Biolan focuses on honest songwriting for band, Riley and the Roxies

Freshman Biolan Spencer Alfonso is committed to honest songwriting for his band, Riley and the Roxies.

Job Ang, Writer

Music is a gift; it has provided the soundtrack for many good times and memories. For Biola freshman Spencer Alfonso, a cinema and media arts major, writing music is a constant combination of heart and fun, but must always come from a place of honesty.

“It’s definitely a moral struggle as a writer and an artist,” Alfonso said. “I want these songs to come from something that I was truly inspired by. … someone will say something and it will make me want to express it.”

Alfonso writes songs for his band called Riley and the Roxies, which includes high school friends Patrick Hill, Emiko Woods and Jenae Loughborrough.

Founded in Alfonso’s junior year of high school in Sonora, Calif., Riley and the Roxies is a pop rock band based on catchy hooks and honest songwriting.

After several personnel changes, the band’s current lineup is in the studio prepping for the release of their debut EP called, “The Lovers in Spain.”

Band inspired by movie

It is apparent that Alfonso comes from a background steeped in musical diversity. While writing for the record, he credited the movie “That Thing You Do!” as being a primary source of inspiration.

“That movie got me into music,” he said. “After we’d watch it, I’d want to jam and say ‘Let’s go make music!’”

Alfonso also listed R&B and indie rock music, in the vein of The Strokes, The Black Keys and Kings of Leon, as the “big bands that I listen to.”

A quick perusal of his desk will reveal a plethora of Prince CDs as well.

“I like the idea of making songs that people can dance to and have fun with,” he said. “We try to make dancey garage rock.”

Challenge of writing songs about faith

He did not shy away from citing relationships and girls as big topics in his lyrics.

Writing faith-based lyrics has been a challenge for the young Biola student, who believes integrating his convictions into songs is important. However, he makes sure to avoid feeling an obligation to do so.

“Faith is definitely a challenge,” Alfonso said. “Feeling like you have to be [a Christian band] is a really bad feeling.”

He acknowledged that there is a place for his faith to shine through in the subject matter of his songs.

Songs inspired by real events

But, ultimately, it still boils down to feeling that connection with the song.

“I don’t feel connected to a song unless I was inspired by it from a real event,” he said. “For the next EP that I’m writing right now, I do have a song about death. It’s about how people on their deathbed cry out to God, whether they’re Christian or not.”

He explained the song as a look at how people oftentimes put God on the back burner of their minds until they absolutely need him.

He hopes it will serve as a reminder to the band’s future audience, but also to himself.

“I want to be honest,” he said when asked what his ultimate goal with music is. “I don’t want to force it. … I want people to feel like they’re getting to know me.”

Upcoming releases from the band

Biolans will get their chance soon, as Riley and the Roxies plan on releasing “The Lovers in Spain” EP for free on their site as a way to spread the word about their music.

To follow the band’s progress in the studio, check them out on Facebook and their website.

0 0 votes
Article Rating