Artist Interview – Ugly Kids Club

Ugly Kids Club are an electronic guitar duo from Nashville, Tennessee consisting of Steve and Aliegh. At Essential Pop we were really pleased when Steve and Aliegh took the time to answer some questions about their music and experiences so that we could share it with you. Read the entire interview below where they discuss their musical inspirations, what they do to relax and what they’re hoping to achieve over the next 12 months.


Ugly Kids Club

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Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?

We are a minimalistic electronic/guitar duo from Nashville, perpetuating simple, danceable, weird dark grunge rock.

Q: What is your musical background?

I, Steve, studied classical music formally and have played in rock bands previous to meeting and working with Aliegh.

Aliegh grew up singing on stage at school and church, and to her hairbrush and whoever was there when she would stand on tables.


Q: How have the last 12 months been for you?

We have only been a band for about 7 months, but they have all been good!  We joined efforts and began writing and recording immediately.  Our original goal was to have an EP finished by January with a video for every song to boot, d.i.y. style.  We accomplished said goal.


Q: Who inspires you musically?

Musically, we look up to The Police, Talking Heads, Nirvana, My Bloody Valentine, The Kills, and anything Jack White.    (Steve) Though the musical landscape and definition of rock and roll is continuously changing and cross-pollinating, we feel like we are in the tradition and spirit of rock and roll.  We also have a healthy amount of punk/d.i.y spirit that drives us to do everything we can ourselves and make sure we love our music first before we share it with anyone.  Most of our musical heroes were pioneers and genre-benders in the same way we hope we are.


Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?

The Beatles, Dylan, Talking Heads, Oh, you said modern.  Are the Kills modern?


Ugly Kids Club

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Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?

We love Sleigh Bells, Crystal Castles, The Kills, Yeasayer, and the Black Keys.


Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?

Big question. You mean iPod. I (Steve) rock an iPod photo from 2005 with 60gb full of songs (but I mostly listen to Spotify these days-It is the future).   How much time do you have?  I’ll put it on shuffle and give you the first few artists.  Totally candid.  Really.  Ok, Led Zeppelin “Kashmir”, Paul Simon “Kodachrome”, Nada Surf “Speed Soul”, Radiohead “OK Computer”, Josh Rouse “It’s The Nighttime” (please tell me you know who Josh is-SO good), The Beatles “Golden Slumbers”.  Perfect place to stop.  Amen.


Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?

We like to work side by side surrounded by guitars drum machines and keyboards.  We usually start with a beat that Steve makes and build from there.  We tend to give up on a song if we can’t decide what it’s about, or if it isn’t making sense.  This whole band is an exercise in limitation and simplicity.  We want our music to sound like it was made by two people, not twelve.  Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.


Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?

(Steve) Melody is divine.  Lyrics are human.  But they can’t really survive without the other.


Q: Where are you based?

Music City, U.S.A.  (a.k.a. Nashville, Tennessee)


Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?

Like being a filmmaker living in Hollywood.  Nobody cares that you make music because all they can do is judge you against their music and/or their band/project.  Not necessarily a bad thing.  It makes you fight for your very own very existence and justification.


Ugly Kids Club


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Q: What are you currently working on?

We are currently writing for our first full-length record that will be recorded this summer.  We will also be making a film to coincide with the record.


Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?

We’re so young; it’s hard to say. We had a great show last night.  Drake and his band were band was there, so that’s pretty cool.


Q: What are you hoping to achieve in the next 12 months?

We would like to have our first record/ film released.  Also, we would like to be playing and touring much more than we currently are.


Q: What do you do to relax?

We are caffeine and nicotine addicted insomniacs.  There is no time for relaxing.  Life is too short.  And we have so many more songs to write.


Q: Where would your favorite holiday (vacation) be and why?

I, Steve, am going to Italy next month.   I anticipate that will be my favorite holiday thus far.  I hope we have the opportunity to play in Europe soon.  Then that will be my/our favorite holiday.

I, Aliegh, would love to go to either Prague, Sweden, Scotland, Ireland or Japan. Mainly for the history and pure beauty but definitely Japan because… well who the hell doesn’t?


Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring musicians what would it be?

(Steve) This is the best time in history to be a creative person.  You don’t have to wait on ANYBODY to justify, confirm, or distribute your art.  If you feel so inclined, create.  You can distribute your art/music yourself, and the world is at your reach.  All you have to be is great.  Outstanding.   What we need is more amazing, remarkable, great art.  If you are average, or simply another version of something we already have, you are not being true to yourself and you need to go build your courage and come back as an original.  Or let others take the reigns.  That said, we are in the beginning stages of an art renaissance that is about connection as much as revolution.


Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?

Steve is a Grammy nominated producer and songwriter and he also is vegetarian who has dreams about flying to different planets.

Aliegh kills dinner, eats it raw, and is not Grammy nominated.


Editor’s Note: Ugly Kids Club draw on an eclectic range of artistic influences to create something memorable, technically astute and with a catchy commercial edge.


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