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Rising Music Stars Simon and Paul Thompson of Alvarez Kings: “For a society to progress and for art to get better there needs to be more diverse creators leading the charge”

(Paul) Diversity in any form of entertainment is essential. Firstly, you have to think about the creativity that arises from a melting pot of different cultures and ethnicity. Some of the greatest films and music have come from this.People have been demanding for more inclusive entertainment to reflect a wider range of individuals and their […]

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(Paul) Diversity in any form of entertainment is essential. Firstly, you have to think about the creativity that arises from a melting pot of different cultures and ethnicity. Some of the greatest films and music have come from this.

People have been demanding for more inclusive entertainment to reflect a wider range of individuals and their tastes. Take for example more recently Black Panther whose which is obviously more marketed towards African Americans and African culture and history.

For a society to progress and for art to get better there needs to be more diverse creators leading the charge.


As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Simon and Paul Thompson of Alvarez Kings.

Four lads from South Yorkshire, UK who gleefully share their moniker with an infamous old school South American gang, Alvarez Kings summon pop power through timeless analog synth and guitar magic. The quartet — brothers Simon [vocals, guitar] and Paul Thompson [bass, keys, backup vocals], Aidan Thompson [guitar, keys, production], and Richard Walker [drums, samples, pads] — has quietly built up an international buzz since their 2012 formation.

BBC Radio proclaimed “No Resolve” the “Single of the Year,” while they impressed audiences at Isle of Wight and O2 Wireless Festival in addition to show-stopping stints on the Vans Warped Tour in 2013 and 2015 and support tours with Melanie Martinez, PVRIS, and Echosmith. Their 2015 EP, Fear To Feel, expanded their foothold in the U.S. Spotify featured the title track on coveted playlists such as The Indie Mix and Ultimate Indie Playlist, notching 40K streams in less than 12 hours and eventually amassing over 6M and counting. Meanwhile, they drew acclaim from Billboard, Huffington Post, and more.

In 2016 the band signed their first record deal with Warner Bros and, preceded by the introductory focus track “Sleepwalking Pt.II”, released their full-length debut, Somewhere Between in 2017. Recorded by Grammy Award-winning producer Carlos De La Garza [Paramore, M83] and recorded at Ocean Studios in LA the album was received with glowing reviews.

Up until 2018, the band toured their debut extensively, playing sold-out headline shows across Europe, UK and the United States along with some of their biggest festival appearances to date including Firefly and Summerfest. In 2019 they began working on their second studio album, which is currently anticipated for a 2020 release.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Mybrother Paul and I grew up on a quiet working-class cul-de-sac. We were both aimless in life never really enjoying school. And then we found music which sent us down a path to where we are today.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

(Paul) I remember our neighbor had a gig in a school hall which me and Paul attended. It was our first taste of live music. It was during the height of nu-metal. They were doing Deftones and Korn covers and people were losing their minds. I thought to myself that looks like a fun job and I can also be the center of attention which I always tried to be anyway.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

(Simon) The most infamous one was me getting stuck in Canada whilst we were on Warped Tour. I had some implications with my Visa so the band had to carry on without me for a few weeks with Echosmith stepping in on vocals for me.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

(Simon) Well at the minute we are finalizing our second record which has been very creatively fulfilling.

It has been a strange process when the world went into lockdown during COVID-19 but we made the best of a strange situation. It would involve long Skype sessions and back and forth with different production techniques but ultimately we are more than happy with the results.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

(Paul) Diversity in any form of entertainment is essential. Firstly, you have to think about the creativity that arises from a melting pot of different cultures and ethnicity. Some of the greatest films and music have come from this.

People have been demanding for more inclusive entertainment to reflect a wider range of individuals and their tastes. Take for example more recently Black Panther whose which is obviously more marketed towards African Americans and African culture and history.

For a society to progress and for art to get better there needs to be more diverse creators leading the charge.

What is “1 thing I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example.

(Simon) Our first record deal was with a major record label. The one thing we regret is not putting our foot down more. Sticking to what we wanted. Voicing our opinions more strongly. We put too much blind faith in the opinions of others and not in what brought us to the dance in the first place.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

(Paul) We were suffering from burn-out while touring our last album. It was an intense schedule not only being on the road but the moment we jumped off the plane we’d all have to go back to day jobs as we were still up-and-coming and still need to pay for a roof over our heads.

We were 4 mates suddenly thrown on the road around America and Europe and we partied very hard. Too many late nights and drinking and substance abuse issues. This led to frayed tensions within the band. Make sure you control these things and the people around you. Positivity comes from support from those around you so it’s always best to keep a healthy relationship with everyone.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

(Paul) I think it’s very important and topical to speak in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. We all need to educate more. We are consciously trying to spread the word and hopefully, in our small, educate fans and increase awareness through our socials and commentary. It’s so inconceivable to us that racism still exists in 2020 that it infuriates me.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

(Simon) Our Dad has played a big role in getting us to where we are today. He used to drive us around to shows and spent a fortune on musical equipment for us. We’d be getting back home when daylight was breaking after playing shows in London and he was the one having to drive us back up North.

How can our readers follow you online?

(Simon) You can follow us on the usual suspects. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter at AlvarezKings.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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