British indie band Alvarez Kings made their way to Coda June 18 as one of the most recent stops on their first headlining tour. Their debut album, “Somewhere Between,” was released April 14 and the band is currently touring across the United States in support.
They have been touring in the U.S. since 2012. This includes The Vans Warped Tour and as an opener for Melanie Martinez. The band members include brothers Simon and Paul Thompson, Sean Parkin and Richard Walker. The Triangle was able to meet with them to discuss their musical inspiration, how they have been influenced by their previous tours and what you can expect to hear from “Somewhere Between.”
The Triangle: How do you like touring here versus back in England?
Alvarez Kings: The weather’s a lot different (laughs). People seem to let loose, they are not afraid to have a good time, wear their emotions on their sleeve, get into the mood of the music, let loose with their friends and just have a good time. Whereas back home, people are a lot more reserved.
Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s different cultures as well. We’re miserable f—ers, cynical.
TT: Do you think that feeling goes into your music at all?
AK: There’s always a dark undercurrent, even on the happiest of songs. Someone is always getting f—ed up somewhere in the song. I don’t sing songs about how good my day is.
TT: That’s not the interesting stuff.
AK: Yeah, so like, my personal experiences.
TT: On the other side of sadness, the lyrics are “I’m dying to hold you in my arms, just give me one more time.” Is that about losing a personal relationship?
AK: The song’s quite dark — it’s about my friend who used to be a drummer in the band. An older band, and he and Paul are brothers so we’ve been in bands for a long time. He drummed in our old band and took his own life. It’s a quite poignant song. I really liked the juxtaposition of the upbeat vibe to the song with the dark lyrics underneath; it worked really well.
TT: In “Somewhere Between,” is it just a mixture of happy and sad songs? What kinds of things should the listeners expect to hear in the album? What inspired it essentially?
AK: [“Somewhere Between”] is kind of like three albums — our lives’ work up to now. We didn’t just sit down and write the album, it’s been a build-up hasn’t it? All of our lives have gone into it, things that happened on the road, things that happen at home, circumstances over the past 20 years.
One of the songs on there, “Picking up the Pieces” — I originally wrote in college — it never developed into something you played live. Then when it came to recording the album we felt that it fit in.
M: What is the subject matter of the song?
AK: “Picking up the Pieces” is about when someone’s in a relationship, when they aren’t around as much, because they’re more sort’ve focused on their relationship, rather than everyone that’s been around you for your entire life.
TT: Any other inspirations with personal songs?
AK: With “Sleepwalking,” it’s about the state of mind between touring and home. One minute you’re on the road doing 20-something shows, on this incredible journey. Then the next minute you’re back home and then sometimes you wake up and you sort of forget for a minute like, where you are. Sometimes you also try to figure out where you are within in society. Not so much waking up in the middle of the night getting something out of the fridge (laughs). It’s a bit deeper than that.
TT: You guys have been touring for a few years now but this is your first album, do you think your previous touring has affected your current music, or do you think it’s evolved or changed on its own?
AK: I think a bit of both actually. You can kind of see what works in audiences and crowds in terms of music, how you build songs up, how to know when to bring it back down. You pick up tips as well from other bands, slight influences. You sort of see how they work things.
TT: Can you give me an example of how you’ve been influenced by other bands?
AK: When we were on Warped Tour, we also found out what you really shouldn’t do on stage (laughs). We are definitely not a fan of the preacher side of bands, saying like “you can be where we are right now” [to the audience].
TT: That’s very British of you guys.
AK: Exactly, that’s our cynical side coming out. We try and let the music do the talking. You might also hear something within another guy’s performance, like the percussion elements, and be like oh that’s really cool, I like that maybe we can incorporate that some time.
TT: Everyone’s always listening to everyone else.
AK: Exactly, there’s no original music anymore, everybody pinches what everyone else is doing. Yeah, that’s the thing, that is ultimately what production and creativity is. You take an influence from here, an influence from here, you marry it together and something new comes out.
TT: Where do you see this tour going and what do you hope comes of it?
AK: With it being our first headline tour, were sort’ve unsure of expectations. It’s always daunting the first time you decide to be the headline band. The [difference is] when you’re headlining, you’re not really making new fans. You’re playing to your old fans that you’ve made previously. That’s the only difference. When you’re doing warped tours, that’s where you’re making them.
TT: So ultimately catering to the fans?
AK: Exactly, you’re giving the fans what they want to see. The fans we’ve made, we made on the Melanie Martinez tour last year or on Warped Tour. Now they get to see a full one hour show, it’s exciting times.