A: Why thanks! We haven’t been through Colorado yet but I have heard great things. We are definitely going to tour the album starting next month, which will include some west coast dates, namely in the NorCal area. I also anticipate us going out east in the coming months as well so I can hit up my hometown again, which is always fun.
IL: What is a typical day likes when you’re on the road? Do you get a chance to relax take in a show?
A: I wouldn’t say it’s entirely relaxing (laughs), but there’s nothing else I’d rather do. A lot of it is driving or flying, but we also do interviews (sometimes phoners, sometimes in-studio interviews, sometimes live on-air performances). Then, it’s off to sound check. After that, we might have a few hours to kill, so maybe I’ll do a little work out, watch some TV or read a good book.
IL: So I just have to ask. Who are you listening to? Is there anyone out there that would just knock me off my feet?
A: You’ve got to listen to Silverchair’s latest album, Young Modern if you haven’t already. Granted, they’ve been my favorite band since the 7th grade, but I love how bizarre and Manchester sounding it is. I’m also loving, The Dissociatives, which is the lead singer of Silverchair, Daniel Johns’s side project. It’s very left of center, and it doesn’t have a specific genre, but it definitely has its own sound. I also love Massive Attack, Cocteau Twins, Grinspoon and VAST. Awesome new discoveries would also be The Civil Wars and Dredg. Sorry, I know that’s a lot to take in!
IL: You’re releasing the new album "In Avanti” on May 24th. How was the recording process? Did you do anything differently?
A: "In Avanti" is vastly different than "Morning Pill". For one, I went with a new producer, Luigie Gonzalez, the album content is much different, much edgier, and much more mature, and the actual recording process itself was a bit more enjoyable and laid back. Lu and I are great friends, so it felt like we were hanging out and getting takes in between almost. I think "In Avanti" is more representative of who I am as an artist than my last record because I was very young when "Morning Pill" came out, and I was still figuring out who I was artistically and on a personal level. Now I know who I am, I’m headed in the direction I want to go in, and I’m much wiser because of all of the experiences--good and bad--I had with "Morning Pill."
IL: Your all ready back and forth between Florida and California are you going to get a tour out of the album? I think that Colorado would be pretty receptive.
IL: With all the different projects, Disney, Discovery, TV and all that. Music is still number one but those sides must be interesting to do...??
A: Yea, it’s really fun and interesting to have other creative outlets. Music is always, always my number one, but I’m also intrigued by acting, especially when it means I get to play a musician or a really messed up, villainous person. Something a little left of center.
IL: You have to do so much as an independent artist, what's the hardest thing that keeps popping up?
A: You can say that again (laughs). There are several things that keep popping up. I’d say the hardest thing is getting (and staying) on people’s radar. Most people have attention spans like gnats these days, so it’s really hard to keep yourself fresh in their minds.
I also find booking and routing tours to be pretty difficult, mostly because I have so much else I need to concentrate on, and it’s not my forte or love. It’s hard to put a dollar sign on your art as well if you know what I mean.
IL: How has the Internet, especially the changes in the last couple years (social media, YouTube, etc.) changed the way a young independent artist markets themselves?
A: It’s definitely put young indie artists on a pretty level playing field with some of the bigger artists I’d say. A lot of mainstream artists are doing the exact same thing as Indies when it comes to all the social networking or YouTubing; the only difference is they probably have more personnel helping them plug their music.
What’s great too these days is that all of these different digital music distributors are in existence now, so any artist can put their stuff up for sale on iTunes, Amazon, or Rhapsody. Now you don’t necessarily need a label at all. You just need to be a go-getter and absolutely kick-ass at what you’re doing. Then, you can achieve anything.
A: Actually I’m getting my musical rocks off right now with my other music project, Sound of Cancer. SOC is entirely different from my solo project, and sounds like a cross between Pink Floyd, Massive Attack, Zeppelin, The Cure and Portishead. Not to gloat or anything, but whenever my songwriting partner, Dennis Morehouse and I finish a track, we’re just blown away. We’re our own biggest fans, (laughs). It’s just everything and more than we ever expected it to be. We’re doing these George Harrison style vocal harmonies atop these lush (but also ominous) sounding melodies. It’s almost defiant of classification because at times, it’s very somber and mournful and eerie, but it also rocks like freakin’ Zeppelin.
different music together, whether it was mine or someone else’s—the arrangement, the structure, how it ebbed and flowed.
