Alexx Calise – Breathe
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) From an acting perspective also, in 40 years what does she want her legacy to be?
A) As far as acting goes, it’s more of a fun thing for me. I do very much enjoy it and I’ve been a part of some amazing productions, but music is my main passion. Ideally, I’d love to play a secret agent, a famous musician or some other really dark character (perhaps a villain). If I can leave a lasting impression at all, that would be enough for me. Really, I’d like my music to be my legacy.
Q) How would you describe your sound?
A) My solo project I’d describe as probing, lyric-driven alternative pop. My other project, Batfarm is very esoteric, harmony-driven and “darkadelic,” as we like to call it.
Q) Who are some of your musical influences?
A) I’m a huge fan of blues and grunge. Blues wise, I grew up with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jonny Lang. On the grungier side, I always gravitated toward Silverchair, The Toadies, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails.
Q) Talk about the story behind your new song “Breathe.”
A) I wrote “Breathe” in response to all the negativity I’ve been seeing lately—on the streets, on social media, everywhere. One of the lines in the 2nd verse is “there’s so much division in the world we’re living it, it tears us apart when we’re really not that far off.” I see that with politics, with social issues. There’s so much separation being created and it’s not necessary. I’ve actually been seeing a lot more of it in recent years. Not everything has to be so black and white. There are gray areas. We can come together on a lot of things because, at the end of the day, we’re all human.
Q) What do you think it is about the song that fans connect to?
A) I think it’s the simplicity of it all. We spend so much time getting wound up about everything. We’re so quick to forget that nothing lasts forever, the bad will eventually pass. You just need to relax and simply breathe. It’s going to be alright.
Q) What is your song writing process? Do you need music before you can create lyrics?
A) It’s a bit different every time. I find that whenever I have a lot going on emotionally (usually bad), that that’s when I get the best material. Music is therapy for a lot of artists; it helps us get all that bad gunk out of our systems. Recently, I’ve been writing the lyrics before we start putting music to everything (I’ve had a LOT to say [laughs]), but that’s not always the case. Sometimes the music will dictate the cadence and content of the lyrics for me.
Q) How much of hand do you have in the production of your music?
A) I have a hand in all of it. Especially when we produce music for Batfarm, my bandmate and songwriting partner Dennis Morehouse produces absolutely all of it, from top to bottom. Our first record was made entirely on a laptop (aside from the drums, which were tracked in a studio). It’s extremely important to me to have a lot of creative input. It’s my material after all. So, if I’m not getting the result I want, I’m the only one to blame at the end of the day.
Q) What was it like working Nia Sioux and Kendall Vertes on your song “Cry?”
A) It was a ton of fun. Despite not having much rehearsal time, the girls totally nailed the harmonies and sang really well. They’re definitely true professionals. I think they’ll both be very successful with dance and
Q) What can fans expect from a live Alexx Calise performance?
A) You can definitely expect that it’ll be heartfelt. I perform with every ounce of my being. Whenever I step on to a stage, I feel like I can finally breathe. Life actually eludes me, but music has always made sense.
Q) Where are some of your favorite places to perform and what makes those locations so significant to you?
A) My band and I just love playing at Viper Room or Boardners, both in Hollywood. The sound is great and both venues are very intimate. Those places will always have a very special place in our hearts because we’ve been playing there forever and they’ve always been very good to us.
Q) Will there be an EP or full album coming in the near future?
A) Always. I am constantly writing, if not for my solo project, then for my other band Batfarm. Batfarm will probably have a new album out sooner than my solo project since we’ve been really hard at work on that, but expect some new AC stuff in the near future too!
Q) Who would you most like to collaborate with on a song in the future?
A) I would absolutely love to work with Jeff Lynne from Electric Light Orchestra. His harmonies and production are unparalleled. I may be a little star struck though; I’m not sure how I’d react. [laugh]
Q) What album/band are you currently listening to and why do you dig them?
A) I’m really liking K.Flay’s “Life as a Dog” record. I saw her a few years back at the Echo here in LA. She’s an insane rapper in terms of her speed and I also her message. She’s very quick witted, smart and dark (which I love). The production is great; it’s a really cool blend of hip hop and alternative.
Q) You are a part of social media. Why is that such an important way for you to connect with your fans?
A) It’s a really great way of getting to know the people who enjoy my music. Nowadays, you can communicate with them instantaneously. When I was growing up, it was a little bit different. There was more of a mystique about artists and celebrities before, partly because social media wasn’t as much of a thing and we’ve become more voyeuristic to some extent as the years have gone on. However, I will say that social media is a great and oftentimes cheaper, more effective way of getting your message out to a ton of new people.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) I’d like to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You guys are the ones who are helping to make this all happen and you are the ones who make it worth it for me. I truly could not do this without your support.