Steve Alford, guitar, lead vocals; Clint Sanders, drums, vocals; David Davila, bass guitar.
STEAM You are about to release a new album, so first… Congratulations! And second, tell me about it.
CS It’s called Hold On and it will be released on the last Tuesday of August, which is the 27th . We recorded at Loop Studio with Dylan Ely. It was really great having someone with such an immense knowledge of music, to guide us through the process. In the 11 songs there’s a wide variety of genres and styles ranging from blues to pop to rock and everything in between. It’s really a great album and we’re very proud of it.
SA Hold On, is one of the songs on the album. It’s not being released as a single, but it tied together not just the songs, but how we were feeling… “Hold On world, get ready for The Shake Down!” This is also my third or fourth band and we’re doing very well; we’re holding on to what we’ve got.
STEAM Where can fans get their copies?
CS Online through Bandcamp.com, iTunes.com, Amazon.com. Hardcopies will be available at all of our shows and can be ordered through our website (which is almost done) and Facebook. You can also get tshirts and other merchandise too.
STEAM How did you hook up with Loop Studio?
DD We were planning on recording our first album and I was checking with all the studios in the area. I actually cold-called Dylan just after he opened up the studio a year and a half ago. Loop Studio was so new they only had 15 likes on their Facebook page. Anyway, I took a tour and was really impressed and excited, but it wasn’t meant to be at that time.
CS We kept talking back and forth about recording something and at the beginning of this year, he said it’s time let’s make a record.
STEAM I heard you met through Craigslist.
SA I’m from Houston originally, went to college in Austin and three years ago I moved here. I have played guitar since I was about 10 and had moved a lot as a kid. When I first came to Corpus Christi I wasplaying acoustically but wanted to get a band together, so I put an ad on craigslist looking for experienced people that were really ready to commit. So after Clint replied and we found a groove he suggested talking to David.CS When I first moved to Corpus Christi in 2007. I pretty much quit playing altogether at that time and two years later I could feel myself craving it, so I answered Steven’s ad on Craigslist. I knew David throughour fraternity at TAMUCC, he was our president, as a guitar player but he was interested in playing bass.
STEAM I can tell you from personal experience: Once a drummer, always a drummer!
CS Yeah, when I moved down here I thought I wanted to do my own thing and play guitar, but after two years I had to get back to the drums. It’s kind of like an addiction. And fortunately Steven was looking for a drummer so here I am.
STEAM Are you guys always a three-piece or do you bring in piece players?
CS We’ve always been a three-piece. David has this great ability on bass so it feels like he is playing rhythm too. Which is great because Steven has full ability to focus on lead and vocals.
DD You know, quite honestly I am ADD, so I’ve never really changed my playing style from guitar to bass and think I have a tendency to play with a lead style. I play by feel because I don’t read music. I go with what feels right with music; I might be on the high end or on the low end, but I’m in and I’ve got the groove.
STEAM The three of you wrote all the songs on Hold On, so what is your song writing process like?
SA Collaboration has brought out the best parts because each of us brings something new to the table that we would never have thought of on our own. It has blended our talents together.
CS Our writing process is very organic. Steven typically writes the lyrics and usually the lyrics are the last thing that we put in.
DD For the last year it’s been kind of rough as I’ve been living in San Antonio (but this will change once I move back), so writing songs has been more on-the-fly when we get together for gigs. What makes this work for us is that each of us has our own style and influences, but together we’re very similar.
STEAM Who are your influences?
DD I love old timey music that moves and grooves, like the 60s, 70s, and Motown. I relate better with the bass players in genres; when they had a lot of soul and really grooved with it. I listen to that genre so much that if you put a current artist on I’d have no clue who it is, but if it’s on the oldies station, I can tellyou everything about the song, including who the rhythm section is.
CS We all listen to the same type of music when we’re together, but there’s always that genre we go towards individually. I am more into alternative country, like Drive-By Truckers, Ryan Bingham. Drummingwise I’m a huge Travis Parker fan, but everyone is.
SA I was a teenager in the 90s so my heart belongs to Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam; all those that you expect, but I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older, my music tastes have started to go backwards a little. I listen to a lot of Rolling Stones and Beatles, but even further back to all the old blues masters, like Junior Kimbrough. Current bands I like are the Strokes, Kings of Leon, and the new Queens, the Stone Age album is awesome. My mom was very into playing 80s music, Elton John, Huey Lewis, Billy Joel and so on. I got it stuck in my head that we needed harmonies.
STEAM With such varied influences what genre do you describe The Shake Down? I thought it was reminiscent of the 80s.CS I don’t think I’ve ever heard that we were an 80s genre. I have heard that we were similar to the Black Keys and the old-school 70s rock.
DD Our style has been compared to the Red Hot Chili Peppers because we play such a variety of genres. I can see where you get the 80s feel – the punkish groove. How do we classify ourselves was the big question but we’re fortunate enough we’ve created an album that actually represents all the styles that we play and being a three-piece we can actually play all of those live.
SA I think when we first started out we were more bluesy, but we’re becoming a little more rock oriented. We keep Blues flavor in there but we get that distorted hard rock kind of style mixing in now and at the same time we want to keep that dance groove. We’re very cognizant of keeping music that entertains people. Our passion is playing live and in the three years we’ve been together we have honed our craft pretty tightly. We also know playing live is our bread and butter so getting the audience on theirfeet with our music will keep us coming back to venues.
STEAM Do you have plans to tour with Hold On?
SA We’ve played Corpus Christi, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio; now we want to get down to the valley as we haven’t played a lot down there. Right now our goal is in taking short tours, Thursday through Saturday, to expand throughout Texas and then into New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and so on. We’re talking with Dylan about his ties in California so maybe we’ll head out there for a week or two.
STEAM I know you guys have to get going, but really quickly… Was playing in the food court at LaPalmera Mall the strangest gig you’ve had?
DD I think so. I just had this discussion with Clint and I told him how awkward it felt knowing you’ve got people eating and shopping around you, even though we had people dancing and paying a lot of attention to us. But it really felt very awkward.