Denver surf-rock is a thing? Denver surf-rock is a thing.
Make that Aurora surf-rock.
Well, sort of.
Though they reportedly hail from Denver, Tennis technically has at least part of its jangly roots in Aurora thanks to former Aurora resident and lead vocalist Alaina Moore. For those who don’t live on Pitchfork.com, Tennis took the indie rock scene by storm in 2010 with a bouncy debut album Moore wrote with her husband and bandmate Patrick Riley while sailing the eastern seaboard of the U.S. — we know, such a cliché path to success. With three albums since, they’ve polished their sound and continuously sold out shows at iconic venues like the Troubadour in L.A.
Q: So I was a little blown away when you mentioned at the Bluebird that you actually grew up in Aurora.
A: Well, I grew up going to the Bluebird all through high school and I remember just taking Colfax all the way from Aurora straight into Downtown and seeing my favorite bands play. It just feels very crazy and very special to be there myself, which is what compelled me to make that comment.
Q: And you were homeschooled in Aurora?
A: Yes, I was homeschooled, and that’s really the only reason that I play music now. If I had gone to school, I would have gone to Rangeview, that was the district I was in.
Q: Where in the city did you and your family live?
A: I lived for a number of years in Montbello and then we moved to a little neighborhood off of Iliff and Buckley.
Actually, do you know that Chili’s off of 225 and Alameda? I used to work there in high school for like five years and I actually got hit by a car in that parking lot. On my way in to work a car backed into me really fast, and someone eating dinner saw and called 911. When I came to, there were like three fire trucks, and I was totally fine, but they put me on oxygen and paraded me away in an ambulance. Like all of Chili’s, every single person came outside and was staring at me and it was the most horrifying moment of my life and I’ll never forget that time in that Chili’s in Aurora.
Q: Jeez. So other than Chili’s, what was your favorite part about growing up in Aurora?
A: My whole experience of Aurora was colored by the lens of childhood, so I would definitely have to say the park across the street from the house I grew up in — I spent my entire childhood in that park. I feel like Aurora to me just feels like a suburb, but it feels like my suburb. I remember when I first got my license my mom made me draw a map of Aurora with all of the streets on the grid so that I would know my way around. And I don’t know, that just kind of stuck with my forever. There’s something about just knowing something intimately that makes it special.
Q: Do you have any advice for somebody from Aurora hoping to pursue a career in music?
I think that the most important thing is the songs. And then, if you’re writing good songs and you feel like you know where you might fit, one the best things you can do honestly is just create blog recognition. Sometimes I meet people who ask, ‘can you pass my demo onto somebody?’ And I’ll just say, ‘you know, it doesn’t even work like that any more, no one is handed demos.’ The subculture of independent music that lives on the music blogosphere is completely free and self-regulated and in that sense it’s not that hard to get your song to someone who is writing a music blog. All the blogs kind of read each other, so if you can get your song some attention in one place and it goes well, chances are it’s going to be picked up elsewhere. No one gets demos handed to them and no one’s checking out venues to see who’s playing live tonight, they just wait and see what kind of songs rise to the top of the heap on independent music blogs.