Sometimes the band name defines the band, and in others, the sound defines the name. In the case of Oklahoma City trio Aliens Vs. Robots, it’s a little bit of both.
“It came from our music, from what I thought the music sounded like,” bassist David Steele said. “We were playing our song ‘Invasions’ and I said, ‘You know what that sounds like? Aliens and robots fighting, like a space battle or something.’” Added drummer Jonathan Childress, “All of us looked at each other with wide eyes, smiling. We knew that was it.”
“The epic battle had begun,” singer/guitarist Nicholas Campbell said, as they all broke into laughter.
The longtime friends first formed as Alpha Whiskey — not all that bad of a moniker — but Aliens Vs. Robots seems to really suit the explosive garage-rock style they’d been honing since 2006.
The three had been plotting this out long before, stemming from their days as friends back in middle school when they first discovered the nowiconic New York City garage band The Strokes.
“We’d been talking and thinking about it for a really long time, and as soon as I got my drums, we had all the pieces and got started,” Childress said.
The trio learned how to play together, gritting their collective teeth through admittedly rough early sessions that often hinged on playing the same song for upward of two hours.
“None of us had been in bands before, so we had to sort of learn together,” Steele said. “It took us two years before we even felt comfortable enough to play in front of people, but I’m happy that we’ve done this all together and grown at the same pace.”
Consistency — holding two-hour practices three times a week — helped forge a more refined sound that has launched the band from Campbell’s parents’ garage to another galaxy with a distinct and original cosmic rock style.
Playing Friday at VZD’s, the nowseasoned AVR looks forward to invading more and more ears with a nearly finished album, all of five years in the making.
“We wanted the right songs and right sound,” Childress said. “We just now got to that point.”
Added Campbell, “I’m glad we’ve waited so long, though, because now we are going to put out some quality material, instead of some of the old material. It shows our beginning. We want this out here so people can have it, and then release another album real quick afterwards. This is bare-bones, then the next one is Aliens Vs. Robots cleaned up.”
We wanted the right songs and right sound. We just now got to that point.
Although frustrated it took so long — not for a lack of songs, but wherewithal — and how that has held them back, the future that should bring two releases in (relatively) close succession has the guys looking upward and onward, promising that the battle will never stop.
“You’ve got to think of it in the sense of ‘Terminator’ versus ‘Predators,’” Campbell said, deciding whether aliens or robots would come out victorious. “Do you think anybody would win? I don’t think anybody does; I think it’s an endless struggle.”
Said Steele, “They are always going to be fighting as long as we are playing music.”
“When that day comes,” Campbell said, “we’ll tell you.”