The Aces introduce themselves and discuss touring, HAIM, and their first album
Meet the Utah girl band behind the single 'Stuck'.
The Aces, friends and bandmates for over a decade, are a four piece girl band from Utah best known for their popular single ‘Stuck’. On tour now with indie rock band Joywave, the group opened up to us about their life on tour, their sisterhood, and what fans can look forward to in the upcoming year.
Can you introduce yourselves individually?
K: I’m Katie and I play the guitar.
A: I’m Alisa and I play the drums.
M: I’m McKenna and I’m the bassist.
C: I’m Cristal and I’m the lead singer.
You’re on tour with Joywave. Can you tell me what that’s been like so far?
K: We just started. Our first show was in Rochester, which is their hometown. It was a really awesome show, but that was the first date. Tonight is our second date here and Boston. It’s the second time we’ve even been in Boston, so it’s just starting, but it’s been great so far.
M: This is our first tour ever, so we’ve been learning a lot about touring life. We just did all of our laundry in the venue and that’s like a new thing for us… just learning all of the little things you need to think about when you’re on the road.
— the aces (@theacesofficial) November 6, 2017
Do you like it here in Boston?
M: Oh, it’s amazing. I love Boston. It’s like one of my favorite cities.
C: We’ve had really good food here actually. Everywhere I’ve eaten for the most part has been so good.
A: Except that one place…
C: In every city you go to, you’re going to go somewhere [like that] especially when you’re touring and don’t have a ton of time, so you have to eat. When you’re starving, sometimes you don’t always hit it on the head.
A: That per diem you’ll never get back.
Is there anything else that stands out to you about the city?
M: I love Boston because we all really love London and it reminds of the whole New England vibe. I ran down the Charles River this morning and it was beautiful.
Can you tell me about the start of your band?
C: We’ve been doing the band for over ten years. Alisa and I are sisters and we all just loved music growing up. We just started playing music together first and then Kenna and I met when we were super young in elementary school. She got a bass for Christmas and we started playing. We met Katie a few years later, so it was all throughout elementary and junior high that we met.
A: We really formed when we were all pubescent children…(that’s) when it formed. We’ve been together for a really long time and gone through our teens together and stuff, so it feels really ancient to say we’ve been together for eleven years.
C: We’re in our early twenties, so it’s funny. I don’t feel old enough to say I’ve been in a band for eleven years. I think when we say that to people they kind of look at us funny and laugh. They’re like ‘what?’.
A: It’s real. It’s the same members, it’s the same name, it’s everything.
M: I bet some people don’t believe it…like (they) just think that we’re saying that, but it really is true.
K: We can’t remember when we weren’t in the band. We literally can’t.
C: It’s like part of all of our identities. For me, it’s hard to think of myself not in a band… identity wise.
A: I thought about if the band broke up I’d go through an identity crisis. Full blown. I wouldn’t know what to do.
M: So much has changed since we’ve been a band, but the band is the only thing that has stayed constant in our lives.
K: That’s so true.
M: The band in our families is such a constant thing for us and our friendship with each other.
C: It’s so funny…like you saying that totally is true. We talk about this all the time. Our band is such a core part of who we are as people. It was never a question if you were going to be in the band…it’s just like you don’t quit the band. It’s very much like a sisterhood. You can’t quit being sisters with your sisters. It’s something we can always fall back on and count on. It’s been a security thing for us too.
M: For me, when I say the band is part of my identity it’s (about) this friendship and sisterhood that we have. That is so important and such a part of who I am.
C: I think with the sisterhood, the musicianship and the artistry…that’s part of the identity. Being an artist and also being in a small family together.
There’s a bunch of other bands that were put together through talent shows or auditions. There’s bands like Fifth Harmony and then Camila left…that kind of caused a split obviously. Do you think it’s better that you all formed a friendship before starting a band?
K: I can’t imagine actually doing this with people that I didn’t build the relationship first (with) because I came into the band the latest. I met Kenna when I was 14 and before we started playing together I just hungout with them all of the time. Our friend groups just merged and we were hanging out. We were all just best friends. I think about that sometimes and I think about if we hadn’t built that friendship first and just were trying to do this. It would be really hard.
