AS Discovery: The Aces

Photo by Kat Irlin
Photo by Kat Irlin

The Orem, Utah-based four-piece the Aces just introduced themselves to the world last month with their debut EP, I Don’t Like Being Honest. Chock full of infectious hooks, rock riffs, and plenty of swagger, the EP has already earned the band comparisons to the likes of Haim, the 1975 and Tegan and Sara. American Songwriter caught up with the band to discuss the new EP, how they tackle writing their catchy tracks, and bridging the gap between Whitney Houston and the Cure.

You just released your debut EP I Don’t Like Being Honest. When did you begin writing the EP? Was there a particular song that jumpstarted the process for you?

We began writing this EP in Brooklyn in December of 2015 with our producers, Simon Oscroft and Dan Gibson. It was the first time we had written with them. The energy was so right and we vibed so well with them. We pumped out a couple songs so fast, one of them being “Stuck.” Those first few songs are where we discovered the “sound” of the Aces and everything has just flowed really nicely since.

Do you have a writing process that you typically follow? If so, what is it like?

Cristal and Alisa have been going to Brooklyn to write on and off for almost two years now and all of the songs from the EP all came out at different points over that span of time. Once we had these songs down lyrically and melodically, then the real fun begins and Katie and McKenna come shred on the track. Then Cristal lays her final vocals, and Alisa gets to hit some drums. Sometimes the process is different, but this is how it usually goes.


You’ve gotten comparisons to bands like Haim and Tegan and Sara. Who do you consider to be major musical influences?

We love both of those bands. Cristal and Alisa’s upbringing on classic pop music like Earth, Wind, and Fire, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston inspires much of our lyrics and melodies. Katie and McKenna’s upbringing on classic rock and alternative music like the Cure, Queen, and Talking Heads inspired a lot of the instrumentation and guitar lines and tones you hear on the EP.

How did you guys meet and first start playing together?

Cristal and Alisa are sisters, so they met as babies [laughs]. Cristal and Ken [McKenna] met in kindergarten but became BFFs in fifth grade. Cristal and Al wanted to start a band so they told Ken she should ask for a bass for Christmas. She did, got one, and the Blue Aces were born. We played a show like a week later and just started playing all around our hometown. A couple of years later, Ken met Katie in junior high and she shredded the guitar so we asked her to play a show with us and she has played every one since.

Do you have plans to release a full-length album? If so, what can listeners expect from it?

Yes, of course! That is what we have been working so hard on most of this year. We think that the EP gives listeners a nice little tease of what to expect from the album. Lots of different moods, stories, and fun songs that make you wanna dance. We can’t wait for everyone to hear it.

Which of these new songs do you most enjoy playing live?

We hate picking favorites, but “Baby Who” is literally our baby. We call it our little healer. We all have a special place in our hearts for that song.