What was once Shwayze is now Shwayze & Cisco Adler, but the senior member of the duo says the name change for the act is about timing and accuracy more than gratuitous ego gratification.
“We sort of stumbled into this, you know — two stoner dudes sitting on the beach with a guitar,” Adler tells Billboard.com with a laugh. “At the time we went with Shwayze as the name of the group, and it was the source of a lot of confusion over the years. It was right for the brand at the time, but I think now, as we’ve grown and everyone knows who we are, it’s almost like the kids have forced that. They’ve been asking for so long, ‘Why is it just Shwayze?’ And Shwayze has always wanted it to be both names, and I was like, ‘I don’t care.’ So now we’ve fixed it.”
The duo billing comes just in time for the Aug. 30 release of Shwayze and Cisco’s third album, “Island in the Sun,” which also marks their departure from the Suretone and Geffen labels and the emergence of their own Bananabeat Records, which will be distributed by The Orchard. “We’re free from any chains now,” says Adler, who produced the album, “so we’re moving forward with a bunch of cool things.”
Leading up to “Island in the Sun’s” release, the two established the Internet show “Cisco’s House,” as well as a weekly Island On Wednesday web concept that the duo used to launch tracks such as “Butterflies” and the new single “You Could Be My Girl.”
“We’ve always constantly flushed out content,” Adler explains. “I think it’s a cool way to ramp up and get people interested. They get a little taste of the album without us having to give them everything right away. I think our job is to connect all the dots of the people we’ve hit along the way and try to activate them — that’s kind of the mantra of Bananabeat. We’ve had so many millions of impressions; how do we connect them all and let them know when something’s coming out so they can all go get them at the same time.”
Ultimately, Adler says he hopes Bananabeat is a launching pad for “a lifestyle-based movement” that will include “organic partnerships” with sponsors such as Oakley and New Era, as well as other business endeavors. Jimmy Buffett’s empire, Adler acknowledges, is a definite model.
“That dude just pretty much knew what his lane is and rode it all the way to the billion dollar check,” Adler says. “He’s taken that lifestyle and created a hamburger joint, a casino…He’s rounded out the lifestyle so that people who want to can live it with him. That’s what we’re gunning for. I mean, I’m not Gene Simmons over here; I’m not trying to make Cisco coffins. But I think fashion and music and food have always been together, so we can build something off of that.”
As for the album itself, Adler promises that fans may be surprised by some of the directions he and Shwayze took on the new songs. “We don’t want to be the bar band anymore,” he says. “We want to be able to go out and play the Greek Theatre and be able to fill that up with a big sound. So there’s a song called ‘Over and Over’ that’s, like, a dark piano ballad and is definitely different for us, but I think it fits right into the sound. There’s some different topics on the record, or at least a different point of view…that you’d expect after three years” after the duo’s last album, 2009′s “Let It Beat.”
Shwayze & Cisco Adler are on the road with Slightly Stoopid until Sept. 17. A headlining tour is expected afterwards to support the album’s release.
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