“We can’t sit on the beach with an acoustic guitar forever!” proclaims Cisco Adler. “This is not a one-trick pony.”
His other half, Aaron Smith (a.k.a. Shwayze), closes his eyes and nods and offers, “We’ve already got that beach-time summer vibe, chilling during the day. Now we want some stuff for the clubs that bangs your ears out and you can dance to it. This is definitely an evolution from the first one.”
That first one, the self-titled Shwayze, ushered the unlikely duo to unlikely heights. A string of multiple hits (“Buzzin’,” “Corona and Lime”) fueled by millions of Internet plays carried them to top ten album sales, landed them a coveted slot on the Vans Warped Tour, and turned them into reality television stars on MTV. In a wound-up world, Shwayze was a life-lesson in laid back lassitude, a coast-to-coast call to make every day a lazy day. And if success always breeds a bit of contempt, Let It Beat comes out swinging.
“It’s like, ‘All right, here it is!’” Shwayze says, laughing as he describes the challenge posed on the opening track, “Livin’ It Up.” “You guys said we couldn’t make another one. You thought we were gonna make the same thing. You didn’t think we were deep enough! Well here it is. And don’t be mad when your girl leaves with us.”
Featuring contributions from New Orleans hip-hop duo The Knux, Shwayze’s lifelong hero Snoop Dogg, Ric Ocasek from the Cars, and Darryl Jenifer, bassist for legendary D.C. punk band Bad Brains, Let It Beat is a fearless experiment held together by the controlled yet casual guidance of Adler’s production.
“I made a conscious effort to beef the drums up and make it thump,” he says. “The last record had one pace, I wanted this one to have more dynamics and go up and down like a rollercoaster ride. It’s about letting your heart beat and letting the blood pump through your body. It’s about not stopping the flow. Let it all flow and it will all turn out right.
The first single, “Get U Home,” is an unapologetic ode to lust satisfaction… before you leave the club: “Take me in the bathroom/Take my clothes off/Make love to me up against the dirty wall/’Cause I can’t wait to get you home.” Let It Beat is never shy, never afraid to extol its own brand of virtue, it never apologizes, and, of course, you’re always welcome to join.
“I’m definitely endorsing that behavior!” announces Adler, referring to the whole “dirty wall” scenario in “Get U Home.” “None of it is fantasy. We just live it and tell the story.”
“Our music is our lifestyle,” Shwayze says. “We’re not faking it.”
Shwayze was a juggernaut, an unexpected triumph from two beachcombing purveyors of pleasure and sunlight. It tapped into the hidden hedonist in us all, freeing indulgence from guilt for at least the length of a record. Let It Beat extends that day into night. It’s nothing less than a celebration of life. For every sarcastic wink, there’s that genuine gleaming grin at the thought of the next thrill. Let It Beat is not a fantasy; it’s an invitation to a better reality.
“I’ve been a musician before I was anything else,” Adler says. “I was screaming for people to just listen to the music. But then at some point, I had to look inside and tell myself to just keep doing it and it eventually it’s gonna show people itself. That’s when it started working, amazingly enough. When you just let everything flow, it’s gonna flow in the right direction. When you start trying to control the flow, that’s when you dam it up.”
“It’s all a dream come true,” adds Shwayze. “We just want to keep on living the dream and keep on living it up.”