Almost Awake: New Band Reaches New Heights

Almost Awake: New Band Reaches New Heights

Almost Awake

“This song, ‘What Did I Do’ is the first single from our upcoming, first full-length album. It’s exciting because it’s a good representation of us collectively. We really don’t listen to the same music at all, so it can be challenging to come together with a cohesive sound that works. You can hear all of our influences on this album so far, and it’s really satisfying.” @AlmostAwakeLV

Listen to the show:

Jacqueline Jax logo photo

by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio

Formed in mid-2014, Almost Awake came together when virtuoso guitarist Grady Jones and stellar drummer Gabe Conover teamed up with longtime friend and gifted vocalist and songwriter, Vick Liano. Addison Egelhoff came aboard on rhythm guitar bringing amazing stage presence, and finally Tommy Cochran brought his punk influence and attitude on bass, creating a unique combination of styles and songwriting and the phenomenon which is Almost Awake.

After the well-received release of their first EP ‘The Explorer,’ the band has since produced several hit videos, including a popular rendition of 5 Seconds of Summer’s ‘Long Way Home’ and the anti PC ‘I Like Asians,’ the acoustic version of which was a huge bonus track on their EP. They have just finished their new single ‘What Did I Do’ set to release on ITunes in September and are currently working on a highly anticipated story video for their song ‘The Intruder,’ set to release Halloween of 2015.
The band, which has garnered a huge following in a very short time, and rave reviews from critics, has opened for such acts as Escape the Fate, A Lot l
Like Birds, For the Win and Hit the Lights and played with bands like Icarus the Owl, Amarionette, Scream the Lie, Dayshell, Don Vedda, Out with the Old, Firestarter, Stands With Fists, and The Promise Hero.
This group has already been labeled ‘the next big thing to come out of Vegas’ in the wake of acts like Imagine Dragons, The Killers, and Panic at the Disco, and is often likened to bands like Paramore and the rising Pvris because of their top-notch songwriting, musicianship and amazing vocals. Their music stays with you and takes you to that place that only great bands can.

My personal definition of success is…
being able to do what you love for a living, and being happy, which is not always guaranteed with success.

You are particularly proud of…
the fact that we were chosen from thousands of bands to be a part of the House of Blues/Live Nation Music Forward 2015 program. We actually targeted that opportunity right after we formed the band and went after it. Getting it and doing well at it was really satisfying. We also learned a lot and built some great industry relationships.

My over all goal for my life and career is…
to inspire people the same way our influences inspired us. Music really did change our lives and even saved some of us. It sounds corny, but it’s true. There is a point where musicians have to stop trying to impress, and start trying to inspire. We’re striving to get there. Also, we want to make our families and friends proud.

The three ways that I challenge myself are…
1) Push past insecurities and accept ourselves (looks, abilities etc).  It helps us perform better live, write more personal and relatable songs, and it helps us be happier in general.
2) Listen to different types of music. It helps us get better as musicians and more creative as artists.
3) Trying to have fun when we’re working. it’s the magic dust that makes music good!

Almost AwakeI would love to have 5 minutes alone with…
Each of us is different; Vick- Hayley Williams. Grady- Joe Satriani. Gabe- Tony Royster Jr. Addison- Gerard Way, and Tommy would be Marcus Miller. They’ve all been such a huge influence on us. They’re the reason we all play music. Of course the guys would be happy meeting one on one with Ariana Grande too; her posters are all over our rehearsal studio.

Hayley Williams was one of the first rocking females who was cool and powerful but also talented and easy to identify with. Vick immediately wanted to be her. She’s inspired. Joe Satriani is literally the reason Grady play’s guitar. He’s still making millions and growing his fan base selling ‘instrumental rock’ which is crazy. He continues to do music his way which is inspiring. Tony Royster Jr is a child prodigy who just gets better and better. His time and feel as a drummer is unmatched. Gerard Way is just an artist that affected Addison tremendously. He identified with My Chemical Romance and wanted to play guitar in a rock band the minute he heard Black Parade. Marcus Miller is a monster bass player who while laying down crazy parts still manages to do what’s right for the song. Tommy really works at playing bass parts that set make the song better.

On balancing being trendy with staying true to yourself…
We believe there has to be a balance between something catchy that people will like immediately and other deeper parts (and songs) that people have to hear a few times to really fall in love with. This song for instance is a great first release because it’s us, but it’s kind of a paired down, quick blast of our music; not too much to digest at first listen. We have other songs that are more rich, but we’re hoping songs like this entice them to listen to the others, and even the deeper parts of this song will show up after a few listens. It makes people want to hear more.

You are most afraid of…
giant moths! We had one literally disrupt a video shoot and could not continue until it was gone. It was like an evil bird. Seriously, probably not being able to make music the rest of our lives. That seems devastating.

