Every so often an artist comes along who’s creative magic is so undeniable that it instantly captures your attention. Such is the case with the insanely talented Alecia “Mixi” Demner. She is definitely not an overnight sensation, rather an accomplished artist who has spent years pouring her blood, sweat and tears into the process of creating the music she loves. Aanointed one of the Hottest Chicks In Hard Rock by Revolver Magazine, Mixi proves she is more than just a pretty face as her and her bandmates relentlessly tour the land; carving out their own niche on the rock scene and winning over crowds in every town. Although 2014 is still young, it has been a busy year for the band as they have recently premiered the official music video for “Frankenstein,” joined forces with The Nearly Deads on The Brave Tour and prepare for their highly anticipated EP. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon caught up with Mixi to discuss her musical roots, the evolution of the band and what the future holds for this band on the rise!
I wanted to go back to your early years. What are your first memories of music in your life?
It started with kid’s movies and Disney movies like ‘The Little Mermaid.’ I guess that is where I got tapped into this trance of music! [laughs]
Who were some of your biggest influences early on?
I had a lot of different tastes. I was into the punk scene and bands like Black Flag and Minor Threat, a long time ago. Through the years, I have been inspired by local scene bands, when I was back in high school. I was very into punk early on and everything kind of grew from there. Right now I have been listening to a lot of Beethoven and stuff like that to try and learn what I can.
What was it about music that made you pursue it as a career, as opposed to going a different route?
Ya know, when I was in Florida, I used to host open mic nights. I would play three times out there and in Orlando, not that many people are going to come see a girl play acoustically. I knew the industry was out in LA, so I decided to pack up and move across the country when I was old enough. For some reason, I fell in love with it and I just can’t seem to stop! [laughs] There is no stopping now as the train is already in motion!
Many people will recognize you from your time on the show “Redemption Song.” That was a few years ago now but how did it impact you as an artist?
For me, it was it was a unique life experience. I had a good time and it was an interesting experience. They tried to push me into a solo career and I don’t really want to be a solo artist or a pop star. I like the dirty group of musicians, rock ‘n’ roll route of it! [laughs] Doing all the dirty work ourselves, keeping it real and not trying to sell out or be something we are not because other people are telling us too, is something that appealed to me.
Your band is Stitch Up Heart. How did you guys originally form?
I started the band in 2010. Basically, I had been writing a ton of music. The music scene in LA is a pretty tight knit group of people, so we all kind of met through the Hollywood scene. We all have a great chemistry and mesh well. We have a great time on the road and never take life to seriously. I really wanted to mix a lot of elements together that no one else has done; to think outside the box and create a new style — our own little style.
What are your plans for new music when it comes to Stitched Up Heart?
Last year we wrote about 35 to 40 songs. We just put out a new single from that batch of songs called “Frankenstein.” There is a music video out for that song as well, which Revolver premiered. We are going to release an EP that will have “Frankenstein” and “Grave” on it, along with a couple other songs. That is coming later this year, maybe Summer or early Fall. It comes down to just making sure it is perfect. We don’t want to release anything until we are absolutely, 100% satisfied with it. We are deciding on the best time to release it, as we speak.
Where do you find yourself looking for inspiration these days?
It’s funny. Like I said, we have all been listening to a lot of classical music. I am not sure why it goes hand-in-hand with metal but it certainly does! We don’t look like your typical classical music listeners. We have a guy driving with a mohawk and a bunch of makeup that makes him look like he just got bashed in the head, who is blasting Ludwig Van Beethoven! [laughs] I guess we aren’t your typical rock ‘n’ roll band! [laughs]
Stitched Up Heart has a horror element to the imagery. What attracted you to that genre?
If you listen to the lyrics from anything I have ever done, a lot of it is pretty morbid. There are some songs that might be poppier in some cases but the lyrics are about suicide or dark places in your head. The lyrics have never been a happy, positive or chipper kind of thing. There are positive messages in the songs about not killing yourself! [laughs] There are a lot of kids out there who deal with these things on a daily basis and our songs let them know they are not alone and they have us.
