On the last date on their UK tour in London, Faye and Nellie had the chance to talk to Alejandro Francisco Suarez Virta Marquin Mercera, more commonly known as Alex Suarez, bassist of Cobra Starship. We got chatting about Cobra’s new album Hot Mess, mentalist fans getting a little too close for comfort, his undying love for t.A.T.u, and a ton more in what he deemed his longest interview ever.
Nellie: Can you say your name and what you do in the band?
Alex: My name is Alex Suarez and I play the lead bass in Cobra Starship.
Faye: Can you say your full name for us?
Alex: Alejandro Francisco Suarez Virta Marquin Mercera.
Faye: So, how’s the UK tour been so far?
Alex: The tour has been awesome, very tiring. [yawns] Sorry. It’s been great, we’ve had a great response, we’re really glad that everybody came back to see us, we thought everyone was going to hate us for cancelling twice but I think everybody kinda understood.
Faye: Is Gabe 100% healthy now?
Alex: I think he’s almost there, he’s doing really well.
Faye: Tell us the most S.C.A.N.D.A.L.O.U.S. thing that has happened on this tour…
Alex: The first day we were in Nottingham and there was this homosexual kid.
Nellie: Oh! Was he there yesterday in London?
Alex: Yeah, he keeps trying to kiss everybody’s necks and he says his friend is British Royalty or whatever, so he took a cab back to Nottingham yesterday from London. They’re really young, I think they’re like 13 or 14, and they both get really pissed and trashed, they’re like kinda crazy. [laughs] He’s just a spunky little guy. They kept trying to get on our bus and we were like, “No, thank you. I’m sorry…”.
Nellie: I’ve heard a rumour that every single day of the tour all the bands have gone shopping?
Alex: I miss everything because I wake up too late and by the time we sound check and stuff, everything’s closed, I don’t get it.
Nellie: So, are you into fashion because I’ve noticed you have the Chanel logo on your bass?
Alex: Well, who isn’t into fashion?
Nellie: Well, lots of people…
Alex: [laughs] Okay, I see your question now. Yeah, I like fashion; they’ve just opened up a Topshop in New York, first US store and it’s awesome. It’s better than the UK one. It’s funny because H&M was the like the place to go in New York, everyone was like, “You’ve gotta go to H&M, it’s so cheap and awesome.” Now it’s everywhere in the States. Everywhere!
Faye: So, you played Slam Dunk Festival, how was that?
Alex: It was amazing, it was awesome.
Nellie: Did you get to see any of the bands play?
Alex: I did, I saw Cash Cash, I watched Hey Monday, I watched You Me At Six, I tried to find Sing It Loud because I play with them on a song but I couldn’t find the stage it was too crazy. I watched my good friends in We The Kings play and they had a fantastic show. I was so proud to see them just fucking kill it so bad, it was awesome.
Alex: You guys like Gallows? They’re sweet.
Faye: Yeah, do you like hardcore music?
Alex: I do, I know Frank a little bit.
Nellie: So, what are your favourite hardcore bands?
Alex: I don’t like a lot of current hardcore bands, to be honest. Lemme see… We’ll come back to that one. Don’t forget, I’ll need to think about that.
Faye: Your new album, Hot Mess, comes out on August 11th, can you tell us a bit about that?
Nellie & Faye: …
Alex: Okay, no I can talk about it. I’m just kidding. It’s kinda like our first record mixed with our second record, but more awesome.
Nellie: Okay, why should we buy it?
Alex: You shouldn’t, just download it form the internet like everybody else does. Well, you’ve already heard Pete Wentz Is The Only Reason We’re Famous, you’ve already heard Good Girls Go Bad, why wouldn’t you wanna buy it? Lemme go ahead and turn the tables around… Now hearing those two songs, would you wanna buy our record?
Nellie: Well, yeah...
Alex: There you go, need I say more?
Faye: Do those two songs summarise the sound of the new album?
Alex: I’d say they’re different in their own aspects and I think we touch on a lot of different kinds of music
Faye: How did collaborating with Leighton Meester come about?
Alex: I have no idea, it just happened.
Nellie: I had no idea she could sing.
Alex: She sings amazingly, I thought she did great.
Nellie: Are you a fan of Gossip Girls?
Alex: I’ve never seen it, I’ve haven’t watched it once. It’s been a pleasure working with Leighton Meester though and, hopefully, we can perform with her one day.
