Escondido knows what it means to shed skin in the name of art. For the cover to the group’s latest album, Walking With a Stranger, singer Jessica Maros sat naked on a stool for two hours while black paint poured down her back. Not to be outdone, her bandmate, Tyler James, took off his clothes for the video for the single “Try” and slapped on a flesh-colored Speedo.
“What’s the deal?” he wonders, about the duo’s unclothed escapades. “Jess is naked on the cover. I’m naked in the video. Our first photo shoot ever, I had no shirt on. And I never walk around without a shirt.”
“I’m very impressed that you didn’t put up a fight,” Jessica tells Tyler, about having to wear the bathing suit. “You just, like, put it on and you owned it. It was amazing.”
Originally formed in Nashville in 2011, Escondido’s first record, The Ghost of Escondido, mixed elements of rock, folk, country and just a touch of spaghetti Western theme music. It took only a day to record, which is pretty startling considering how polished the finished product sounds. But it’s true: Jessica and Tyler went into the studio at noon, played each song three times, cut together the best versions and eight hours later they had an album.
“The new record was a way longer process,” says Jessica, about their follow-up effort. “We kind of wanted to dive in a little bit more and just hone in on the sounds.”
Adds Tyler, “I spent more time just choosing which bass guitar to use than I did making the entire first record.”
When they write their next album, Escondido will look to find a healthy balance between the pace of their first and second releases. Before that happens, though, they plan to hit the road in some snazzy new outfits.
“I am making a [bright orange] one-piece jumpsuit,” says Jessica, who has a history of designing vivid onstage ensembles.
“When we played on Conan, Jessica made multiple suits,” says Tyler. “One was this one-piece white suit with three-foot-long [.9-meter] fringe on the sleeves. And I had a white mariachi suit. I think we had to retire them because, one, they could barely survive and kind of smelled, and two, it was, like, almost too over the top. If it wasn’t a really big show and we just walked into some crappy coffee shop to play…”
But Jessica disagrees. “Nothing is too over the top,” she says. “I will walk into coffee shops any day with long fringe hanging.” Considering how the orange jumpsuit turned out, she has a point.