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Alex from Cobra Starship Sings Cher and More

Interview with Alex Suarez from Cobra Starship conducted at Mohegan Sun Arena on April 29th, 2009

Harris Decker: Hi Alex, I was hoping you could summarize in a couple of sentences where the band came from and where the bands name came from?

Alex Suarez: Yeah, I’ll try and simplify it all as much as I can but it’s a very complicated story. Let me see. Gabe used to play in a band called Midtown and started a side project and had a couple songs written, put together Cobra Starship through some friends and other people and that’s how Ryland and I joined the band. He had met Nate on tour and Victoria came, uh, later just through some people that we know.

H: Okay so just connections basically, you guys just kind of found each other?

A: Yeah. Basically. Pretty much through people. I mean, most of us are in New York anyways so like, it’s very small. New York is a tiny, tiny city. And through everybody that we knew. Being, kind of, like, in the same scene or whatever. And then the name, uh I believe Gabe started a- like a gang with some friends on Warped Tour called the Cobras and he had a jacket that said “Starship Disco” on it…Cobra Starship.

H: Cool. That’s one of the more unique ways to form a band name. I don’t know how much experience you personally had but the band as a whole, worked a lot with Pete Wentz and with Travis from Gym Class Heroes on the Snakes on a Plane soundtrack. Could you just talk about what it was like working with them, what experiences did you have?

A: I mean they’ve been like friends- I mean we weren’t a band yet by the time the Snakes on a Plane song, Gabe had the song. That was one of the few songs he already had written. Got the song for the movie. Then formed the band. Put out a record and we’ve been touring non-stop ever since. So, since then we have toured with Gym Class Heroes and done tons of shows with them. They’re really good friends of ours. We’ve done a bunch of tours with Fall Out Boy, The Academy Is, and so it’s just kind of like- it’s really nice- like, I mean Decaydance, the Decaydance records family is kind of just like a family.

H: Real tight?

A: Yeah, exactly. It’s kind of like a gang almost. Like a group. Just like the way hip hop labels are where like all their artists are really tight and do all these collaborations together and stuff

H: You have a new album coming out, is that correct?

A: We do have a new album coming out

H: What can we expect? Anything really new? Or more along the same path?

A: Some new. Some along the same path. I mean, I think it’s gonna be a nice mesh of our first record and our second record. We’re very into electronic beats and keyboards and sound effects. We’re also really into big drums and guitars and screaming vocals. There’s kind of like a mix of everything in there. It’s gonna be pretty dope.

H: Cool. So, you’re on Twitter. (Alex was actually on Twitter for a moment at this point in the interview, that is what prompted the question so abruptly)

A: Mhmm.

H: I’m curious, what has your experience been like with Facebook and Twitter and Myspace and Youtube, all these different social networking sites? What is it like connecting with your fans in this, new way? Now with Twitter you can tell your fans, almost every hour of the day, if you felt like it, what you’re doing and how has that been?

A: Um, I like Twitter. It’s a lot more convenient for me because, doing Myspace on your phone is a pain in the butt. So Twitter’s kinda sweet. And I feel like since I got my Twitter, I don’t even have to do Myspace anymore. Cause I mean, not that I don’t have to it’s just like not nearly as busy I guess as Twitter is cause Twitter’s like the new big thing now. I don’t have a Facebook. There’s, like, fake ones I guess. A couple of fakes one roaming around. So, I don’t even know how to use- like I’ve tried to go around to it and not even know what the hell I’m looking at when I look at the website. So, I was just like, “I’m not going to make one of these.”

H: But, that’s probably what makes Twitter nice, that it’s easy.

A: Right. It’s very easy and I can just do it from my phone and I get all the replies and direct messages and stuff from people. So it’s pretty fun. I like it.

H: And your fans you think have been responsive to that? They’re really into that?

A: I think so, yeah.

H: Obviously you’re on an amazing tour right now. The bands you guys are with, I think this is one of the better tours in the last couple years.

A: For sure.

H: Have you had any really big, stories or anything? Are there other bands you have shared the stage with, maybe something unique, someone you weren’t planning on touring with but the show came up?

A: We did a bunch of cool festivals two summers ago and that was just really awesome because we didn’t know, about who was playing or what and like we got to see Smashing Pumpkins, Arcade Fire, Chris Cornell, I was pretty into Soundgarden back in the day, you know. We haven’t really toured with anybody that’s been like legendary besides Fall Out Boy that we’ve been like, “Oh we get to tour with you know like Propaghandi” or something like that

H: How was it like touring with such a big name?

