Gig Seeker Pro


Austin, Texas, United States | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative





A few weeks before we officially launched the blog, I received an email from Nathan Alvarado, the lead vocalist for the Austin/San Antonio band Aperture. I asked him how he heard about the blog (especially since we hadn’t launched it yet) and he said he googled “Houston rock blog” and up popped our blog. I thought that was very cool.

When I checked the band’s website (which is very impressively designed I thought) and started listening to their sounds, I knew right then the Texas Rock Blog had already served it’s primary purpose; introducing bands to potential new fans. I was an instant fan. It was clear from the first verse of their title track “Now That You’re Awake” that Alvarado’s voice was unique and powerful. Even more powerful in their music is the resounding twin guitars, played by guitarists Jared Mears and Michael Proctor, which gives Aperture a smooth, modern, but genuine hard rock sound. Rounding out the quintet is drummer Justin Frary and bassist John Thevenot, and all together you have a true progressive rock band with all the right pieces in the right places.

I had a chance to ask Nathan my usual questions about the band:

TRB: What style/bands inspire your sound?
Nathan: We all have lots of different influences so there is a broad range. Some of the main ones would be Karnivool, Dredg, The Apex Theory, The Mars Volta, Tool, Nine Inch Nails, and a handful of the regional bands we’ve shared the stage with. Basically, melody is super important to us, but it’s got to be rockin! We think of ourselves as hard-rock, and some have called us prog-metal which I can understand, in pieces.

TRB: What inspires you, or your band’s writing style? Who does most of the writing?
Nathan: The writing process is definitely cohesive. What usually happens is that someone will have an idea that can be just a few parts or one main idea to build off of. That idea gets emailed out to the group, (which is super helpful, given the fact that our homes span good distances across the region.) Then the idea comes to a practice night, and gets more fully formed through a process of jamming, and having constructive discussion about where we all want the song to go. Songs could start from just a guitar riff, bass line, drum part, or vocal melody, but it would be rare to have the finished product be something that came from just one individual. As vocalist, so far I have written most of the lyrics and vocal melodies, but I rely heavily on the music to inspire my particular contribution.

TRB: What connects you to your fans?
Nathan: One of the most rewarding moments as a band happens after a live show when people come up to us with a genuine respect and admiration for our music. That’s really the best way to connect with people and make new fans…through hand shakes and conversation. We have people that email us directly with questions and insights that we really find valuable.

TRB: What do you hope your fans (or anyone hearing your music) comes away with?
Nathan: We hope that people enjoy our music of course, but also that people realize that there is a lot of hard work and sacrifice that goes into being in a band. We see what we do as musical artistry which has the power to inspire people to do something positive and constructive in their own endeavors. We also hope that people hear us and realize that not all rock music has to be defined by specific and limited characteristics.

TRB: What makes Aperture different from any of the 100's of other Texas rock bands? What sets you apart in your eyes?
Nathan: That’s a tough question, and one that I imagine most bands dread to answer, because inevitably there’s a risk of saying something that could easily apply to any group, and with Aperture being a relatively new group I think we’re still defining and figuring out what makes us, us. However, we still have our own unique perspective, and one element of our music that I think stands out is our underlying optimism that comes out lyrically and emotionally. Some of our sounds are dark and moody, but there is always a unifying message…something that is bigger than ourselves which we try to tap into. Beyond that, it seems that we keep getting thrown into the “prog” category, but at the same time we make music that’s radio friendly and accessible to most rock listeners. So in terms of being set apart, we can attract listeners that really dig the technical side of our playing, and also those that want to just sing along to something that feels good.

TRB: What’s in your CD player right now?
Nathan: Literally, right now in my car is a CD from an Austin based jazz band called Torch, but as I write this I’m in my office listening to Fair to Midland on iTunes.

I want to thank Nathan for contacting us and letting us showcase Aperture. I hope you’ll enjoy their music as much as I did, and become their next fan!!

