Bright, electric, and playful, The Aces return with single “Daydream,” and they plan to outshine all by never losing sight of who they are.
for fans of HAIM, The Japanese House, MUNA
Listen: “Daydream” – The Aces
Today after a two year release hibernation, The Aces dropped the playful and electric tune “Daydream,” which will usher in a bright new era for the band. Known for their energy and pop, The Aces gained critical acclaim for their debut album, When My Heart Felt Volcanic. Sisters Cristal and Alisa Ramirez (vocals/guitar and drums, respectively), McKenna Petty (bass), and Katie Henderson (lead guitar/vocals) comprise this indie rock outfit of misfits who aren’t taking life too seriously, which is exactly what attracts listeners to this magnetic band. Although they are simply four lifelong comrades hailing from Provo, Utah, The Aces have swiftly gained a worldwide following.
Daydream about me
And I know that you
hate the nights without me
Baby I hate ’em too
But you know, but you know, but you know
I’m comin’ back to you
“Daydream” greets us with Henderson’s familiar clean guitar strums and a sleek harmony of vocals. The quick-paced entrance invigorates The Aces’ admirer inside us that’s been sleeping through the long winter.
“Daydream” showcases a slightly new style from The Aces as well. We hear a more electronic influence than any previous release, yet the core rock identity of the quartet remains undeniably present. Lyrically, “Daydream” exudes playfulness and sincerity.
So just hold on
to the memory of me
riding in your front seat everyday and I’ll hold on
to the smell of your sweater
that you wore in December when we met
The pre-chorus places you within a tangible first-hand experience that encourages the listener to connect with the songwriter in a way unseen many other places. Overall, the anthem wheels us over thrilling hills and into restorative pools of joy for a surprise single that teases a soon-to-come highly captivating project.
Atwood Magazine recently sat down with The Aces to hear more about what to expect from them in 2020.
:: A CONVERSATION WITH THE ACES ::
Atwood Magazine: Hey y’all, how are you today?
Cristal: We are great! You have all four of us, but we are currently in the car on the freeway in LA. If you hear some crazy noises bear with.
No worries at all! I am currently also cooking my dinner, so we’re just a multi-tasking group.
Cristal: We love the grind. Love to see it.
Yes we do! Well, I’m so excited to interview you girls today. I’ve been a fan of The Aces since your debut album, and I’m thrilled you’re releasing new music soon.
Cristal: Ah you and us both! We are so ready.
So “Daydream” will be your first single release since your debut album, When My Heart Felt Volcanic. How does that feel? How did you choose what to release as y’all’s re-entry onto the scene?
Cristal: With “Daydream,” it just felt like the perfect track to return with because on this new album as a whole we really explored sonically and really pushed ourselves. There’s a lot of new sounds, and how would you guys say it?
Alisa: Well I would say I’m really excited about it because it feels like the perfect return of The Aces. As you were saying this is our first release in almost two years, since When My Heart Felt Volcanic came out, and so when we were picking the first single we took that seriously. It’s us coming back to our fans, and we were really conscious of giving them that moment of when your favorite band comes back with a song that’s very true to their identity. Because this album is pretty experimental and different from the first one, but this is the song that felt like it rowed the line of could have fit on When My Heart Felt Volcanic but also feels new. It’s a nice bridge and segway into this new sound we’re exploring. It just felt right and we were super excited about it. Finally, we just felt like the fans would love it and we always try to pick singles with them in mind.
It’s us coming back to our fans, and we were really conscious of giving them that moment of when your favorite band comes back with a song that’s very true to their identity.
Well as a fan, I love it and I totally agree that it feels very true to your sound, but still felt very new. It leans more electronic than anywhere you’ve gone before, and I’m excited to see it out in the world.
Alisa: Well thank you and absolutely because this is just the starting point. That’s why we’re so excited about this album because there’s so much to explore and discover. We’re stoked.
So in 2019, I know that y’all toured globally, had some exciting TV performances, and more. But what was y’all’s WOW moment of 2019 as a band?
Cristal: I think the biggest wow moment – and you girls weigh in on this too – was our headline tour. That was just the most amazing tour. It was our first ever headline tour, and you never really know until you do it. We weren’t sure if fans were gonna come out, and they just completely blew the tour out and sold out almost every show. So that was so reassuring for us as artists to know that we have such an amazing fanbase. That was definitely the biggest stand out moment.
Alisa: Well probably also making this record? Right guys?
All: Oh yeah, of course! *laughs*
Katie: I think the moment we decided what our album was like finalized. These are the songs we’re going to put on this album and release into the world. That was a pretty significant time.
That’s a very busy and cool 2019! So I know y’all are from Provo, Utah and saw much success in your hometown and home state before entering the national stage. Describe that transition and evolution from local artist to becoming a worldwide known name.
