LOVE? THE ACES HAVE IT IN SPADES
First, bottle up summertime. Then splash in your first taste of love with just a hint of your favorite ’80s pop song. Stir it up with a dash of indie rock, and voila — what you’ll have is The Aces. Cutting their teeth at school rallies and local events, the Provo, Utah female band (which they don’t mind being called… but more on that later…) comprised of guitarist Katie Henderson, bassist McKenna Petty, drummer Alisa Ramirez, and her sister, lead vocalist and guitarist Cristal Ramirez, have been playing together for more than a decade and are now a force to be reckoned with.
They released their first single, “Stuck” in 2016, and the track reached No. 38 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. In 2017 they shared their debut EP I Don’t Like Being Honest, and their first full-length, When My Heart Felt Volcanic, was released earlier this year. Though their sugary pop sensibilities are enough to satisfy any sonic sweet tooth, as NPR said when describing their LP, “there’s substance to its sweetness.” We joined The Aces backstage at Lollapalooza to find out just what that substance is made of for ourselves.
I’ve read multiple articles where you’ve been described as an “all-girl band” — do you feel like that descriptor is overplayed? And, if you could pick your descriptor, how would you describe your band?
Cristal Ramirez: It’s tough because we always talk about how the all-female thing is a double edge sword. There’s a connotation around it that for whatever reason is negative. Which really sucks and we were talking to our friends about this when we were in London last week and I was kind like — I want to take the power back in that. It’s really amazing that we’re an all-female band and it’s not common. I want young girls, boys, whoever, to look up to us and be like… They’re doing it, I want to do it. I just want to take that back, like, why are we ashamed to be all women? And I think that’s really silly, but I also do think that it isn’t the only thing that’s important about us. I think that we’re maybe a childhood band. We’ve been together for over a decade and I think that that is something that’s so crucial to our identities, just as much as the fact that we’re all female.
Being together for that long, how does that play into how you guys work together on stage and in the studio?
Cristal Ramirez: Oh, I think it’s just that there’s such a deep, deep bond between us because we’re like siblings, all of us. There’s a synergy between us that really has come with all the experience we’ve had. We haven’t been doing our band on a professional level for that entire time, but that gave us so much time to work out kinks between our personalities and how different situations affect each other. Like, I know them so well that I know instantly if in any situation it’s like, is that gonna bother Kenna, is that gonna bother Katie, is that gonna bother Alisa? Or, is that something we should do because Alisa would love that!
Alisa Ramirez: It’s also just about the respect and love we have for each other. It’s so familial—that’s above any of this.
Many of your tracks are love songs. Are there other things that end up seeping into your lyrics and sonics? What else do you find inspiring?
Alisa Ramirez: I think we write about all kinds of experiences. I think when you’re writing an album between the ages of 17 and 20 it is a lot of love stuff because those are your first heartbreaks, you fall in love for the first time, but I think there are also a lot of other things.
Cristal Ramirez: I do think When My Heart Felt Volcanic is definitely mostly about romantic relationships and us just trying to get our footing with them.
If you could choose one of your songs to introduce yourself to listeners — which song would it be?
Cristal Ramirez: We always say that if you’re going to listen to one song and know who The Aces are, then listen to “Volcanic Love.” That was the first song that we wrote for the album. That was the song that for the first time felt right. When we wrote songs, because we were trying to find ourselves and discovering a lot of things and working with a lot of producers, nothing was totally speaking to us yet. Then we wrote “Volcanic Love” and that really opened up a door for the rest of the album. Like, we wrote “Stuck” the next day, we wrote “Touch” which is on our EP the day after that and so that one feels really, really special and that’s why it’s kind of the album’s title track.
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