“This record is about as close to the sound of home as you can get,” says Mapache’s Sam Blasucci. “We recorded it with a bunch of our friends in the house where we were living in a neighborhood that we loved. It’s a family vibe through and though.” Blasucci and his musical partner, Clay Finch. It made perfect sense, then, for Mapache to name their new album in honor the place at the heart of it all: Liberty Street. Produced by longtime collaborator Dan Horne (Circles Around The Sun, Allah-Las).
“When we lived in that house on Liberty Street, Sam and I shared a tiny little room with two twin beds in it,” says Finch. “The studio was right downstairs, so we had the freedom to try all kinds of new ideas without any pressure or limitations. All the other folks who lived in the house were musicians, too, so it made for this communal atmosphere where everyone was always collaborating and creating together.”
While much has changed for the men of Mapache since that first album—the pair’s amped up tour schedule and newly inked record deal enabled both to leave their day jobs recently—their friendship remains much as it did in high school, when the two Los Angeles natives first met and bonded over a shared love of skateboarding and songwriting. After graduation, Finch headed north to study music at Chico State, while Blasucci headed south to Mexico, where he served as a missionary for two years and immersed himself in the local art and culture.
“Traditional Mexican music has always been an important influence on our sound,” says Blasucci, who sings multiple tracks on the album in Spanish with Finch. “With this record, we had more time than ever to dive into that world.”
“Writing and singing in Spanish was also reflective of life on Liberty Street,” adds Finch. “Mexican culture and music are intertwined into the fabric of the neighborhood and shaped our experiences living there.”
“A lot of these lyrics started coming together late at night in hotel rooms around the country,” says Blasucci. “When you’re on the road traveling from place to place and you don’t have anything tying you anywhere in particular, you naturally start to look for some sort of spiritual home or stability, and I think a lot of songs on this record are searching or pleading for something more concrete and rooted.”
“We see a lot of cowboys in hats and boots driving Audis and hailing Ubers here in LA,” says Blasucci. “There’s a level of satire to that song that comes from being able to laugh at yourself, but at the end of the day, it’s also an ode being what you want to be and who you really are at heart.”
“There’s a real thread of melancholy running through it,” adds Finch. “It’s poking fun at this LA country scene that we’re so happy and proud to be a part of, but there’s also a sense of longing for love and travel and adventure.”
It’s a bittersweet feeling the duo captures perfectly on “To Play For All Of You,” a poignant meditation on gratitude and the road that Blasucci and Finch wrote together with alternating verses. “To play for all of you / It’s a dream come true,” they sing, later adding, “Home ain’t always where your heart is / Home is where your soul is, home is where you’ll always go.”
Life On Fire by Mapache is now available via Yep Roc