If girl power and '80s chick flick vibes are your thing, prepare to fall in love with The Aces.
The four-piece band has just released a debut EP, I Don’t Like Being Honest. And it’s a glimmering record full of love and heartbreak.
Across four tracks, it plays like a love letter to your 15-year-old self, complete with spacey, retro vocals and guitar licks.
They’ve been compared to the likes of HAIM fused with Olivia Newton-John, with each single a pop anthem for teens everywhere.
We caught up with Alisa, Katie, McKenna and Cristal ahead of their Manhattan show last week, where the girls talked creativity, feminism and a potential Aussie collab.
Congratulations on such a great year. What’s been your favourite memory behind the making of this EP?
Alisa: There have been tonnes, I think the fact that we were able to travel and write this EP so far from home. We’re all from Utah, from a really small town, so to be able to go to New York and Los Angeles, and make this music, is such a cool opportunity for us.
I think it’s added a lot to our creative flow and experience, you can hear the cities where we worked in our music.
We’ve been working on this EP for so long now, I mean ‘Touch’ we wrote two years ago so it’s been a while coming. It’s been a lot of growing and discovering our sound along the way.
How would you describe the songwriting process between all four of you?
Alisa: Cristal and I will do all the lyrics and melodies. Once we get the song to a point where the lyrics and melodies are solidified and the bones are laid out, we’ll have Ken and Katie come in. We usually write that over the scratch demo, something that’s like basic guitar, basic drums and basic bass.
Cristal: Yeah, sometimes it happens totally differently but that’s the main formula, I guess you can say.
What do you want people to take away from the EP?
Cristal: I think it’s been a couple of years since we started writing it, and we’ve gone through a lot of experiences being young adults. I think this is the first kind of chapter which will then lead into our upcoming album of just us exploring what it’s like to be young adults. And I think that, more than anything, we just want people to be able to relate to that.
When people say things to us like “Oh my gosh, that song was exactly how I felt, and I just didn’t know how to get it out, and every time I listen to it it’s like you’re feeling for me, or just helped me sort through that emotion,” etc. that’s kind of what we strive for. Just for people to feel it, and love it and hold on to it.
Alisa: Definitely. This EP is our first real introduction to the world, despite the fact that we’ve been a band for almost a decade now. It’s our real debut to everybody, so we want everyone to really get used to the EP and get a really good introduction to our sound and our vibe.
What’s it like being in a girl band?
Alisa: It’s funny because for us, it’s so awesome. We get along so well, we’re honestly basically all sisters and have grown up together; we’ve been through things together and seen each other all through our teen years.
Katie: I think we never set out to be a girl band, that wasn’t the mission. It just happened that way. We just want people to know that it’s just like being four girls; we’re just human beings in a band together and we love what we do and we’re all best friends.
I think the cool thing about it is, I genuinely I love being in an all-girl band because I mean boys can be pretty stinky and sweaty, and you have to be in a van with people a lot, you know what I mean? (laughs)
Would you consider yourselves feminists?
Absolutely. All four of us were raised by really strong women, and that’s super important to us – to be on a platform that we can just write music and say what we want to say and represent women for sure, in the music industry.
Growing up, were most of your inspirations women?
Yes and no. We were all just widely influenced by a lot of artists and musicians, and some are definitely strong women and some are men. Yeah, we just love good music.
What would you be doing if you weren’t musicians?
Kenna: I’d probably be going to school. I’ve always been interested in science and medicine, so probably doing that.
Alisa: If I wasn’t in music, I think I probably would’ve been a lawyer.
Cristal: I would’ve just been for it, until I could have figured out how I could be in music. I don’t think I could do anything else besides music, personally. But, yeah, maybe something in the arts. Maybe I’d direct music videos. Who knows? (laughs)
We're loving the tracks on your Spotify playlist. Do you guys handpick the songs?
Yes, we did! On Spotify, we make a lot of our own playlists. We’ll give each girl like 10 songs you grew up listening to, and we just kind of try to individualise each of our own playlists and give you a flavour of each of us and what we’re all like.
There are funny nicknames on there. I don’t know if you’ve seen Mean Girls, but we named one of them Cady Heron because everyone calls me that, all the time. We like to have fun so we just put silly nicknames on the playlist.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
We’ve been talking about collabing with Banks, lately. I think that we all just love her. She, again, is such a strong woman and I think she’s putting out material that is so honest and authentic and personal. Her latest album, The Altar, is one of the most honest and heart-wrenching albums I’ve heard in years. So we really love her. But there’s also Little Dragon, another one that we’ve always talked about and loved. LANY, we’re such huge fans of. Tame Impala would be amazing. I’ve always wanted Flume to do a remix as well.
Listen to I Don't Like Being Honest here.