10 (or so...) Questions we ask every band...
1). So - introduce yourself:
Howdy. I’m Alexx Calise. I’m a singer, guitarist and songwriter based in LA. I’m a Cancer, I enjoy long walks on the beach, and in my spare time, I enjoy scrapbooking and watching the sunset whilst sipping sweet tea on the veranda.
2). What sort of music do you produce generally?
For my solo project, Alexx Calise, I produce good old-fashioned, melodic rock and roll with a pop edge. For my other project, Sound of Cancer (with Dennis Morehouse), we produce really dark, melancholic, and existential music that can only be described as “darkadelic”.
3). Have you found it hard breaking through as a solo female singer as well as being in the band?
Either way, it’s a very difficult journey in this day and age with all the different choices people have these days in terms of entertainment. You’re not only competing with a million different bands, but you’re also battling short attention spans, video games, Internet, TV, and an assortment of other things. You’re not hearing a lot of new artists in general as well (at least in the mainstream media) because labels and booking agencies aren’t taking chances on any new acts. Where we are having a lot of luck lately (both with my solo project and my other band) is on the licensing end. We’ve been getting a lot of placements on different TV shows, films and commercials these days, so at least we’re making some bucks and reaching a lot of new people. I’d say out of all the methods of promotion I’ve used over the years, licensing seems to have been the best and most effective way to make new fans.
4). Your song 'Cry' was featured on Dance Moms over there in the US, how did that come about?
5). You also mentioned One Tree Hill, how did you go about getting a track on there?
The answer for both questions 4 and 5 are the same. I’m affiliated with several different music licensing agencies, all of which help to place artists’ music into film and television. Thanks to these agencies, I’ve had my music in several shows like Dance Moms, One Tree Hill, Texas Women, Tough Love, Next and more.
6). You say that 'Cry' was the only ballad on the release, does this mean you're more into the heavier side of things? How would you describe YOUR style of music to people who haven't heard you before?
I wouldn’t say I’m more into the heavier side of things necessarily. I just have different shades as an artist. For example, I’m a huge lover of grunge, rock, metal and blues, but I’m also a sucker for pop, old school country, and electronica.
I suppose I’d consider myself a rock artist with pop sensibility if that makes any sense. While I don’t like to compare myself to anyone else necessarily (haha), a lot of people have said my music sounds like a cross between Avril Lavigne, Foo Fighters, Alanis Morrisette, and Halestorm. I guess that’s a good thing though since most of them are all multiplatinum artists with a load of talent and serious chops, haha.
I just found it interesting that “Cry” was the song that really resonated with people on In Avanti, since it’s really dark thematically speaking, and it’s not your run-of-the-mill, formulaic pop song. It also wasn’t the song we were pushing at the time.
Whatever the case may be though, I’m happy that any song on that record struck a chord with a large amount of people. I feel very blessed.
7). How are you finding working with Wes Michener in the studio?
Working with Wes has been absolutely awesome. He’s such a pleasure to work with and it feels like I’m just hanging with one of my really good buddies whenever we’re tracking. Wes and I are about the same age and have a lot of the same common interests and musical influences (like silverchair, Alice in Chains, and Dredg), so you couldn’t ask for a better pairing.
He’s really pushed me as both a vocalist and guitar player as well. Whenever I do a good track, he tells me, “that’s great, but you can beat it”. I think that’s truly awesome, and not something you hear every day from a producer. We’re not trying to make a good record here; we’re trying to make a great record that will stand the test of time.
8). On the subject of being in the studio, how is recording going and what can we expect?
We’re recording the new record at my home studio and at Wes’s home studio (aside from the drums, which were recorded at Bell Sound in LA by Thai Long Li, who helped to engineer one of the songs on my first album). It’s sounding really inspired, raw and nasty.
It’s shaping up to be a hybrid of my first and second album; it has the organic, raw energy of my first record, and the awesome production value of the second.
9). So other than 'Cry', what other releases have there been and where can people get hold of them?
I’ve recorded two solo albums, Morning Pill (2007) and In Avanti (2011) both of which you can purchase on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, Alexxcalise.net, and on most other online music media outlets. I also have another project called Sound of Cancer with my drummer/songwriting partner, Dennis Morehouse, and we released our debut album, No Vampires in Gilroy on Halloween of last year. You can get our music on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, soundofcancer.com, and on most online media outlets as well.
10). We tend to feature a lot of artists who rely on giving free downloads to get their name out there, is this something you've had to do or have you found that people have naturally come across you and your music?
I have done it in the past to try it out (I was featured for a while on FrostWire where I offered up a free 5-song collection), but I’m not really a huge fan of it because it requires a hell of a lot of money and creative energy to produce an album, and the return isn’t always so great (I know some artists would argue this—I just haven’t personally found it to be the way to go). I think that it cheapens your art at some levels if you give it all away for free. Your art and your time should be worth something to you. At some point, you have to put a price tag on your music if you want to be able to continue producing it.
For the most part, I think most of my fans have found my music naturally, or they’ve heard it on a TV show or in a film, so I haven’t had to rely on the free download thing too much thankfully.
11). Moving forwards, what are your plans for the upcoming year?
Right now, I’m in the process of recording my 3rd solo record, so that’ll be taking up several months time, and then, we’ll be doing some west coast touring in the summer months. After that, I imagine Dennis and I will start writing Sound of Cancer’s follow up record. We’ve also been talking about starting our own music licensing agency this year too since we’ve really been doing well in that world, and we’ve built up a pretty big network of musicians and industry professionals over the years. We figured we didn’t have enough on our plate, haha!
12). Can we expect to see you over on UK shores anytime soon?
At the moment, we don’t have anything planned for the UK unfortunately, but if you hook us up with a plane ticket, we’re there! ☺
13). Finally, in the tradition of Loud-Stuff Interviews - say something profound which is going to make us all think!
What’s the deal with trash bags? You buy the product just to throw it away…
Check out the latest video from Alexx for her new track, Outta Here Alive, below!