The Drop: Exclusive Music Video Premiere For The Aces' "Baby Who"

Photo: Courtesy of Kat Irlin/The Aces.
Welcome to The Drop, Refinery29's new home for exclusive music video premieres. We want to shine the spotlight on female artists whose music inspires, excites, and (literally) moves us. This is where we'll champion their voices.
If there ever were a summer of female pop, it just might be 2017. Reigning queens Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, and Selena Gomez have all released new songs this year. And indie darlings HAIM released their new album this summer after a four-year hiatus. But if you're into celebrating girl-power female groups (and who isn't?), don't sleep on The Aces, whose debut EP, I Don't Like Being Honest, dropped last month.
The Aces is a four-woman group that originally hails from Utah. And if the ladies seem uber-friendly in their new video for "Baby Who," which Refinery29 is premiering today, that's not a coincidence. Cristal Ramirez, Katie Henderson, McKenna Petty, and Alisa Ramirez have all been friends since childhood. And they've been performing as a band for more than eight years, long before scoring an official record deal.
Alisa Ramirez, The Aces' drummer, explains that their record label didn't originally plan to budget for a "Baby Who" video. But she and her bandmates wanted to make a video for the song — it's a track near and dear to them, as they wrote it right after signing with Red Bull Records. Ramirez herself directed the video, with the help of cinematographer friend Abdiel Ibarra.
"This video itself is very homegrown," Ramirez tells Refinery29. "There wasn't really any massive engine behind it at all."
That "homegrown" nature is apparent in the video — it has an authentic, natural vibe and a low-key aesthetic. Check out The Drop's exclusive music video premiere of "Baby Who" below, and read on to find out more about Ramirez's process while shooting the video, as well as The Aces' history.
Refinery29: You all have been friends from a young age. Did you always know that you wanted to be musicians?
Alisa Ramirez: "Yeah, I think so! I feel like from the time I was really young, I naturally always loved music... I took a liking to drums at a really young age. And Cristal [Ramirez, Alisa's sister] definitely knew. Her whole life has always been singing, there's never been a Plan B. And I think Kenna got in it really young. Katie was always so musical from the time she was really young, too.'
"I think there was a period of time in high school, when we all — everyone except Cristal — diverged a little bit. I, for a second, thought I might do something in the medical field. Kenna thought she might do something in graphic design. And Katie thought she might go be a professional soccer player. But when it came down to it and the three older girls were graduating [Ed. note: Alisa is about two years younger than the other three band members], it was this pinnacle moment of, 'Okay, are you guys gonna go off to college, and is this gonna end?' We'd been in it for, like, eight years... And we all just decided, 'Forget our other plans, let's all do music.' None of us really wanted to be doing anything else, so we just decided to drop everything and just really go for it."
When did you come up the name of the band? What’s the story behind calling yourselves The Aces?
"Originally, we came up with the name when we started it, when we were really young. So we were originally called the Blue Aces. We got the idea from our next-door neighbor, who was our best friend. His older sister came to us, and we were trying to form a band, and she was like, 'The best way to make a band name is, you take a color and an object.' Something like 'Red Place' was an example. And we were like, 'Okay!'"
"Cristal was like, 'The Blue Aces.' That was one of the first ones she thought of. And we were all like, 'That’s dope.' And then it just stuck, pretty much until a little over a year ago. About a year ago is when we dropped the 'blue.' And then we stuck with The Aces."
On to the "Baby Who" video — why did you choose to use your hometown in Utah as the location for it?
"I think that song is a really self-reflective song. It's a really healing song for us... I feel like 'Baby Who' is often thought of as a romantic song. I remember I read a magazine said it's like 'a kiss-off to an ex' or something. You can totally interpret it that way if you want — we like to leave it open. But I think we really wrote it from a place of being confident and comfortable in your own skin, and not needing any outside validation.'
"The lyrics are kind of like, 'I don't need you now, I don't need you now, Baby Who.' People you used to chase or who didn't really fuck with you, for lack of a better term, until you proved yourself — they're the Baby Whos.'
"And so with that sentiment behind the song, I directed the video, and I decided to use the hometown, because I felt like that was just really intimate. I wanted to show us in our natural state. We wanted it to be like, no makeup and just really low-key, really a day in the life. I had my friend Abdiel Ibarra, who's a cinematographer I've worked with on the music video for 'Stuck' as well. I was just like, 'Just come follow us around for a day. Just come hang out.''
"In that video, there was no real structure behind it. It was just kind of like, 'Let's just be ourselves.' And everywhere you see us shooting, that’s all within a mile radius of our houses, our neighborhood. It's an intimate look into our neighborhood, into what we did growing up, and our friendship."
When did you actually write the song? Did you always know what the video would be like when you eventually made it?
"For me, personally, with the videos I've directed for the band, I can always see them as I write the song. And I feel like this song, we wrote it right after we signed our record deal back in October. And we wrote it, actually, in the Red Bull Records writing room. And it was just fun, it was just such a good energy. It was the first song we'd ever written in L.A... I think we kind of have a groovy California vibe to the song, too.'
"I think it was just from a place of real confidence. When you sign a record deal and they give you something like that, it's validating. It's like, I'm good. I can take care of myself. I don't need people to tell me that I'm good enough. I know I am. And I think that's where 'Baby Who' came from. It was that perfect moment, and we channeled that energy and that feeling of accomplishment and confidence and being comfortable in our own skin, and that's how the song came out.'
"And I think once it was out, listening to it back and watching videos like 'Love$ick' from Mura Masa, I was just very inspired by that, how natural that video was and how nostalgic it was. And I felt like that vibe really fit this song. And so I just went with that."
When NPR wrote about your song "Physical," they compared your sound to Tegan and Sara and to HAIM. How would you describe your sound? Are there other artists you would consider yourselves similar to?
"Yeah, definitely! I think we're heavily influenced by a lot of things. Cristal and I were raised listening to Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston and Earth, Wind & Fire. And I think you'll hear more of those influences in the album. But also, I think a big influence for us from today's bands would be The 1975, as well as Tame Impala, just as far as referencing bass and guitar and rhythms and drum sounds. I think those bands are really big influences for us. Some throwbacks that have really influenced us would be The Cure and Tears for Fears. Those are the ones that come to mind and are the bands that Cristal and I reference in writing sessions."
You all have been bandmates and friends since childhood, long before having an official record deal. What would you say to young women who dream of forming their own groups?
"Just believe in yourself. Just do it. Don't be afraid. Just know you're good enough. Trust your instincts. Definitely trust your gut. If you want to do something, just do it. Life's too short to wait or feel like you're not good enough. You've just gotta go for it and just keep pushing, and just don't be afraid."
This interview has been edited for clarity.
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