As a small band from Utah, The Aces' presence wasnâ€™t much felt, but within a couple of months the band have gone from being quietly successful to touring with 5 Seconds of Summer and selling out shows across their first UK and EU.
It was only mid-July when I last sat down with The Aces to discuss their debut album, Volcanic Love. As a small band from Utah, their presence wasnâ€™t much felt, but within a couple of months The Aces have gone from being quietly successful to touring with 5 Seconds of Summer and selling out shows across their first UK and EU headliner tour. Before their opening show in Birmingham, I had a quick chat with the Ramirez sisters, Cristal (lead vocalist) and Alisa (drummer), in their dressing room about whatâ€™s changed since we last spoke.
The Aces have been touring non-stop and with that in mind, I start the interviewing asking them how they found supporting 5 Seconds of Summer and if theyâ€™re ready to kick off touring again. â€œItâ€™s been awesome!â€ Cristal replies, â€œitâ€™s a very different experience touring with 5 Seconds of Summer versus doing your own headliner. We just made friends with those boys and they were really sweet and super awesome and made a really cool environment for us.â€
No longer touring as a supporting act, I wanted to know if Cristal and Alisa felt this tour was different to supporting 5 Seconds of Summer. â€œThis tour has been obviously different. Smaller and itâ€™s like our fans and itâ€™s our shows. Just getting to see kids across these different countries show up for our band, you know, itâ€™s really cool,â€ Cristal tells me. Alisa also agrees, admitting the experience has been crazy. â€œWe were talking about a couple shows ago like even though itâ€™s amazing to play in front of 10,000 kids with 5 Seconds of Summer, thatâ€™s such a cool feeling, but nothing compares to playing in front of your fans,â€ she tells me. â€œEven if itâ€™s 200 kids that came to scream the words to your songs itâ€™s just way more of a feeling.â€ Cristal nods and continues where Alisa left off. â€œItâ€™s just so special because theyâ€™re there for you and to hear your music. Itâ€™s crazy for me to look out in the crowd and see whoever in Cologne, Germany, singing every single lyric to our music, she says. â€œYou know weâ€™re from Utah, in the States, and we always dreaming about touring in Europe. Since I was 10-years-old Iâ€™ve dreamt about it, so getting to see it in real life it feels pretty surreal.â€
With the band always on the road, Iâ€™m interested to know if the Ramirez sisters have encountered any embarrassing moments or awkward stories. â€œItâ€™s pretty funny like when we went out touring with 5 Seconds of Summer that was like the first time, we really knew who they were before the tour,â€ Cristal explains, â€œso, like, I remember when we first saw them in catering. We saw them in person on the first day. We werenâ€™t like huge 5 Seconds of Summer fans that like followed their every move or anything, but we knew who they were. I remember us going back and being like â€œwait, weâ€™re kinda starstruck!â€. Despite their own growing fame, itâ€™s interesting to hear the young musicians talk about getting caught off guard by 5 Seconds of Summer. â€œI wasnâ€™t expecting being star struck by them. We made jokes the entire tour. Anytime weâ€™d pull up to the shows and youâ€™d see them sound checking, weâ€™d be like â€œOh my god itâ€™s Luke! Oh my god itâ€™s Ashton!â€ she laughed. â€œWe were fucking with each other like what if we were fangirls that started a band to get on tour!â€ Laughing, Cristal joins in with her sisterâ€™s humour, â€œwhat if the premise of our band was to get on tour with 5 Seconds of Summer!â€™
Moving on from 5 Seconds of Summer, I ask the sisters how they felt about the upcoming tour dates in here in the UK and EU. â€œWeâ€™ve only done little one-off shows. The only shows weâ€™ve done in Europe and the UK, weâ€™ve done Paris, Berlin, Londonâ€¦ and Hamburg! But it (Hamburg) was for a little festival. Weâ€™ve never been to a bunch of these cities â€“ this is our first proper European and UK tour.â€ Alisa also explains how past UK or European shows were â€œbased around something else like a radio promotion tourâ€, but this time around the tour felt different. â€œThis time it has been much different because itâ€™s been a proper tour. Itâ€™s been crazy to go places weâ€™ve never, ever gone near and have fans show up.â€