Cristal: Yeah, absolutely. You know we really grew up playing music together, and I mentioned to the girls the other day that I don’t actually remember a time when we weren’t a band. It’s really hard for me to go back because we started so young. It really was important to us to cultivate that hometown love, and to really build out of our hometown. Without that support, it wouldn’t have been possible to jump off into touring nationally and then internationally as well. So we feel really grateful for where we came from and Katie and Kenna still live in Utah, Alisa and I live in Los Angeles now. But without that really strong base of playing live and cultivating that fan base first and foremost in Provo, it wouldn’t have been possible for us where we are now.
Alisa: I also feel like the transition from being a local, hometown artist to an international touring artist that it’s so gradual, you don’t realize it’s happening. I remember when we signed and we were putting out music. Then some of our first fan accounts were from Russia, Brazil, Germany, and it was like ‘Woah! There’s people in those countries that care?’ But then it didn’t even feel real. It didn’t feel real until we went to London and people there recognize you and come to your shows. I just think that last year being the first time we were able to headline – we weren’t going with another artist – we were going with our band, it’s our show, that, at least for me personally, was when it really clicked that we’ve become a full-time band. For the majority of our lives we’ve just played in Provo, Utah at our same local venue, but now we can show up in Ohio or Paris and people know who we are and care about our music. It’s just so humbling and that’s why last year was so crazy because it was the first time we felt that and saw that firsthand.
For the majority of our lives we’ve just played in Provo, Utah at our same local venue, but now we can show up in Ohio or Paris and people know who we are and care about our music.
McKenna: Also, one more point about it being so gradual. So since Katie and I still live in Utah we just went back and judged the Battle of the Bands at the local venue that we grew up playing at. And we won that Battle of the Bands in 2012, so about eight years ago now. It was crazy going back there and seeing so many young artists come up to us who said that they loved our music so much, were so inspired by us, and asked us for advice. That was the hometown venue where we learned all the chops and how to play. It was wonderful to mentor and meet all these people who were inspired by our story.
Yeah, well that’s great to hear especially from someone who also lives in a smaller town with many talented young artists. I always love when you see artists from smaller towns making it onto the national stage.
So we interviewed y’all two years ago when your album debuted and you mentioned that during the writing process, “Honesty is key. We always ask are you being as honest as you can be?” What has it been like to keep honesty and authenticity at the forefront of your minds throughout this whirlwind of a year?
Alisa: It’s crazy to me that in an interview two years ago, that what we said about staying authentic that still runs so true for us. Especially coming out with this new record, we’ve been talking to each other a lot and being like, ‘Damn, this feels like a really authentic record.’ Whenever Cristal and I would sit down to do lyrics and melody, we would just push ourselves to be as honest and unguarded and vulnerable as possible. I also think that as we’ve gotten older we’ve gotten even better at doing that. We’re less afraid and we peeled back even more layers. It just feels like it’s still valid and it’s an ongoing truth that we’re just fine tuning ways to be more honest and share more of our lives with the fans. Because I think that helps people and I think we all feel that way. We’ve felt on this record that it’s really important to take a deep breath and be as honest and open as possible even to a new degree because it’s important for people to hear that.
Especially coming out with this new record, we’ve been talking to each other a lot and being like, ‘Damn, this feels like a really authentic record.’
Cristal: Yeah, I agree and I think it comes with maturity as well. I think that the older you get, the more you get to know yourself, and the more life experiences you have, you are able to articulate yourself in deeper ways. There’s a difference between making a record when you’re 17 or 18 and then making one when you’re 22, 23, or 24; there’s so much growth there and so much life experience. I think we’re really more so than ever we are unguarded and telling the story of our lives through these songs.
Totally. And I believe I read that your last record you wrote and recorded over a three year period, but I guess this new record you would’ve written over a year period. Can you feel any changes through that difference?
Cristal: Oh absolutely. I think we are just more sure than ever of who we are as artists and what we want to say. Again, it’s a maturity and growth thing. We’ve grown into ourselves as people, and as women, and as musicians. It just kind of comes with the territory.
So I know the last time we spoke, you all were focused on being a voice for others, being a strong voice especially women. Has anything changed since then? Have you had any other life experiences that has drilled that in even further for you all?
Cristal: I would say we still feel that way, but we also just want to put our joy and positivity into the world. We just want our music to make people feel better, to comfort people, and to be that kind of soundtrack to people’s lives in whatever way that they need it. By being ourselves, by being authentic, and pushing ourselves to be honest, we hope that people resonate with that and feel inclined to do the same.
Alisa: I also feel like we are very conscious of putting a lot of different subject matter into the album. Every song we try to talk about something different. I don’t think we ever want to make an album that’s full love album, or full break-up album, not one mood. We always try with every chapter we try to encompass, what was this last year of our lives? So many things happened, so many feelings were felt, we lived so many situations, so we try to bring a lot to the table. So when Cristal is saying that we want this album to comfort people or help people or let them relate in whatever way they need it to, we know that there’s at least one song on this album that you might need or might apply to something you’re going through right now because we explore so much.
Well, I think that is really apparent from y’all’s first album, and now I’m looking forward to hearing your next release. I was listening to When My Heart Felt Volcanic before I hopped on the call with you all from top to bottom. I got near the end and “Hurricane” came on. I thought to myself how different that track was to the rest of the album. It’s really interesting when artists and bands can do that, and focus on that - it’s always very apparent when they do.
