Who said punk is dead? The Almsmen is a living proof that even in the 21st century there is a need for this artistic expression. We had a long conversation with Kevin from the band and we covered their music, music and art situation these days, social and musician challenges and we even had some fun. So, brace yourself for thoughts and ideas and say hello to them after reading it!
And while you are at it listen to their strong protest song “The Forest”
Music Authentic: Let’s begin with the “site-traditional” question: How did you sleep last night?
Kevin (The Almsmen): Last night was actually a pretty good sleep night!
Music Authentic: Now let’s dive in, shall we? Your musical genre has become marginalized, and the very few who still make it tend to be “faking it”. How can rock be authentic and valid these days?
Kevin (The Almsmen): I think that can be done in a lot of different ways, anything from someone in their bedroom who wants to make comedic punk songs to someone paying hundreds of dollars to make really well produced rock songs about real tragedies in the world or in their life in a studio can both be equally authentic. As long as whoever is making the music is genuine with what they’re doing I think that’s all it takes to be authentic to me is genuine passion. And like a lot of things the validity of rock music comes from you. If you think what you’re doing is valid is authentic and that it matters then that is the only important factor.
Music Authentic: Wherever we look, there are armadas of factory-made artists and their “projects” supported by industry and with such a large sum that it seems to be hard or even impossible to win this game. Do you think it’s rigged?
Kevin (The Almsmen): No, I don’t think it’s rigged but it can feel that way sometimes! Especially in LA with all the pay to play stuff. If you can get a following online or if you can create a stir and get attention by being good enough I think everyone has a chance. That’s the beauty of living right now.
Music Authentic: Do you ever wish your songs be on TOP 40 charts? Are radios, Billboards are still important?
Kevin (The Almsmen): Yeah sometimes, but not because charts, Billboard, or radio is that important but because it would mean someone was listening to our music. Someone would be hearing our passion project. It would be just as cool to have a 100,000 views on YouTube or 10,000 downloads on band camp. As long as someone is listening to us in any capacity. I think the only real use for radio or the billboard charts is for the old media and the old way of doing things to say you’re legit.
Music Authentic: Punk is usually about social rebellion. You are an LA band. Can you, should you be sensitive to world injustices or just local things?
Kevin (The Almsmen): I think, outside of us being a band or being from LA or any of that just flat out as people we should choose to be as sensitive as we can what other people elsewhere are experiencing is well as what people right next door to us are going through.
Music Authentic: Speaking of: where do you think you will be in a few years from now on?
Kevin (The Almsmen): Man, that’s tough! I think it’ll be good I don’t plan on stopping with music anytime soon so having that passion in my life at any time will be good for me.
Music Authentic: These are more than strange and unusual times in many aspects. Where do you gain your strength these days?
Kevin (The Almsmen): Something that’s been giving me strength lately has been getting up really early, before sunrise, and going down to the skate park before anyone else shows up and just sort of being outside and getting some exercise first thing in the morning.
(the interview continues below the photos, keep reading on for more!)
Music Authentic: Let’s move on to some funnier questions. Here is a typical – at least on this site – and quite real one: Would you rather live in the Earth in 20 years or be the part of the first Mars colony?
Kevin (The Almsmen): To say I was on the first Mars colony and to be apart from that history is too good to pass up.
Music Authentic: The USA has this superhero frenzy inherited from the previous century. Who would you like to play the most?
Kevin (The Almsmen): Probably Nightcrawler from X-Men I always thought he was really cool.
Music Authentic: If you were the President, what would be the most crucial to begin a change with?
Kevin (The Almsmen): In America I think it would be reworking the voting system. Implementing instant run off voting to try and deter a two party system mathematically, and have voting be mandatory like it is in countries like Australia.
Music Authentic: What do you think the hardest challenges are in society in these times?
Kevin (The Almsmen): It might just be empathy and basic care for someone you don’t know.
Music Authentic: Everybody complains about changing values, disappearing traditions. For you which one is needed the most?
Kevin (The Almsmen): It should still be important to people to be kind especially to strangers and that its okay to not come out on top all the time and be a little selfless.
Music Authentic: People are accepting Machine Learning and soon the actual AI in their lives more and more. Do you think musicians and artists will be replaced, too? What makes someone a real artist?
