Las Los & Surprise Chef bring lovin’, soulful and jazzy vibes to The Bottom of the Hill
There’s something about live music that you can’t feel it just by listening to an album, especially when they have incredibly talented musicians like Las Los and Surprise Chef, both bands are playing this Wednesday, October 5th at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco.
Surprise Chef is a fully instrumental band hailing from Melbourne, Australia. They’re bringing jazzy-funky, cinematic vibes to SF. This is their first time touring the US, and what a great opportunity it is to see them perform at an intimate setting at the Bottom of the Hill. This is going to be great, have a taste:
Las Los has a flow-y soulful, loving vibe. Paul Schalda and Max Shrager used to play with the one and only, the eagle of soul Mr. Charles Bradley!! How cool is that?! Las Los is their new project and this is their first tour. Paul sings from a place of love, his dad taught him and his brothers how to sing perfect harmonies in the stoop of their house in Staten Island growing up. His voice is just too beautiful to describe in words so I’ll just put this video here:
I chatted with Paul and Max from Las Los about their music, influences, and crying at the concerts.
How did Las Los come along? How long have you been playing together?
Paul Schalda: Max and I had talked about writing together for a minute. Basically since we were playing together w/ Charles Bradley’s touring band in 2015. Just finally came about after a late night conversation in LA in August 2021. It’s been a bit over a year now.
Max Shrager: There were various instrumental tracks lying around that I had produced and recorded with some phenomenal musicians, including the guys from Thee Sacred Souls and my boys Kane & James back on the East Coast. I was waiting for the right project to use these tracks for. When I sent some to Paul, he picked a few and started writing melodies and lyrics for them. Then he came out to LA from Texas last summer and laid down a bunch of vocals, and the project was born.
How was playing with the great Charles Bradley? I saw you guys performing with him in SF and bawled my eyes out both times, was it emotional playing with him? Have you ever cried during a performance?
PS: Every night it would get emotional. And I have cried as well. It was during the Daptone Super Soul revue at the Vienna Opera House in 2014. It was the first time we performed Heartaches & Pain. Or at least the first time since I had joined the touring band. I mean….. yeah. No words really.
MS: It was a valuable experience as a 19-year-old up and coming musician to start my career by playing with one of the very best performers of the day. It gave me validation, and I learned how to feel comfortable on stage. Now I have the confidence to perform with other amazing artists, like Lady Wray (whom I currently play guitar for), and feel like I belong up there.
How would you describe Las Los music and what are your influences?
PS: Las Los is love. Free. Floating rock mentality. Don’t take it too seriously. Enjoy the ride. We’re a blip in the grand scheme of it all. Whatever the grand scheme is? Let’s spend this time together and love one another.
MS: I would describe it as a blend of Indie Rock and Soul, with production influences from current Hip Hop and Pop. You will hear those modern influences more on our EP when it comes out.
You’re on a West Coast tour right now, how has it been and when can we expect an album?
PS: Yes. We are on the road with an amazing Australian band called Surprise Chef. This is our first tour and we are so excited and grateful we get to meet new people and share space and time with them. We have no set date for an album release at the moment.
MS : We have a 6 song EP ready for release. We are just waiting for the right moment, when more people are familiar with the project.
What other projects do you both have going on?
PS: I have a project called The Sha La Das which is a family band consisting of myself, my two brothers and our Father backed by The Menahan Street Band. We have a record out on Dunham/Daptone Records. We also sing backing vocals on Charles Bradley’s Victim of Love & Changes EPS as well as Lady Wrays song Guilty. I also have a solo project called Paul & The Tall Trees which is on Big Crown Records and I’ll be getting started on the new record shortly.
MS: I have a solo project under my own name. I put out an EP on Big Crown Records in 2016, and in the coming month I’m going to reboot the project and release my first solo music since 2016. Keep an eye out for “Fake” by Max Shrager. I also play with The Shacks and Lady Wray.