Alexis Peramas - New Wave Soul

Alexis Peramas – New Wave Soul

Releasing new Album, “Magic Beach Motel”

By Victoria Gad

 How do you handle grief or disappointment? Some people binge on zebra cakes, others on whiskey and cokes, maybe you delete all your social media accounts (only to download them all again after all the whiskeys and cokes). Cosmopolitan says you should focus on “working out” or “taking baths,” but how does an artist handle grief? By creating something awesome for the rest of us to enjoy. Alex Peramas took his breakup and turned it into an album called “Magic Beach Motel.”

The name sourced from the Vilano Beach motel Alex would view in route to the beach, where he often spent time after his breakup to recoup. The style of the album can be categorized as new wave-psychedelic-soul, mixed by Wes Jones. It is a 6-track album featuring bass, drums, synthesizers, and even some finger snaps. All of the writing was done by Alex except one song that he collaborated on with two other musicians. The Cheap Suits is the pseudo name of his solo band that this album exists after. 

From the album is the single “Neon,” which with the help of Alex’s sister, brother-in-law, and Jason Blankenship, has produced a music video to come out this month on YouTube. The song depicts a story of “two characters leading fatalistic lives that find solace in each other,” Alex says. These two characters sort of take presence in the majority of the song’s existence. The video itself is shot sort of gorilla style and “is not super scripted or stiff,” he says. 

Living in St. Augustine my entire life I wondered where Alex popped up from. I would frequent Stogies and noticed a new face hanging around the joint. Alex was living just a town over in Jacksonville when he was encouraged to come down by Daniel Hughes. “I was about comfort at the time,” Alex explained, when I wondered why he did not arrive earlier. “I was working at a bank collecting mortgages at the time I decided to move down, I had the realization I had done every other job under the sun besides the one I wanted to. I did not want to hate myself as an old man.” When he came to try this town out he was bright faced and prepared at least 30 demo CDs to pass out around town.  “I thought I would get gigs left and right and then only one person reached out” he says. The one person that got in contact with him was Don Dunaway, from The Milltop Tavern.  Mr. Dunaway listened to the whole cd giving what Alex says “a real dose of reality.”  With that advice he also gave Alex the opportunity to play at The Milltop which set off the beginning of his career. From playing there he met Chelsea Saddler who brought him deeper into the town’s music scene.  “It all felt like kismet,” he said when he was recounting the “Local Honey” project kicking off. The Narrow was pretty up and coming at that point and Alex approached our editor Dave about making comics for the magazine. Dave offered Alex the chance to interview the people involved with Local Honey. From there, Alex was stuck with us all in St. Augustine which he claims to be alright with as he says, “St. Augustine has always felt like home.”  While in high school he would sneak over to the patio area to listen to music at Stogies. 

With him settled in at home here he decided to expand his family by joining the band The Space Heaters. One night the band was gearing up for a gig when two of the original members did not show up so they enlisted the help from Jesse Reyes and Alex Peramas, and they all have stuck together since. Alex, a modern renaissance man, also is involved in other arts such as illustration and painting. If you have ever been over to Sarbez you may have viewed his grilled cheese mural. I was surprised to find out I owned a t-shirt he designed in my dresser, and he does occasional comics in The Narrow. To understand our complex friend a little better I bombarded him with questions.

When you were younger what did you see yourself doing as an adult?
Alex: “I had an affinity for peanut m&m’s and as a child. I knew I was going to grow up to be the guy who painted the little “m’s” on them.” 

Was there a pivotal moment you knew you wanted to make your life about your music?
Alex: “On a beach in Avondale, New Jersey. This was after I ran away from Florida with wild dreams of moving to the Big Apple and the car I was traveling in got repossessed by the cops because I forgot to update the insurance information. I busked in the little Jersey town and hitched a ride to the local pier and bought a sandwich with the money I earned that day and ate it on the beach. It was the best thing I had ever eaten and it was because of music.”

What are the influences that inspire your music?
Alex: “Musically, Michael Jackson, Bowie, King Crimson, Devendra Banhart, Ray LaMontagne. I mean I could keep going, but really I try to look at the world through the eyes of my dog, Luke, and ask myself how I would try to explain this.”

What is your least favorite style of music?
Alex: “Plunkrock. And unfortunately it’s all I write.”

What does a gig day look like for you?
Alex: “Lots of existential anxiety, snacks, and staying up way too late.”

How is your painting and music in a symbiotic relationship?
Alex: “I think they get along pretty well, sometimes it’s a little manic, one will get all the attention while the other doesn’t, but luckily they're forgiving as long as they get touched every so often.”

What do you hope to accomplish with your music and art? 
Alex: “Make good art, good records that make booties shake and pull heart strings, inspire creativity, but honestly I’m just trying to get famous enough to ask the drummer from Boytoy out.”

Alex and I go a little more in depth over the future of The Cheap Suits and himself, which leads us into a conversation over hopes for touring and making more music videos. “I plan to make more material and do the whole process over again,” he says and then laughs; “Hopefully without the heartbreak this time.” As for now we can all see the silver lining and enjoy the product of his heartbreak and show up to Sarbez on the 22nd of February for his album release and eat some Kimberly sandwiches. If you’re sick in bed or just sick of interacting with people that’s fine too you introvert. Mecca Records has our backs and will be releasing the album on all platforms.

dave kosciolek