Rock and Roll is Key to the Pursuit of Happiness
Aliens Don’t Ring Doorbells took the music they know and love, all of what inspires them, and some fateful timing and turned it into a fantastic debut record.
Haven’t you heard? Aliens don’t ring doorbells. Although not a fact, to the band whose name stylized the assumption as Aliens Don’t Ring Doorbells, it makes perfect sense that an alien would not simply show up at your house and courteously ring your doorbell. That being said, it is no assumption that the amazingly catchy, classic rock influenced tunes the band creates are of otherworldly caliber. There is an enthusiasm for making music and collaborating together within this trio’s spirits that is unmatched. Arrival, the band’s debut album, puts that on full display.
Since listening to the brand new 12-track record and having this lovely chat with guitarist and vocalist Dorian Foyl, I’ve come to know and love Arrival, as well as the band behind it that is creating pop rock filled with heart, authenticity, storytelling, and everything in between. When a band is using toe-tapping, air-guitar-worthy music to help answer as to why we, humans, are on Earth, you can be sure that their creativity is on another level… a foreign, almost-alien level.
There has been an obvious motif of space throughout the band’s career thus far between your name, of course, the album being titled Arrival, and you even have a music video set in space. What drew you guys to this concept and what made you want to streamline it through all of your work?
Well, the name of the band came about in a random way through a situation that I had with my young boys. We were sitting on a subway platform in New York and a man was randomly talking to himself and was wandering down the platform to shovel an old man. He turned to my middle son who was six years old at the time and said “You know, it’s because aliens don’t ring doorbells,” and then he turned around and just walked down the platform, continuing to talk to himself. I just continued to remember that one. It stuck with me for a couple of years, then we came together and had this idea to start the band and decided to use it as our name. We used the whole phrase as all one word, aliensdontringdoorbells. It’s somewhat of an obvious fact that they probably wouldn’t and that they also may be wandering around right now. I mean, there’s so many sightings and things of that nature. I think it’s an interesting topic to be honest, to see what we as our species, sitting here on the planet, what our place in the whole universe is – or even in other universes. There may be an infinite number out there to see what impact we have. To some extent, one of the songs on the album touches on some of these concepts of what our place is within the whole structure of the whole universe.
Our view was that our place is really almost a material in the whole structure of the universe that we, as a people and as a species are somewhat random. We have a certain existence, but are in a situation where we have a solar system with a weak sun and this planet earth occasionally has the ability to support life as we know it. In that sense, that’s a little bit of a random occurrence as to why we’re here. So our point is, for that reason you know, the real purpose for our existence – it seems to us anyway – is the pursuit of happiness. One of those small pieces of happiness is playing rock and roll.
There are quite a few things that we can come out and talk about. To be honest, I’ve always been a big scifi fan. I’ve seen all the big movies and read a lot of the great books. It is always new and fascinating to learn from and I think you’ll see that come to life in our music videos that are coming up. We have 12 tracks on the album and each one will have a music video, but only some of them have been released so far. In fact, one of them, the first one “story,” won Music Video of the Year by the London Independent Film Association, so it’s starting to get some traction. One that is coming out in early November for the song “daylight” also has this sort of alien theme, so I would say there’s just a lot of area to explore with this concept, to be honest.
Absolutely, and I’m really excited that there’s going to be music videos for all of the songs, because I think that while they all tell one story, they also each tell their own individual stories. I found listening to the album that it seemed as though it was very intricately chosen when it came to the order of the track list. Is that something that you guys worked hard on creating?
Yes, absolutely. You’re actually right there. Well, spotted, Debra. We opened it up with “consummation,” a great little rocking song, and we end the album with a song called “this is me,” which has a kind of a rally call, stadium anthem style, so to speak. It had to be sung at the end. There was very much a choice of what songs came through the album. This is actually a very good question because people listening to albums all the way through is not something that has been done for a number of decades. When I was a kid, that’s what we used to do: just wear out the albums from start to finish. This is one of those albums that you could do that again with. We hope that people will do that. The vinyl album, which is available online, has a booklet in it, and it’s done in a sort of way that harks back to the glory days of when you could have an album that opens up with a big poster in there. It’s got all these little bits and bobs and extra things in there like a wonderful lyric booklet with commentary so that you could peruse while you’re listening to the album. We hope that some people will take advantage of that and do that.