Faye: You also worked with Sam Hollander on the new album, how was that?
Alex: Awesome, we love Sam Hollander and Dave Katz, a.k.a. Sluggo, they’re our boys, they produced our first record.
Nellie: How did the name ‘Sluggo’ come about?
Alex: I asked him that actually, there’s another Dave Katz, and Sluggo was a comic strip character in the newspapers in the US and I think it just became a nickname for him.
Faye: You worked with American Idol judge, Kara DioGuardi, on Hot Mess too…
Alex: Yeah, she’s a shredder, she’s a big songwriter, she works with a lot of people all the time, her schedule is crazy, apparently. She’ll walk into a studio, sit down for a half hour writing session, and she’ll kill it, then leave. Kill it in a good way, like slay it:
Nellie: How did you get to work with her?
Alex: I wasn’t actually there, I was actually here in London when that went down. I was on holiday.
Nellie: We’ve noticed you’re a fan of the Internet, being Suareasy on Twitter, is that your favourite website?
Alex: I like Twitter, it’s alright, it’s fun. I’ll say this, nobody uses MySpace anymore except for checking out music. Nobody has MySpace anymore, it’s crazy, but Twitter is just easier, especially as I play in a band, people like my band, cool, follow me on Twitter. It’s very accesible and easy, I can twit from my cellphone or whatever. So Twitter makes that whole aspect for keeping in touch with fans and dialoguing my life easier.
Faye: Do you like following anyone in particular?
Alex: Yeah, Taylor Swift, all of the Fall Out Boy dudes because we were hanging out a lot on the last tour, William Beckett, Shaquille O’Neal, Kanye sends out really good tweets. I want to find Oprah, I want to try get her to follow me, but I don’t think it’ll happen.
Faye: You’ve just mentioned your tour with Fall Out Boy, the Believers Never Die Part Deux tour, how was it playing in huge venues?
Alex: It was awesome, it was like the Honda Civic tour that we did two summers ago, we just knew everybody on the tour, so it was a lot of fun.
Nellie: Isn’t it a bit weird playing in such big venues?
Alex: I think they’re fun, I never once went to an arena concert until the one with Panic At The Disco, so it’s very exhilarating, really an amazing experience to walk out there and to hear 8,000 people screaming.
Nellie: Do you prefer the rush more or do you prefer more intimate crowds?
Alex: We’re all really tall, so big stages are like more comfortable as far as stepping and not stepping over, I knock over shit all the time. I love playing in small clubs, I love playing medium-sized theatres and I love playing big venues. I love doing it all, I’m just very clumsy and I always bump into and break things.
Faye: Can you describe an average tour day in the life of Alex Suarez?
Alex: I think I’m usually the second to wake up, I wake up at around 11am or 12pm, sometimes 1pm, we go to bed really late. The thing is half of us go to bed at around 2am, so you kinda of have to meet in the middle, ’cause we’re loud, we all live on a bus, it’s small, it’s hard but we manage. So, I wake up, then I brush my teeth because I usually run into people and I don’t want to be all death breath, y’know? Which I kind of think I am right now. Then my first thing is coffee and I’ll surf the internet for a little bit. If we’re headlining, we’ll have sound checks shortly after that, get some lunch, hang out, listen to music, play a show, take a shower, eat dinner if I’m hungry, then usually we’ll go party.
Faye: Have you been partying hard every night on this tour?
Alex: Yeah, pretty much, I had a couple nights off, just because I have to, I don’t even want to party tonight.
Nellie: You’ve got a side-project with Ryland, called, This Is Ivy League, how is that going?
Alex: Actually, Cobra Starship is our side-project, we had that first… Nah, I’m just kidding. [laughs] It’s going, y’know, we’ve only played in New York since we’ve been a band. We tried to book some shows, but we couldn’t do it, we almost did. I think we’re going to record some more stuff when we go home and probably still only play in New York. Everyone wants us to come play London, I’d love to, but I don’t know if we could even get a show here, I don’t know, maybe one day. We’d really like to go to Sweden, we love Sweden. I met a gentleman from Sweden at this bar, and he likes all the same Swedish indie-pop bands that me and Ryland listen to, like from Labrador Records. It’s a really good record label. It’s like twee-indie-pop stuff and they only release Swedish bands, we talked about it all with him last night.
