Film festivals always have their surprises… and for FILMHOUNDS, it's the chance to combine film with music. With hit albums When My Heart Felt Volcanic and Under My Influence behind them, 2023 marks bigger and better things for 4-piece indie band The Aces. FILMHOUNDS caught up with them during Sundance 2023 to find out more.
So, Sundance — you're here, what's been going on? What are the vibes like?
It was so fun. We were up there this past weekend. We're all in LA now but we played the White Claw on Friday night, which was a riot. It was just everything you would expect it to be, such a party had so much fun. It's so cool. Just walking around up there is so charming and beautiful, right now everything's covered in snow. It was a beautiful couple of like sunny, cold days. Sundance Film Festival has ideal weather. It's the first Sundance they've done in four years, so you could tell the energy was really high.
Are you film people? Do you have any all-time favourites that inspire you?
Super into film, But unfortunately at Sundance like we didn't have any time to see any films, which was such a bummer. I was really trying to sneak into anything that I could, but everything was just sold out and the waiting lists were impossible. Like you'd have to be just like waiting all day out in the freezing cold and still not guaranteed. And sadly most people I talked to — I kept pressing everyone I've met just like: “What have you seen? What looks good?” I had a list of things I wanted to see — no one that I talked to had seen anything. I feel like a lot of people go to Sundance for brand things or like to party, and I'm like where are the people that are actually seeing films? That's what I would want to do.
There are a couple I really wanted to see. Earth Mama I heard is really good, and there's a film about the Indigo Girls that looked so good.
In an ideal world, would you be interested in creating like a soundtrack for a film — and if you are what do you think it would sound like?
We do a lot of things in-house for our projects. Like I (Alisa) direct all of our music videos and Katie scores a lot of the stuff we're doing for this next album we're about to put out. We've just finished doing a lot of stuff involving things like that, and I feel like that's something it's like definitely up our lane for the future. I think it would be cool if we could kind of keep our DNA and sound involved in a score. a little bit like I love when Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross score stuff because you can still kind of hear a little bit of that Nine Inch Nails, gritty, distorted kind of thing in there. There's always something a little bit on-brand in there.
I think we should score a cognitive piece reminiscent of an 80s coming-of-age movie, like The Breakfast Club or something like that. I think if we scored a modern film like Lady Bird — maybe based in the 80s though — I think we would do a really good job with that.
What is it that creatively inspires you? When you look at your two albums side by side, there's obviously quite a bit of stylistic difference between the two.
I think that for us, The Aces to us is more than a specific genre. I feel like we're very much a feeling and an energy, and so we're not afraid to explore genre because of that. We kind of know how to keep our identity always present even if we're playing around and trying different things. I think on the first album, it was pretty 80s focused and definitely wanted to bring in some funk elements. Then on the second record, we played around more with genre, we tried other things. We experimented with some more electronic elements, but I think that the identity is still very clear throughout. I think it's just something that we bring through our lyrics and through the sentiment of what we're doing, and the nature of it. So that has always made us kind of fearless as far as genre-bending. And we'll probably just continue to do that because I think the main thing is that it has to feel authentic. ]
We're all like really inspired visually as well as sonically, and that's like always a really fun part of record. Creating the visuals for everything is almost equally as fun sometimes, and something that we're all really passionate about.
So how does doing that and recording and making the music videos compare to touring and playing live, and engaging with audiences?
I feel like they're just such different ways of connecting with our fans, and they have their own pros, but I feel like touring overall is the best. We love playing live shows. We love being able to see our fans face to face, and putting on a show is a whole other creative endeavour for us as well. We love to get creative with it and are super passionate about it. I feel like all of those things — the record making, the visuals, and then eventually going on tour and playing it live — they're all different parts of the creative process for us as a band.
You played the 02 Arena a few months ago. Was that a dream?
It was really cool. It was amazing to be on a stage that is so famous. Every artist wants to do it and it's talked about so much, so many iconic shows that happen there. So to get The Vamps to bring us and give us that opportunity to play, we're just really grateful and it was so much fun. We had a blast because London crowds are always really great for us.
2023 is going to be huge for you — new single, new album. What can you tell us about them?
I would say that this is our most vulnerable, personal record. I think this is very much a reflection of who we are on a different level, maybe more than we were able to articulate before. So because of that, we all feel really excited because it feels like the creativity is just flowing very freely through us. We feel very inspired by this music and making it, so I'm the most excited to put this record out than I've been to put out anything that we've ever done.
The Aces' new single Always Get Their Way releases on 17th February.