Shaky Knees 2021 – Interview with The Aces

The Aces

Shaky Knees has always been the home for amazing up-and-coming bands and The Aces fit that description perfectly. These 4 young musicians have worked hard, toured hard and written some fantastic pop songs that you can hear on their latest record, Under My Influence. Recently they also had the opportunity to work with Portugal. The Man on a new remix that was just released. We sat down with them at Shaky Knees to catch up.

 

Atlanta Music Guide – John McNicholas

Your latest record, Under My Influence came out in July 2020. What was it like to release a record in the middle of a pandemic?

 

The Aces – Alisa

The least fun you could imagine. It’s not fun to release a record in a pandemic. But in a way, it was kind of like a beacon of hope for us and our fans to have something to look forward to because everything else was so shitty that it was the one thing that was kind of nice, but nonetheless, it would have been more fun to not do it.

 

AMG

Did you all celebrate its release somehow either together or individually?

 

The Aces – Katie

We did a zoom call. You know how when teams win championships, and they do the champagne?

 

AMG

Oh, yeah.

 

Katie

So we did that. We all got the goggles. We all had our own drink. We were toasting from afar.

 

AMG

Did you douse yourself with champagne?

 

The Aces – Cristal

Yeah. Dunking our heads in buckets of champagne. You know, it was fun (laughs) We just celebrated the best that we could and gave the fans the record and here we are.

 

Katie

I went to my local grocery store. I bought myself a cake. It was kind of depressing. 

 

AMG  

Now you’re releasing a remix. What was it like to work with Portugal. The Man on the remix and what do you think they brought to it, and when I when I say Portugal. The Man, was there a specific person you worked with?

 

Alisa

The entire band. They played all the instruments. It’s like a western, reimagined, rock ’n’ roll takeover, on this big dream pop record. It was really cool. It was definitely a very unique remix experience. Like most remixers, you’re like, alright, cool, here’s the song, and then they send back what they want to do. But with them, it was more collaborative, and Cristal completely reinvented the vocals for it.

 

The Aces – Cristal

We turned it into a completely different song. Like, I think headspace wise, when I was in the vocal booth it was just a different song to me and I wanted to deliver it differently and sing it differently because it didn’t feel right to have like the original vocal over it, because the song had evolved so much into its whole own thing. It was really fun. It was a different experience for us than we’ve ever done before with remixes but like a really cool one and I think ultimately, like that’s the point of remixes, you know, is to invent something new and to reimagine the way something could sound. So they killed it.

 

AMG

I love the way that it was redone because it’s not what most people were expecting. It’s this different take, like you’re saying, it’s really cool. With a pandemic, and I guess it’s kind of the common theme with a lot of musicians touring, how were you able to keep working together during that period of time or during even this period of time? Did that impact the band’s writing?

 

The Aces – McKenna

There was a time where we couldn’t see each other or travel at all. But, then as you know, cases got better and testing got better and then the vaccine. We were able to work on the music together which is nice and just, you know, being safe and testing and we’ve been able to do some stuff.

 

Katie

Even when we couldn’t see each other, we never stopped working and communicating and wanting to be as close to our fans as we possibly could. I honestly think that’s one of the things that at least personally, I think that got us through the pandemic. Being able to still stay connected to our fans from everywhere and kind of go through such a crazy time together.

 

McKenna

We did a digital wellness tour at the beginning of the pandemic. At first it was just us, and we would go live on Instagram and make food and invite our fans to do meditation or yoga with us. Then we invited other friends to join us. We would like to chat and we tried to just, like, be close to our fans anyway we could and so that was cool to get creative and you know, have that be a thing throughout, to help everyone get through it. But yeah, we always worked. 

 

Katie

It felt like a lifeline in a way. Yes. we gotta hold on to something.

 

AMG

As a music fan, I think a lot of people were worried that music wasn’t going to be happening, even recorded. Are you all still in Utah, 

 

McKenna

We’re in Utah, me and Katie, 

 

Cristal  

I was always in LA. 

 

AMG

How’s the scene in Utah?

 

McKenna

Utah is amazing. It has a really cool music scene, like especially where we grew up in Provo. Because we started when we were super young together, we all grew up there together and there’s a venue called Valores specifically that a lot of bands played. It’s really cool because alcohol is not allowed. It’s a very religious place in Utah. So, we were playing that venue when we were like 13 years old. That gave us a really cool space to play a lot of live shows, and there’s a lot of cool musicians from there like Imagine Dragons, Ritt Momney and The Backseat Lovers. All from Utah. So it’s cool. There’s a cool vibe where everyone loves music and concerts are like a big thing.

 

AMG

L.A. has gotta be an amazing place to be an artist and for networking and going to see shows.

 

Cristal  

It’s amazing. It’s also daunting to be there, you know? Because it’s the entertainment capital of at least, you know, the US, if not the world and so it’s weird because sometimes you feel really motivated there and you’re around a lot of really amazing artists and then sometimes you’re like, Whoa, I feel like this is like, I don’t know this is like a lot to handle. I feel small and you know, you’re always kind of fighting… it’s a little bit like a Gemini, what’s it called Jekyll and Hyde kind of thing? You feel like two completely different people, depending on the day, like you’re motivated as hell and then you’re like, I suck I gotta go.

 

(Laughs)

 

Alisa

I’ve heard most artists kind of relate to it in that way too. It’s interesting.

 

AMG

You’re lucky to be there but it’s very intimidating.

 

Cristal

Yeah, it’s a lot. The energy’s a lot and you know, people really want to be successful out there and you got to keep grounding through that, you know? To not get swept up in that and to just make it about the art and about the music.

 

Alisa

Yeah, there’s always something going on too, so many parties. You get no rest if you don’t schedule your rest. It’s a big part of how musicians and entertainers work. Literally going to parties. It’s like partying is like part of your job.

 

AMG 

It’s the best/worst part.

 

Cristal

So you have to get some soda water and just hang.

 

AMG  

So, the remix just came out, and your most recent record, Under My Influence came out in July… It feels weird to say this, but what’s next?

 

Alisa

We have a tour happening taking off on November 12, and so that’s like, what’s next officially and it’s our biggest tour yet. It’s interesting, touring straight out of the pandemic. The album’s been out for a while but it’s so cool to see fans, like, still showing up and still just as amped about it. We’re really excited. 

 

Katie

It almost feels like we’re re-releasing the record in a way because when we released it, we didn’t get to play the shows and see, you know, how the fans respond to different songs and now we’re starting to see that for the first time. It’s really cool to see that they connected so well to the album

 

Cristal  

We’ve been in a pandemic, so all we could do is make music. So we’ve made a lot of music. We’re excited you know and we’re always making music. I think that’s like, above anything else, like that’s what we do consistently as we communicate with each other and stay working and motivated and then we just make music. So, there’s definitely more music on the way.

 

By John McNicholas

The post Shaky Knees 2021 – Interview with The Aces first appeared on Atlanta Music Guide.

Shaky Knees 2021 – Interview with The Aces