ALOKE is an American post-hardcore band that was formed by Christian Zucconi, Paul DeCourcey and Alex Charpentier in Ossining, New York, in 2004. During their career, the band released one live album and three EPs, before disbanding in the summer of 2009. Thereafter, Zucconi formed Grouplove, which gained popularity with ALOKE song, "Colors You Have" (renamed "Colours"). At one time, ALOKE was described as "shoveling out creepy, loud, grueling beauty" and "the fiercest, hardest working, loudest band in NYC".
The founders of the band – Christian Zucconi, Paul DeCourcey and Alex Charpentier – grew up in Westchester County, New York and played together in a school band. Prior to ALOKE, Christian played bass in Pagoda, fronted by his friend and actor Michael Pitt. During his time in Pagoda, Zucconi filmed a music video for their "Happy Song", which captures him as a band member. Zucconi also played additional guitar on "Death to Birth" from Pagoda self-titled debut album. Later on, ALOKE opened several times for Pagoda. Paul DeCourcey played in punk rock band The Skizmatics. Their only record, "No Heroes" EP, was released on Beer City Records in 1996. Alex Charpentier was a drummer for hardcore punk band Awkward Thought. After they were joined by Alex Walker, the future ALOKE guitarist, the band recorded and released "Fear Not" EP. They were soon joined by DeCourcey, and afterwards this line-up recorded the infamous studio album "Ruin a Good Time", which was released on March 25, 2003.
…Pulsating rhythms, catchy guitar and punk influences make ALOKE… The young band members were full of energy and played a thrashing set of screaming vocals on top of a dark and murky rhythm. A voyage into space and beyond, very futuristic, reminding me of a mix of images from The Matrix and Alien. Sci-fi, but thrilling mixed with gothic. What a great show…
Review of ALOKE concert at Pianos on October 21, 2004
The band was formed as a trio in the summer of 2004 and played its first shows in such venues as Rothko and Pianos. After a while, they released self-titled extended play, which included five songs. Crusher Magazine wrote that songs are "sounds like [they] could've been lifted from the Nirvana box set", while The Deli Magazine reviewer stated that EP "showcase a talented post-punk/post-rock combo with some interesting influences blessed by good songwriting skills and a genetic tendency to avoid banality and… explode!". Both magazines noted the opening track "You Did It… Again", which "evokes the angular stance of post-hardcore" and "will help you regain self-esteem".
On January 29, 2005, the band released their second EP titled "Not So Nonsense". One of the songs from the album, "Fire in the Stove", was later re-recorded by Zucconi as an instrumental, while writing score for Jennifer Venditti documentary Billy the Kid. A few months later, in August, they put out another self-release, live album "One Day We Will Kill You", which was recorded in front of small audience and mixed at Excello Recording Studios by Hugh Pool in April 2005. The entire album also was allowed to download for free on official site.
We're all about playing live, so we wanted to bring that energy to the table when it came to recording.
The following year, on May 2, the album was released on Pretty Activity and Gatehouse Anchor on CD and vinyl, respectively. Vinyl version, unlike CD, does not include tracks "Love Is Distance" and "All That Ever Was". While promoting the album, ALOKE released three music videos for the songs "Nameless", "Pennywhistle" and "Dirty". The thought process for filming the video for digital single "Nameless" was that the band "wanted it to look and feel like how our live shows are […] sweaty, cathartic and lots of energy". "Pennywhistle" was partly filmed in the deserts of California, while "Dirty" was completely done in the band's rehearsal space.
Alex Walker grew up with the rest of the band members and prior to joining ALOKE, he had already played with DeCourcey and Charpentier in Awkward Thought. Besides that, Walker played in avant-gardechamber group Electric Kompany and Do Shadows Savage?, which had previously opened for ALOKE on a few occasions. Walker joined the band mid–summer 2007, and after that, the quartet rode to Chicago, Illinois, to record a new album. Recording sessions took place in Electrical Audio Studios and was produced by famed Steve Albini, who has worked with musical acts such as Nirvana, Pixies and PJ Harvey, among many others.
For two weeks we locked ourselves in his studio and worked very closely with him. With him having recorded some of my favorite records of all time, it was just an amazing experience to share with him our songs, and to see how he captured it.
Overall, the band recorded 18 songs, 13 of which was scheduled for release on the new album, "What a Sight It Shines at Night". But, instead of full-length album another EP was released, which included five recorded with Albini songs. Hannah Hooper, Zucconi's girlfriend with whom he later formed Grouplove, made the cover artwork for that EP.
Over the next year and a half ALOKE toured frequently and took a part in such events as SXSW and Safe to Swim Weekend.
2008–2009: Charpentier departure and breakup
In mid 2008, Alex Charpentier left ALOKE to pursue his dream of becoming the understudy for Dr. Frank N. Furter and the remaining band members continued performing as a trio, with Walker temporarily switching to bass, while DeCourcey took control on drums. In the first months of 2009, Anthony Kapfer joined the band and sat behind the drum set. Two weeks after Kapfer auditioned for the band, they played SXSW in Austin, Texas. In May the new line-up was set to record another extended play with Matt Labozza producing it. Although, it was not meant to be: a month later the band played its last show and disbanded, while all that was recorded remained unreleased.
After the demise of ALOKE, Christian Zucconi formed Grouplove. Grouplove adopted some of the ALOKE songs, "approached from a whole new angle", including "Gold Coast", "Itchin' on a Photograph", and "Colors You Have" (renamed "Colours"). The band released two studio albums, Never Trust a Happy Song in 2011, and its follow-up Spreading Rumours in 2013. Besides that, Zucconi participated in side-projects, such as Back Off Track and solo-project Little Million. Paul DeCourcey played for a while with Zucconi in Back Off Track and thereafter decided to focus his musicical career on honing his craft a as Luthier and designing and crafting hand-made guitars. Since then, he opened up "Division Street Guitars", a shop in Peekskill, NY, where he repairs and builds custom guitars. Alex Charpentier, after his departure from ALOKE, played some time in Star Fucking Hipsters. In 2011, Walker, along with Charpentier and Jake Siegler, formed FORE, which released a self-titled instrumental album, putting it for free on Bandcamp. The same year, Walker served as touring bassist for Los Angeles-based indie rock band Family of the Year. On April 9, 2012, Walker released an extended play under the pseudonym Tutti Mondi, taken after the FORE song. In 2013, Walker played guitar on Galaxy of Tar EP entitled "Barreta" and continued to write amazing solo songs such as "The whistle goes Woop, woop", "Muskrat Love" and "Tony done touched himself".