On all levels except physical, Tony & The Kiki are already rock legends. They bring an undeniable, electrifying charm to everything they touch, and debut EP Light It Up is no exception, offering a new challenge for the band members on each track. And unsurprisingly, they crushed it every time.
The band recorded the project in just three days at the famous Dreamland Recording Studios in Woodstock, New York, which has opened its doors in the past to icons like The B-52s, Suzanne Vega, and The Lone Bellow.
“The tight schedule was def daunting, but I think it forced us to be on our shit,” lead singer Anthony Alfaro previously told TREMG. “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.”
The EP kicks off with the energetic “Extra Express,” a bilingual celebration of individuality, the LGBT community, and confidence. It opens with the sound of high heels clacking on the ground, which leads the listener to excitedly await the song’s proper start. It also lights up with the project’s main idea: “there’s only one of you, so be true to your dream.”
“It’s really a manifesto for the band,” Alfaro explains. “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!”
Second track “Light It Up” also served as the EP’s lead single, introducing the world to Tony and the Kiki with roaring guitars reminiscent of classic rock and exuberant vocals that bring the energy of artists like Steven Tyler and Brian Johnson to mind.
“The song is about shedding dusty old ways of thinking to make way for the new age, a moon age,” Alfaro shares. “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.”
“Listen” is a haunting, piano-led track that contains some of the most impressive moments of the project – following the thrilling screams of the previous tracks, the deeper, ghostly vocals and ominous mood let the band show off their range. A guitar solo some way through adds that signature Tony & The Kiki energy and helps tie it to the rest of the project.
“Max had the engineer turn out all the lights while we were recording vocals on ‘Listen,’” Alfaro recounts. “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.”
The eerie penultimate track “Paranoid” goes back to the classic rock vibe the earlier songs explored, with a cool guitar solo and a dark musical switch that rises to impressively strong vocals. It has a heavier sound than the band had previously explored, making it a standout track and an inevitable future fan favorite.
The EP closes with a reprise of “Listen,” but this time with nonlyrical, soaring vocals that build from fluttery to full. It’s a haunting ending that ensures Tony & The Kiki will be stuck in your mind for years to come.
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, The Honey POP, Genius, Young Hollywood, and Audible Addixion, as well as my own Melodic Musings blog. Find me on socials @madisonmwrites!