Music Q&A:
Alvarez Kings

The South Yorkshire four piece – brothers Simon and Paul Thompson, Sean Parkin and Richard Walker – chat ahead of shows at Manchester’s O2 Ritz

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What informs your songwriting?
If you are talking from a lyrical standpoint our songs are about things we have experienced personally, whether it be relationships, life on the road or the loss of friends. It’s what makes the music more personal and I think our fans understand that and it helps them through similar issues they may be facing. In terms of music and production we listen to whole range of genres and that can’t help but affect the way we write songs, whether it be indie, pop or house music.

How have you evolved as an act over the years?

The evolution of our music has changed significantly over the years. When we first started playing locally all those years ago we were a straightforward indie rock band – the usual two guitars, bass, drums and vocals. We were influenced by bands like The Strokes and later Arctic Monkeys. After a few years this way of writing became boring to us and less challenging and we felt like we had gone as far as we could with that style. It was then we broaden our tastes in music listening to a lot of pop, EDM and hip-hop and got more into production and synthesizers. One of the first songs that changed this was Postcards From Berlin. We wrote all the strings and brass for this song and then with our debut album we released this year we progressed further, with synth-pop elements in our songs.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
As cool as it would be to say we paint or some other cool artistic endeavour, at the end of the day all our artistic output goes into the band. We are about to head out on tour at the end of October into early November so we are hard rehearsing for that at the minute. Sean is doing some production and engineering at a studio in London at the minute.

What’s on your rider?
You’ll always find a bottle of bourbon and a bunch of craft beers in our dressing room. We are beer enthusiasts so usually ask for locally brewed beers in the cities we play. We played a huge tour in the States last year with Melanie Martinez and dubbed it the Craft Beer Tour Of America. The promoters were really cool and got a selection of craft beers every night. Our livers were crying out by the end of it but it was fun nonetheless. Other than that the usual band rider food. Hummus, carrot sticks, fruit, falafel, olives. We try and eat healthily due to all the shit we consume when on the road in the van and the only thing you can find is fast food.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
There’s been many an embarrassing experience onstage, whether it be Paul falling into the drums and collapsing the whole kit and brothers fist-fighting onstage due to typical sibling rivalry. However, the most surreal experience as a band, which has been well documented, was when Simon our frontman got refused entry back into the US during our tour over there and was left stranded in Canada for a while. He ended up missing 10 shows and we had guest vocalists filling in for us each night so we could still perform and afford to pay our tour bus.

What song do you wish you’d written?
Most people put this song under the category of guilty pleasures but there’s no guilt from us on how much we love it. Kiss From A Rose by Seal. It’s just a really well written pop song with a brilliant, technical melody. We love the story of how he never wanted to release the song because it was too personal to him and it makes the song more poignant.

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