I love the idea that it’s kind of classic and timeless with the physicality of the music, but it’s still being intertwined with this new album coming out in 2020.
Yes. Thank you. That’s very much a part of our writing style because the three key guys in the band, the members of the band, myself, Adam King, who is our lead vocalist and a singer and songwriter, and Christian, Pearl, he’s our keyboardist and a singer-songwriter, too. We throw all our ideas together and basically hash them out in very tight quarters. We rented a condo away from our homes and we just lived there and wrote songs in two different three week sessions. We would just write all day and then rehearse the songs at night with a rhythm section. That’s old-school, but it is how we put the album together.
That sounds very organic and very collaborative.
Yes, when we wrote these songs, our producer, Jeff Cannon, who I think produced basically 10 of the 12 tracks on the album. He was just listening to all of our songs. His advice to us was to just keep writing, because your style will come out on it’s own and not to not to worry about what your style is. What are you hearing on this first album is that we’re not trying to hit any style. We’re not trying to copy any other band or anything. This is our own output of what we felt and different observations or experiences we’ve had in each of our three lives.
That sounds so natural. I think that fans and listeners will take that away – that bonding and that rapport between you guys, as artists, as musicians, and just as people.
Yes, we hope so. There’s a lot in there and we’ve been very pleased with the response we’ve had from, for example, our first single “story.” People listened to the song, they liked the melody and liked the song, and then they listened to the lyrics and they kind of came to their own conclusion about their own story and about what that song means to them. The hope is that a number of these tunes will do the same for many, many potential fans.https://www.youtube.com/embed/0NV5QBpa1Mk?feature=oembed
I wholeheartedly believe that they will, especially during such a weird time where people need something to grab onto and look to for inspiration. Speaking of, what made you want to release an album during this very uncomfortable, uncertain time? Was the release already planned, or did you specifically say, “You know what, I think people need this right now. Let’s put it out!”?
Well, what happened was a little bit of both. What happened was that we finished recording the effort in December 2019, so we were all ready to go in December 2019. Then when things started getting locked down in the March timeframe, we were already nervous, because this is our debut album and we don’t know all the ropes. We do have a management team in the UK and the US helping us, but still there is still a learning curve. When you put out an album, one just thinks the most important thing is the music and that it has to be right. After that is done, though, let’s say in December, then there’s a lot of administrative work that has to be done to coordinate the album, to get the artwork, get it finalized. Nowadays, it’s such a competitive market, which is why we decided to make music videos for each of our songs and to go that extra mile to get our music out there. That’s what it takes now, because it is a tough, tough market.
To speak to your question here, we know that almost all the major labels and a lot of big bands held back on releasing things in the first half of 2020, because everybody was saying to do that and everybody began doing it. From our perspective, we saw this as an opportunity and I’ll tell you why. Suddenly all these producers and all these publicity agents and stuff didn’t have anything to do when all the stuff was stopped. They were still looking for clients and they were open to somebody who was prepared to do something, so consequently, we as aliensdon’tringdoorbells, got exposed to some of the great producers that we would not have gotten otherwise. We got exposed to some really great publicity people that we would not have gotten exposed to otherwise. That, and this time, has actually helped us. We saw an opportunity for us. Things that we didn’t really see in January/February, we do see now, such as how people don’t want to keep hearing reruns of old music and stuff. They’re hungry for some new music and we’re a little bit lucky in the sense of how this has occurred. There’s a demand for our music that is growing and it’s partly because we’re a little bit in the right place at the right time, and we’re not going to complain about that at all.
