Climb Aboard the “Extra Express” with Glam Rockers Tony & The Kiki

Tony & The Kiki are determined to get you dancing and feeling confident in your own skin with their fun lyrics and bold sound. Their new single, the bilingual “Extra Express,” channels the group’s focuses on equality and self-expression, offering support for the LGBT+ community with lyrics like “shave your head, bind your chest, male pronoun-ed but wear a dress” while still containing a universal message that everyone can relate to.

“It’s really a manifesto for the band,” Anthony Alfaro shares. “The groove is immaculate and the message is pure and loud af! I’m really excited for the song to cast its spell on the world and for listeners to want to join The Kiki because of it. May this song spread the gospel of the Kiki far and wide!”

Consisting of lead singer Anthony Alfaro (he/they), guitarist Junior Pauls (he/him), bassist Yuka Tadano (she/her), queer key-master Rodney Bush, drummer Tristan Marzeski (he/him), and nonbinary producer Max Vernon (they/them), Tony & The Kiki are ready to take on the world and broadcast their glitter-infused messages of love along the way.

Alfaro explains, “I want all our fans, queer or not, to be invigorated and uplifted by our music. When I think of our queer fans I want them to feel seen and glorified by what we’re creating. As a fledgling baby unicorn growing up in NYC, the music in my headphones came to be my coat of armor as I road the subway, an aura of warm sparkles that allowed me to pump down the street with my shoulders back and my hips rocking side to side, giving narry a fuck. I want our music to be that aura of armor for anyone who may desire it or even need it.”

The band will be releasing their debut EP, Light It Up, later this year, and released the exuberant title track back in July, on International Nonbinary Day. They describe the song as an ode to “shedding dusty old ways of thinking to make way for the new age, a moon age,” complete with screaming guitars and piercing drums that will rock your world.

The Light It Up EP was born at Dreamland Recording, a church-turned-studio in Woodstock, New York, over a three-day weekend. They used an eclectic mix of instruments – like clarinets, a toy piano, sleigh bells, and a Hammond B3 organ – to give the songs a unique flair that only Tony & The Kiki could create.

“The tight schedule was def daunting but I think it forced us to be on our shit,” Alfaro admits. “To show up and show out from the first take. The delicious musical lineage of Woodstock was more inspiring than pressure inducing, it made us feel like we were a part of something bigger than us. Also, Dreamland is such a magical place I couldn’t help but feel spiritually supported by the orbs of light beaming through the stained glass or the creaking ancient wooden floors.”

If “Light It Up” and “Extra Express” are any indication, Tony & The Kiki will go on to be as legendary as that Woodstock lineage. Get to know the band on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and their official website, and keep reading for more from our conversation with Anthony Alfaro!

(c) Savanna Ruedy

You released “Light It Up” in July as your debut single – what drove you to make that the world’s first taste of Tony and the Kiki, and why did you choose it as your EP’s title track?

The song is about shedding dusty old ways of thinking to make way for the new age, a moon age. We’ve outgrown all this old mierda and now is the time to honor that by shining so bright we spark enchanted flames and clear all the fuckery away. This is something that I think encapsulates the energy of TONY & THE KIKI as a whole. The title is invigorating and chaotic, a summoning of the indigo children and brujes around the world to join our KIKI and twirl with us until the new day dawns. It is a blazing declaration that we’re here and we’re just getting started, mami!

The campy “Extra Express” video feels like a thesis statement of everything your group embodies, between individuality, unapologetic fun, and the freedom of pursuing whatever you want to pursue. What inspired the bright visuals?

To me there is a bit of “Dorothy stepping into OZ” and “Alice falling into Wonderland” with this video. I see it as a psychedelic welcoming into the land of The Kiki and all of its color, joy, magic, and glamour. 

Both “Light It Up” and “Extra Express” show support for members of the LGBT community, and the former even came out on National Nonbinary Day. What do you hope queer fans can take away from your music?

I want all our fans, queer or not, to be invigorated and uplifted by our music. When I think of our queer fans I want them to feel seen and glorified by what we’re creating. As a fledgling baby unicorn growing up in NYC, the music in my headphones came to be my coat of armor as I road the subway, an aura of warm sparkles that allowed me to pump down the street with my shoulders back and my hips rocking side to side, giving narry a fuck. I want our music to be that aura of armor for anyone who may desire it or even need it.

You recorded the Light It Up EP at Dreamland in Woodstock in three days – was there any pressure recording in such a short time period, and in an area brimming with so much music history?

The tight schedule was def daunting but I think it forced us to be on our shit. To show up and show out from the first take. The delicious musical lineage of Woodstock was more inspiring than pressure inducing, it made us feel like we were a part of something bigger than us. Also, Dreamland is such a magical place I couldn’t help but feel spiritually supported by the orbs of light beaming through the stained glass or the creaking ancient wooden floors.

Max Vernon said they often gave visual instructions to improve a take, like saying you should pretend you’re a witch while playing guitar or should sing like you’re coming out of a volcano. Do any of those directions stand out as a true ‘Tony and the Kiki’ moment?

For me it was when Max had the engineer turn out all the lights while we were recording vocals on “LISTEN.” They had me close my eyes and call forth my inner divine feminine self to sing these soaring high notes in crazy parts of my voice. When I listen back I almost don’t recognize my voice because I truly channeled something ancient within me… Ya know… just your everyday musical witchcraft 😉

What song from the Light It Up EP are you most excited for fans to hear?

I’m most excited for people to hear “EXTRA EXPRESS”… It’s really a manifesto for the band. The groove is immaculate and the message is pure and loud af! I’m really excited for the song to cast its spell on the world and for listeners to want to join The Kiki because of it. May this song spread the gospel of the Kiki far and wide!

Is there anything else you’d like to say that the questions didn’t touch on?

Thank you for having us! Join THE KIKI by following us on IG @tonyandthekiki, TikTok @tonyandthekiki, and our YouTube Channel, Tony & The Kiki. Also check out, save, buy and love our tunes anywhere music is available! Stay tuned for more brujería heading your way!

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Madison Murray View All →

Hi! I’m Madison Murray, a pop culture and music writer who also loves writing about lifestyle and fashion. I have credits on sites like TREMG, Young Hollywood, and Audible Addixion, and I’m the founder of Melodic Musings. In addition to writing, I’m a community editor on Genius, lyric curator on Musixmatch, and a playlist curator at VOLUP2. My favorite artists include Taylor Swift, Machine Gun Kelly, BLACKPINK, Elko, phem, and YUNGBLUD. She/her.

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