Kris Alvarez has been a music artist since childhood. He got his first guitar at age 10, taught himself to play, and started his first band “Sad, Sexy, Stupid” while living in the suburbs of Kendall, Florida. Since then he has been in four other bands. He’s currently in the middle of creating and releasing what he is describing as darker music under his new moniker Firstworld. I got to hear a preview of This Time, his latest single and enjoyed it. The lyrics spoke to me. The sound is fun and surprised me in a fresh way. It came out today, so you can take a listen and decide for yourself then read my Behind The Music interview with Kris to learn more about him!
Album cover art by Jasmine Dianne
The first few singles you released have garnished a lot of attention. How did you get started on this project?
Firstworld started as an outlet for me from my old band Sigh Kicks. I was going through some rough times back then with my love life and the material I was writing was really melancholy and sad, which didn’t fit Sigh Kick’s aesthetic. Once Sigh Kicks split, I decided to take on Firstworld full time.
How fun to be taking on this new chapter! You’ve been making music here in Miami for awhile, and seen the growth of the city. What do you see for the future of “the scene”?
To be quite honest, I don’t really see a future because I don’t really see a scene in Miami. I see cliques and clusters of artists that play together, but no unified scene. I think Miami needs more venues by artists, for artists. I think the culture within the audience needs to change. We need to go to shows to enjoy and support local music, not just for selfies or getting vehemently plastered. Finally, I think bands and artists need to find their spines and demand their fair pay.
It’s completely senseless to play for less than what your time is worth, much worse is to play for free. They also need to stop taking every little opportunity offered to them for a show or anything else. Not everything is going to be the "big break"! We have to plan things out more, and be selective and intentional in our bookings to not oversaturate the circuit, and to not get screwed and used as every promoter’s scapegoat or filler.
Two snaps for that! This meme comes to mind:
I appreciate your honesty and straightforwardness. My next question is something a little lighter. What is your favorite song?
My favorite song to play is definitely Easy Access. I have a very strong emotional connection to that one and I just feel that one the most when I play it. My favorite that I’ve written so far hasn’t come out yet 😉
“I’ve been writing songs about my relationship with anxiety.”
I’m looking forward to hearing it when it does come out! Can you describe your sound, and what your music about?
I used to describe myself as a chillwave artist and producer for a while, but I quickly started seeing the walls closing in. I was creating a very constrictive box for myself artistically. I decided to drop that, and let the songs come out as they do. I find the nuances and similarities between them, and compliment them to create a cohesive sound.
I’ve been labeled as dream pop, tropical pop, house, etc. I let them label me however they like, Firstworld is just Firstworld. The songs have usually been about love and heartbreak, but recently I’ve been writing songs about my relationship with anxiety.
What is your most memorable career moment?
Having the honor to have one of my songs played over 200k times. If you had told me in the midst of all that I was going through on the night I wrote my first song ever for this project that it was going to hit 200k streams, I would have probably passed out from shock!
What an incredible moment! Big win for Miami music. If you could be stuck in one year musically, which year would it be?
If I could, I’d relive 2006 over and over again. That was when I was playing shows with my first band Sad, Sexy, Stupid. Being the only indie band in Kendall at the time was stupid fun. We played shows with all the local Metal, Screemo, and Ska bands every Saturday at Kaffe Krystal or at the Roxy Theater. I made so many friends back then that have been invaluable to me over the years. We were kids
with silly, unrealistic dreams and expectations. Good times.
If you could tour with anyone who would it be?
Toro Y Moi, Neon Indian, or Magic City Hippies. Those dudes all look like they have a blast whenever they go on tour. I like the idea of having fun on the road and making new friends along the way.
What is the funnest part of being an artist?
Man I can’t seem to pick one thing about it that is more fun than the other. I feel like, as an artist and performer, you don’t really have the time to both create and perform at the same time, so I love both equally because they’re both equally fun and I can always focus 100% on either one. Outside of those two primary functions, I’d say meeting new people is always fun. Hearing their stories, watching them have a good time at my shows, that’s very fulfilling.
What advice would you give to up and coming artists?
“You can’t delude yourselves into these fantasies of grandeur where you think you’re Radiohead and expect people to show up en masse to listen to your music when you randomly drop a new release. It takes YEARS to get to that point.”
PROMOTE! PROMOTE! PROMOTE! PROMOTE! How can you possibly justify working on a project for YEARS and then decide to just release it without any kind of advanced notice? Way to many artists I know are guilty of this practice, and later wonder why nothing works out for their releases. You can’t delude yourselves into these fantasies of grandeur where you think you’re Radiohead and expect people to show up en masse to listen to your music when you randomly drop a new release. It takes YEARS to get to that point, and even that’s not guaranteed.
That LP/EP/Single you’ve been working on, that’s your queen bee! You gotta roll out the red carpet for her, give her her time to shine! That means investing in a person to handle your PR, or using websites like SubmitHub to get your feet wet in that world. Give your music the chance to be heard and discovered by others by taking more time to plan a solid release campaign for it.
I always assume no one wants to hear Firstworld and I put in the rest of my time before release into promoting my stuff effectively. I try to treat it as if it’s the first single I’m ever going to drop because, for some people, it WILL be the first single they ever hear from me and I want to make sure everyone knows about it.
To watch the journey of Firstworld connect with him on your channel of choice: