Staying Grounded While Making Great Music

Staying Grounded While Making Great Music

An interview with Almost Awake.


Recently I spoke with an amazing band called Almost Awake from Las Vegas, Nevada. With influences from Joe Satriani to Kurt Cobain, to say that this band only sticks to one genre of music is ridiculous. Grady stated that they are interested in bands with “powerful moves and changes”, which seems pretty prevalent in much of their music.

At the young and bright ages of 17 to 19, they are already showing signs of promise and talent. Between Vick Liano’s melodious vocals that show shades of Paramore, and instrumentals that seem to show so much energy and attention to their craft, it is easy to say that this band is going to be around for a long time.

Listening to songs such as “Dead Man Walking”, to “What did I Do”, to “Ocean Eyes”, to “Skeleton>”, each member seems to possess a knack for writing some pretty gnarly and addictive lyrics to go along with already great instrumental backtracks. These are just some of the songs I have warranted to be quick favorites of mine, but to say that those are the only good songs they have out is an understatement.

They seem to have a combination of both hard hitting, energetic songs and songs that sound soft and gorgeous to the ears (I’m speaking of “Avoir peur d’etre seul”). It's nearly impossible for any solid rock fan to not find something they can either relate to or jam to from this band. On top of being overly talented, just from talking to them they are honestly just a couple of laid back individuals who also want to make it big someday, making money doing what they love. But to be fair, what band doesn’t? Bands have to live, work and eat, too. Almost Awake isn’t making this their main focus, though. Vick said, “We love making music and would probably do it for nothing, but being paid is nice, too!” The band seems to stay pretty grounded saying that their aim is to “just really stay true to music you would actually buy. Also, we have something called Rule #1 which basically just says that we remember we’re family and to put each other before any disagreements. Most bands fall apart for personal reasons, not because they can’t make music.” You can find Almost Awake’s music on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora and YouTube. You can even check them out on SoundCloud. Happy listening!


Questions asked:

What's the name of your band? What's the origin of that name? Have you changed the band's name before?
(Tommy) Almost Awake is our name, um, that’s been our name since the beginning. We came up with it because we wanted a name to, like, sum up the fact that everyone in our generation is always tired.

Please list the name, age, school, and respective instrument of each band member.

Vick Liano (17 yrs old) vocals, guitar

Grady Jones (19 yrs old) lead and rhythm guitars

Gabe Conniver (18 yrs old) drums

Addison Egelhoff (18 yrs old) rhythm guitar

Tommy Cochran (19 yrs old) bass

What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?

(Grady) We all have pretty different inspirations, individually, ranging from Joe Satriani to Hayley Williams, Tony Royster Jr., Mark Hoppus and Kurt Cobain. Some of the bands we’re inspired by are Paramore, Twenty One Pilots, Pvris, Foo Fighters, 30 Seconds to Mars. We really like rock bands with powerful moves and changes.

How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?

(Vick) As a band we came together a piece at a time. Grady and Gabe are cousins and the three of us were playing together on the church worship team since we were really young. Addison was Gabe’s friend from high school, and Tommy we found on Craigslist!

When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?

(Gabe) We all come from musical backgrounds and really love music. Our families were either professional musicians or were always performing. It's weird but music really kind of saved each of us in one way or another. We were going through all the struggles most kids do and music was our refuge. And in the fall of 2014, our paths all kinda crossed somehow.

Do you have a record label? Are you a member of any music organizations?

(Addison) We do not have a record label at the moment. However, we are currently talking to several label and management groups, but other than BMI publishing, not at the moment.

What can you tell me about your instruments?

(Grady) Initially, it was just because my major influences used them, but now I play Ibanez guitars solely because I like the sound and feel of them.

Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?

(Tommy) We have played the House of Blues in Vegas as well as Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel. Those were two of the most prestigious venues we have been in locally but we’ve toured the West Coast and played at lots of cool places. We don’t really have any venues that we dislike. We just love to get out and play. We also played The Extreme Thing here in Vegas with a pretty sick line up.

Which songs do you perform most frequently? Do you ever play any covers? Do you have a set playlist?

(Gabe) We include Skeleton, Intruder, Glass Houses and Dead Man Walking in most of our sets, but we like to change it up and make every set different. We do a couple of different Paramore covers as well as some Stevie Wonder, Oingo Boingo and Nirvana. We also covered 5 Seconds of Summer’s "Long Way Home" on our album and did a music video cover of it which got 50,000+ views.

Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?

(Vick) For most of our songs, Grady will lay out the basic structure and bring it to the band where I come up with melody and lyrics. We all help fine tune the songs and come up with production ideas. We try to write about life and our personal experiences.

Could you briefly describe your music-making process?

(Grady) Pretty much what Vick said in the last question, but sometimes we do just jam around until we come up with a groove we all love and have to continue to work on.

What are your rehearsals generally like? Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?

(Addison) We usually get together four or five times a week and play, and write for three to five hours. We also have business meetings once or twice a week as we need to.

How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?

(Gabe) Quite a bit. Our first EP "The Explorer" was written after only a month together as a band. This album is really where we are as a band now and really shows how much we’ve grown as a band. We have really been working on making every song as good as it can possibly be, and we constantly try to improve on every aspect of our band.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?

(Tommy) Dealing with the personalities and opinions of four other people is a struggle for every band. Other than that, it’s mainly just trying to get noticed in a city like Vegas.

What's your ultimate direction for your band? Are you seeking fame and fortune?

(Vick) Well, when you put it like that, we kinda sound like dicks for wanting it, don’t we, LOL? No, we love making music and would probably do it for nothing, but being paid is nice too!

What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?

(Vick) Don’t do it! No, just kidding, kinda. Just to really stay true to music you would actually buy. Also, we have something called Rule No. 1 which basically just says that we remember we’re family and to put each other before any disagreements. Most bands fall apart for personal reasons, not because they can’t make music.

How can fans-to-be gain access to your music?

We’re pretty much everywhere now. They can find us on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora and YouTube. They can even check us on SoundCloud if they’re into bands not being paid for all the work they do.

Is there anyone you'd like to acknowledge for offering financial or emotional support?

Too many to name really. There’s no way to get somewhere without help but we have a few people we’ve really come to rely on. They know who they are.

Any last words?

Just thank you to everyone who helps or supports us, especially fans buying out music, merch and coming out to shows. It really is the only thing that keeps us going. And just that we love hearing from fans. If you hit us up on Twitter or Facebook, we will respond eventually. It means a lot to us that people take the time to listen to our music and we don’t take that lightly.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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