INTERVIEW: Alex Aiono chats his fans as well as new tunes!
One of the main goals I’ve always had with New England Sounds as an outlet is to find the new, find the artists that we believe are about to blow up. Alex Aiono easily fits into that category. As someone who has been interviewing bands for what seems like a hundred years, there are several that I caught early like X Ambassadors, Imagine Dragons that have become huge success stories, even playing arenas for the latter.
Aiono may not be at arena level just yet, but with his recent signing to Interscope and being on his first official headlining run this year, it is sure he will become another one of those success stories soon enough. With a cultivated fan base and several tours under his belt, 2018 is sure to be a huge year for Aiono. As he references in our interview that went down at his Boston date of his run that ended last week, the debut record is your initial mark on the world and you don’t want it to fall flat. So while I’m sure we’ll have a record in the near future, he’s tiding over his fan base with countless new singles which fans aren’t complaining about. Find our chat below and definitely expect much more to come from this talented twenty one year old this year!
Coming into these dates, from looking at everything, you have released original music over the last few years, but this year you did so much. You put out the EP, you released singles, now you’re signed with Interscope. When it comes to these sets, are you still playing some of those fan favorite covers or is it mostly original? How have you been approaching these sets?
It’s crazy, because when I first started putting the set list together, I was worried. It is my headlining tour so I wanted to make sure that I’m playing a lot of original music. It’s not just a bunch of covers because it’s my tour. At the end of the day, we play seventeen songs and I think only four or five are actually covers. The rest of it is original music so we have a great time and every time we go out there, the fans are singing. They sing all the words, not just the covers, not just the originals. Even in covers when I change the words up or something, they know every single word. It’s amazing.
That’s awesome! I was watching the most recent videos, I know you put one up yesterday, a mash up. Obviously you stay so active with fans, you do a lot of meet and greets. Even looking up the videos, I saw so many vlogs, these die-hard fans.
It’s great, I love them so much. So crazy. I think that’s something that I pride my fans in so much is that I really can’t remember being in an extremely pushy situation. Where I felt I was uncomfortable. They’re always so respectful and if I ever had to be like oh well I can’t do that or I don’t feel comfortable with that, they would understand. I really love my fans so much and I give them as much as possible and I feel like in turn, they are as respectful of who I am. Nobody tries to kiss me on the mouth or do anything inappropriate. They are all so respectful and I love it so much.
Then going back to the music, when did you sign with Interscope?
Late 2016 but you started releasing music and singles with Interscope since then, you put out the EP in November. Is it something where the full length record is still a while away for you? Is it something you’ve been working on?
It’s definitely in my goals for 2018. I’m hoping we can get it out as soon as possible but at the same time, I didn’t really want to rush it too much. This is my first full length album. I think about the amazing albums that have come out. You have SZA’s album, “Control”. You have Khalid’s album, “American Teen”. You have so many amazing debut albums and I think it’s because they didn’t say okay, I’m going to do it today and I’m going to finish the album by next Friday. Then you have to rush it. They took their time and I think that that’s something that I really want to do. However, I do want to get one out pretty soon because the fans are hungry. Already, it’s not even the end of the first month and we’ve got two new songs out. So I want to continue giving them content but in terms of an album and what is on the album, everything is still up in the air. We’re writing every day, we’re getting music out there.
And when it comes to writing, I know that you have written with some other people, like John Legend, and you just had T-Pain on one of your songs. But going about the songwriting process, is it still kind of different every time? Do you bring ideas to the table or do you bring songs fully done?
It’s absolutely across the board and I love it. That’s my favorite part about it. Is some songs I wrote a hundred percent, produced a hundred percent and it’s me in my room. Some songs I literally came to the studio and they were like, we have this amazing idea, this amazing song. Checked it out and I loved it. Sometimes, they give me a partial song and I finesse it and make it my own. It’s always different and for me when I write, it’s always about coming from the heart and if I ever sing somebody else’s lyrics, it’s because I felt that same thing. I felt it in my heart and I wanted to share that.
And I wanted to ask, you can’t obviously ignore the past that YouTube has given you.
A hundred percent.
Even the collaboration with Conor Maynard, he’s recorded solo material himself, maybe when did you realize this was going to be something? Obviously from looking online, you have five million subscribers, you’ve built this fan base. Maybe a certain video, a song? I know the video with Conor is at like 91 million or something.
Yeah that one is crazy. YouTube was always something for fun for me. It was always, just how can I connect with my fans more? It was never how can I become famous? Or how can I start my music career? Because my music career to me was always something that was, if I work hard enough it doesn’t matter how it happens. It’s going to happen because I believe in myself. And I think YouTube was something I was doing for fun anyways. I was having fun doing it and I still have fun doing it. But it just started kind of going that way and so I was just like, okay cool let’s just let it go that way. It was really natural, it was organic to me. It wasn’t forced or it wasn’t like this is my big break. I don’t think YouTube is my big break. I think YouTube was a cool way to build fans and launch a fan base and create a very strong Aiono army as I like to say. But I don’t think that without YouTube, I would be nothing or I would never have a chance. It’s amazing, looking back and getting to see like wow, YouTube was amazing, that’s awesome. And I definitely don’t take it for granted at all. It was just a different vehicle that I didn’t realize I could take.
Then we’re still so early in 2018, you’re obviously kicking it off with a really strong start. Doing this headlining run right away but kind of what is the plan or focus for 2018?
Let’s see, goals! I didn’t want to make this a full goal because I don’t know a hundred percent yet but I want to go to Japan. That’s what I want to do. I get to go to Australia right after this tour, New Zealand as well. Going to the Philippines but Japan I really want to make a goal. Release more music, release an album and just spend more time with the fans. In person, I mean online as well, but get to just really kick it with our fans. We just finished a meet and greet, my meet and greets I personally believe are the best meet and greets in the whole world. Not even just because of what we do, I give prizes and I do this and that, but at the same time like I said my fans are just so chill. They legit come and we kick it, there’s no uncomfortable vibes. We just chill, it’s just nice. It’s great, so hopefully we can do a lot more of that too.