Photo by Chris Wilson
“Local music is the most important thing to me.”
AH: I have watched you play many times in Camacho,Belial (now X,Y. Spaces), When I’m Older, and recently Headwires. Tell me a bit about your history playing music.
AP: Oh man, where do I even start?!? First off, I need to thank you for taking the time out to ask these questions. I feel quite honored! But let’s get to the question. I started playing the drums when I was in 6th grade (2004-2005) And not shortly after, I formed a band with a few Filipino kids from the Huntsville/Madison era. We were called “Six Nights Alone” We took big influence from Yellowcard and Blink-182. That was a great experience for me. We played probably 2 shows for friends and family, but it was such an awesome time to play in front of people for the first time.
Shortly after that, I started to play percussion for my church, God’s Garage! I learned a lot about my playing style while I was here.
Next we have Tetra. My first “real” band. Being in a band with your best friends through in your early high school years has to be one of the best parts of high school for me. I didn’t play but a handful of shows with them but we did end up recording a quick EP and playing at the school talent show. I was super proud of that EP. It was the first time I had ever heard myself recorded!!
Marching Band was a huge huge part of my life in High School, so that mainly took up a lot of my time. That was until my senior year of high school. The year Andy Asteroids was conceived in the band room at Austin High while our band director was away in China adopting a child. We pretty much jammed The Mars Volta and decided to start a band from there. Andy Asteroids was probably the best time I had in a band. I learned a lot about the scene. I learned how basically everything works in the music scene and how to book shows. I also met everyone I know to this very day from playing in this band. And we actually were the winners of the school talent show! That we probably one of the coolest moments for me in that band. Nick, Joseph, Jaraven. I love you guys! I know people are still listening to our album to this very day.
Towards the end of the fantastic run of Andy Asteroids, I had recorded a pretty low quality demo for a group of guys in this band from Decatur called “Belial’s Kim Tiddler” Crazy name! Ha! Those guys ended up turning into the band you know as Belial! They asked me to play drums for them because they were a 3-piece at the time with guitars, vocals and drums. So they wanted to fill out the sound for the band. I have played at least 150+ shows with this band and I wouldn’t ever trade that time for anything. I got to finally play a tour and a few weekend runs for the first time!
But sometimes things nevee workout like they always do and my run with Belial had ended exactly a year ago, 2015, this week. It’s crazy what can happen in a year! As you know, when one door closes. another one opens! Well lets turn that into 3 doors, Camacho, When I’m Older, and Headwires!
Camacho is my main project with my best friends on this planet. Joe Canada and Andrew Segler. There is some serious magic in this band and right now we are currently writing our first full-length. We are planning on recording with the infamous Lucas Smith! I’m super excited!
Learning the songs for When I’m Older were quite intimidating. Only because Corey is such an insane drummer. I don’t think I will ever come close to the skill he has! When I’m Older hasnt met up in quite awhile. And that’s such a huge bummer! I’ve always wanted to be in a band with Charles and Jesse. And I got to meet Joh, one of my favorite people on this earth. We clicked so well when I first started practicing with them. I miss you guys. Let’s make some baby making music please!
And now that brings me here to Headwires. I haven’t been with these guys too long but it has already been a blast. Everyone in that band is way too talented for me. Im excited to see what my future in Headwires is going to look like!
Reading this back, I could have added a lot of more detail, but then this would basically be a book!!
AH: How did you get started playing drums?
AP: In elementary school, my drama teacher showed the class this wonderful broadway act called Stomp! It’s a musical production where a group of percussionists basically make music out of the objects around them! After I watched that, I couldn’t stop drumming on everything around me. I’m pretty sure I annoyed everyone in class from elementary school all the way to high school! Fast forward to middle school and thats when I wanted to be in the jazz band. I spent the summer taking drum lessons and trying to not fail my audition. Which turns out, I failed pretty bad! But that didn’t stop me from playing drums. For basically almost everyday in middle school, I would come home after school and play my drums for hours until I was forced to stop. I played so much Green Day. It was awesome!
I imagine it must be a little difficult remembering all the songs in all the different bands you have worked with, how do you manage so many different projects? How do you prepare for shows ?
It’s crazy how the human brain works. I have no clue how I remember everything I play, but I somehow pull it off! It’s pretty hard trying to manage everything. Especially with work, a girlfriend (Olivia, I have to say this, thank you so much for sticking with me for all this time. I seriously could not be in your shoes. I know I can be gone for hours and days at a time, but you’re still there for me when I come home. And I couldn’t be more thankful for your patience with me, babe. Being in a band full time and in a relationship can be very very hard for both of us. But I’m having the best time of my life and I can’t wait for the next day! I love you!) and 3 bands!!!! AM I CRAZY?!?!?!?!?! I don’t think so. Its so much fun. I get to do what I love. I get to play the drums. I love the drums.
Who have been some of your biggest influences?
I have so many influences.
For pure drumming influence, it has to be Tre Cool (Green Day) Jon Theodore (The Mars Volta) Dave Grohl (Mainly his work in QotSA, but really, he is a damn GOD)
For just my influences in general.
Michael Jackson. I should just put his name on this list and be done. Michael’s music has always been a part of my life.
Stevie Wonder. He is in the same spot as MJ. The statement above also goes for Stevie.
The last two influences have to be Jamiroquai and Umphrey’s McGee. So much talent and groove in these bands!
AH: What sets you apart from other drummers in the area?
AP: I don’t think I am by far the best drummer. I could really improve in a lot of areas. But regarding this question, I think the thing that sets me apart the most is my ability to adapt to any genre. I could make a groove out of any song you give me.
AH: What does local music mean to you ?
AP: Local music is the most important thing to me. Ive made most of all my friends through the local music here. Its amazing.
AH: What advice do you have for anyone interested in playing drums or pursuing any creative medium?
AP: Take chances. Push yourself to the next level and don’t ever get yourself down. Confidence is the only thing that has kept me afloat on this crazy ship of music. I wouldn’t be here today if I was afraid to get out and play!
AH: What dreams do you have as far as music goes? Any plans for the future?
AP: My true dream in music is just to be able to play until I die. To tour the country and the world just because of what my hands and feet can do would be the ultimate accomplishment for. My only plan for the future is just enjoying the ride wherever it takes me. I cant wait to see what these next few years have in store for me.
Also, big big big HUGE thanks to Chris Wilson. He is the sole purpose of recording ALL of my work. He is such a great friend of mine and we have made so many memories and a lot of music together! Here’s a glass to the both of us!!! We are also working on his solo project together, so be on the lookout for that!
Again, Thank you so much for letting me answer these question for you! Ive been waiting to answer these for quite sometime!!
Tetra – myspace.com/wearetetra
Andy Asteroids – andyasteroids.bandcamp.com
Belial – belial256.bandcamp.com
Camacho – wearecamacho.bandcamp.com
Some projects Alex is involved with:
When I’m Older – https://whenimolderal.bandcamp.com/releases
Headwires – https://headwires.bandcamp.com/
Main photo by Cameron Flaisch