Being on the road must give the band a lot of free time. As one of my favourite ways to kill time is discovering new music, I ask the sisters if theyâ€™ve uncovered any new favourite albums on tour. â€œI donâ€™t listen to as much music when Iâ€™m touring just because if Iâ€™m not on stage or if Iâ€™m not running around, Iâ€™m trying to meditate or listen to podcasts, or get that self-care in - that refreshment,â€ Cristal tells me. â€œI feel like when youâ€™re playing music all the time you donâ€™t want to listen a ton,â€ Alisa agrees, â€œIâ€™m the same, if I listen to much, I have two records. Iâ€™ve been listening to a lot of Ariana Grande and Jhene Aiko, and, honestly, a lot of podcasts.â€ Instead of new music Cristal offers a podcast recommendation instead. â€œIâ€™ve been listening to this, â€˜Happy Faceâ€™. Itâ€™s an NPR podcast on a serial killer. Iâ€™m like a dark-ass motherfucker and need to chill,â€ she laughs, â€œitâ€™s really good. Itâ€™s about a serial killer and itâ€™s really interesting because the whole podcast is being done by his daughters. So, he was a serial killer when his daughters were in high school and they didnâ€™t know. At this point Alisa audibly gasps, â€œyou donâ€™t assume your dad is murdering people â€“ itâ€™s so weird!â€ Unbothered by her sisterâ€™s comment, Cristal continues with her explanation, â€œthis guy is the â€˜Happy Face Killerâ€™ because he was sending in ransom notes and he would always sign them with a smiley face. So, a detective named him the â€˜Happy Face Killerâ€™ â€“ thatâ€™s what heâ€™s infamous as. He killed 8 women in the 90â€™s and heâ€™s in prison now. The whole thing is crazy because he wanted to be caught. Itâ€™s insane.â€ I wasnâ€™t quite sure how our upbeat interview went from Ariana Grande to American-Canadian serial killers but the conversation seemed to naturally flow.
Closing up the interview, I ask Cristal and Alisa about their on-stage feature of Lynn Gunn. I don't know about you but this was a story I wanted to hear. During a set in September, Lynn Gunn, Pvrisâ€™ frontwoman, stepped in to cover The Acesâ€™ guitarist Katie Hendy. Moment after it had happened, the news broke across social media with a bang. Following this, I ask Cristal and Alisa if The Aces would ever consider touring alongside Pvris. â€œThatâ€™s so funny because we met in the summer, but so many of our fans are their fans as well,â€ Cristal tells me, â€œI didnâ€™t really know them super well until I saw our fans be like â€œtour with Pvris, tour with Pvrisâ€ or seeing a bunch of Pvris fan accounts liking our band. Itâ€™s been in talks and we almost kind of went on a tour. It was so pre-pre-pre-stages of anything really happening, but we were talking about opening for them about a year ago.â€ While Cristal re-highlighted that the bands met in the summer, neither of the members gave an explanation on how or why. So, naturally, I asked. â€œWe met in the summer and she isâ€¦â€ Cristal began, but then pauses looking over to Alisa, â€œI canâ€™t really say, can I?â€. â€œI feel like we met her, because, oh, I canâ€™t really say,â€ Alisa also realises. After a few shared glances between the sisters, itâ€™s clear theyâ€™re deliberating on what else they can and canâ€™t tell me. In so few words, it sounded like The Aces and Pvris were working together. Before they could get in trouble, I save them the effort and put forward my assumption that the bands are working together. â€œYeah, yeah. She wanted to collaborate, essentially,â€ Cristal confirms, â€œweâ€™re big fans of her band so it all kind of synced up and weâ€™ve, you know, been good friends since.â€
Since last talking to The Aces itâ€™s nice to see how the band have become more confident and comfortable in themselves and their music, and I look forward to seeing what The Aces do next. Oh, and their collaboration with Pvris â€“ Iâ€™m definitely looking forward to that.