What I’ve always appreciated about my dad is his honesty. He’s never afraid to tell me if my song sucks and that I need to go back to the drawing board when I play it for him; he never placates me. He’s always right when it comes to stuff like that; he’s my shit meter. If its dad approved, its Alexx approved.
I’ve also been very lucky in that I’ve had a supportive dad (and mom too) who has always championed my cause. At first, he and my mom resisted when I told them I wanted to drop out of school to pursue my music, but when they saw how unhappy I was, they eventually told me to go ahead and chase my dream, because you only have one shot at a career like this, and you’ve got to do it while you’re still young.
IL: What was the music scene like in Florida? It seem like there would be so many different influences.
A: Do you?
IL: Why LA and not say Nashville? Was it just that the music fit better?
A: While Florida is absolutely beautiful and a wonderful place to grow up, it’s not the musical Mecca. There never really was much of a scene happening in Lauderdale when I was living there (at least for rock), and there’s only so much you can do there before you eventually hit a wall. It’s a great place to be if you’re in a cover band, but its certain death for an original artist.
I’d thought about New York and Nashville years ago, but New York is too damn cold for me (laughs), and it’s more suited for those in pursuit of a theater career. Nashville crossed my mind as well, but it has more of a country and blues thing going on. I came out to LA in 2006 to record some of my first record and work with my current producer, Luigie Gonzalez and I ended up falling in love with the place and moving out permanently in 2007. LA and I have had a torrid love affair ever since.
IL: When I talk to some of the 80 rockers they talk about LA as it was constant work but the party was just as important, how has the music business changed, is it a bit more serious now?
A: Well, you definitely can’t party it up like that anymore and expect to have a longstanding career. The Eighties were all about decadence. Today’s music budgets won’t afford that type of lifestyle. As an artist these days, you need to learn how to manage your money (because an advance may be the only money you ever see), and you need to constantly hone your craft. The only money-making avenues left for artists these days are licensing and live performances, so it’s up to you to be the best artist you can be.
IL: So many people play everything under the sun. Do you play anything other than guitar? What other instrument do you want to learn?
A: I dabble a little bit with bass and also piano, but I wouldn’t say I’m fantastic at either; I’m adequate (laughs). It’s mostly for songwriting purposes.
I’d definitely love to take up other instruments, like cello and drums. I actually wanted to be a drummer originally, but my mom wasn’t going to have any of that because she grew up with a brother who was a drummer, and didn’t want to listen to drums all day long all over again. I guess I can’t blame her.
IL: It seem that everyone is mixing things up musically now days. Is there anyone you would really like to work with, or another genre that you might want to explore?
Interview with singer/songwriter Alexx Calise
One of the things I really like about doing this job is that on occasion I get to tell you about someone that well, in one word…ROCKS! Here is someone you may have never heard of. Even though she goes back and forth between LA and Florida where she grew up Alexx Calise still has plenty of time for side projects, and some you may have even heard of (Discovery Channel, Disney, and One Tree Hill). There is a long line of women who have made their mark in rock n’ roll. With her brand of radio friendly pop rock Alexx is ready to take her place among them.
Interstate Live: Thanks Alexx for taking the time to talk to us.
Alexx: No, thank you!
IL: Your Dad was a musician, what kind of influence was he on your musical career?
A: My dad was (no pun intended) instrumental in my musical development. When we were kids, my brother and I would sit on the floor and watch in awe as my dad played us Beatles tunes or the James Bond theme. I thought my dad was just about the coolest person on the planet (and I still do), so naturally, I picked up the guitar so I could be just like him.
He, along with my mother introduced me to so many different styles of music as well—new age, jazz, rock, country, folk, blues. It taught me to not be closed minded as a musician, because every genre has something unique and different to offer. When I was growing up, my dad and I would jam and then sit and analyze
Alexx Calise - Break Me Video
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