Oh, for sure. I think that was really smart on your part to be forward thinking and not just say, “This is how the world is, we’re just going to stay put.” You had music that you wanted to release. You had an idea and a creative process, so you ran with it, which I think is on its way to paying off.
Yes. That’s exactly what happened. Thank you.
Through listening to Arrival and also your previous three singles, I found some notes of early Queen, Slade, and Tears for Fears. What music did you grow up listening to and did that carry into what you’re doing now in the band?
Absolutely. I’m a guitarist, so I always listened to guitar players a lot, but in terms of regular bands and bands that I enjoyed listening to overall, absolutely. I grew up on the early Queen albums, which were great. Also, Tears for Fears were some of those first, early albums that I had, with songs like “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and things like that were off a great, great album. I’m also a saxophone player. I really enjoyed the years when we had Earth, Wind, and Fire playing everywhere, too. We take influences from that and from modern bands, you know, like The Weeknd, Franz Ferdinand, and even a little Maroon 5. There’s definitely a little bit of The Police in there, too. In terms of guitar players, it’s Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin, all those people are interesting to me, as well. What you’re hearing in there, in this album, is some of those influences from our childhood and growing up. Some people may hear different things, but that’s what just came out of our work and we’re really pleased about that. In fact, some people hear songs in our songs that I am not even familiar with. They said, “Oh, your song reminds me of a Rush tune,” and it’s not even a Rush song that I was not familiar with. The songs are bringing back memories to people for songs that we may not even have been familiar with, which is so powerful.
You know, that happens. Music can resemble so much, but also resurrect feelings and begin to mean something different to everyone, like you mentioned.
Yes, I agree. That’s what we’re seeing. I would say that also a little bit, just some of the music that’s out there today, is a little too simplistic and that people, audiences, want more, especially in these periods when they’re more interested in listening to music and not just the news and they want that break there. They’re ready to listen to a little bit more than just verse chorus verse. A lot of our songs have more than one song inside it, if you will. That creates a level of interest, you know? When I say they have more than one song inside of it, it’s the different ideas that each one of the three of us might have brought to the song that changes the flow, but keeps that interest. It’s like what The Beatles did on Sergeant Pepper. They mashed a bunch of their individual ideas together and created some of their greatest songs. The Abbey Road album sort of did things of that nature, too, which is why it resonates with so many different people in different ways. You can hear a lot of different things in music, including ours.
Absolutely. I noticed that myself while listening to Arrival that it’s more than just manufactured music. I could feel through every song that there was creativity and thought and purpose and truth behind it. Not everyone in the industry these days are so clearly able to put their hearts and minds so fully on an album like you guys did seemingly effortlessly.
Again, you’re making a great point, Debra. These days, or at least for us, we think the audience is extremely sophisticated and will pick out carelessness in the record or a lack of attention to detail. We just think that people are quite sophisticated in what they might hear and what might interest them. We spent a lot of time getting the songs right to make them have different points of interest. We evaluated everything we did. We spent a lot of time on this record trying to make it as good as we could make it and our primary goal was to make something that we could be proud of now, for us, but that people would more than just like it, but be inspired by it. That would be wonderful news to us.
We would love to see people coming out so see us playing live. Not to blow our own horns, but we’re really a great live band. We played together in cover bands on the coast of Blanca, Spain there in the summertimes, and actually all year. We love to play live and that’s just one of the things that we’re really looking forward to doing in 2021. We are seeing a lot of activity in this area – everyone may be interested in this because we were looking to be a support act for a larger band right now. I can say that larger acts are definitely planning and scheduling live performances from as early as May, 2021, so I think the industry sees the light at the end of the tunnel. It may seem like a long ways away, but it will be here pretty quickly, May, even April 2021. We’ll be able to play live and people will be able to go out again and experience sophisticated, fun music. We’re very hopeful. That’s just our optimistic view right now and we’re not going to change it, because we want that experience for us and for our fans.