 Being in a band can be challenging because…
we are always dealing with each other’s personalities! I mean we truly love each other, but we’re together so much. Between college (high school for Vick) and work, touring and out of town shows can be tough. Otherwise, we’ve had a lot of things fall into place for us. We’ve accomplished a lot for a band that’s been together less than a year.
You started in by by…
playing music on church worship teams. Each of us have very different musical influences, ranging from Paramore and Green Day, to Tony Royster Jr. and Joe Satriani. Vick, Grady and Gabe have played together in church since they were pre-teens, while Addison and Tommy were on separate teams and came on later.

The pros and cons of the music business are…
Well the cons are just the amount of time and work you have to put into the non-musical part of being a musician, and the fact that so many people will try to take advantage of young musicians still learning. The pro’s are the opportunities available to artists today. There are so many creative people writing blogs, doing radio shows and looking for young talent; it’s pretty amazing.

You overcome hurdles and pitfalls through…
trial and error, as well as learning from more experienced people. We’re fortunate to have a few people around that really help us. We’ve been blessed from the beginning.

Your song “What Did I Do” is about…
how all guys are jerks! Just kidding. It’s about a girl deciding she’s going to let a guy use her because she likes him so much, which unfortunately accurately describes a lot of girls today. We are from Las Vegas, and we recorded the song in LA. We don’t have Chick-Fil-A in Vegas so we ate there like nine times in two days. The big laugh was Addison literally screaming “We in L.A!” at everyone all the time, including strangers. Other than that it was all tracking.

What we can expect from your music…
We’re a young band, but we’ve all been playing music in front of crowds since we were really young. That being said we’re pretty passionate about music, both as artists and as fans. Our first EP “The Explorer” was written and recorded only two months after we formed the band, so it was pretty raw, and the recording wasn’t great, even though the music was good. Luckily, six out of the nine songs have been put on hold for licensing (video games, movies). We were still figuring out our sound as a band.

This song, “What Did I Do” is the first single from our upcoming, first full-length album. It’s exciting because it’s a good representation of us collectively. We really don’t listen to the same music at all, so it can be challenging to come together with a cohesive sound that works. You can hear all of our influences on this album so far, and it’s really satisfying. For marketing, this single is available everywhere and we are promoting it on radio stations, as well as social media, but it was primarily released as a tool for industry submissions, especially to promoters and booking agents. We’ve also recorded a cover of 5SOS’s “Long Way Home” (we did a video of the song which has over 50,000 views now and growing), and we’ve re-recorded the audio for a song from our EP called “The Intruder” for a scary story video we’re currently filming for a Halloween release.

The music scene in Las Vegas is…
a lot like the scenes in other cities, but because of the strict laws regarding all ages venues,there aren’t a lot of places to play. That definitely challenges the young musicians here, but we find our ways!

You guys are always busy…
We don’t have fun. (Sorry kidding again) Honestly we’re all really busy between school and music so when we’re not playing, rehearsing, writing, recording or touring we’re usually trying to get away and chill. Video games, working out, movies…the usual stuff.

The music business is…
a necessary evil; we understand that if we want to make a living we have to learn and work with the business. It’s a shame that the biggest forces in the industry continue to cram a select few artists down everyone’s throat, but it’s great that there are so many platforms (like yours!) for people that want to hear something different.

Social media is…
fantastic for connecting with fans! It’s so awesome to get that immediate feedback and to interact with people who listen to your music. It’s also a great way to communicate to your fans about upcoming gigs, projects and releases and other miscellany.

Single versus an album…
We really wanted to wait with this song and the next one in order to make an album, because we like the idea of releasing songs together; a whole concept pieced together with individual tracks. But releasing singles is a pretty good marketing strategy these days. It’s also a great way to build momentum with an album. Well marketing an album for a relatively unknown artist is pretty tough. With a single it’s easier. For starters it’s an easier pill to swallow for potential fans; they don’t have to invest money and time in a full length album, they just have to listen to one song. Also, we really believe the power of YouTube is largely untapped by a lot of young musicians. YouTube is literally one fifth of all internet traffic. It’s also part of Google and can really lift a brand’s SEO if it’s used correctly. When we started, you had to type our full name in Google to see anything about us; now you type in ‘Almost A’ and we come up. Most bands are just doing videos to do them but we believe it has to be ‘shareable.’ We did a cover of 5SOS’ “Long Way Home” because we liked the song, but also because they have an incredible and active fan base. We knew we would interest some of their fans. We did ‘I Like Asians’ because it was a popular acoustic extra from our EP, but also because it has a politically incorrect message and we knew people who hated it would share it as often as people who loved it. The Intruder video we’re shooting now will be legitimately scary and just in time for Halloween. Using YouTube, along with the release of singles, is easier than trying to market a whole album release for an unknown band, or at least it has been for us.

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