? Will there be another sequel?
Closure & Campari: After Hours is the second part to 2021's Closure & Campari LP. Like the first installation, the album chronicles the gray space of a post-breakup aftermath. However, if the first C&C surveys the lighter, more positive outlook of a relationship split, C&C After Hours is its moodier cousin. Beginning with the more upbeat "Mine," the album moves into darker territory, touching on the vices that come with heartbreak. I didn't intend to have there be a sequel. However, as time went on during the recording process, two distinct sounds emerged and it felt right to separate them.

It has more electronic elements than some of your earlier music. Why have you moved in this direction?
I don't think I necessarily made a conscious decision to move more in an electronic direction. Originally, I was limited in my production capabilities, because I really only play guitar, and by default, bass guitar. Over the years, I've learned to use more synths and incorporate the help of other producers who can play more electronic-leaning instruments. I think those two factors lead to some more diverse sound selections for this project.

A lot of artists are cool with just doing EPs and singles. You’ve released three full length albums in four years. Do you write new songs all the time?
I write a lot. I'm the kind of artist who goes crazy if I'm not writing, recording, or releasing music. So yes, I love being active. I don't have any plans to stop either, I have the next two albums almost done.

How has your production process changed over the years? Do you still play most of the parts yourself?
I used to do everything myself. I think at the beginning, I had an attitude of "If I don't play everything, it isn't my song." But I think that was just my pride getting in the way of opening up, and taking feedback, and creative input from others. Now, I feel really comfortable collaborating. I would say about half of the stuff I release I still write, record, produce from start to finish, and the other half has significant help from others.

You’ve been doing more collaborations lately. Is that an LA thing? It’s a very collaborative scene here.
Actually, collaborating with a lot of other artists is a thing that I started to do during quarantine. I connected with so many folks over social media, and we started sending each other ideas back and forth. LA is definitely THE place for collaboration, but it's funny that most of my collabs that are released came from the Internet.

We met while we were both living in Brooklyn. What do you miss most about New York?
Food! Bagels, Pizza, walking around with a coffee on Sunday morning. Being able to walk to five bars on one city block. The simple stuff.

During our photoshoot, I described your style as “thrift store prep.” Where do you get your clothes?
You nailed it. I get most of my clothes from thrift stores. I made it a staple on the last tour run to hit a couple in each city before shows, and I found a lot of dope stuff in random towns. As for prep, I do love myself a good knitted polo.

Are you playing a bunch of shows to promote the album?
I played a release show the day it came out in LA with the promoter Make Out Music. Calica and Carter Ace played as well that night--two artists that are featured on the album. It feels really good to have released an album and be able to play it live the same day. As for other shows, hopefully another tour is coming this summer!

For more from Aaron Taos, follow him on Instagram.

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