Listen to Slightly Stoopid's New Track 'One Bright Day,' Feat. Angela Hunte: Exclusive

Jeff Farsai
Slightly Stoopid

On its latest album, Meanwhile...Back at the LabSlightly Stoopid is getting by with a little help from its friends. And happily so.

For the eclectic 14-song set, which drops June 30, the duo of multi-instrumentalists Kyle McDonald and Miles Doughty collaborated with producers on both the East Coast (Jerry Wonda) and in its stomping grounds of Southern California (Michael "Miguel" Happoldt, Marshall "Ras MG" Goodman). The album also features guest appearances by Karl Denson -- who McDonald and Doughty consider an unofficial member of the band -- rapper Beardo and singer-songwriter Angela Hunte, who contributes vocals to the song "One Bright Day." 

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"On our last record (2012's Top of the World) we had all our friends on it. It should've been called Stoopid and Friends," McDonald tells Billboard. "When we make music our musical family is so big it's just nice to have all those people to work with. It gives us a lot of options, and some of them are people we've looked up to our whole lives, so to be able to work with them is one of the highest blessings and biggest honors we can have. It's all there for you at your disposal. Once you start jamming with one person, you don't just seem them as so-and-so who plays music for this band or whatever. It's family, just kind of like a family vibe."

That was certainly the case on "One Bright Day"; Hunte is married to producer-engineer and Slightly Stoopid live sound mixer James Wisner and says that while he was playing back an instrumental version of the track, "I knew instantly I wanted to sing on it. I thought it was one of the most beautiful melodies I ever heard," she explains. "Kyle and I talked about a collaboration for awhile, and I knew this was it."

McDonald adds that he and Doughty "didn't write that song to be on a record. It was more like jamming and the album was done almost. I was just jamming on my ukulele, and James was like, 'I love that. We should record that' and I said, 'Press record.' Then Angela said, 'I could do a little piece for this' and went in the vocal booth and blessed it up and put a beautiful vocal on the end of the song and it was a wrap. It turned out really good."

Listen to "One Bright Day," which Billboard is premiering exclusively below.

McDonald says he and Doughty, as usual, had "two to three albums' worth of material" to consider for Meanwhile... "That happens with every album," he notes. "Every time we make a record we just narrow it down. It's hard to do; all these songs, you become partial to them. The last record we had 21 songs on it and that was narrowing it down from, like, 50 songs, and people were like, 'I think you have too many songs on the record.' 'Really? You can have too many songs on a record?' To each their own; we don't really care. If we made the music, we want to get it out there. But on this record we agreed to put less songs on there."

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Slightly Stoopid will be on the road in front of Meanwhile's.... release, starting at the Blaze 'N' Glory festival on May 16 in San Bernadino, Calif. The group's festival schedule also includes the Squamish Valley Music Festival on Aug. 7 in British Columbia and the Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival on Aug. 9 in San Francisco, but the majority of the dates will be headlining shows.

"That's just what we do; in '96 we graduated (from high school) and got in a van and have just kind of been hitting it hard, so to speak, since," McDonald says. "We put in our college on the road. We try not to be like, 'Oh, yeah, we've been doing this for 20 years now,' but when we think back to when we were kids with our little karaoke systems in our bedroom and the mad scientist set-ups with equipment and drums and guitars and here we are now, it's a trip. I would say half of it is luck and have of it is hard work. After so many years we just look back and say, 'Wow, this is amazing.'"


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