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Interview: The Aces

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"We hope to be an example to young girls to get on the stage and play whatever instrument they want to, and know that they are good enough to do so. That those spaces are for YOU.”

Utah alt-pop band The Aces don’t shy away from the important matters facing the music industry at the moment. They may only be in their early twenties, but Cristal, Alisa, McKenna and Katie have been playing together for over a decade and tomorrow release their debut album, When My Heart Felt Volcanic, an 80s tinged pop masterpiece exploring similar themes that young women like them often face.

"It's really a coming of age album" the band explain, going through the topics that they touch on in this release. Being so young, some may be surprised they can delve into so many different subjects in such depth: love, relationships, friendships, sex and so on.

"We just wanted to be as honest as we could be about everything we have gone through in the past few years. From relationships (romantic or not) friendships, loss, infatuation, you go through so much in your adolescence. We think everyone can relate to that.”

"We pull a lot of inspiration from our personal experiences, yes, but we also pull from friends and family. We are young, but you go through so much when you’re in your early twenties. It’s a total time of self discovery and heartbreak and excitement. There is so much to write about.”

The band formed when the girls were only ten, playing casually together under the name The Blue Aces. Since then, they’ve released the stunning I Don’t Like Being Honest EP, toured across the US with both headline shows and support slots and now drop a kick-ass debut album packed with girl power.

With all eyes on female musicians at the moment, the debate on whether ‘female fronted’ and ‘girl band’ terms should be used has been brought to the forefront. 

The band explain their own feelings on the matter: ”It's interesting because we have always viewed [being an all-female band] as a strength, but we feel sometimes we get called 'girl band' with a negative connotation around it. ‘Girl band’ isn’t a genre of music, and for that reason we think the term could stand to be used less often.”

They continue that ”We are just people and artists and sometimes we can get pigeonholed because of our gender. But there is also something very powerful about seeing all women on a stage in a world where most musicians (and especially in indie/rock music) are men. We don’t shy away from that. There is really something special about it.

"We feel really lucky to be a part of these movements and just hope that we can do our part to show that women in music - and frankly women everywhere - deserve to be treated with the same respect and admiration as their male counterparts.”

It’s inspiring to hear this come from the next generation of strong, powerful musicians in the industry and it’s clear that as the next wave of young bands adopt this attitude, change is near, and bands like The Aces are going to lead the movement.

Speaking of close and powerful female friendship groups (and on a slightly lighter note!), the girls reveal they are often compared to the main clique in Pretty Little Liars: “we always laugh about this! Honestly, we don’t really watch it, but Alisa has watched a little bit! We usually just get compared to the characters solely because of our looks, hahaha.”

They then assign themselves characters, with Cristal being Aria, Alisa as Emily, Kenna as Alison and Katie as Hanna. It’s a shame they can’t give their thoughts on that final episode though…

The critical reception to their debut EP, I Don’t Like Being Honest, and a strong, dedicated social media following already pave the way for this album to do well and for the girls to make a career out of what once was just a hobby. If things hadn’t gone to plan, lead singer Cristal’s plan B was to do “maybe criminal law, but I’m a baby.” The rest of the band follow, with Katie revealing she’d be “playing soccer” if she weren’t in the band, Alisa would be “in school to be a lawyer” and Kenna undertaking “medicine or humanitarian work.”

However, sorry to football, law and medicine, it’s the music industry that have gained this group of strong, powerful, outspoken females with an outlook to change things for the better, pouring their heart into kick-ass, danceable, sing-into-your-hairbrush-able music deserving of a place on every playlist.

With future plans of “tons of touring, tons of new music, and hugs” that includes stops in the UK, it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more of The Aces this side of the pond very soon.

When My Heart Felt Volcanic is out April 6th via Red Bull Records.

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