Rocks Off reached out to the artists playing this year's Houston Press Music Awards showcase Sunday, August 5, and asked them to introduce themselves. Here's what they sent back.
Rocks Off: When and where was your first gig in Houston, and how did it go?
Alkari: In Alkari's current form our first gig was a keg party at our practice space in 2006. We played about six songs in front of 75 or so of our friends and the other two bands we invited to play. It was a blast, and we knew we were onto something.
RO: What Houston-area venues do you play most often?
A: In the last year it has been Fitzgerald's. We've gotten to open up for a national band downstairs (Miniature Tigers) and we've played a couple of great shows upstairs, including our CD release show in May [for HPMA-nominated Blackout Falls]. But we try to play to as many different Houston clubs as possible.
RO: How often do you play in the area?
A: Throughout 2011 we were recording a lot, and we cut playing live shows down a lot during that time. This year we've spent the first half of it planning our CD release along with playing an unofficial party show at SXSW.
The CD Release party upstairs at Fitzgerald's was amazing, from the great crowd to the other bands to the staff at Fitzgerald's. We try to make each Houston show special and put a lot of time in to promote.
Our goal now is to play Austin and Dallas and Louisiana through show trades, so we will probably mostly play show trades in the next year unless we get a chance to play with national acts or play festivals.
RO: Describe your sound in eight words or less.
A: Wide-screen anthemic epic rock with heartfelt, thoughtful songwriting.
RO: How did you come up with your name?
A: Alkari is the name of a race of fighting birds from the video game Masters of Orion. The name seems to fit even though hardly anyone knows what it means. So, like our music, it's kind of up to the listener to figure it out.
RO: Where would you like yourself or your band to be in one year? Ten years? Forty?
A: In the next year we'd like to play around Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma as much as we can. If we caught someone's ear, we'd love to tour opening for a national act - as unlikely as that is...
We'd like to open for like-minded bands touring through Houston. We'd love to get some of our songs on college radio and sell all the CDs and T-shirts we just made. It's hard to think much further out than that, but it would be great to record another album someday. Recording is a fun fantasyland adventure for us.
RO: What is one thing you'd like to do (as a musician) before you pack it in?
A: Hang out with Paul McCartney after playing Coachella on the same bill.
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Alkari plays the HPMA showcase 7 p.m. Sunday, August 5 at Reserve 101, 1201 Caroline.