In a recent interview, Paul Thompson of Alvarez Kings graciously opened up with us about their latest single, musical influences, touring and growing as artists. Read more to learn about the creative and passionate force behind the quartet from South Yorkshire comprised of brothers Simon (vocals, guitar) and Paul Thompson (bass, keys, backup vocals), Aidan Thompson (guitar, keys, production), and Richard Walker (drums, samples, pads).
What do you love about the new single, ‘Words I Couldn’t Say’?
I like the juxtaposition between the upbeat, summary production and the dark emotive lyrical content. The contrast between the two lends for an interesting listen.
How difficult was it to be so honest and vulnerable about such a sensitive and personal experience?
It is from the heart and therefore more personal. We can all identify with the struggles of everyday life whether it be heartbreak, addiction or whatever the subject matter but ultimately the sincerity will come across more in the music. The sacrifice of being so honest made it more rewarding than difficult.
During the writing of this single, who were some of your influences and or who were you listening to that may have impacted the composition?
We’ve been listening to a lot of Bring Me The Horizon, mainly the production from the later albums that have more of a pop element to them. Local Natives and Sam Fender have also been on heavy rotation. The new Foals record also gave us ideas in terms of what synth sounds we should be looking for and use of guitar on the track.
At the end of the day, who do you look to for approval once you’ve completed a track or an album?
We always look to our fans for approval more than anything. It’s exciting seeing their reactions on our socials to new material being released.
In 2015, Alvarez Kings supported Melanie Martinez and PVRIS; how did the crowds react to you since your style is a little different from theirs?
Surprisingly great actually. We couldn’t have asked for better crowds on both tours. They were very loud and passionate. I think it helps that we are a strong live band and energetic onstage. The great thing was, these same fans would come out to see us again on our own headline tours but in much more intimate settings.
Describe how it was to work with a legendary producer from the states, Carlos De La Garza, who’s worked with some heavies like Paramore, Jimmy Eat World, etc,.? How was that experience and how did it help you to grow as musicians?
Carlos was great and we learned a lot from him. He had a fantastic range of synths that we learned use and gave us that signature Alvarez Kings sound. I think he was good at teaching us to not over complicate arrangement and trim the meat off the bone in some instances.
Alvarez Kings have been on the scene since 2012. In a relatively short time, you have really accomplished quite a bit. To what do you attribute that?
I think drive and work ethic has always helped and that need for perfection. The one thing that helped also was a memorable live show and a good ear for production that we started to really hone on the Fear To Feel EP, prior to our debut album.
What have been some of the challenges, personal or artistic, of living through these COVID times? How have the changes impacted the band and your goals?
It has proven its challenges. Recording live in a studio, say for example live drums, hasn’t been able to happen because all the studios have been closed. It’s been a lot of bedroom mixing and back-and-forth on video calls. The solution with having no live drums, was to use the drum samples we recorded live in LA from the first album.