Indie artist Aaron Taos breathes new life to his 2019 debut album “Birthday Boy” with a reissue titled “Birthday Boy (Party Favors)” containing new versions of the song collection in addition to remixes and brand new songs. We had the wonderful opportunity to catch up with Taos where we discussed the viral Tik Tok quarantine success of “Control,” the effects of not performing live shows and Taos’ learning experience while working on the reissued album.

Quarantine has been equally good and challenging for Taos, it has allowed him to focus on creating music, working on content such as stripped down taped performances and music videos; “Music-wise, quarantine has been difficult in some ways and nice in others.  I’ve been productive for sure. I can confidently say that I took the extra free time to dive into my recordings and collaborate with video makers for stripped videos and new full music videos.” However the lack of performing for a live audience has been a struggle for Taos, “On the flip side, it’s been hard to not play live.  Having that element missing is certainly less exciting because performing brand new songs is so fun for me.” The lockdown has rewarded Taos with family time, “I’ve spent a lot of time with my family which has been incredibly important for me.”

Earlier this year, “Control,” a previously released single from “Birthday Boy,” found it’s way back into the spotlight on tiktok. Amidst the first lockdown people gravitated to the song’s lyrics, uploading tik tok videos of themselves with clips of “Control” attached taking Taos by completely surprise. “Certainly the success of “Control” was unexpected but awesome.  For people to take on that record and have it become a quarantine anthem of sorts was incredible, especially considering it came out two years ago. That said, I wrote it about my own isolation at the time, so the lyrics certainly connect with what everyone is going through now. ” The viral moment inspired reimagining the songs on the “Birthday Boy”  album. “The success of “Control” certainly brought about the opportunity to revisit “Birthday Boy” and re-imagine some tracks from that album as well as release some new ones that fit the vibe/aeshteic of that whole project. I’m just so happy I get to have some more exposure on that album because it’s such a special one for me.”

The new versions features collaborations with fellow artists giving the songs a fresh new take. “For me, it’s less changing the meaning of the songs, and more shedding a new perspective on them. The way I approached this was by adding a bunch of features by artists that I really admire.  Letting their voices bring their own unique experiences to the tracks. The original “Birthday Boy” album was a very lonely and laborious process for me, so collaboration was a way to bring a more fun vibe to the additional group of tracks.”

One of Taos’ most memorable moments making the new versions of the songs came during the sessions for the song, “Loneliness.” Taos describes the moment,”I think my favorite moment was hearing spill tab’s verse on “Loneliness” for the first time.  I had ALWAYS wanted that song to be a duet, and she absolutely crushed it. I was so impressed.  It came out exactly how I wanted it, and that almost never happens haha.  Plus, that’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written.”

“Birthday Boy (Party Favors) “also features new songs made during quarantine including the sassy rock n roll infused pop track titled “Amnesia.” The striking track will have you moving out of your seat as soon as the chorus drops. The making of the song required a detailed approach to adding all the distinct elements and layers on the music production. Taos recalls how the song fit into the sound palette with the rest of the song collection, “Amnesia was written right at the beginning of quarantine with my roommate in LA. He’s never written songs before, so it was cool to have his fresh energy to a process I do every single day –  a new perspective if you will.  Sonically right off the bat this song felt like a bunch of the faster past songs off of “Birthday Boy” so I knew this would fit really well with it.  There’s a lot going on in this song so it took a while to get every element sitting just right, but I’m glad I took the extra time with my mixer on this one.” The song displays high spirited energy reminiscent of his other uptempo tracks already included in the original album. “For me “Amnesia” feels a lot like “Control” or “Dazed & Amused”, just bigger and bolder.  It has a larger chorus and more production elements. It’s a fast past lil bopper about unrequited love – a story of a breakup situation where your ex is moving on just a little too easily. Then of course, instead of just taking the L in stride, your indignant pride gets in the way to justify it. Like ‘t can’t be my fault she forgot about me, she must just have gotten amnesia.‘ Lyrically it was not really a preconceived direction on where to take the project as a whole, just the way this one came out.”

Working on the reissued album has brought introspection for Taos in regards to his creative process as a songwriter and producer; “I learned that I’ve become a better producer and songwriter since I came out with the original “Birthday Boy.”  At the same time though, it reminded me of the risks I took on that album and the creative ways that I took certain elements of production on the tracks.  I didn’t make any songs on that album with the thought process of “this is going to be a big song” – I just made them in a naturally flowing way. I wasn’t trying too hard.  Sometimes lately, I find myself just thinking about what is going to be the strongest single.” The album holds a special place in Taos’ heart as he looks forward to the future for his next forthcoming project, “Birthday Boy” was special because everything from the theme, the artwork, and the sound was intentional. It made me sit down and really make sure my next project is just as cohesive for 2021. Which I think it will be.”

[Learn all about the original release of “Birthday Boy” here ]

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Photo Credit: Taylor Florio