~ James @ TRB - Texas Rock Blog

"Night after Night June 16, 2011"

Pay attention to Aperture, a band with dual Austin/San Antonio citizenship. Fronted by San Antonio-bred singer Nathan Alvarado, the quintet plays the kind of prog-meets-classic rock that rules in S.A. Though Aperture has been together only since February, the debut EP, “Now That You’re Awake,” shows the group is mature, and accomplished, far beyond its gig count. The songs are smart and tight, the arrangements are clever, the musicianship is superb and Alvarado’s voice soars. Aperture is scheduled to take the Jack’s stage at 11:30 p.m. - San Antonio Express News

"Aperture is unclassifiable but no sludge factory"

By Adam Villela Coronado

Aperture are playing their first headlining show at Jack’s Bar this Saturday. This isn’t necessarily the best situation to be in. The band’s bright-eyed singer/co-songwriter Nathan Alvarado, who recently shaved off his rock locks (and what looks like eight years), told the Current over a glass of vino at Josephine St. Café that “No one wants to play last” and that he finds the experience “nerve-wracking.”

He feels like he can’t relax during the opening acts. He’s afraid to talk loudly in a bar when he’s about to sing. And he won’t get too familiar with the bartender before taking the stage. That said, Alvarado is looking forward to using the extra stage time to unveil a new song and “some acoustic surprises.”

Headlining also offers a chance to see if they can carry a show. For that challenge, Alvarado says the crew is excited.

Alvarado, 34, is not new to the music scene. He fell into it on a friend’s recommendation in the early aughts and spent his late 20s singing in a variety of tribute bands. Coincidentally two of the bands — Third Eye (which covered Tool) and Light Grenades (Incubus) — came to define the grungy sound of Aperture, which he admits is difficult to describe.

“It’s melodic but heavy,” he said. “It’s a wall of sound.”

While true Phil Spector fans will note that Aperture don’t layer piles of guitars recorded in an echo chamber, the band’s EP Now That You’re Awake certainly is loud and rockin’. On the title track, Alvarado’s vocals coil through a Layne Staley-style sing-chant over the murky guitar-crunch of Jared Mears and Michael Proctor. Drummer Justin Frary and bassist John Thevenot complete the arena-filling, turn-of-the-’90s rock sound of Aperture.

It’s heavy alright, but it soars as much as it stomps, escaping the trappings of heyday grunge.

While Aperture may still be coming to terms with what it is they’re writing, they’ve had no trouble barreling into the biz. Alvarado, a San Antonio resident, answered a Craigslist ad last December that involved him driving to meet the band in Austin. After a few beers, the band gave Alvarado some demo tapes and songwriting homework. He returned next practice with the first lyrics he had ever written, ready to jam — their first show was in February, after all. Aperture released their EP in April and, in the summer, they opened for Finnish neo-classical rockers Apocalyptica and Sulphur Springs’ Fair To Midland. The band counts the latter as a chief influence on their sound.

From their first Austin gigs, Aperture have expanded their reach, playing shows in San Antonio, Dallas, Tyler, and Houston, while landing radio interviews on San Antonio community radio station KROV 91.72 HD FM and Austin’s KLBJ 93.7. They also scored airplay on KSYM, 99.5 KISS’s Texas Traxx, and even Captain SIB, an online podcast run by Huffington Post music bloggers.

Aperture is also competing in a variety of music contests, including a chance to tour with Jane’s Addiction through Ourstage.com. At press time, voting had closed with Aperture placing eighth.

When asked if things seemed to be happening fast for Aperture, Alvarado cited the entire band’s “sense of urgency” and noted he’s glad he’s not the band’s “leader.”

“In all my previous projects, I was dragging guys along,” he said. “However, I don’t feel like I’m out on my own in Aperture. I feel I’m backing them.” • - San Antonio Current

"In through the out Aperture: Craigslist fathers a prog-metal bromance and a new EP"

Creativity’s as much about luck as it is about planning — sometimes you simply walk into the perfect situation. That’s how it was for Nathan Alvarado, lead singer of Aperture. The San Antonio native and Taft High graduate found a quartet of Austin cats via a Craigslist ad, and six months later they’ve released the exciting six-song EP Now That You’re Awake.

