*Photo Credit goes to Rob Gray
Editor’s Note: It is rather humbling that a recording artist and an actress, who also does some modeling on the side reaches out to you to have a conversation. It was all based upon how she really liked our previous interview that we did with her friend Mixi, who is the vocalist for the rising metal band Stitched Up Heart. Alexx has so many projects going on that my head spins just from hearing her talking about them. I just want to personally thank her for reaching out to us for this delightful conversation. In order to learn more about Alexx Calise, you can follow her at the following locations:
As of recently, Alexx Calise changed the name of her band from Sound Of Cancer to Bat Farm, please follow Bat Farm at the following locations:
Without further delay, here is my conversation with Alexx Calise!
Alexx: How’s it going?
M.T.C.: Pretty good, how’s it going?
Alexx: Right now, just doing my daily walk/run in order to stay healthy, in order to keep my killer bod in shape! *laughs*
M.T.C.: Speaking of killer bods, you do some modeling right?
Alexx: I was totally kidding by the way! Yep, I do that as well, music is my main bag, but it’s a lot of fun, I like to work with the camera and it’s just weird because for a lot of my life, I wouldn’t say I’m introverted but I feel like I come alive when I’m finally in front of the camera or on stage I can finally breathe, it’s really weird.
M.T.C.: How do you convey that into your music or when you perform live?
Alexx: It’s really weird, it’s like a Jekyll and Hyde kind of effect, I’m still introverted to a certain extent in every day life, but when it comes to that, when I’m performing, I can breathe and I can express myself in a way that I want to and that I need to, it’s kind of like a therapy for me, it just makes sense to me.
M.T.C.: How do you balance out your solo music career, your band, and your acting?
Alexx: We’re not Sound of Cancer anymore, it came down to a creative meeting, we might be changing the name of the band again to be quite honest *laughs*, but in terms of juggling everything, it can be an everyday struggle, and then you got to think about surviving out here in L.A. where things are very expensive, it’s about being creative with time management, sometimes that means not having a social life. It’s tricky.
M.T.C.: So, can you elaborate on changing the name of the band?
Alexx: We were Sound of Cancer before, and no one seems to get it, we are Cancers in terms of our Zodiac signs, and people were like, “are you a metal band” or “do you ignore cancer”, and I’m like, “No!” , we were having trouble in finding the title of our band.
M.T.C.: So what is the name of the band?
Alexx: We’re called Bat Farm. I was toying around with band names and Bat Farm came up, and someone asked, “are you into Batman then”, I’m like, “No!”, our music is very dark and intense, but with our upcoming music video, we’re all dressing up and acting silly, we wanted something that’s not too dark and not too campy, it’s kind of a struggle to find that middle ground.
“Darkarnival” by Sound Of Cancer
M.T.C.: August 1st, your band has entered the studio, what can fans expect from the new album and what does the writing process look like for this upcoming record?
Alexx: Well, we had a record when it was Sound Of Cancer come out in 2011 and haven’t really written anything since then only because the guy in the band and I were dating and we broke up and there was about a year where we didn’t really speak to each other at all, and we got back together on a music level, not in a romantic sense, and I’ve had my solo projects and stuff, and in the past two years we played a lot of live shows and did some recording. We’re looking at our second record to be coming out in the next few months. What people can expect is that it’s a little different from the first record, it’s a little darker but it’s also a little more uptempo than our last record, our last record was a concept album about being divided in the human spirit, whereas this one still has that dark introspective quality, but it has a little bit more of an upbeat tempo.
M.T.C.: Your band covered “6 Underground” Sneaker Pimps, did that band have any influence on your music?
Alexx: Well, we were thinking about doing a five song EP of just covers, we were thinking about covering the Backstreet Boys and a bunch of other really offbeat types of songs that people wouldn’t really be expected to hear covered in a dark type of fashion. We picked Sneaker Pimps, because I was loving that song when I was a kid when it came out, it really resonated with me, I wouldn’t say it was a minor hit, it was bigger than that. When people hear it when we cover that song, people are like, “oh my God, I remember that song”, it’s a really cool one, we really like that one.
“6 Underground” by Sneaker Pimps
M.T.C: Fun question for you, if you were to pimp out a brand of sneakers, what would you pick?
Alexx: I would say Converse because we have shoes of our own that have the SOC logo on it. It’s really cool because you can get them custom made, we’ve always rocked the Converse as the unofficial shoe of musicians.
M.T.C.: Has the writing and subject matter between you and Dennis different from the last record?
