Words + Photos by Ava Butera
On February 1st, we had the chance to chat with alternative rock band, The Aces in Fort Lauderdale, FL before they opened for COIN! Check out the interview along with their new music video for “Volcanic Love" below.
How does it feel to have the opportunity to open for COIN? How did you feel when you got the call that you would be opening for them?
Katie: I feel like we’ve known of them for a very long time. They’re so nice and I’ve loved “Talk Too Much” since forever ago and I always loved COIN after that song, so getting to go on tour with them is really cool.
Kenna: I remember when we found out about it, we were in London.
Cristal: We were just so excited.
Alisa: Our manager told us about it. The first thing we thought was “oh my god that’s going to be so fun!” It’s probably because our music is kind of similar and it’s just going to be a party because we’re just going to share all the same fans.
What artists and albums made you want to pursue music?
Kenna: I mean, I think we can talk about Lorde?
Cristal: I think it was Riot! by Paramore.
Alisa: I honestly think Paramore was a big one.
Cristal: Yeah they were definitely a huge one like when we were thirteen, Alisa was 11. We actually didn’t even know Katie yet, but I know that Paramore is also a huge influence for her as well. I can remember us going into the basement and playing “Crushcrushcrush” music videos and trying to write songs that sounded like “Misery Business”. I think that that band seemed similar to us, they were younger, they grew up playing music together, they were kids. That was exactly what we did, so Riot! is a huge one for sure.
What artists have you been listening to recently?
Alisa: All kinds!! Let me pull up my playlist.
Katie: The artist that I’ve been listening to a lot is The Arcs. It’s Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys’ solo project.
Cristal: They’re really soulful and bluesy. I listened to them a while ago, I love them too. I actually really love Troye Sivan’s new single, “My My My” and I loved his first album a lot, Blue Neighborhood. I feel like I listened to that a lot when we were writing the album.
Kenna: I’ve been listening to Lily Allen’s new song a ton. It’s super fun!
Alisa: I’ve been listening to SZA a lot. I love CTRL! That’s like one of my favorite albums.
I just want to compliment you on your music videos! I know it’s a bit of a random question, but they’re awesome! Where do you get inspiration for them? Like do you guys direct them or have any creative input?
Cristal: Alisa does.
Alisa: Yeah, I directed two of three. I’ve directed “Stuck” and “Baby Who” but “Physical” we gave to our friend Charlotte.
Cristal: We’re all pretty heavily involved but I think Alisa I think is the most involved as far as really putting it together and coming up with a vision and writing it. But we all have a say and make sure it all feels good between the four of us and add some input.
Alisa: The whole band is very collaborative and extremely hands-on with everything we do. We have full creative control of our entire projects and we’re so lucky to have that.
I love your style! Could you explain your personal style in three words or less?
Alisa: Fresh, Hip/Hop, Kehlani
Kenna: Comfy, Colorful -
Katie: Really? I wouldn’t say simple, I would say like put together.
Alisa: More of like a Kate Moss.
Kenna: Elegant! Comfy, colorful, and elegant.
Alisa: She’s effortless.
Cristal: Rock ‘N’ Roll-inspired.
Katie: Classic, tomboy and basics.
Do you have any advice for any females hoping to pursue rock or alternative music? Any genre of music is male-influence and heavily dominated. How did you feel getting into the industry?
Cristal: It’s quiet crazy because you start to realize and you begin to see it more and more the more you start touring with alternative bands. We’ve been lucky enough to tour with bands like Joywave and COIN who are really cool, open and accepting. They don’t see gender, they just see a great band and are just stoked. But it’s very male-dominated, you really are working with only men, you’re the only women in the room and that can feel intimidating. But I just think that you have to do it because there’s a place for you and you will be accepted. There will be people asking you out on tours. That should be your strength, not a weakness. I’m a woman, I’m here, and I’m super stoked to be in alternative music because there’s just not enough of us. Everyone is screaming for it, they want it. If you just show up and do the work, you’ll be accepted.
Alisa: The most beautiful thing about it too is that if a female band, like that fact that there’s not many of us, should encourage you to do it more because once you get in, we all help each other. It’s the type of thing like a lot of guys like COIN want to help, also like Harry Styles and Coldplay. They only have female opening acts because they want to help. If you see that there’s a huge imbalance, that’s more of a reason to get in there a change that.
Kenna: It’s a really good time for women in music right now
Cristal: It’s always a good time! We started doing our band when we were 12 and now I’m 22.
Alisa: It’s only getting better. That’s the best part.
Cristal: And that was a decade ago. Like back in our hometown, there were no female bands and it was such an anomaly. Like “an all-girl band.”
Alisa: It still is though. As soon as we got off stage we had a few people come up to us and say “I’ve never seen girl bands! Thank you for being here!” And we were like that you for saying that.
Cristal: You just gotta do it.
Did you guys always want to be musicians when you were younger?
Alisa: It’s actually funny because Cristal is the one from the time she was a baby she always wanted that. She never changed her mind, no matter what came in her way. When I was younger that was always the dream. Me and Cristal were sisters, we started a band, I even have a little note from when I was 6 years old saying that I wanted to be a professional drummer. I always wanted that until I was about 15. I just got small town-itis. I thought I would be something different like for a few years I thought I wanted to go into the medical field which I now realize would have been the worst life path for me because I’m to you know-
Alisa: Yeah! Music is my baby and now I’m happy. And then two years later when I was like 17, I was like I’m done studying that, I’m just going to do music.