You mentioned your video for “Frankenstein.” What can you tell us about the shoot?
I had a blast. We spent two days shooting the video at different locations. We had a great crew that helped out and the whole process; the idea and the imagery really helped bring the song forward and show what I actually meant by the song. Obviously, Frankenstein is the monster and the video shows, how normal society might view us as monsters because we look different. There is also a love story twist but mainly we are saying that “We aren’t that bad! They are the ones trying to kill us!” My favorite part is how everyone got so involved in it and came together to make it happen in a way better than I could have ever anticipated!
You guys are out on the road right now. Are you doing anything differently these days when it comes to touring?
We have been doing certain things to change the show up a little bit, so people are seeing the same thing each time. There is a lot that goes into a tour and I pretty much booked this one myself. We had Neo Geo on the two for about a week and a half and now we have The Nearly Deads. They are all really cool and awesome female fronted acts, so it is cool to hang out with some girls! [laughs] There is a lot of work that goes into it and I was sick for about four days. I think I threw up about 4 times on the van ride to St. Louis! I just rolled out of the van, onto the stage and did it! You have to keep it moving and never stop. It has been a roller coaster ride but it is really fun and we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love it!
Have you noticed people becoming more familiar with your work at the different venues you play?
Yeah, I actually have noticed a lot of people know our songs, which we haven’t even released yet. I guess it must be because of YouTube videos and they know the words to singing along. It is very cool to having people singing your songs back at you!
What have you learned about yourself as an artist in creating this new material?
We have definitely grown as far as our writing process goes. Usually, Grant will work on guitar riffs. He has archives and archives. He will say “Ok, we are done with the tour. We are writing twenty more songs, guys!” He will come to us with that and then I will add my lyrics, melodies, harmonies and strings. Decker does his drum stuff and bassist does their thing. Everybody writes on their own. There is no one person writing it all and then telling the band what to do. We are all trying to work together as a team and a band unit. The writing process has been a terrific bonding experience for us as a band.
Looking back on the band’s history, what do you consider the biggest evolution?
I think it has been being able to prove that we can do this ourselves. Yeah, it is definitely rough. We did a hundred and two shows last year and we don’t management, a label, a booking agent or anything like that! We are going out on the road, doing it ourselves and making it happen. Knowing that we can actually do it and being able to get to the level we have reached already, we know we can pretty much do anything! Eventually!
What is next for Stitched Up Heart? What can fans expect in the short term?
We have an editor working on a lyric video right now. We obviously plan on releasing the EP at some point and going back out on the road, possibly in the Fall. We will probably plan out the next route, probably an East Coast run, Florida up to New York. We plan on staying out on the road and working as much as possible.
I know you also have a little bit of experience with television as well. What can you tell us about that side of yourself?
I have a television degree. I went to college just to make Mom and Dad happy and ended up with the degree. I do a lot of extra work. Sometimes they will call us up for little placements. Out in LA they are always shooting something, so you can make a few extra bucks and all your friends will say “Hey! I saw you on True Blood!” It is kinda cool! [laughs]
Obviously, you are very career oriented when it comes to your music. What are some of your musical bucket list items?
I really want to get out of the country at some point. I want to go to Europe, Australia and places like that. That is the next level of booking, which I don’t understand. I know how to book the U.S. but I am not totally sure about Europe and those places. We definitely want to get over there because there are a lot of people there who really want to see us. We just need to team up with some bands like The Nearly Deads and help each other grow, ya know.
It is really inspiring to see how involved you are with the growth of your band on every level. What is the best piece of advice for young musicians looking to make a career in the industry in today’s climate?
It is all about hard work and tenacity. Never give up. There are going to be a lot of people who are going to try and bring you down and try to not let you succeed but you just have to rise above and be strong. As The Nearly Deads would say, “You have to be brave!” [laughs] You have to be a tough cookie!
Thank so much for your time today, Mixi. We look forward to spreading the word and turning a few people on to this awesome band!
Thank you, Jason! See you soon!
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.