Straddling the line between chunky, breakdown-laden post-grunge and atmospheric, post-metal art rock, Aperture embraces melody with textured swirls of guitar while retaining a churning bottom-end balancing malevolence and beauty. Given the billowing prog-metal arrangements, it’s not surprising to discover they’re fans of Dredg and Karnivool, or that Alvarado fronted a Tool cover band (Third Eye) before taking the plunge into original music several years ago.

“I was a late bloomer. I was in my 30s and people kept telling me I should try writing original music,” says Alvarado, recounting his cover band exploits with Papa Wood, Light Grenades, and Piranha. When the latter packed it in, he started looking for a new project. Meanwhile, unable to find a singer in Austin, the musical core of Aperture took an ad out in San Antonio, where Alvarado discovered it. “It was pretty much exactly the sound I was hoping to kind of grow into. I felt like I was taking a step up from my previous work. I feel like it’s modern, it sounds contemporary.”

Aperture’s core trio of drummer Justin Frary, bassist John Thevenot, and guitarist Jared Mears had already been playing together for a couple years when, in October, they found Alvarado. By their second practice together, Alvarado was asked to join and it’s been a commuting life for him ever since. After being tapped, Alvarado quickly got to work fashioning lyrics and vocal melodies for the wealth of material the band had been amassing.

In February they pooled their money, selected their best six songs, and booked a long weekend in an Austin studio to cut Now That You’re Awake. As soon as they got it back in the beginning of April (SXSW pushed mixing back a couple weeks), they posted it as free download from their website, aperturesounds.com. “Even then, with so many great bands out there it’s hard to get people to actually click on it,” laments Alvarado.

But it’s worth investigating. Alvarado possesses a rafter-rattling voice, and guitarists Mears and Michael Proctor follow him into the stratosphere with some intricate guitar runs before sinking back into the viscous earthy throb. Alvarado’s lyrics are as expansive as the music, touching on themes of isolation, self-doubt, and spiritual searching. These coalesce in “Reign in Me,” which rides a gritty riff reminiscent of Alice In Chains as Alvarado questions religious dogmatism.

“I think we’re all born inherently with this inner voice that knows what’s good and what’s bad or what we can do to help others,” he says. “We don’t need a particular book or someone talking down to us telling us what we should or shouldn’t do.”

This is only the band’s sixth show, so they’re obviously just getting started, but the EP suggests plenty of promise. With a backlog of material, it’s full-steam ahead at this point. “We’re already thinking about the next album. They have a lot of stuff already down, and it’s all very interesting. So I have to get working on my vocal parts.” - San Antonio Current


Debut EP "Now That You're Awake"

"Of The Sun" and "The Masochist" are in rotation during the Texas Traxx Showcase on 99.5 KISS-FM, San Antonio.



Even before the band named itself “Aperture” it’s three founding members, John Thevenot (bass), Jared Mears (guitar), and Justin Frary (drums) worked tirelessly in the practice room for over 2 years writing the musical framework of what would become one of Texas most interesting yet unclassifiable unsigned hard rock acts. For Aperture, perseverance is the key, and it has paid off. Late in 2010 they added friend and guitarist Michael Proctor to the group, and almost immediately after found their frontman in San Antonio native Nathan Alvarado, thanks to a late-night Craigslist posting.

Maybe it’s the fact that the band’s members live stretched out across 150 miles of central Texas that gives Aperture it’s motivation to make the most of every rehearsal, every performance, and every creative opportunity. With a sense of urgency this hard-hitting 5-piece landed in an Austin studio, and an Austin stage (Emo’s) in Feb. 2011, just a few months after their first full jam.

As Aperture’s debut EP “Now That You’re Awake” dropped in April 2011, they were already playing with big acts like Apocalyptica at the acclaimed White Rabbit in San Antonio, as well as earning radio play and press coverage in both of their hometowns...San Antonio and Austin.

What followed has been a summer of firsts for this part Grunge, part Prog, part Metal quintet which manages to win over listeners of any rock genre through dynamic and emotive live shows and their personable fan interactions. Aperture has enjoyed it’s first gigs in Houston, Tyler, and Dallas, and has earned #1 in Modern Rock on OurStage.com for the month of July. Add to that multiple features on rock blogs and internet radio, and it is easy to see that Aperture has hit the ground running on many fronts.