Alisa: Totally, I think it’s just this crazy thing when we expect artists to be one thing, to only say one thing, and be one person. You have to realize that artists are also music lovers as well. We talk about it all the time that we love hip-hop or trap music, but then we are also listening to indie and acoustic music. We love so many types of music so there’s going to be so many types of sounds on a body of work from us.
Yeah, of course. So should we expect some hip-hop and trap on your second album? (laughs)
Cristal: You never say never ya know! You’ll just have to wait. The Aces will always surprise you, that you can count on.
I’m sure! Continuing on, I’d say your lyricism is always very visual, yet when videos are released they are always unexpected portraits of the songs. “Last One” for example was awesome! I think that speaks to your creativity as a group. What’s the process like visualizing a song? Do the visuals sometimes arrive before?
Cristal: Yeah, Alisa directs all of our videos so I’ll let her take over for a second.
Alisa: For me when I’m coming up with music video concepts, it’s very random. Sometimes I have an idea as soon as we write it in the studio, but sometimes it takes longer. “Last One” for example took ages for me to think of anything for that video. We knew we wanted a video for it, but it took so long because the concept is so simple, I couldn’t decide how to make it interesting. Not just like singing about a person you’re not wanting to write another song about. We always try to do something that people don’t expect of us. I don’t want to make anything that people will expect an all female band to do. It’s all about defying any sort of stereotype people try to push on us, and having fun with that.
So it’s kind of all over the place, for instance I’m about to do a video for “Daydream,” and that concept came out a totally different way. I just put the song in my ears, play it on repeat for essentially hours, and think and think and think until something pops into my head. It’s kind of just racking my brain until I think of something that interprets the song in a different way than what it’s originally about.
Watch: “Last One” – The Aces
Cristal: I think it’s also really important for us with our visuals that we always show all four of us.
Katie: Which is hard sometimes!
Cristal: Yeah, always hard. But that keeps our music videos surprising and always different than you’d expect. We’re conscious of wanting to show all four of us and show this band dynamic. As Alisa said, we always want to make a video that would never be your first thought. Like “Last One,” when Alisa came to us and said, ‘I want us to literally be eating gummy bears like they are drugs, like it’s the most addictive substance on the planet.’ Like lighting up a gummy joint, and doing all this crazy stuff with all this symbolism. These gummy bears that are supposed to be so harmless and cute and colorful.
We’re conscious of wanting to show all four of us and show this band dynamic.
Alisa: Like love, you know? Like a relationship. That’s what the song is about, not being able to get over someone, not being able to move on and almost having this addiction to them. So how do we interpret that idea of an addictive quality, turn it into video and make it interesting but still applies to the subject of the song.
Well I absolutely love the “Last One” video. I was laughing throughout the entire thing, which I believe was one of the ideas behind it?
Alisa: Oh yeah. I think humor is always something we want to speckle in our videos because we are always laughing with each other. We just love to troll and be ridiculous. *all laugh* So every time I’m thinking of a concept, I’m just like how can we be insane in this video and have fun?
Cristal: I think a lot of bands take themselves way too seriously, and while we take our art and what we do very seriously and care very deeply about it, we realize that we are so blessed and lucky to be able to do what we do. We want to enjoy ourselves. We’re four best friends who get to make music for a living which is so special and so unique. So as much fun as we can have and as much joy as we can spread through our music or our visuals, we try to do that all the time. So there’s definitely always a tongue-in-cheek element to a lot of the visuals we do because we want people to have a good time when they watch our content.
I think a lot of bands take themselves way too seriously, and while we take our art and what we do very seriously and care very deeply about it, we realize that we are so blessed and lucky to be able to do what we do. We want to enjoy ourselves.
And y’all totally achieve that! Along those lines, what first made me a fan of The Aces was your relatability, energy, and how much fun y’all have together in your songs and videos. How do your relationships and friendships with one another influence your music?
Cristal: Yeah, well first thank you so much for saying that because that is such a compliment for us. If we can make everyone feel that way, that’s our goal. For us, we were best friends before we even started playing music together. Our relationships and the connection between us four is the most important part about The Aces. I truly believe that that is the reason we even have a band and why people feel so connected to our band because our friendship is so real. It’s been there since we were little kids and we’ve grown up together and seen each other through every facet of young adult life. We’ve seen each other through all the teen years into, like Kenna is married now! It’s so crazy. We’ve lived life next to each other and care so deeply for one another. That is the core of The Aces.
We’ve lived life next to each other and care so deeply for one another. That is the core of The Aces.
McKenna: Our relationships are everything. It weaves through everything also; we make all the decisions together, it’s a total democracy whether it’s about a single cover or anything. We make all the decisions together and it’s all relient on the trust we have with each other. Even when Alisa does music videos, we trust her so much to take the reins and with Cristal and Alisa writing the music, it’s so much about our trust and friendship.
I love that and I think it’s totally apparent in everything you put out. So a quick congratulations on your upcoming album and it was great talking to all four of you!
Listen: “Daydream” – The Aces
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