A: Oh, this kinda tour. This is awesome. This is really sweet. It’s just like we already knew all the bands on the tour. So it’s just been like a massive hangout so it’s pretty awesome.

H: I’ve heard that from a lot of people say that, you know, that when you’ve been touring with a band for a certain amount of time it just turns into like a big party.

A: Yeah, Like Ryland and I are recording metal with Joe Trohman (Fall Out Boy). Was this side project we tried to do on the Honda Civic Tour two years ago but it didn’t work out just cause everybody was really busy and it’s called “Guitarded” although we think we might change our name because there’s a Limp record called “Guitarded.”

H: Okay. Don’t wanna mess with Limp?

A: Yeah, we’re just not- we’re not totally stoked on that. When we heard that we were like, “oh, we might wanna pick something else.”

H: Yeah when you Google search something you want that to be the first thing that comes up.

A: You don’t want it to be the second thing.

H: Do you have like a wish list of bands for the future? Is there a band that you’re like “Oh my god, I’d love to tour with them.”?

A: Umm, in this scene in particular I think it’d be really awesome, I think if we did a tour with Paramore. I think that’d be really fun.

H: Yeah, I could totally see that

A: We met them a couple of times and they were really nice and I think that’d be a really cool tour

H: I would dig that. If you had to give advice to someone who’s in a band that’s where you guys were maybe 3 years ago, what would you tell them?

A: Uh, You know its funny cause I guess like we weren’t even a band 3 years ago; we’ve only been a band for, like, almost 3 years. Really close. But, like, that is different because I think our situation, like, Gabe already had the connections and stuff but as myself, a musician who wasn’t really, you know, doing big tours like this or anything, I mean, I used to do van tours and just play house shows like a long time ago.

H: No shame in that

A: No shame in that. Are you kidding me? There’s a huge, huge respect for that, that I have. So it’s just like-I just never stopped. Keep playing. You know, eventually, you’ll meet the right people and it’s all about, who you know, who you get hooked up with and stuff so hopefully. We were on tour a couple of years ago and there was this guy that came to one of our shows, this dude Scott and he’s like, “Hey man.” He’s like, “I’m in college right now. I love your band. I love Fall Out Boy. I love Academy. I love Gym Class.” He’s like, “It’s my dream to work at Decaydance Records.” He works at Decaydance Records now. I was like, “That’s awesome, like, I really hope it works out for you, man.” He’s like, “Yeah.” He’s like “I’m gonna try to hit ‘em up.” And I’m like, “Dude.” I’m like, “all you can do is hit em up.” Or whatever and I got back 6 months later and after, like, a bunch of touring and stuff and I went in the office and there he is. You get out of it what you put into it. And, uh, if you really wanna try and pursue it just don’t stop trying and sometimes it happens when you’re not even trying at all

H: I actually used Twitter and have some fan questions for you.

A: Okay.

H: What is the most embarrassing song on your iPod?

A: Oh, man. I don’t even know if I consider it embarrassing but I think that other people would but it’s a song I like to play and it’s a song called “Believe” by Cher

H: Okay, that’s not so bad.

A: (At this point Alex begins to sing the following) “Do you believe in life after love, after love,” (He actually sounds pretty good singing it).

H: (laughs) Okay. I know the song. My mom is a big fan.

A: Yeah! Everybody’s mom is a big fan!

H: That’s true. I guess there’s no mom that isn’t.

A: I remember, I was also DJ’ing not too long ago and I was in New York at Beauty Bar, I don’t how well you know Manhattan…

H: Yeah, pretty well.

A: Okay, there’s a couple Beauty Bars here and there. They’re really fun little parties. And, uh, just every thing’s going great and everybody’s dancing and having a good time and I was, kinda drunk already. It was, like, two in the morning. I was DJ’ing for like two hours at that point and I was like –whispers- “I gotta do it.” Bam! And everybody was just like (simulates a crowd roaring) “ahhhhhhh”. It was really funny. Everybody got really into it.

H: Another fan question. What are your favorite snacks? Whether on the road or at home?

A: You know, ever since I’ve started touring I’ve stopped eating Peanut Butter and Jelly and I’m kinda sick of chips and salsa but I’ll eat it every now and again. My favorite snacks, I really love those little, uh, like, Japanese rice crackers with the seaweed wrapped around em. You know what I’m talking about the little rice sticks or whatever?

