The Undertone
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The Undertone


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"Undertone's first full feature Interview"



A Roman philosopher named Seneca the Younger once stated that, “Time discovers truth.” In the case of Arizona-based band The Undertone, nothing could be more right. It took time for The Undertone to discover their true path - and it took me time (plus a string of seemingly random events) to discover this band – a band with such a true sound and musical vision - at such a pivotal stage in their musical career. In the end, it was just a brilliant example of being in the right place at the right time.

The dynamic between these four individuals as musicians was abundantly clear when I first saw them perform at their album release party on May 1st. However, the dynamic between these four musicians as friends became even clearer when I was able to sit down with keyboardist Abram Clements, bassist/guitarist Reggie Alvey, drummer Kevin Clements and vocalist Corrinne Goldenstein for an interview at Alice Cooper'stown in downtown Phoenix after a photo shoot. Despite a few interruptions from our forgetful waitress, we were able to discuss The Undertone's debut album, their history so far, their fans (more than 150 fans were at their album release party – an incredible number for any unsigned local band), their live show vibe, goals for the future and the surprising revelation of a certain someone's adoration for a particular British woman.

So you guys just released your first album after forming in 2005. How's it feel?

Abram: Awesome! A long time coming – relief…relief.

Are the songs on the album newer, older...a combination?

A: It's a pretty good mix.

Corrinne: A lot of the older stuff was re-worked. Between then and now - we grew exponentially, so the songs just didn’t fit anymore. But the tone and quality of the instrumentals worked, so we kept most of that.

How long did you work on the album?

Reggie: All together? About eight months.


C: But to be fair, we had conflicting schedules because of day jobs and things like that – so I would go over to Abram’s house and we would record for three or four hours and then we’d hand it off to Reggie, who then did all of the editing with Abram.

Where did you record it?

A: Most at my house – the bulk of it was done at my house.

What can you tell us about the album artwork's concept? It's pretty eye-catching.

R: Corrinne had brought up this band called…?

C: Circa Survive.

R: Circa Survive. And she liked the style of artwork that they did with a reoccurring character. So I have an artist friend in California that I approached and he and I brainstormed a bunch of ideas and this whole concept kind of stuck. In more detail, you have two people on the album artwork. One is basically a guy trying to find his face – he’s trying to find himself. The other one is basically a painter who has no color, but everything he paints comes to life. So it’s kind of cool – as it progresses, each character will reoccur and they’ll grow with our music.

C: It’s indicative of the transformation that we went through.

For sure. The concept itself has a pretty deep undertone...ha! Undertone!

R: Look at that! You used it in a sentence and everything!

I know! And I didn't even plan that one. That was just awesomeness...happening in its natural form!

R: Seriously! (laughter)

Right then! Will this EP becomes a collector's item as having the only epic instrumental named with vague philosophical referenced dates? [referring to 535BC: Heraclitus of Ephesus is Born]

R: No! (laughter from all) Unofficial answer is no.

How did you come up with the name The Undertone? Which is singular by the way! I've heard you guys introduced at gigs as The Undertones.

A: Aren't they an acapella band or something?

R: No - The Undertones are a [Northern Irish] punk band. Actually, we have problems with that on

A: We actually hadn’t heard the name before though. I remember Reg and I meeting and we were just trying to think of names, you know? We kind of just thought of “The Undertone” just because there are a few different meanings to it – it could be with color, sound…

C: It’s a play off the musical term “overtone” – which comes when you’re in the right acoustical surrounding and you can hear overtones and chord structures. If you kind of Wikipedia the “undertone”– it’s almost like the fabled sound that you haven’t heard, but you know it’s there.

For the UIUK readers who haven't heard your music yet, how would you describe your sound?

R: That’s the million dollar question right there that no one’s been able to answer!

C: We all bring different influences into it, so it’s hard for us to pinpoint one specific genre that we fit into or one specific sound we have.

A: Good music…pretty damn good music.

That works for me! So for our readers who may not know – Corrinne started out as the original singer of The Undertone, then she wasn't for a bit. However she became the singer again in 2008 – let's focus on the current situation. What's the vibe like now that the original lineup is back in place?

A: I like it better. It’s much better than before. Not just because of Corrinne – but we’ve all grown, you know, between the separation...and once we came back together? It's just better.

C: It’s almost like we went from – to compare it to an everyday relationship – it’s almost like we were dating beforehand and then we separated and then got back together. And now it’s almost like we’re married; we know we’re not going to leave each other, so it’s taken a whole different tone when we have conflicts arise because we know we have to work them out.

R: Basically when we auditioned Corrinne the second go around, she left and the three of us sat together and were just like, ‘This is The Undertone!’ Before it had always been basically the singer and The Undertone. I mean, we had always been the close-knit band plus the singer – that’s kind of what happened the first go around with Corrinne, so that’s why now we are more like The Undertone 3.0.C: It was always somewhat of a boys' club, but now it’s starting to get better.

Are you looking to get signed soon?

R: With how everything is nowadays with labels, I don’t think we’re looking. Distribution – if they could offer us that – that'd be cool. We’re unsigned right now. Until someone can offer us something we can’t do ourselves – we really are going to keep down that path.