A: The truth is, it’s really hard to be in something like this. We talk about this all the time and joke about it…we are married. We have to do everything together. We have so many difficult talks and things that have to be figured out. If you are trying to workout all this crazy whirlwind of now going into the music industry and making money, if you are not close with these people it can get really dark really fast. I think it’s very important that we had such a connection first.
C: The basis is we like each other’s personalities. We chose to be friends, so now building a career on top of that just makes it so much easier. We love each other so much and have been best friends for years. It just makes it easier.
Somehow you remind me a little bit of HAIM. Do you feel like that’s a compliment? What do you think about being compared to other girl groups that play their own instruments?
C: We love girl groups. We’re massive fans of HAIM. We just definitely want to see more females on stage and I think when we get compared to HAIM it’s totally a compliment..they’re amazing. I think sometimes we just wonder if it is because we’re all females that we’re being compared to them and not necessarily because we sound like them which seems to kind of happen frequently. We love them.
A: Girl groups are so rare right now. People just kind of make it a genre. To be compared to HAIM would never be anything but a compliment.
K: We love HAIM.
You’re song ‘Stuck’ has reached over 4 million streams. What’s that like?
K: I think the craziest thing is we met with Shazam and seeing numbers of the action of people clicking our song. It was an interesting statistic.
A: They made the effort to get on the app and actually Shazam it.
K: Seeing the numbers of real people actually saying ‘I like this song. What is it?’. It’s such an amazing feeling and cool accomplishment.
M: You don’t realize that people are actually listening to it until you see it and it’s like woah, 4 million people have listened to it. That’s a huge thing.
C: It’s so crazy to be touring now and seeing in the crowd the people in different cities. ‘Stuck’ is the one that’s been spun on radio and gotten the most attention so far. When we start playing it, people really know the words and that’s very surreal. It’s kind of crazy to realize they know our song and know who we are. It’s just crazy. It’s hard to explain.
K: Even in Rochester, I saw this guy who was standing a little bit in front of me and you can tell he didn’t really know who we were. As soon as we started playing ‘Stuck’, he started singing the song because he was like ‘Oh my god. I know this song. I’ve heard this song’. He just didn’t know it was this band.
A: Have you ever had that moment? I’ve totally had that moment at a show where it’s like you’re watching this band and then they play the hit and you’re like ‘It’s them!’. I love that.
If you could only listen to three artists for the rest of your life, who would they be and why?
K: I have this on lock. I know my first two, but I’m trying to lock in my third. My number one would be the Beatles. I can listen to them forever. My second would be probably Weezer. I could listen to all of their albums all of the time. My third would be…this is so hard. Come back to me!
A: Michael Jackson for sure. I could not exist if Michael Jackson did not exist and neither could the Aces music to be honest. Honestly…the 1975. That’s a very big band for me and you can actually hear it in our music too.
K: My third is Tame Impala.
A: I probably couldn’t live without ever getting to hear Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’.
M: Mine are the old Coldplay albums…like the first ones. Also, Big Thief…I really like they’re two albums and my last is Enya. All of her albums.
C: She literally just told me the other day, ‘You do know I never get on a plane without listening to Enya?’. She literally was born to Enya.
M: I came out of the womb to ‘Wild Child’. It makes me cry every time I hear it. It’s the most comforting song. If you ever need to actually be sad, you just turn that on.
C: My first one would be Paramore. I grew up and Hayley Williams was such an inspiration for me. When I was 13, I (listened to) ‘crushcrushcrush’ or ‘Riot’ and the early albums really influenced me as a performer. Tegan and Sara because Tegan and Sara got me through some times. I’m just so bonded to them. I’ve been to five of their shows. I would do anything for them. And then a really classic one…Earth Wind & Fire. We just grew up listening to so much music like that…like disco music. Alisa and I. In our house, it was just so massive for us. You have to turn on ‘Let’s Groove Tonight’.
What can fans look forward to soon or in the upcoming year?
A: They can get excited for an album.
C: Our album is coming top of next year, so just get ready for more music and the EP is just a taste of what we’ve been working on.
K: Also, we’re definitely going to be playing shows everywhere.
A: You’ll probably catch us in your city for sure.
Learn more about The Aces and where you can see them here.