Alexx: It’s a lot different, I say that in a way because my solo career and this band have kind of melded together in terms of the sound, I bring a lot of the rapid fire lyrics that I usually do in my solo projects, and some of the content is a little more upbeat a little more uptempo, I think that we were kind of missing that from the last record. We’re at different places in our lives. Dennis has a new girlfriend, he’s happy there, I’m single, but I’m on the road to finding myself, it’s kind of an interesting process, and I think you’ll really hear that in the lyrics and in the content now.
M.T.C.: What’s the most challenging aspect of being a musician and being an actress in Los Angeles? How do you make yourself stick out in Los Angeles?
Alexx: The green hair definitely helps! *laughs* It actually kind of does in the acting sense, I think it’s because I have this unwavering sense of self, and I refuse to succumb to the commercial Hollywood nonsense, I don’t want to dye my hair in all of these colors so I can get more roles because that’s the only thing that I get cast at anyways, I’m cast as darker characters, as a musician, more hipsters as they call them in the biz, I work that to my advantage in that regard. As far as being a musician, I think we just kind of stand out because we’re not afraid to be ourselves. In this town, you see a lot of people wearing a mask, they’re afraid to be who they are, they think they have to be this over-amplified version of themselves. I think that when people see you as genuine, honest, and true to yourself, it just resonates with people more, it’s more authentic, we’re unapologetically ourselves, and I think that’s what makes us different.
M.T.C.: Do you think because of social media its more realism or more people being superficial?
Alexx: I think that goes for everybody. I think that it’s a little overkill, they treat Facebook as a diary, which it’s not supposed to be. I think that with musicians and celebrities that mystery is gone, I kind of miss that, I wish I didn’t know what Angelina Jolie looked like without her makeup on, I don’t care! Before all of this social media, there was this mystique, but that’s gone now. In a lot of ways, I think its good, but in a lot of ways, I think it’s not. When it comes to social media, I really try not to be like, “bummer, I’m having a bad day”, but I’m not afraid to expose emotions.
M.T.C.: I’ve been reading about the turmoil involving classic rock band Journey, and a lot of fans say, “they should shut up about politics and religion and just play music”, does that offend you as a musician and as an actress? What is your take on that?
Alexx: I actually agree with that sentiment. Sometimes, I just wish that people would just shut the f*** up, because actually with a lot of these opinions that I have, are not what is considered mainstream or popular as opposed to the mainstream media, they’re not in line with that. It seems like that a lot of people in the entertainment community would not agree with a lot or with anything that I have to say. In my case, to avoid being blackballed and being told by people on the Internet to just shut up, in terms of my basic core values and everything, I’ll post things about what things in society that I wish were a little bit different, but I really don’t go into politics because it just alienates and people are making that mistake in entertainment because there’s shows that I won’t watch now or music that I won’t listen to because this person is a f****** idiot and I can’t support them. I can’t sit through a movie knowing that they have all of these sh**** things to say.
M.T.C.: I definitely see your take on that and I appreciate your insight. You’re filming a Halloween edition of the Girls Gone Geek talk show? What can fans expect from that and what does the show entail?
Alexx: I’m one of the main cast members of the panel on the show. I think that they are trying to produce it for Netflix and a variety of other places. The show is basically almost like The View, it’s a roundtable discussion with a bunch of females, we’re talking about culture, some of the movies that are popular, comics, and anything nerdy, it’s fair game and we will talk about it. For the Halloween episode, we’re talking about The Walking Dead and some of our favorite horror movies and gore genre and stuff like that. I’ve always been into that kind of stuff, the show is absolutely perfect and 100% me. I love the cast, they did a great job with the casting. The other day, one of the girls from the show came out to see me play. I went drinking the other night with one of the other girls. It’s kind of cool to meet other girls that are equally as nerdy.
Check out the teaser to Girls Gone Geek below!
M.T.C.: What is your favorite Halloween movie then?
Alexx: The most terrifying movie that there ever was was the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre only because it was in the style of a lot of the old 1970’s movies that were out around that time. The pace was very slow and deliberate, and you feel the tension. It’s just insane, it’s about a serial killing family, nothing is really scarier than that.
M.T.C.: A bit about your solo career, your video for “Cry” was an amazing viral hit that was featured on Dance Moms and One Tree Hill? How was the response based upon that?