H: Yeah!

A: Love those. Those are probably one of my favorite things. And, uh, what the hell are those things? We get em from Trader Joes…They’re like, uh, these little like, crispy oatmeal cookies that are like insane. They’re fucking out of control.

H: I’ll have to check them out.

A: Yeah.

H: Now, I don’t know how much you know about this, I honestly didn’t know much about the situation to begin with. Someone on Twitter asked me about Victoria and the encounter with someone through Twitter at a nail salon, do you know anything about this?

A: I’m not really sure what happened. I just heard about it. It happened on this tour.

H: Oh, it did?

A: I think this is what happened. It’s pretty recent. I just know that she comes back one day and she got her nails done with a couple of fans.

H: Okay. Something through Twitter apparently?

A; Yeah, something through Twitter. Like, I’ll tweet about, like, “Hey I’m gonna go hang by the merch stand if you wanna say hi.” And I’ll go hang out and people come over.

H: Cool. The last fan question I had was, do you ever have like a change of feeling when you’re playing a hometown? So, you play like Madison Square Garden, or you play Webster Hall, do you get like a different feeling when you’re on stage?

A: When I’m onstage, I’m onstage. Okay, so yes and no. It depends. For me it’s more different when, I go to where my parents live in Florida. When I play down there cause I’m like, “Oh that’s cool, my parents are here” But it’s kinda just like you know they’re proud and everything so it’s a little more rewarding, I’m not like nervous about it. When I’m in New York it’s probably more of like an anxiety attack because like it’s crazier here cause. Like, guest list is like a mess because all our friends wanna come out and then it’s like label representatives and management and stuff. So we’re just like overwhelmed with like people hitting you up all day, you know? So its just like, I love playing New York and I hate it at the same time

H: I totally can understand that.

A: It’s like imagine going home for the holidays every time you’re on tour at least twice cause where my parents live and then when you’re home it’s that, that whole weight on your shoulders but it’s awesome, I love- I guess there’s a little more; it’s a little sweeter playing at home.

H: Are you a big Blink 182 or Green Day fan?

A: I liked Blink and I liked Green day but I can’t say I was a massive, massive fan but I’m glad Blink’s getting back together. I think that’s really cool and Green Day’s got a new record coming out. That’s pretty sweet

H: Absolutely. I sometimes have people choose…

A: Oh, I’d pick Green Day. I remember when, when “Dookie” was pretty massive and I used to watch the “Basket Case” video every day before 8th grade.

H: That’s a good way to get yourself up.

A: Oh yeah. That video and “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden were the two videos that- they were like back to back all day long on MTV at the same time and I remember those days.

H: Good times the 90’s

A; Yeah exactly.

H: Do you have any like, really cool stories from this tour? Anything you would want to share?

A: Oh, I feel like, I had a really good story the other day too that I told in a different interview. I don’t know. Maybe I can think of something else that happened that was really sweet. Um. It’s all kind of just blurring out right now.

H: Where do you go from here, what’s after this tour?

A: The day after this tour we have that night off and then we fly to the UK and then we’re doing two weeks over there.

H: Oh, okay.

A: With Sing it Loud. Have you heard of them?

H: Oh, yeah. I’m actually seeing them on May 1st I think.

A: Oh, cool. Well whoever you interview, if you interview them, you tell them I said hello.

H: I will.

A: Whether it be Ben…or any of those dudes.

H: I thought their premier album was awesome.

A: Yeah. It’s really fun. Really fun. I went and saw them at Highland Ballroom in New York not that long ago. It was great.

H: Yeah, they’re playing up at Webster Theater in Connecticut.

A: Oh, yeah. Cool. I was born in Connecticut.

H: Where?

A: Stanford.

H: Very nice.

A: The tape recorder can’t see that right?

H: No.

A: Ah, just kidding.

H: (laughs) Alex did not give it the thumbs down (laughs).

A: Ahhhhhhh. I’m just kidding.

H: Is there anything else you wanted to tell your fans?

A: Yeah. We just wanted to say that we’re really excited about our new record. It’ll be out this summer. We don’t have a specific date yet but sometime summer 2009. This summer and, uh, that’s it. We’re really excited about it. We are gonna be shooting a video later this week for our first single and uh we hope everybody likes it.

H; Yeah, I’m looking forward to getting the record and checking it out.

A: Yeah. For sure. We’re really pumped for it.

H: Alright that’s all I got for you.

A: Well, thank you very much

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