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Recently, the alternative indie-pop band Alvarez Kings took time out of their busy, touring schedule to perform a session in the Baeble office. Between performances of songs like "Cold Conscience," "Sleepwalking, Pt. 2," and "Picking Up The Pieces," all featured on their debut album Somewhere Between, Sean Parkin and lead vocalist Simon Thompson talk about their recent album and what it's like to be on tour. Sean and Simon reveal some of their songwriting methods, mentioning that breakups and relationship issues, because they're so relatable, often provide a lot of material for new songs.

The members of Alvarez Kings have been through a lot together since their formation in 2012. The band has steadily built a fanbase over the years, performing as support on tours for artists like Melanie Martinez, PVRIS, and Echosmith. When they came in for the Baeble NEXT Session, they were in the middle of a 27-date tour of Europe and the U.S. in support of their debut album, which was released earlier this year on April 14. In the video, Sean and Simon talk about how headlining a tour is a different experience from performing as a support act - when you're headlining, there's more pressure to sell tickets and bring in an audience, as well as a gratifying realization that people actually are buying tickets specifically for the headliner.

Both in studio recordings and live performances, Alvarez Kings create a satisfyingly catchy pop soundscape with each of their songs. The use of analog synths and drum machines adds a feeling of fullness to their sound, and complements the skillful songwriting present in every one of their songs.

