Backlit by a hazy Denver sky on the Underground Music Showcase’s main stage, the Allah-Las dreamy California rock’n’roll blew through like a summer breeze. With vocals that melted into the warm evening air, the band proved that they make their influences their own by mixing modern indie and 60s dream pop. It was a nice moment in a festival full of movement to pause and take in the Allah-Las. There was no better place to be. But whether you were there or you’re FOMO-ing just at the thought of it, you’re in luck. The Allah-Las are headed back to Colorado for a headlining show next Wednesday at Boulder’s Fox Theatre.
Hours before their UMS set, I sat down with Miles Michaud, the lead singer of the L.A.-based band. We shared some whiskey as we chatted about writing music, their latest album, 'Calico Review', and the ups and downs of tour life. Read on:
It’s easy to hear in your work that you are music buffs, with an appreciation for what has come before you. Where did that come from and how did that influence your music?
Before we were musicians we were just music fans. Never really expected to be in a band professionally. We were kids just buying tapes and CD’s. We try to distill our inspirations and all the things that turn us on into a sound that is timeless.
So how much of that comes into play with song craft and writing?
The way that I write is basically a concept; a lyric or a melody that builds into something. It’s something that comes out when it does; I just have to be careful to capture it and write it down. Too often, it’s easy to forget those ideas.
You took several years to make your first record, and then spent a significant amount of time on 'Calico Review'. What is the process of producing an album like for you?
We demoed 40 songs for this new record. For our process, we do take care to release songs that meet our criteria of what we want them to be. A lot of people these days release a lot of shit and that’s one way to do it, because people are always hungry for more. But I think that the downside to that is that if you release too much, people can’t digest it all and it kind of gets lost and becomes too much. It’s a natural rhythm [for us]. We write a record, we record it, we tour on it, and we come back to write more songs. We try not to put out just whatever goes down on tape; we keep it tight.
Talk to me about the new record, 'Calico Review'.
Our first record, we wrote all together. On this record, the writing was done individually. You have a lot more diversity and various textures. We spent a lot of time building these songs in the studio together because of that. It’s always strange making a record; you do it until you feel it’s done, but you really don’t know how it sounds to anyone else. I like it; I hope everyone else likes it. Especially after spending a year on it.
Watch Allah-Las’ official music video for “Could Be You”:
You are embarking on a pretty big tour this fall, which includes your Fox Theatre show next Wednesday in Boulder, Colorado. What are the best and worst parts about touring?
Touring is great; touring is a lot of fun. Playing shows in different parts of the world and feeling that energy from people who speak different languages and come from different lifestyles, it’s pretty amazing to have that uniting experience. The downside is [your] health. You start to lose track of the days. It’s a snake eating its tail kind of lifestyle sometimes. It is rewarding though.
Do you feel like being from California, and L.A. specifically, significantly influences the music you make?
Sure, everything you do, everything you experience… [it] somehow manifests itself. We grew up in L.A and that’s who we are; it’s just a natural thing. I love that city, and I’m happy that people see that [in us].
And we’re happy the band is trekking from the CA to Boulder! The Allah-La’s new release, 'Calico Review', drops next Friday, September 9th! Make sure to check it out here and get your tickets to The Fox for their show next Wednesday, September 7th, while you still can. We’ll see you there.
All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.