C: We don’t really mind the hard work aspect – the promo is fun. I love flyering! Well, when I…do it?

(laughter). But you know, all that stuff – it is a lot of hard work, but when the album was released after all of that hard work, we were like, “Hell yeah! We finally did it!” It is totally rewarding.

So Jimmy Buffett has his “Parrotheads”, Lacuna Coil have their “Coilers” - do you guys have any names for your fans?

R: Abram’s the best one at coming up with names for people.

C: It almost changes weekly…

A: I’ve said the “Undertonians”…the “Undertonites”. There are all kinds of names – we haven’t come up with an official name yet, but we will though.

C: Hot women. We tend to have a lot of good-looking female fans.

Kevin: 70% - not all of them! They do not all fit that. (laughter)

What can someone look forward to at one of your live shows?

A: It’ll definitely be entertaining. We bring a lot to the table, you know? I mean, there are jokes and sidebars, but you know, we like to have our fun up on stage. You might see Reggie and me looking at each other, kind of joking around.

K: There will be really, really good music. They can look forward to just seeing me playing my ass off on the drums.

R: For the record, he’s the baddest drummer in Phoenix.

K: I am.

C: Possibly the world.

K: I’m definitely the sweatiest drummer!

A: They’ll see how much we love it. We’ll talk about that with everybody after the show and everything like that. They’ll really see the heart that goes into it.

R: I think the main thing is that we’re something that Phoenix doesn’t have. There’s no other band like us, so we’re so wide spread as far as what we right and what our genre is that we can play with any band in Phoenix. So basically – everyone will find something to like.

C: Yeah – that’s always been the thing at every show. We can play with the hardest of punk ska bands and you know, that kid in chains and vinyl pants will come up and say, “You guys were awesome!” - stuff like that.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

A: Rituals?? I know there’s a pre-show drink!

C: Yeah, I have at least one shot of Crown Royal every show. We also have an elephant that is supposed to be at the show.

A: Reggie brings a little elephant. I usually listen to instrumentals on my way into a show. Do you Kevin?

K: Nah…but I bring my towel.

C: He does bring his towel every time.

R: Now after Vegas, our pre-show ritual is being our own roadies.

2009 has been quite the busy year so far. What are your goals? What's next for The Undertone?

R: Since we just released the album, basically to get the album out and start playing shows to promote it. And then we’re actually testing the waters up north. In June, we’re going up to Sedona and Flagstaff to see how it is leaving town. And by next summer we’re going to do a West Coast tour. We're going to try to go up through Washington.

Where can we find your CD, shirts and other merchandise?

R: Merchandise is on its way. CDs can be found at, iTunes and our websites, and

Great! Anything else you'd all like to add? Words of wisdom? Shout-outs?

A: Everyone should hear us. Everyone at some point should hear us. And I think if they do, the word will spread.

K: We love it, you know, we really love the music. It’d be great to be able to do this for a living and be able to play shows and tour and go around the world.

Well, UIUK is based in England, so you'll definitely get some British fans!

K: I love England! And the British! And British women! Minnie Driver! I love Minnie Driver!!

C: Oh man…

My thanks to The Undertone for this interview. If there's one thing I'd like to convey about this band to our readers – it is that their passion for what they do is real. Whether it's at a live show, a rehearsal or a photo shoot – there is no question that they are all on the same page and that they all love what they do.

The Undertone discovered their truth with time. Their fans, myself included, have discovered their truth with time. Now it’s your turn.

Are you ready?
- Underground Industries UK

"Hot in the City: Vol 9"

Lastly, HITC would like to give a special shout out to the Undertone, a Phoenix-based quartet with the always beneficial asset of a female lead vocalist; Corrinne Goldenstein. Goldenstein has a silky voice and the band plays laid back music with jazzy, uh, undertones. They're in the studio right now but you can sample a couple of their songs at - Kevin Wierzbicki at


Debut Album - an 8 song EP released May 2009, currently streaming at



The Undertone live and breathe music. Over the last four years they have gone from playing to a less than full house on a Thursday night to playing their album release to a 100+ packed house at Hollywood Alley. Through all of this their enthusiasm and energy hasn't changed; they love their craft. During their high energy shows you can see their enthusiasm reflected in the 40+ fans that continue to follow them on a regular basis.

The four members of the band pull from very different musical backgrounds and experiences to create very smooth and dynamic groove music. With a sound that is driven by female vocalist, Corrinne Goldenstein, and keyboardist, Abram Clements, they are very similar to artists like Sara Bareilles, Fionna Apple and Ben Folds. Drummer, Kevin Clements, and bassist/guitarist, Reggie Alvey, drive the rhythm section and add another layer to the sound in which you can hear the influences of Dave Matthews Band, The Beatles and Coldplay.

To date The Undertone have released an 8 song EP that was recorded, mixed and mastered by the band, designed and printed their own t-shirts and even created an Undertonian handshake. Currently, they are recording another 8 song album that they plan on releasing all digitally next year.