Transcript

together, and everybody goes through ups and downs, like break ups and falling out with girlfriends, and… - ...we all get back together. Together, yeah.
And we've been together for, like, five years now, so we, you know, we pretty much know each other inside out, and we will get hotel rooms and share beds, so it's as close as it can get, really.
- Yeah, I'm Sean.
I play guitar and various synthesizers and things.
- I'm Simon.
I play guitar and I sing, and we're half of Alvarez Kings.
We're playing in Brooklyn tonight, at the Knitting Factory.
It's part of a 27 date tour across America.
- First headline tour that we've done in the U.
S.
We've done Europe, as well, as part of this tour, touring this album.
- When you're headlining and it's a headline tour, the pressure's on you to, you know, sell the tickets and, like, be the main event and put the show on.
It's great because we get to do it on our set.
We get to see everyone that is solely coming to see us, and it still blows our minds that people are buying tickets to come and see us and, you know, so it's a good feeling.
Whereas when you do a support tour, it's kind of like… - You're not there to steal all the people's phones, basically.
- Yeah.
We do like, half an hour set and it's just like, wham, bam, thank you ma'am, and off you go, and that's it.
This is a song about being on the road, I guess.
The ups and downs, the trials and tribulations, and sort of, like, waking up the next morning from a heavy night and wondering what the hell.
Is your conscience cold? Clever little acronyms
Cut tight against your throat Never one to ever pray for hope
To disappear in a puff of smoke
Your intentions clear Drowning with a pending fear
To wipe away those tears Never one to ever pray for hope
To disappear in a puff of smoke
Life is suffocating It's true
And in time Will bring me back to you
Just see yourself Where you go, I go too
See yourself Where you go, I go too
Just see yourself Where you go, I go too
Is your reflection clear? Constant reminders You can't hear The truth is what you feel
But you're never one to ever pray for hope So you disappear in a puff of smoke
I won't go too far I will go where you go, too
Don't take it to heart I will go where you go, too
Just see yourself Where you go, I go too
See yourself Where you go, I go too
Just see yourself Where you go, I go too
Life is suffocating It's true
In time Will bring me back to you
But you don't love life lately You don't love life lately
Give up Give in
Or give all you've got
You don't love life lately You don't love life lately
Give up Give in
Or give all you've got
Just see yourself Just see yourself
Just see yourself
Where you go, I go too See yourself
Where you go, I go too Just see yourself
Where you go, I go too
But you don't love life lately You don't love life lately
Give up Give in
Or give all you've got
You don't love life lately You don't love life lately
Give up Give in
Or give all you've got
- "Somewhere Between.
" - So the album "Somewhere Between" came out on April 14th.
- Yes.
- Yeah.
- It's a sordid, 11-track epic.
- Well, at least we hope so.
- It's the best album I've ever heard.
- That's a bold statement.
I like that.
I'm sleep Sleepwalking
- We recorded the album in L.
A.
We had "Sleepwalking, Pt. I." It was like...on acoustic, and it'd be like a moment in the set where we'd sort of interacted with the crowd.
They'd get, like, their phones out, get the lights on, really sort of acoustic-y, like.
- Yeah.
- And it just...when we got to shoot it, it just wasn't fitting.
- Yeah, it wouldn't fit on the album at all.
And our label loved the song, but they wanted to hear it on the album, in terms of, like, a proper track, so.
- We had to come to some mutual ground.
- We rearranged it.
- We just rearranged it and sort of produced it.
It became sort of the label's favorite, I guess.
- Yeah, in a lot of cases.
- So it was quite surprising how it worked out.
It was like a beautiful accident.
- Yeah.
- This next song is "Sleepwalking Pt.
II.
" So, this is about, again, being on the road.
We seem to be on the road a lot, and sort of...like, when you're on tour, you're, like, up here, and you come home and it's a bit of a comedown.
I mean, don't get me wrong, it's nice to be home, but when you've been on such a buzz...yeah. So, and then, it's like, when you wake up in the morning, you're not sure, like, whether you're sort of in rockstar mode or, like, at home mode.
So it's like sort of a half-state sleepwalking sort of vibe, I guess.
"Sleepwalking, Pt.
II.
" music
I don't know where to begin I don't know where to call home
It seems I've been travelin' With eyes wide shut
Curtains closed I suppose I'll just follow my nose
Eyes wide shut Curtains closed
The flickering light Nobody's home
And I'm sleep Sleepwalking
And I'm sleep Sleepwalking
Whoa, oh, oh, oh Whoa, oh, oh, oh
Whoa, oh, oh, oh
I don't know where to begin I don't know where to call home
It seems I've been travelin' With eyes wide shut
Curtains closed I suppose I'll just follow my nose
The flickering light Nobody's home
And I'm sleep Sleepwalking
And I'm sleep Sleepwalking
Whoa, oh, oh, oh Whoa, oh, oh, oh
Whoa, oh, oh, oh Whoa, oh, oh, oh If you want the start And then must fall apart
But if you hold on to me Hold on to your heart
If you want the start And then must fall apart
But if you hold on to me Hold on to your heart
And I'm sleep Sleepwalking
And I'm sleep Sleepwalking
If you want the start And then must fall apart
But if you hold on to me Hold on to your heart
And I'm sleep Sleepwalking
And I'm sleep Sleepwalking
Whoa, oh, oh, oh Whoa, oh, oh, oh
And I'm sleep Sleepwalking
- Yeah, well, Sean always says, like, your breakups and sort of relationship issues are always the best sort of formula for a great story and a song.
- Yeah, exactly.
Yeah.
- I think that… - I think everybody can accommodate to it.
Somebody's gone through that at some stage in their life, and it's like, yeah.
- I think 80% of the album mentions hearts somewhere in the song.
- Somewhere.
- It's never, like, a happy heart, I don't think.
It's always a broken heart.
- We like to throw absolute opposites at each other and see what happens.
So lyrically, the songs are really dark, and then, musically, some of them can be super upbeat and happy, and then, opposite again, like...yeah. Is your reflection clear? Constant reminders
You can't hear The truth is what you feel
But you're never one to ever pray for hope
- And then, we played "Picking Up the Pieces.
" - Yep.
"Picking Up the Pieces.
" - I remember I wrote that song years and years ago, even before we are as we are now.
And we always sort of played it acoustically just because it was...it was always a good song just to throw some chords together and...because it's like harmonies all the way through, as well.
It's a good song.
And then, we went into a log cabin, sort of a month before recording out in L.
A.
and we just worked on it there, and it just all came to life.
It was great.
This is "Picking Up the Pieces," and this song is about when you have a friend who is in a relationship and they spend all their time together, I guess, and sort of forget their other close friends.
And then when it all goes a bit pear-shaped, I guess look who's picking up the pieces.
It's such a silly thing, She's holding all the strings
to your heart.
And you already know There's one way you will go
That's down
Look who is picking up the pieces now
And don't forget who's there when you feel down
And it's good while it lasts Just keep movin' forward
Don't dwell on the past It's true when they say
There's plenty more fishes Tomorrow's a brand new day
Grow up Grow old
Is there something you feel you should know?
Grow bold
Is there something you feel you should know?
It's such a tricky thing.
She's holding all the strings to your life
And you already know There's one way you will go, that's down
Look who is picking up the pieces now
And don't forget who's there when you crash down
And it's good while it lasts Just keep movin' forward
Don't dwell on the past It's true when they say
There's plenty more fishes Tomorrow's a brand new day
Grow up Grow old
Is there something you feel you should know?
Grow bold
Is there something you feel you should know
Grow up Grow old
Is there something you feel you should know?
Grow bold
Is there something you feel you should know
Is there something you feel you should know
So many disappointments in your heart And it was a disaster from the start
And you forget the chemistry when you're apart
It's back to the start It's back to the start
- Our debut album is out now, "Somewhere Between.
" You can catch us on tour across America.
We're playing everywhere.
We must be playing everywhere.
I don't believe there's enough places to play more than 27 times.
- No.
- Surely to God.
So you can check us out on alvarezkings.
com where you can find tickets and all that kind of things, all tour dates.
We are hoping to come back again at some point.
Well, if we're wanted and we're welcomed.
But we'd love to.
Get up and move on I told you I told you I told you
- Hey, we're Alvarez Kings and you're watching… I told you I told you (Get up) I told you to hold on
Get up, Get up and move on The second that we got here
(Get up) Like we got it all wrong Get up Get and move on
So I told you, I told you (Get up) I told you to move on
Get up Get up and move on

Artist Bio

Four lads from South Yorkshire, UK who gleefully share their moniker with an infamous old school South American gang, Alvarez Kings summon pop power through timeless analog synth and guitar magic. The quartetbrothers Simon [vocals, guitar] and Paul Thompson [bass, keys, backup vocals], Sean Parkin [guitar], and Richard Walker [drums, samples, pads]has quietly built up an international buzz since their 2012 formation.

BBC Radio proclaimed No Resolve the Single of the Year, while they impressed audiences at Isle of Wight and O2 Wireless Festival in addition to show-stopping stints on the Vans Warped Tour in 2013 and 2015 and support slots on tours with Melanie Martinez, PVRIS, and Echosmith. Their 2015 EP, Fear To Feel, expanded their foothold in the U.S. Spotify featured the title track on coveted playlists such as The Indie Mix and Ultimate Indie Playlist, notching 40K streams in less than 12 hours and eventually amassing over 700K and counting.

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Alvarez Kings

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