Kenna: So for me doing music was not a reality, it was always just a dream that could never actually happen. I really love school though so I went to college and studied Health Science. So I thought about like going into the medical field or science in some sort of way. But there was nothing that I felt like I would be super happy doing. Yeah, we just decided to do the band and it felt right and it’s been so awesome. So for me it was probably around when we graduated. Probably when I was 19.
Cristal: For me, I thought that if I wasn’t a musician maybe I would be a music video director or a lawyer. Kind of funny side thoughts. But it was always music. I knew I had to do something in music because I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t. So I really wanted to be an artist and I always wanted to be a singer in a band. There was a moment when I was like “Is that going to happen?” “Are the girls going to do other things?” “Should I do a solo project, or just be a songwriter?” I just had to think about it. But I think just from day one, I don’t know why, but I just always knew that I had to be a singer.
Katie: I always knew that I would do music but I didn’t know in what way. I always knew that I would be a part of it forever and I just didn’t know how. I was a really big soccer player and I loved sports so I wanted to player collegiate really bad, that was my life. I always knew that it would be a huge part of my life, but I didn’t know if it was going to be in the band or with my brothers. But I think in high school I said to myself, “are you an idiot? You literally have the most amazing opportunity right in front of you, this is what you’re doing.” We had something so special, how on earth do you just not give it a chance?
Cristal: We literally started it when we were 10 and Alisa was 8 and then met Katie when we were 13. Now we’re 22 and 20 and it’s really been a sisterhood and it’s our entire lives. It’s been such a part of our identity that I think that when we were graduating high school, how could we not do this? We would have been so foolish to not have given it a chance
Alisa: It was so funny because I remember I was taking all these Medical Anatomy classes, and the second we decided to do it, I was like hell yeah! There wasn’t even a second thought. I was so much happier. It was insane how my life improved when I started doing something that really went in line with my personality. I was only studying medicine because I felt like I couldn’t do what I wanted to do.
Cristal: You just have to find what’s right for you and what makes sense for you and what complements who you are. And I think music really complements all of who we are.
Katie: Don’t be afraid to take a risk to do what you want, just do it. You’ll never regret it. And even if it doesn’t take you to where your end goal was, something will happen along the way of the journey that will get you to somewhere that will still be in line. I’ve always thought if this band didn’t work out, there’s so many cool things that I can do in music. The journey is going to take you somewhere and meet people.
Cristal: But we still want to win all the Grammys!!!
Who are your musical icons?
Alisa: Mine is Michael Jackson, 100%
Katie: Mine for sure is Paul McCartney
Cristal: For singing obviously Whitney Houston, and Jessie J was also huge for me. They challenged me to become a better singer and use my voice better. But honestly Hayley Williams is a huge one for me as a front-woman, or front-person. The way she commands a crowd and she has a phenomenal voice, she’s just always been such an inspiration for me and I’ve looked up to her.
Kenna: Abassist? Or anyone?
Ava: Anyone you want
Kenna: I really love Talking Heads! New-wave bands.
Who would be your dream festival lineup?
Alisa: Mine is already happening, to be honest. Like a lot of the festivals this year are ones I want to go to
Cristal: We’ll pick a couple headliners each
Alisa: Three headliners for the weekend
Katie: Three amazing headliners that I would die to see live are for sure The Beatles, Queen, and Cage the Elephant
Kenna: I saw them [Cage the Elephant] at Outside Lands
Cristal: Funny enough, I’ve never seen Paramore live! It would have to be Paramore. We’re actually getting to see them at Bottlerock fest, but Earth, Wind, & Fire is a massive one. Me and Alisa grew up listening to them. The Pointer Sisters I would have to see live and then a couple others? I would love to see Dua Lipa. I really like her record. The last one would probably be The Cure.
Kenna: The Cure, Radiohead, and Coldplay. I love Coldplay. Smaller bands, I love Big Thief, The Japanese House.
Alisa: I think for me my obvious number one headliner is Michael Jackson, and then honestly my next headliner is Bruno Mars, and then I think on the third day I would love the have The Weeknd. And then for smaller bands, I would love Tame Impala and The 1975.
Kenna: I also want to add Beach House to mine.
Alisa: Side-stage, SZA!
I love your EP! You’re stuff is just so good. Will the songs on your upcoming album sound like the EP, or will there be slower moments?
Alisa: They’re definitely going to sound like The Aces. I Don’t Like Being Honest is a very good intro to The Aces but you’re just going to dive even deeps and it’s going to get even better. But then there’s also going to be a moment or two where you’re going to get hit with a ballad. So be prepared for that, brace yourself.
Cristal: But they’re good! Us as a band, we all really love upbeat, and good rhythmed music, so it’s defnitely loaded with that.
Alisa: It’s probably 85-90% upbeat songs
Katie: We always call the album a bigger, better version of the EP.
So when’s the album coming out?
Kenna: April 6th!
What’s the title of it? I heard you say it out there [on stage].
Cristal: When My Heart Felt Volcanic
Ava: That’s deep!!!
Alisa: It’s actually and Edgar Allen Poe quote
Cristal: It’s a poem of his. It was a full passage
Alisa: We drew inspiration from it [the passage]
What can we expect in a year from now from The Aces?
Cristal: A headlining tour and getting to go to tons of different countries like Australia, Japan, and New Zealand. I also think doing late night shows is a huge one for us
Alisa: Maybe a nomination at an award show.. A Grammy would be ideal. Something dope.
Keep up with The Aces!
Twitter: @theaces // Instagram: @theaces