With a new record on the horizon, it’s not easy to get a hold of Utah’s infamous girl gang. Still, thanks to the grace of the internet, we have all four members of The Aces ready to chat to us about the band’s next steps.
The Aces are no strangers to reinvention. Interesting enough, the band first started off adorably young and under the moniker The Blue Aces. Time went on and the quartet aka Cristal Ramirez (lead vocals), Alisa Ramirez (drums), Katie Henderson (guitarist), and McKenna Petty (bass) swiftly evolved into the fresh faces of soft indie pop.
Their debut album, 'When My Heart Felt Volcanic', pushed funky bass lines, emotive lyrics, and an image of clean girls donning bright jumpers and addictive melodies.
Now, with an injection of angst and rebellion, the girls have taken influence from the British punk scene to boast an edgier monochrome aesthetic.
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As a band, do you see your identity overhaul as a natural evolution?
Cristal: It's an evolution and a continuation at the same time. It is new and it's different. As artists and as a band, we're always trying to do something different and to push ourselves, so it felt really important to change aesthetic. We felt inspired, stylistically, by goth and punk culture, which was a lot of the influence for the record.
When we were brainstorming and sharing photos, while we were writing it, we were thinking what's this next era going to look like? It was a lot of like old punk photos from parties in London in the '80s like that was really speaking to me. We all agreed we wanted to convey kind this freedom and like this rowdiness and disruption.
We feel like we've really grown as artists and the music is pop music, but it's very bold and, for us as people, it's very vulnerable, and we wanted the visuals to show that freedom.
What's the backstory to 'Daydream'?
Cristal: We wrote 'Daydream' with two guys named Keith Farron and Nick Bailey. It was one of the last songs we wrote for the record. We were basically done with the record and not necessarily needing another song. But I went to the studio and wanted to write a truthful love song about missing somebody that you're away from.
I didn't know it was going to be this relevant down the line, now everyone's locked in their houses looking out the window at each other! We wanted to write about our experience because we tour a lot and we're away, but I think a lot of people have to leave their loved ones regardless and know what that feels like.
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We wanted to portray that feeling of the best summer of your life. We didn't think much of it like we didn't know if it was gonna make the record at all. We weren't even thinking about it.
Then, when we were in Amsterdam, I dug it up as I was listening to everything we had done because I wanted to make sure we didn't miss anything, and it was like a whole different song to me. I was like, "oh my God, that's going to be so good!" I just kept wanting to play it over and over. It steadily felt like the perfect song to connect us into the next chapter.
Sonically, this record is a lot different, it's still The Aces, but it's just like a whole new sound and I think 'Daydream' is the perfect bridge into the new record.
Alisa: We had so many ideas of how this record, release wise, was going to go and it's funny how 'Daydream' worked pretty last minute, but just felt so right. Every time we played it to anyone, we knew the song was special. I love that it came out right when it was starting to get warmer outside, like everybody was starting to get really excited for those like summer jams, you know? It totally has that vibe and I love it so much.
The music video to 'Daydream' definitely conveys that coming-of-age summer vibe. Alisa, you wrote and directed it, can you tell us a little more about the concept of it?
Alisa: The video took the feelings the song gave you and put them into their own little world, visually. We've always been called a girl gang and we hear it so much, so why don't we like kind of just make that a reality? Music videos are such a fun opportunity to bring your fantasies into reality. We wanted to capitalize on those feelings of freedom, nostalgia and that summer of your life like being with your best friends, young, wild and free kind of thing. It looks really fun and we're this group of girls doing things our way and not worrying about anything else.
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‘Lost Angeles’ is a much darker follow up single. What inspired that creative tone?
Cristal: ‘Lost Angeles’ was written quite early on. It was the first song for the second record. I think it was written like a week or two after we put our first record out. As a song, there's a lot of growing pains if you move from a suburban small town to a bigger city and as well as exploring ideas like that, heartbreak can really change places for you.
Alisa: Bad experiences can taint how you feel about a certain place. If you had a bad experience in New York or in LA you might not love going there anymore. It's kind of about that and I think a lot of people have a specifically tumultuous relationship with Los Angeles. It's such an interesting city with the type of people it like attracts and it can get really, really sticky if you aren't ready for it.
Cristal: Even outside of LA, I think it's just a song about how experiences can make a city feel darker or harsher and can be a reminder of things that are painful. I definitely experienced that. A lot of people have gone through that whether that's a break club or whatever and then it's those places you used to go to. It just hurts and it just reminds me of like this person or this experience, so that was the inspiration for that song.
Aside from the two new singles, can you tell us anything else about the album?
Cristal: There's a lot more music! This is just the tipping point for us. My favourite songs of the record are not even out yet. Obviously, we love all the music and feel really excited about all of it, but there's just some tracks in my head… I'm getting butterflies just think about it! There's so much amazing music that we've worked so hard on. If you like what's coming out now, then wait is my one thing I'd say.
Can you give any specifics about the upcoming record like a track list?
Cristal: Yeah… we can say tracks. There's going to be around 14 songs, but you never know in quarantine!
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The new record is finished, but are you still writing music?
Alisa: We just started to have the conversation with our A&R to start writing because there's nothing else to do. We've been talking to some of our main collaborators and producers and we'll have zoom sessions or like email back and forth ideas. We're starting to crack back into it because why not? There's nothing else to do.
Cristal: The second record is definitely done, but we're always writing music and we have a couple of songs that we already are looking forward to possibly putting on the third record and we'll continue to always make music.
Since the first record, The Aces has always done events for the fans. Is it important for you to make them feel included in the things you create?
Cristal: It's so comforting to know that our fans really are just like us. They really mirror us a lot of times. They're people our age, who have a lot of the same interests, think the same ways as us and have become friends of ours, so that's really amazing.
It feels like this like family of people with shared interests. We all feel the same way. We just want to get to know them, talk to them and hang out with them because if you like our music, then we probably have a lot in common. It's been amazing to see our fans grow and I think that they are just awesome and just so sweet and support us through no matter what.
Why should people should listen to The Aces?
Cristal: The world needs a band like The Aces. We are four best friends who are completely different people, who have come from completely separate lives outside of our band and have different opinions and beliefs. Alisa and I are half Latina and we all have so many different things that could pull us apart or make us argue, but we're all like sisters.
We've been a band for over 13 years and the world needs more females. They need to see females on stages playing instruments and owning their space. Our next record talks about everything from love to sex to the human experience. The world needs music. Our music might just like help you feel better during these kind of shit times. We don't know, but that's okay.
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Words: Zoya Raza-Shiekh
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