Tennis’ Alaina Moore Talks Touring With Haim And More

Tessa Roy ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Assistant Editor


Tennis definitely has an exciting year ahead. The Denver-based band, consisting of members Alaina Moore, Patrick Riley, and James Barone, is currently touring after the release of their EP Small Sound. And they have great accompaniment – Tennis is supporting breakout band Haim for many of their tour dates, and recently played with them at Boston’s House of Blues.

Emertainment Monthly had a chance to catch up with Alaina Moore about the band’s latest experiences on the road and the future of their music.

Emertainment Monthly: I really enjoy your sound. Its very minimalistic, and I think it proves you dont necessarily need to be big and grand to make something beautiful. That being said, your latest LP is called Small Sound. Is this title reflective of the small sound” of your own music? 

Alaina Moore: To be honest, I think our own limitations as songwriters– and the fact that our band initially consisted of two people– is the reason for the minimalism in our music. Aesthetically we are drawn to simple beauty, it’s stark and revealing. But it wasn’t intentional at first. Now we’ve really grown into that style. I’ve recently begun to explore drier, less effected vocals, which puts more weight on lyrics and melody. It’s just the way we’ve developed as songwriters.

Youve said before that you didnt do a lot of touring when you released your first LP because you didnt feel you had a long enough set. But now, you have more music to play and finally are able to be on tour for an extended period of time. What did you expect touring in this way to be like, and how does this compare to your actual experience?

Touring is a much more rewarding experience now that we’re several releases into our career. Not only was our set short in the early days, but we were overwhelmed and inexperienced. Having more than 10 songs to pick from keeps our set fresh and interesting. Also, the rhythm of living out of a suitcase and a van, has evolved into a routine that is almost comforting–that and we all really love each other. Our band and crew are super close, which makes the hard, long days a bit easier.

Haim really exploded into the music world last year, and now youre accompanying them on parts of their tour. How did you become involved with them? Do you think touring with them has helped you expand your fanbase?

We have only been on tour for a few days, so I can’t say what’s it’s doing for our fan base, but I can say what’s it’s doing for me personally! This tour is an incredible chance for me to learn from some very inspiring, seasoned pros. I’m always interested in the way other front women carry a show or portray themselves live. I’m usually on the road with a bunch of dudes, and I don’t feel like I’ve been able to learn much from them. It’s not that I think there are profound differences between male and female rock musicians, but I think an audience’s experience and expectations are different when they see a woman on stage, and I’m still figuring out how to navigate that. For example the boys in my band are incredibly talented, but they put zero effort into their look, or think about putting on a “show.” I don’t have that luxury. Each night I will be critiqued for my manner, the way I engage the crowd, my hair and clothes, whether those things were intentional or not. I think men can get away with very little showmanship but women can’t. Bands like Haim are excellent examples of bonafide rockers who can be appreciated by the mainstream without having to sacrifice their style or personalities for mainstream appeal. I want to learn from that.

Since you’re a part of the independent music genre, you’ve been able to have a look at its development. In what direction do you see the genre heading? 

Even though the genre is becoming more widely known, I think it’s suffering. Now that’s there’s no money in album sales, any band that wants to support themselves without signing to a major label will be forced to license their music commercially. That’s kind of at ends with the whole concept of independently produced and released music. I’m not sure what that means for the future of indie, but I think it means it will be increasingly difficult, maybe even impossible to operate outside of the mainstream/corporate industry.

Speaking of futures, what is to come in the future for Tennis? 

We just finished a new full length and are already playing some of the new jams on the Haim tour. It’s been a long time coming. We’re all ready to get it out into the world.

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