Questions and Answers with Alexis Brown of Straight Line Stitch

It’s been a long road for Tennessee’s Straight Line Stitch, from limited releases to changing lineups to grueling tours in dirty clubs. Now tapped to play as part of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, the band feels like they’re come over a crest in their career. Taking a minute off from promoting their new album “The Fight of Our Lives,” singer Alexis Brown talked with me about music, women in heavy metal, and a copious amount of horror cinema.
When you released “When Skies Wash Ashore” in 2008, it had been after a long uphill battle for exposure. How does it feel to release “The Fight of Our Lives” already having that installed fan base?
It feels great to have released this latest record after all the bullshit drama we've gone through and experienced, because it's living proof that all our efforts are now starting to really pay off and show fruition. Don't get me wrong, it's still a fight everyday but like in anything it's more so now a fight worth fighting.
Tell me a bit about “The Fight of Our Lives.” What’s new or different on this album that fans can expect?
With this album fans can expect to see who we are and who we have become as a band. I feel that "The Fight Of Our Lives" is more our record then our previous album "When Skies Wash Ashore" because when we went to record [WSWA], everyone had something to say and it was cool considering that we were new to the game, but now we've grown up. It was a band decision while writing “The Fight of Our Lives” that we would have more control over how we wanted to write and produce this album and I'm happy to say I'm very proud of the end result. Fans can expect a roller coaster ride in regards to the new record, we take them on a ride with many twists and turns of emotion. We didn't go into writing the album with the intention of making a certain type of record, we wrote what we felt and if it was good we kept it and if we thought it sucked we trashed it. But we were true to ourselves and our music. I think a lot of our fans will be pleasantly surprised.
How do you feel about “The Fight of Our Lives” as an evolution of your sound?
I definitely feel and hear a certain maturity in this record. I feel like we have grown up as people and as a band and a unit in working together to put out the best record we possibly could. I feel like with each record we have done up until now has been like a stepping stone.
When you’re writing songs that transition from heavy to melodic in a seeming blink, how does that writing process come together? How do you strike a balance between the two?
What I usually do when writing lyrics to a song, is I will listen to the music by myself for like, hours and then I'll start humming or mumbling words until something comes out, it’s weird! It's as if the song writes itself. I don't plan where to sing/scream and where not to sing/scream. It just comes to me and if it sounds good we go with it.
The band released a lot of material that didn’t see a broad release prior to “When Skies Wash Ashore.” Given the current trend in music of re-recording old material, do you ever consider giving some of those older songs the “re-do” treatment?
Oh, how I would love to re-record some of our old songs in their original glory, but I'm sad to say that it will never happen out of respect to past members. Besides, some of my band members prefer to leave the past in the past and move on to create bigger and better things.
You’re going to be playing on one of the stages at the Rockstar Mayhem Festival this summer…how excited are you for that, and who of the other bands are you most looking forward to playing with?
We are insanely excited to be playing Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival this year! There are some really kick ass bands playing on the bill that we all want to see like In Flames, Machine Head, All Shall Perish, Kingdom of Sorrow, Suicide Silence, and the list goes on.
How gratifying is it to be playing that festival, both for yourselves and as a measure of recognition for your effort?
It's immensely gratifying to be playing Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival this year because we've always wanted to play it! It seemed like for a while we were watching all our other band friends get on it but not us and it kinda sucked sitting on the sidelines. It's definitely something special to all of us because it shows that all our hard work and waiting around has finally started to pay off!
For those who haven’t seen, what can fans expect from a Straight Line Stitch set?
As far as our performance goes fans can expect to see us up on stage giving it hell! We give everything we have in our performance because the fans deserve no less then that! They will get what they came to see, a show.
There’s been an influx of women featured in hard rock/heavy metal in the past couple years. How do you feel about that, and who among your contemporaries do you think is really bringing it?
It's awesome that women are stepping up and really getting noticed, but it's sorta been happening for years. It’s just now getting to where it’s becoming more popular! It's something else to market really that's all it is…not saying that that’s a bad thing because it's always nice to get recognition when you know you've worked so hard for something. As far as my peers I guess you'd say I think all the women that are doing this are throwing down and really stepping up to the plate. Women like Liv of Sister Sin, Maria Brink of In This Moment, Shamaya of Otep, Angela of Arch Enemy, Candace of Walls of Jericho, Skin of Skunk Anansie, and the list goes on and on of awesome women doing their thing.
Putting you on the spot a bit, is there any woman in metal who you feel is less than the genuine article?
To be honest, yes I have thought that, but I really think it was me having a case of the green eyed monster! I really just had to check myself because I was not raised that way and you really can't hate on anybody trying to do their own thing. I learned that I just have to push myself to get to where I want to be and not worry about what this person may be doing that I'm not doing over there. I learned to not hate but congratulate and to keep it moving.

Abruptly switching gears, I heard through the grapevine that you’re a connoisseur of horror films. What happens to be your favorite three? Or five?
Oh my God, I love horror movies! I have so many [laughs]! These are just the ones off the top of my head:

My Top 10 (not in any order)
”Theatre of Blood”
”Rosemary’s Baby”
”Angel Heart”
”Doctor Faustus”
”The Ghost”
”Suspiria”
”The Devil Rides Out”
”The Devil’s Hand”
”Gothic”
”Black Sunday”

What is it about horror that attracted you to the genre in the first place?
The thing that attracted me to horror movies was the fact that my whole family would have scary movie night, and we would all cuddle up together on a big blanket on the floor and watch nothing but scary movies and it was the best part of my childhood. Because of that I have an affinity for horror. I've watched some of the best scary movies with my mom.
What are some of your favorite themes or tropes in the genre, and what are some examples that you think portrayed those well?
I'm old school, I love the cheesy effects not all this CGI crap that they use now all the damn time! I love monsters and lots of scary make up and crazy scary eyes. I think “The Exorcist” is the scariest movie on the planet and to this day I have never watched it by myself. It embodies everything I love about the genre of horror. She basically turns into a demon and all the make up and effects are amazing!
Have you tried to blend those elements into your music, or reflect those tropes lyrically?
Only on one song did I try to use the horror element, and that was on a song we did with Johnny K called "Living Dead" and I tried to base it on "The Body Snatchers." I wrote it about something living inside us waiting to take over, kinda creepy. That’s the only song I've written like that I think, but shoot who knows I've written a lot of songs and I can barley remember five minutes ago so that tells you a lot about my memory.
Speaking of women in prominent roles, horror tends to cast leading women in an emotional/empathetic/sometimes frail mold, what are your thoughts on that?
I think that's okay, but we as women should never be limited to just a certain type of role, we can do so much more and we should be allowed to explore that.
Certainly, there have been very strong female characters in horror, do you have any favorites?
I'm a huge Barbara Steele fan, she is so kick ass and she played so many different types of roles back in the day.

Around the Web

What's New?

Wherein no one talks about people they banged in high school...

Podcast

In which we try to make sense of "Return to Nukem High: Volume 1"...

Podcast

Latest Reviews

Search

Around The Web