Kevin (The Almsmen): That’s really, really tough. I like to think I’m a pretty progressive person when it comes to technology, so trying to decide whether or not a robot can make art is difficult. I don’t think artists will ever be replaced because people like things they can identify with so seeing another person will always be more relatable than seeing a robot. At the same time, I’m not sure if I believe there’s some magic in our brains as humans that is completely unique to us and could never be replicated in AI. For me what makes a real artist is in its most base form someone who makes art consistently. If you’re a doodler, musician, oil painter, sculptor, video maker, glass blower, photographer, or dancer if you do that thing consistently with a passion no matter how bad or how good you are I would consider you an artist. So, I feel like an AI in the foreseeable future couldn’t to me become an artist but could in fact make art.
Music Authentic: Let’s move back to your music life. Do you need to be an all-in-one solution for your art?
Kevin (The Almsmen): Yeah, there are a bunch of different roles every member of our band plays at any given time and there are times where having a firm line is important even if it’s just a line between when we are being bandmates versus when are we just being friends.
Music Authentic: Indie musicians tend to feel it is necessary for them to become merchants. Do you?
Kevin (The Almsmen): A little bit. I think, we try to steer clear of the type of thing that feels too much like selling out but sometimes the grind of promotion can feel like door-to-door work.
Music Authentic: Are concept albums over, in your opinion?
Kevin (The Almsmen): It’s tricky I think in order for your concept album to work it has to be really, really good and really, really strongly written. Which means it’s very easy for a concept album to go wrong, but I don’t think that means storytelling in music is over. It’s just way more difficult to get an interesting concept to hold audience attention over an album than it is a song.
Music Authentic: In which language do you feel expressing yourself the best? Many says, the “language of music is English”, do you agree with this?
Kevin (The Almsmen): I feel most comfortable with English the only other language I speak is Spanish and it’s not terribly strong. No I don’t think English is the language of music, maybe technically its Italian because many of our descriptive words for tempo or dynamics come from Italian but I don’t think any language is the language of music. I think music is the language of emotion if anything.
Music Authentic: Do you think artists are to make people’s life easier and/or give them something to take away and make them more wholesome?
Kevin (The Almsmen): Yeah a little bit. Not that musicians and artists are distractions exactly but we’re entertainment right. We make music for you to listen to and enjoy. That’s my philosophy at least other people feel like music’s place is for deep messages about politics, or tragedy but for me it’s always been about emotions. The band writes this song and you listen to it and feel what they want you to feel in that moment. Whether it’s dancing music, or protest music for me it’s all about that emotion.
Music Authentic: Why did you choose Macbeth as the lead single for your new EP?
Kevin (The Almsmen): We actually didn’t plan it that way all that much. We made Macbeth then we released it. We made Die Hungry then we released it. So when the Forest was done we felt that those three songs were group so we unified them into the Unheard EP and that was that. Macbeth is a good song in that single role though I think if we had had all three songs and were to pick a single it would probably still be Macbeth.
Music Authentic: Do you agree that musicians, artists are the contemporary prophets and pastors who need to take the lead to make this Earth better and beautiful once again, creating a real future for our children and our children’s children?
Kevin (The Almsmen): This might be controversial but no I don’t. I think playing music, painting, or writing doesn’t make you more or less qualified to be any of those things. Instead I think those roles can be filled by anyone. It could be the guy who bagged your groceries at Ralphs, could be some business man you passed at the train station what makes a contemporary prophet or pastor in my opinion isn’t tied to music or any art. Instead it’s all about the individual make up of a person. If someone is a leader, with strong ideas and a way to enact those ideas whether or not they make are is unimportant to me in deciding for myself if they are someone worth listening to.
Music Authentic: If you had one thing you could do differently from the last two years, what would that be?
Kevin (The Almsmen): I had a really serious back injury that I took far too long to get checked on so for me I wouldn’t wait so long before seeing a doctor about it.
Music Authentic: Let’s wrap our discussion with some quick questions and answers. What things would be the greatest achievements for you through your art?
Kevin (The Almsmen): The greatest achievement for me I think would be making an entire album that I felt was perfect all the way through in my own opinion.
Music Authentic: Which artist do you recommend to listen to from the past or the contemporary era and why?
Kevin (The Almsmen): Right now my answer would be the Districts they have a lot of emotion and energy in their music that I feel is a great experience listening to.
Music Authentic: Have you ever used your stage as a platform to help out others?
Kevin (The Almsmen): We try to. We post things we feel are important societally on our Instagram when we feel it’s important.
Music Authentic: What about your free time, what are your favorites?
Kevin (The Almsmen): Tie! Between skateboarding and playing guitar.
Music Authentic: What is your encouraging message to others?
Kevin (The Almsmen): A lot of people say things like “Failure isn’t an option” but I’ve found if you truly want to succeed failure is a necessity.