Alliteration Interview -By: Josh Reedy
Written by Staff on July 25, 2022
Xavier Anderson, Michael Rodriguez, and Ryan Kealty are Alliteration, a heavy alternative band from Poughkeepsie who are known for their blistering live performances. The trio released their full-length “Reject” near the end of 2021. I sat down with to discuss upcoming splits, pizza-shop shows and their recent signing to Paintbox Records.
RRX: You guys have been around for what, seven years at this point? And your latest release was last year?
MR: Yeah it was October 2021.
XA: There were so many things that happened in those two months, we played our album release show in November, I remember.
MR: I remember because I did Inktober for my art. I’m trying to learn how to do tattoos; I’ve been tattooing oranges so far. I’m getting there (laughs).
RRX: And what number LP is that for you guys?
XA: Technically two but we like to think of it as the first one. We put out a seven-track thing before that.
KR: It’s like, too long for an EP and too short for an album. But Spotify tells us this recent album is our second album.
MR: I think that stuff depends on who or what you are. If you’re in a progressive metal band and you write five songs, they’re not going to be under 20 minutes.
KR: And a grindcore band could make a 40 track EP in under 10 minutes.
XA: Anyway, I wish it was our first album.
RRX: No love for the first release?
KR: It’s just that it’s old and we were 19. I think it was 2016.
RRX: Are you already working on new stuff as well?
XA: Since everyone else has already talked about it, I’ll mention it; we’re working on a split right now but I won’t mention all the bands just yet.
KR: We were gearing up to do a split with three other bands, two tracks each so It’d be about eight tracks. We have two tracks recorded right?
XA: We have one track recorded. My computer messed up and I lost an entire song. There’s no bass, no guitar but we still have the drums at least. I was 80% done.
RRX: That is heartbreaking. Outside of the split, anything else?
KR: The split got pushed back so we’re gonna record another song. We think we’re just gonna put out some singles and maybe arrange another split in the meantime.
RRX: The single game is definitely very viable these days, a lot to do with attention spans, I think. But you guys have a special sound that draws attention quickly. You guys have a great blend of heavy and alternative, what’s sound going forward.
XA: I write a lot of the stuff, and we’re kind of sticking with a lot of what we’ve done so far – outside of that early seven track release.
KR: What we refer to as “the Alliteration canon” is the 2018 EP and forward. That’s where we really found our sound.
RRX: Would you guys say that your songwriting process is more focused on the live aspect?
In unison: Yes.
RRX: I think the vocals are unique as well, where do the lyrics and style come from?
XA: The lyrics? Depression (laughs). Vocals, I grew up listening to a little Rage Against the Machine. We all listen to a lot of Microwave and PUP’s first two albums.
RRX: Are you all from the Poughkeepsie area?
XA: Yeah, it’s time to tell the story.
KR: Xavier is from Poughkeepsie proper. Mike and I are both from a suburb about 20 minutes outside of Poughkeepsie. I met Mike at BJs and met X at community college. X found out I play bass and scream sometimes.
XA: I found out he had done screaming vocals and was like, “What? You’re so nice though, stop it!”
KR: At the first practice, Mike was like, “I really don’t want to be in another band.” but at the very end he was into it.
MR: Because it was cool! I didn’t think you guys would be that cool! But look where we are now.
RRX: And Xavier, I’ve heard your solo stuff but what else do you guys have going on?
XA: Mike and I have huddle. which is kind of a hardcore thing? A lot of it is slower.
MR: I am the vocalist in that project. I’ve been writing lyrics based on Bojack Horseman.
RRX: Ah, so more depression.
MR: Yes! Depression is basically the fourth band member.
RRX: So, what’s the Poughkeepsie scene like? What’s the main place for your type of music?
MR: Mainstay has always been hardcore.
KR: It’s pretty dead here but they still book tons of hardcore bands.
XA: New Paltz is pretty relevant for our genre, but COVID shut a lot of stuff down.
KR: There was a lot of pop-punk and easycore leading up to 2016 as well.
MR: My Place Pizza was the venue.
XA: My Place was always big but it really blew up a bit later.
RRX: Is this a functioning pizzeria that people threw shows in?
XA: It is now just a pizza place but before it was a pizza place owned by this guy called Six Seven who would just throw these free shows and people would buy pizza.
KR: And he and his employees were very into music so sometimes they’d come in and play right after doors before most people showed up.
RRX: Let’s talk about Paintbox, you guys were recently added to their lineup?
XA: Yeah, they reached out, and we had other labels reach out. We had to talk about it because some of the other labels reached out and asked us to do stuff that we didn’t really want to do. But they (Paintbox) were all really cool.
KR: Years ago this local label reached out and it seemed cool at first, but you had to go to a specific studio with a specific guy which would have cost us about 3000 dollars for an EP.
XA: It was mostly the money, It would probably have come out good, they were just asking for a lot. But Paintbox is just a group of people, like a collective that works together.
MR: And that was the appeal to us, they were like “You do your thing and if you need help, we got you.” It feels like bands that are actively helping each other.
KR: They’ve all been really supportive.
RRX: So, what are your impressions of the Albany area?
KR: We played a show at Pauly’s with Hubris Djinn and I remember a bunch of stuff went wrong. My amp started smoking halfway through the show and I sent it to a place, and they kept it for eight months and didn’t fix it.
XA: But no, to get back on topic, the Albany scene is pretty wild. We had only had that one pre-pandemic show with Hubris Djinn but now it’s been great.
KR: I’m glad we got up there now, when we’re more experienced and people already know the words to our songs.
RRX: Before I close out, anything you guys want to say?
KR: Shout out to the people at Paintbox, Noelle from Doors at Seven and the Faucet crew. Shout out to Casey and Kevin specifically. And Peter Herrick
MR: I want to add that we are working on screen printing and doing patches as well.
The band: @alliteration_ny