In issue 397, Alternative Press connected with vocalist and guitarist Cristal Ramirez of the Aces. For the 10 Topics feature, Ramirez spoke about a wide range of issues, from professional to personal. Ahead of the AcesU.S. fall tour, she spoke about her current daydreams, talked about how she celebrates her queer identity and more.


Just because someone uses Auto-Tune doesn’t mean they’re not a great singer. It’s not something [where] someone can just sing a shit note and suddenly it’s this perfect on-pitch note. The biggest stars in the world, they all use it. We gotta kick that stigma. Auto-Tune is a tool. Just because you use it doesn’t mean that you’re not a very talented singer.


I have to exercise. If I don’t exercise, my mind isn’t as sharp. Even getting up and walking, staying close to nature, going and connecting in a park or doing something like that. I get overstimulated really easily. Sometimes I’m like, “Why am I so stressed?” I’m just overstimulated. I need an hour to just go be alone. Giving yourself those breaks is so important.


The best thing I can do for myself is to just surround myself with people that show me love and respect in spaces that I’m accepted and I feel the way everyone deserves to feel—like a community. Living in L.A., to me, is like celebrating my queerness. Give yourself that shot to meet people that are going to love you and accept you and have no questions, no doubts about offering you that kindness and space that you deserve. Another big one is just putting it in the music. If people can listen to our music and feel empowered to own their space and figure their sexuality out, then I feel like that’s the biggest celebration of all.


We always go to Whole Foods because the hot bar is amazing. So you can just go get something healthy. Alisa [Ramirez, drums/vocals] was gluten-free and dairy-free for one of the tours, so we had a plethora of dairy-free snacks. Bananas [are my] go-to. Bananas are the best because they fill you up, but they’re so easy. I’m always looking for the quickest, easiest, healthiest thing.


[If I was a kid], I just would need to go to the local grocery store and get as much candy as possible and as much doughnuts and cake and cookies as possible. Nowadays if I was going to have a sleepover, I need a solid face wash, obviously my toothbrush [and] my girlfriends really turned me on to eye masks. So, I’m doing an eye mask moment now.


I’m such an advocate of [taking] one day a week just to cleanse. Make your Sunday or whatever day you want where you can be a little bit off your phone. When I’ve done that, like a Sunday where my phone is gone, I don’t look at it as much as I can. I don’t even look at it for texts or calls. I just have a day that I like to spend with myself or my loved ones. Go to the beach and don’t take your phone, and just be away and give your brain a real rest and clear your thoughts out. I feel like that helps me reset my week so much. It helps me feel really rested.


I think just the tour that’s coming up. I’ve been getting really excited and ready for that. And also, just the music we’ve been making and working on is really exciting me. And the visual around that and the feeling and that approach to creating the songs and the creativity we’re currently in. I was [also] just in Maine with my girlfriend. And it was so dreamy out there, just on the water for two weeks and chillin’.


Your food at a restaurant when you have a basket of bread in front of you. Your food is worth waiting for, I promise. [It’s] always the worst when you eat way too much of the appetizers and way too much bread and then you ruin your meal.


I have to be honest: I literally hate games. I don’t like playing them. Everyone knows. Everyone trolls me. My whole band [are] like, “Cristal’s such a game hater.” We just went to Mexico, and they all wanted to play games at night. And I was like, “Literally, no! I’m on vacation.” This is the last place I’m playing a game. I want to lay and watch a movie or just lay around and do nothing and have a drink and eat food. Sometimes I’ll give in when my friends and family say, “Please play a game.” And I’m like, “OK, fine.” And sometimes I can get into it.


The girls and I were actually talking after we were in Mexico, and we were like, “Next trip we gotta do Greece.” [We have to] go to a beautiful beach in Greece, like a crystal-[clear] water beach. So I think I’ll make this happen. The older I get, the more I’m just like, “Life’s too short. Let’s just go on the trip.” Even if it’s the cheapest ticket, cheapest Airbnb, whatever you can do to just go see other cultures and other people and other places, do it. ALT

This interview originally appeared in AltPress issue 397, available for purchase here.