Faye: What is Cobra Starship getting up to after this tour?
Alex: We’re home, we’re finishing our record, a couple little touch ups here and there, and mixing and mastering.
Nellie: Are you proud of it so far? Because the last album, wasn’t released that long ago, do you feel that you have progressed within that short space of time?
Alex: I think so, we’ve all got better. I think, sonically, our new record is going to be awesome. I think the songs are going to be sweet.
Nellie: Is there a song you’re particulary proud of?
Alex: I’m really stoked at how Pete Wentz Is The Only Reason We’re Famous came out.
Nellie: No! You’re supposed to give us an inside peak.
Alex: Oh, well, Good Girls Go Bad.
Alex: I can’t say, that’s a good try, though.
Faye: How many songs are on the new album?
Alex: That I don’t know yet, we’re still trying to figure that out. We wrote like 28-songs, we were done writing, and then took two weeks to go to the mountains in Pennslyvania, we got a cabin, and wrote like another 11.
Faye: When are you next coming to the UK?
Alex: We have no idea, we don’t have any summer plans yet, we don’t have anything.
Faye: Have you thought of any hardcore bands yet?
Alex: Oh, I completely forgot about that, let’s see, hardcore bands… I grew up listening to heavy metal like Metallica and Iron Maiden, but hardcore bands, I feel like you’re not going to know any of the bands that I’m going to name, but I’ll tell you anyway… There’s a really awesome band called Majority Rule and there’s another band from like the same area in Washington, Virginia, called Pg. 99, that was also awesome, and together, from those two bands, they had a band called City of Caterpilla, that was fucking awesome! City of Caterpilla was probably one of the best bands from the late 90s/early 00s, in that scene. There was a really good record label called Level Plane Records, that put out all these bands. Have you ever heard of Daughters?
Faye & Nellie: Yes!
Alex: Those guys are my friends, I love those guys. I think their music is awesome too and The Locusts, Melt-Banana, all those bands. I was into that kinda stuff. I played with all those bands too, back in the day. I used to play in a hardcore-ish-esque band, it was called Kite Flying Society, which is a quote from the movie Rushmore. Actually, this kid called Evan from Philadephia, who I met at the bar last night where I met the Swedish dude, they were friends, we were talking and he asked, “What are you doing here?” and I was like, “I play in this band, Cobra Starship.” and he was like, “No way! That’s crazy.”, then we got talking about all these bands. Turns out he was a really big fan of my old band, Kite Flying Society, which not a lot of people know about because we weren’t that big. He went crazy, like “Shut the fuck up!” [laughs] It was a real broment.
Faye: Does your old band have a MySpace?
Alex: Yeah, it’s www.myspace.com/kiteflyingsocietysucks.
Faye: Change the record, who should we be listening to?
Alex: Let me look at my iPod real quick, I’ll tell you right now… I’ve been a fan of them for a while, but lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Daft Punk. I’ve actually been re-visiting all the old Elliot Smith records lately. Oh, The Phenomenal Handclap Band, it’s a mouthful, but they are awesome! They’re from Brooklyn, they are fucking sweet, dude. They’re so good, I love their record, it’s one of my favourite records that came out last year.
Faye: Do have anything embarrassing on it?
Alex: Oh, you know what I have on here that’s emabarrassing, t.A.T.u! I love t.A.T.u. [Begins to sing All The Things She Said] My friend when to Russia, in 2000, and brought back the t.A.T.u CD before they got really popular. I guess they were popular in Russia, but they didn’t have an American release yet then. We learned all the Russian lyrics. [Sings the chorus of All The Things She Said in Russian] I guess they’re not embarrassing because I do genuinely like it. What else do I have on here that’s embarrassing… I have Toto, I guess that’s kind of embarrassing, but they’re kind of legendary. Oh, Yelle, she’s from France, she’s awesome.
Nellie: Are there any British artists you’ve been listening to?
Alex: You know who I’m really excited to see? I think they’re playing a festival over here and in Japan as well, is Franz Ferdinand. I love them! I thought they were always awesome and really cool, I haven’t heard the new record yet, but I’m excited to finally see them for the first time.
Nellie: I think we’re pretty much done.
Faye: Is there anything else you want to say?
Alex: Nope, I think we’ve covered my whole life, that’s the longest interview I’ve ever done.
Cobra Starship’s new album Hot Mess is out August 11th.