When I first met Aye Nako before their sound-check at Music Hall of Williamsburg for Red Bull Sound Select: NYC, my first impression was they looked like a group of high school kids to me. Yet their styles raised my interest which made me want to know more about them. I knew there was something special inside these young souls. So here we are in Brooklyn talking to Mars, the vocalist of this NYC-based new band, about their background, inspiration and how to read their band name (I heard at least 4 different versions of the pronunciation before speaking to them).
M: Mars from Aye Nako D: Dinosaur Journal
D: Where do you get your band name from and what does it mean? How to pronounce it correctly?
M: “eye nuh-ko”. It comes from the sort of things my mom and other Filipino women would yell at me as a kid. It’s sort of like saying “Oh gosh!”.
D: Can you briefly introduce your band?
M: Aye Nako has existed for several years. The world may never hear our very first demo from 2008. The current line-up has been so for about a year: Angie on drums and back up vocals, Joe on bass, Jade on guitar and back up vocals, and Me (Mars) on main vocals and guitar.
D: What’s the musical influence of Aye Nako?
M: We all have different tastes and picked up different styles of playing our respective instruments, but we do find some overlapping musical influences. I think we all have a great appreciation for the noisy alternative sound of the 90s, namely, Hole and Superchunk.
D: What about your inspiration? It can be anything, a band, a person, an event or even an object…
M: My life inspiration? I’m not sure how to answer that — I’m inspired by so much.
D: How does it feel to share the same stage with punk rock veterans The Bouncing Souls and Brian Fallon?
M: It was a fun show. I was hoping we’d at least get to meet them backstage, but it didn’t happen. I admitted during our set that I was in a Bouncing Souls cover band maybe 7 years ago. Wasn’t sure at first how receptive the crowd would be to our band, but for the rest of the night after we played, a lot of people came up to us and said some really nice things.
D: As a three-girls-one-boy band, do you think the boy will gain all the attention? You know like Blondie, as the only girl in the band, Debbie Harry gains most of the attention all these years…
M: Are you assuming our bassist is the boy in the band who might gain all the attention? I think people could jump to conclusions, perhaps when hearing my voice, that it’s a woman’s voice, but I am most definitely a guy and nope, I don’t think that I will gain all the attention. We’re not like Blondie in the slightest and we’re not a three-girls-one-boy band. It’s more complicated than that. We’re a band with queer, trans and mixed race identities.
Well, I’m really impressed by Mars’ answer of the last question. Hope this lovely young band can make it far enough to reach more audience outside the States with their music.