by: Mary Welch
Last night after their incredible set, Alvarez Kings and I sat down and had a nice chat about the band and their music. The four guys come from South Yorkshire and are prevailing in the alt/indie music scene. Thank you to WBR, Sean, Simon, Richard, and Paul for taking the time out of your day for Savvage Media!
Mary: First of all, can you give your name and role in the band?
Sean: I'm Sean, I play guitar and sing.
Simon: I'm Simon, I play guitar and sing.
Richard: I'm Richard, I play drums and percussion.
Paul: I'm Paul and I do bass and synths.
Simon: And we're Alvarez Kings!
Mary: So how did you all come together and decide to start making music?
Simon: I think that me and Paul grew up together as brothers so we were always writing music.
Sean: I think like with every one of us it's been a thing since we could even remember, really. We've always wanted to play music and be in a band. It just seemed natural to us.
Paul: Yeah, me and Sean were friends for years, then we met Simon and Paul and it just fell into place, and here we are five years later still going strong.
Mary: With "Somewhere Between" released recently, do you have favorite songs off the album?
Sean: My personal favorite is the closing track on the album, and it happens to be the title track of the album ("Somewhere Between"). I just like the journey that the song went on, like when it started from a really sparse sounding vocal, and then we took it to LA and what you hear on the album is like a culmination of about a couple years of writing that song.
Paul: For me, I think "Fear to Feel" because it's one of my favorite songs to play live, as well, and we recorded it on an EP originally which was just done off a laptop. So when we actually got to record it properly in the studio, live drums and everything, the strings, brass, piano, it all worked. For me, it just sounds epic. Yeah, so "Fear to Feel."
Simon: Mine, probably "Sleepwalking Pt. II" just because of sort of the transformation of like going just from the basic acoustic song which is "Sleepwalking Pt. I" that we played live for quite a few tours and it was like a really successful sort of- I don't know, like it warmed the crowd up and the record label wanted it on the album and it just didn't sit in well with everything else. So I really enjoy the journey it went on from when we were in the studio and how we were like picking our brains to think of how we could make this a song for the album, and then just sitting there working on it, seeing it all just fall in place like it was an easy, natural sort of progression and it turned out to be one of the lead tracks off the album as well. And that for me, I've got great memories of that.
Sean: Yeah, same thing goes for me but I would probably say "The Other Side of Sadness." It's got a really dark underbelly with the lyrics, but it comes across as this sort of pop. It was really fun to produce it.
Mary: To someone who has not heard it yet, how would you describe your sound?
Simon: Awesome... It's like indie, alternative, indie-pop maybe. It's got a bit of everything. Like for example, we can hold our own on Warped Tour. People like it, and we can go on a tour like with Melanie Martinez which is pure pop. Then we come to a place like this, Summerfest, and again we do seem to fit in across quite a few genres. It wasn't intentional, we all bring different sort of tastes to the table.
Mary: What influences you to keep doing what you do today?
Simon: Playing to crowds like that-
Simon: That was epic, like the room was quite empty when we started and then just to see people drawn in to the sound coming in, and then at the end it was like-
Sean: Totally full.
Simon: Yeah pretty much full. That, for me, is so rewarding. It obviously means we're doing our job right.
Sean: People dig what we do.
Simon: I think it was like an eight and a half hour drive to get here but you're on stage for forty five minutes and it is totally worth the other eight or so hours it took to get to that point.
Mary: What is something someone may not know about the band? Something you can't look up on the internet?
Paul: That's a good question. I don't know if many people know this, but before I started playing bass guitar, I used to play tuba in a brass band back in high school. I realized it wasn't a very cool instrument to play so I chose bass guitar instead.
Simon: I used to be in a choir. Yeah I never did any of those kind of things.
Mary: Do you have a favorite memory as a band?
Richard: This is one of them now! I think for me, the first show we ever played with Melanie Martinez. We were playing big theaters over here, like three thousand cap venues. It was the first time we played in front of that many people, I think. I remember the first night walking out, I can't remember where we were-
Richard: I can remember just being like "what is this?!"
Simon: We walked on stage to like screaming fans. It was this wall of noise when you walk on stage, like "okay, I could get used to this!" Sweet.
Mary: Do you remember your first show together, and what was it like?
Sean: Our first show together was in Europe. It was at the Road Trip Bar on Old Street
Paul: It was a tiny basement venue. It was the first time we played together and it seemed to gel really well, like the crowd wasn't amazing.
Sean: It was literally my sister and her boyfriend and about three other people.
Simon: We just used it as a warm up because we already had a European tour arranged. Sean had just joined the band.
Sean: About five days I had to learn every one of the songs.
Mary: Since you tour often and now each other well, who in the band gets the most homesick
Sean: I think we all do, to be fair. To a certain degree.
Simon: We all have our moments
Paul: For me, I'm like a creature of habit. I like a routine, so when I'm at home I've got my routine dialed in. Then tour life dictates, you're living out of a suitcase, you're living in different hotels every night. You have that first few days where it's like "I just want my own bed, my own shower." Then after a few days you get used to it and you just have fun with the boys and get drunk.
Mary: Takes the longest to get ready for a show?
Paul: Me?! Why's that?
Simon: Easy question.
Mary: Has the most tattoos?
Richard: It's only me with tattoos
Mary: Do you have a favorite?
Paul: He's got some pretty bad ones!
Richard: The Yorkshire rose. I've pretty bad tattoos. So where I'm from, the county is called Yorkshire, and that's like the rose, the emblem. That's as good as it gets.
Simon: It starts and ends there.
Mary: So while in America, is there a favorite stop at, like a favorite venue or restaurant?
Simon: We always like to get chicken wings-
Sean: From just about anywhere, really.
Simon: We call them the Alvarez Wings. But we like to get into a sports bar of some version.
Richard: I know when we are in Austin, Texas we always try and go to Stubb's because they do amazing ribs
Paul: Yeah, we're a big fan of American barbeque foods so like Rich just mentioned, there's a barbeque place in Austin, Texas called Stubb's and it is the best barbeque that I've tasted. So, yeah that's got to be up there.
Mary: Do you have any crazy tour stories? I know all bands have them.
Simon: That time on Warped Tour that I got stuck in Canada, and it was documented on Warped Roadies.
Paul: That was pretty crazy.
Richard: When I fell out of a palm tree and broke my foot... All in one tour.
Simon: Rich broke his foot and I got stuck in Canada. Epic.
Mary: So finally, what can we expect from Alvarez Kings for the rest of 2017?
Simon: World domination.
Richard: Lots of touring.
Simon: Hopefully we're coming back soon!
Paul: Back in the fall
Richard: Fingers crossed
Simon: Just a lot of things that are going on that we can't yet speak of or announce, but there's a lot of things happening. We're excited.
Paul: Yeah it's going to be mainly touring!