Tuxedo was a long time in the making.
And it proved as good a fit as the duo of Mayer Hawthorne and Jake One could hope.
The two first conceived the idea of Tuxedo and its throwback funky dance-pop sound a decade ago, even before Ann Arbor native Hawthorne blew up with “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out” in 2008, They finally put the first Tuxedo album out in 2015, with its successor, “Tuxedo II,” arriving in March.
Not much has changed over the course of two years, and that’s just fine with Hawthorne and One, who are still maintaining their own careers but finding time to put on Tuxedo whenever they can...
• Both Hawthorne and One say they were surprised by the enthusiasm for the first Tuxedo album, as well as the desire for a second. “Man, we didn’t even know that we were going to ever do a show for Tuxedo, even,” Hawthorne, 38 (real name Andrew Cohen), says by phone for Los Angeles, where he now resides. “This has been way beyond what we thought it would be. It’s safe to say that it has far surpassed any expectations we had for it.” One (real name Jacob Dutton), who’s best known as a producer (including for Hawthorne), adds that the reception was “also reaffirming. I usually feel like if I like something everyone else is going to fall in line, but we didn’t’ particularly look at (Tuxedo) that way.”
• The Tuxedo sound, meanwhile, remains unchanged from the first album. “Jake said it really well,” Hawthorne says. “We know Chic’s ‘Good Times’ more from ‘Rapper’s Delight’ than we do from Chic. It’s a blend of West Coast rap music that we grew up listening to, and then the stuff that inspired that, the early 80s funk like Zapp and Chic and things of that nature. I think our stuff sounds different than anything else out there.”
• Both men say that making “Tuxedo II” benefitted from having recorded and toured to support the debut album. “I thought it was easier,” Hawthorne notes. “I think the first album was such a surprise success for us that we didn’t’ want to deviate from that formula of just making something we thought was dope.” One adds that, “I thought we had honed in on the sound; The only difference was there were actually some expectations this time. But even with that we just did what we wanted. We weren’t trying to make a hit single, that’s for sure.”
• Because of the duo’s schedules, however, making “Tuxedo II,” or doing anything under the moniker. “We wrote a lot of the new album on the road while we were touring for the first record because that was the time we were together,” Hawthorne explains. “Jake lives in Seattle and I live in L.A.; It’s hard to find time, and then we both have our respective careers. So we have to use that time we’re together to write and record.”
• The Tuxedo men are not ruling out the prospect of a third album, though they can’t say just when yet. “There’s quite a few things we started that might not have fit particularly right with this record,” One says. “We might put some songs later out on their own, for Soundcloud or whatever, just to let people get some extra stuff.” Hawthorne, meanwhile, agrees that “we’re hopefully going to round up a couple bonus tracks in the next few months here and put those out.”
If You Go:
• 8:30 p.m. Saturday, June 9
• Lear Showcase Stage as part of Detroit Music Weekend in and around the Music Hall Center, 350 Madison Ave., Detroit.
• Tickets are $30 general admission, $80 VIP.
• Call 313-887-8500 or visit detroitmusicweekend.org for all events.