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The Aces (Portrait) // SXSW 2017. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
The Aces (Portrait) // SXSW 2017. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

After being thoroughly impressed with their performance I caught on my first day at SXSW, I looked forward to meeting up with the gals of the The Aces and figuring out how they got started and what makes them tick. Sweet and charming, they kinda won me over, and even let me attempt to take some spontaneous portraits of them.


How did you guys meet and how did you guys get started with the band?

ALISA: Cristal and I are sisters and ever since we were really young,[…] we’ve always wanted to be in a band. Like from the time we were literally four and five were were like, “Let’s make a band.” […]. So when I was 8, and Cristal was 10, I got my first drum set and when our mom brought it home and set it up right in front of the grand piano in the main room of the house we were like, “It’s official. We’re going to be a band.”

CRISTAL: [W]hen I was 9 to 10, [I started] to write my own songs. I always loved to sing, and was learning to play the guitar to those write songs. [Alisa and I] just started playing together … and we knew Kenna from the time we were kids.

MCKENNA: Me and Cristal have known each other since kindergarten, but we became really good friends in fourth or fifth grade. Her and Alisa would be playing music and I would be hanging out with them. So, finally they were like, “You should ask for a bass for Christmas. Then we can all play together.” So I asked for a bass for Christmas. Santa Claus brought me a bass for Christmas. Then we played a show the next week for Cristal’s birthday. That was our first show.

What was the first song you guys played?

CRISTAL: It was a song I wrote called “Remember December”. So maybe that was it. Or maybe “Be Mine”. I feel like we were writing all these like intense love songs and I was like 10.

[collective giggles]

ALISA: I remember my mom would always be like, “What are you guys singing about? What’s going on?” I was like, “You know what, we’re tortured artists.”

[collective laughing]

KATHIE: I met Kenna when I was in seventh, eighth grade in junior high school and I heard about their band. I grew up playing guitar ever since I was really little. Taught myself. My brothers were in bands. I grew up watching them and I wanted to be in a band and when I meet Kenna […] it just was easy. We just all matched.

CRISTAL: [W]e’ve been playing together now as all four of us for about seven, eight years now and it’s been amazing. We’ve all grown up together. Three of us are 21 and then Alissa’s youngest. She’s 19. It’s like we’re ALL sisters. We’ve known each other since we were almost babies.

The Aces (Portrait) // SXSW 2017. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
The Aces (Portrait) // SXSW 2017. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

I’m assuming since there are four of you in the band, and you call yourselves The Aces, who’s what suit?

ALISA: It’s so funny. When we came up with the band name it was originally the Blue Aces. Forever ago. There wasn’t a lot of meaning behind it. Then when we dropped blue and […] went forward with the The Aces [thinking that it lent itself to the idea of ] ac[ing] something.

KATHIE: We’ve never thought of it like the playing cards, but naturally people always do that and we’re like, “Hmm, we’ve never thought of it that way.”

MCKENNA: I would be a heart.

ALISA: I would be a diamond.

KATHIE: I said I’d be the spade.

CRISTAL: I guess I’ll be the clover.

[collective giggles]

What’s in the pipeline for you guys?

MCKENNA: There are new things to come. The only thing we have out right now is a single called “Stuck”. But, we have another single on April 7th called “Physical” that’s coming out and then an EP soon after that and hopefully an album later this year.

ALISA: Keep your eyes peeled because we definitely have some new music rolling out for summer.

KATHIE: Keep an eye out for the official music video coming for “Physical”. That will be pretty awesome.

So is the next project an EP or full album?

CRISTAL: So the EP will come first and then lead into a full length album later this year.

And how did you guys get hooked up with Red Bull Records?

CRISTAL: We just drank so many Red Bulls and wished and poof.

[collective giggles]

ALISA: We didn’t know Red Bull had a record label. It was just kind of like after we released our music they came after us hard along with a few other record labels and we were just, […] that’s kind of weird, but we’ll meet them and we met them and they just blew everyone out of the water. Every other major, anyone we were talking to.

CRISTAL: It was just crazy. Like we said, they weren’t really on our radar. Every time we talked to people they were like, “Red Bull has a label?” But when we met them the whole team of people felt like family to us. We didn’t feel as strong a connection with other labels. We just knew in our guts, “Ah, Red Bull”. They were so freakin’ cool. It’s been such an amazing experience so far to work with all of them. We’re really close with all of them. It’s been great.

The Aces (Portrait) // SXSW 2017. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
The Aces (Portrait) // SXSW 2017. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

For the uninitiated, what do you want people  to take away from your music?

CRISTAL: I think when we write our music we definitely try to write from our own personal experience or things that we know, so I would love for people when they listen to our music to think, “I’ve totally felt that way before.”

ALISA: I want people to walk away feeling […] understood. I love it when listeners tell me, “When I heard that for the first time […] Those lyrics … the way you said that, I’ve totally been through that.” I want it to connect people.

Any chance you’re gonna revisit the old demos from back when you started?

CRISTAL: We have been writing this record over the course of a few years now. There are some old songs in there that might make the album. We do have quite a few songs to choose from. There might be some old ones. There’s definitely gonna be some new ones and we hope everyone likes them all!

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