Alexx: It’s a long story about Dance Moms, but it will help explain everything a little bit. I belong to these licensing agencies that will help place my music into films and shows, so I don’t really know if my music is somewhere until it’s in something and I’ll find out from friends or family or fans. I had a record called “In Avanti”, which is an alt-rock record except for one song and that was “Cry”, it was the only ballad on the entire record. We were at the time pushing the single entitled “Break Me”, we were trying to push it to rock radio, it was doing okay, and all of a sudden these kids were covering my song on YouTube and doing dances to it, and I’m like, “what the hell is going on here”. After some investigation, I found out that it was used on this show called Dance Moms and this little girl named Maddie Ziegler was the one that danced to it, sales of the song were starting to go through the roof, and I’m getting messages that “your music has inspired me so much”, it was really cool, so my dad finally said to me, “why don’t you make it into a music video”, he got a patient through a dance teacher that was on the show, and I got the number for Abby, who was a teacher on the show and I called her and told her that one of the little girls on the show danced to my song and I asked her if she can be in my show, and she was like, “yeah, sure”. I flew her out to L.A. and we put her in the video, and fast forward a few years later, had about 20 million hits and Maddie is now super famous, she’s the dancer in all of these music videos, she’s in two movies that are out this year, and any time something is written about Maddie, they’ll reference that video, it’s really cool I get a lot of kickback from it.
“Cry” by Alexx Calise
M.T.C.: Do you still keep in touch with Maddie to this day?
Alexx: I do! She has a sister too, she’s very talented, she’s also a dancer, we might be doing something with her pretty soon. But I just saw Maddie not too long ago, one of the girls that also worked with her, it was at her birthday party, it was so much fun, they are such a nice family, I’ve known them now for about six years and they are just really nice people.
M.T.C.: Take us into another song that is doing well on YouTube entitled “Breathe”, take us into that song and that video.
Alexx: I wrote that song with my partner in Bat Farm, I was writing about the current climate of the world right now, everything has been just so freaking negative. Here in L.A., ever since the election, there’s been this really negative aura, I’m just sick of it, it just drags everybody down, the song is a reminder to just breathe, it’s going to be okay no matter what, this too shall pass and nothing lasts forever. On the last season of Dance Moms, my band and I performed on the show and we worked with Nia and one of the other girls Kendall, they sing backup vocals on my song “Cry” for an episode, and I’m like, “Nia has a really good voice”, maybe I’ll just have her sing background vocals on “Breathe”, and the rest is history.
“Breathe” by Alexx Calise featuring Nia Sioux
M.T.C.: Are you looking at any other music videos for your solo career in the near future or are you focused on Bat Farm right now?
Alexx: I’m always writing, I don’t really have anything on the docket right now, I’m sure I’ll have something pretty soon though, I have been working with some new writers and producers, it’s fair game, but I’ve been working really hard on Bat Farm with Dennis, so that’s been my main focus. It’s hard to focus on both, and if you don’t give it 100% attention, everything else will suffer and be kind of half-assed. We changed it to Bat Farm from SOC because it’s hard for people to find it and there’s another S.O.C. band called Soldiers of Christ, and that is not us, we just wanted to have something that is unique and easy to find.
M.T.C.: Let’s say I wanted to move to Hollywood and pursue a career that is similar to yours, what is one piece of advice that you would give me?
Alexx: I would say “do it for the love” because you can make so much more money elsewhere, the industry has dried up so much, especially in the last year in terms of acting roles at least in what I’ve seen. The music is here but there’s no money in it, something has to change within the industry soon otherwise all you’re going to see is weekend warriors, you’re not going to be able to go out and see people on tour, that has to change so the music can be the primary focus. You’ll never have another Led Zeppelin, you’ll never have another Aerosmith, you’ll never have another Janis Joplin, just do it for the love of it because not a lot of money can be made anymore.
M.T.C.: How can that change to where people can make money doing art again?
Alexx: It’s a tough one because Pandora’s box has been opened, it’s bad enough when people stopped buying CD’s and it went to downloads, and that’s fine but people are illegally downloading and now what is worse to some extent is that you have streaming services, you pay a certain amount of money to listen to unlimited music, but we don’t really see that much in terms of royalties from that. On Spotify alone, we have over two million listens, I don’t see that much from Spotify, somebody is getting the money, but not me. Something has to change and if you want to tour, I have a buddy that did three huge shows for this major metal festival and he told me that he paid two grand to play two shows for the pleasure of opening up for these bigger artists, not only are you paying to go on tour, you have to pay for the bus and all of that stuff, but you also have to pay to play, something has to change, I don’t have the answer to that, I wish I did because I would be swimming in it.
M.T.C.: I think that can start with us by going to support the local scene. Is there anything else you would like to add in terms of your solo career or Bat Farm or acting?
Alexx: I agree and I think I did a pretty good job of talking your ear off. I appreciate getting to talk to you, thank you so much!
And there you have it! On Monday, October 9th, Alexx Calise has a solo show at Ireland’s 32 in Los Angeles, California. For tickets and further information in regards to the show, click here. Check out Alexx Calise’s solo material including her 2016 releases of “Breathe” as the single and her latest record entitled “Addition By Subtraction” here.