Interview by: ~ Downshifter
FMR: Alexx Welcome to Full Metal Rock. I appreciate your time, I know you are busy at the moment, so how's it going?
ALEXX: Everything is great, thank you! Just busy as ever!
FMR: Tell us a little about your music background?
ALEXX: Well, I’ve been singing since I can remember, and playing guitar since age 11. I’m more or less self- taught, and I find that to be more of a good thing than a hindrance because it allows me to write outside the box. I’ve never really dug into music theory or taken a lot of music lessons, because (and people who have given me lessons in the past have told me this as well) I don’t want to change my style. The technical “imperfections” I have are what make me…well, me. I grew up on a steady diet of rock ‘n’ roll, blues, jazz and even New Age, and I started putting music to my writing (I originally thought I’d end up a writer) at about 13 or 14.
FMR: How long have you been playing guitar?
ALEXX: I’ve been playing for about 13 years now. Scary! I had a little formal training for the first 2 years, and the rest I learned from the blues and grunge.
FMR: Any special vocal training or tricks or pre show rituals?
ALEXX: I don’t do anything too fancy like drink tea or anything. I usually just crank my album (or an album that has a vocalist with a similar range) really loud and sing along. That helps to warm up my voice and get me pumped before the show.
FMR: Who is in your band, and what do they do?
ALEXX: Dennis Morehouse is on drums, Scott Williams is on guitar and keys, Brian Marshak is on guitar, and Ken Franklin is on bass and sometimes keys. Oh yea, then there’s me.
FMR: How would you define your music?
ALEXX: It’s not quite pop, rock or electronica, but it is all of those things too, so I like to refer to it as rocktronica.
FMR: Who are your musical influences or mentors?
ALEXX: My father is my main musical influence, but I’m also a huge fan of bands like Silver Chair, Our Lady Peace, Sound Garden, Stone Temple Pilots, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Johnny Lang, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
FMR: Is there anything you hope your listeners/fans get out of your music?
ALEXX: Well I certainly hope it inspires people to get up and do something. In my song “Anything Goes,” I talk about the “me” generation, and how a lot of people my age have unrealistic expectations, a sense of entitlement, and no concern for the future. If I can get one person out of that lot to break some of those molds and become a contributing member of society, then I’ve done my job. I also hope that some of my songs, like “Good Enough” “Get Used To It” or “Break Me” help young people realize that they’re more than they think they are, they’re stronger than they think they are, and they should stand up to the people who make them feel like they’re not worthy or good enough.
FMR: What song is your personal favorite to perform live and why?
ALEXX: “Break Me” is a fun song to play live (and it’s great to open the show with). It just has a great raw energy, and it always gets the audience pumped. It’s one of my favorite guitar riffs on the album as well.
FMR: Describe for me a little of the creative process in writing your songs. Do you start with a riff, A Melody, or a Pen?
ALEXX: It really just varies. All I know is that I get the “writing itch” and I have to satiate it immediately. It’s usually at the most inopportune of times, like on the freeway or in a meeting or something, so I have to scramble to find a pen, and then record the melody into my phone. Melody usually comes easiest to me, then lyrics, then music. I agonize over my lyrics more than anything (because first and foremost, I’m a writer), and I often stare at a blank page for hours before having some kind of epiphany. That’s not an exaggeration either, ha ha!
FMR: Is it more about the hook, the riff, or the overall picture?
ALEXX: I think the most important and memorable elements of any song are hooks and melodies. If a song doesn't have good hooks or melodies (vocal or instrumental), then it’s not a good song. As an artist, you want people to be able to listen to your song and sing back what they just heard.
FMR: If We stole your Ipod, what would you define as a guilty pleasure on it?
ALEXX: Hmm…there are quite a few things on there. “Nookie” from Limp Bizkit (paying homage to my hometown of South Florida), some Public Enemy, Miami Sound Machine, and Thompson Twins. Go ahead and laugh it up, you know you like them all too, ha ha!
FMR: So What can we expect from Alexx Calise in the future?
ALEXX: Expect the unexpected my friend! Just know that you haven’t seen the last of me yet, muhahahaha! In all seriousness though, we’ll be doing some label showcases in the next few weeks, and then we’re going to do some touring (planning the logistics of that now). Keep checking back at www.alexxcalise.net!
FMR: Where can people go to find out about Alexx Calise?
ALEXX: You can check me out at www.alexxcalise.net, www.facebook.com/alexx.calise, www.twitter.com/alexxcalise, www.myspace.com/alexxcalise, and www.delicious.com/alexxcalise. I am a Facebook junkie, so that’s probably where you’ll find the most up-to-date information (aside from my official site).
FMR: Thanks So Much for your time, is there anything else you would like to plug or add or any shout outs?
ALEXX: Yes! If you don’t have it already, pick up my new album, “In Avanti” at www.alexxcalise.net! There’s also a lot of cool AC schwag on there, so check it all out!