Stitched Up Heart was founded in 2010 by vocalist Alecia ‘Mixi’ Demner and guitarist Mikey Alfero, later joined by bassist Randy Mathias and drummer James Decker. After several years spent developing their sound, Stitched Up Heart was signed to Another Century Records in 2015. A new single, “Finally Free,” was released in late 2015 and eventually reached No. 19 in America’s Active Rock Radio Chart. The band’s major label debut, the album Never Alone was released on June 17, 2016 and debuted in the top-10 of both the Billboard Heatseeker and Hard Rock charts. Be sure to check out “Monster” from their debut album embedded below.
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Mehnaz Ladha: Kicking it off with your hometown area of Los Angeles, California, what really stands out and makes it special to you? Where would you send a first-time visitor to get a real sense of the surrounding area?
Mixi: Los Angeles is just one of those places where all the movies, all the music and the whole industry is there, so that’s why I was drawn to that city. I live in Santa Monica, just eight blocks from the ocean. It’s beautiful and a big tourist attraction. There’s a dock, a merry go round and stuff like that. It’s really a beautiful place. I’d definitely send someone to the Santa Monica Pier.
ML: How does the music scene of Los Angeles compare to other cities you have performed in?
M: To be honest, I like Los Angeles the least to perform in because everyone everywhere else is just so excited for music in general that they just have a lot more fun with it even to see a rock show. Usually, when people come to LA, they are there to network or get their band to be listened to. Nobody really cares about the real reason we are doing it.
ML: What has been your most memorable performance?
M: I would say ShipRocked. We played on the main deck. It’s a big cruise ship with a bunch of rock bands. You can’t top being in the middle of international waters, performing while looking at the ocean and the music bouncing off the waves.
ML: That sounds incredible! What was your first real exposure to music? How did you get inspired to create your own and eventually pursue it as a career?
M: I picked up the tuba when I was in middle school. I thought it was the weirdest instrument and I wanted to play that. It makes the weirdest noise and I’m a weirdo, so it’s perfect for me. So, the tuba got me started and when I got into high school, I decided that maybe the tuba is not really that cool and that maybe I should try a different instrument, so I switched to guitar. My dad got me a guitar and guitar lessons for my birthday when I was 15.
ML: As the lead vocalist for Stitched Up Heart, has there been any struggles you faced as a female musician? How have you overcome them?
M: I really feel like some of the women who have come before me in the heavier music have really taken the hit and gone through the fire. It’s like you have a bigger sister who has already broken the rules for you, so you can get away with it a little more. That’s the way I look at Lzzy Hale and Marie Blake. They already battled the challenges and made it easier for me and other females to be acceptable in this industry.
ML: Describe your songwriting process. What’s the inspiration behind your music?
M: For most of the songs, I’m inspired as far as the meaning goes by life in general. I never really plan out what I’m going to say. It’s like it is speaking through me. I don’t realize what it’s about until I have written the words down on paper and am like, “Oh, that’s what this song is about.” It’s a weird spiritual thing that happens. There are some words that I would never even use in an average normal sentence that just come out and it’s this other thing that I can explain.
ML: To create music, and traveling to promote it, must be such a feeling. What’s the most impactful and meaningful part you cherish about it? Does the travel help inspirationally?
M: I just love seeing new places and experiencing new cities whenever we actually get a chance to. The other day, we had two-days off from our way to somewhere I don’t know to somewhere I don’t know. It was somewhere in Ohio. We stopped and found a state park and camped there for a few days. It’s beautiful to see the planet in different areas and meet people from different places.
ML: Has travel inspired some of your music or even affected your style?
M: I think there are some tour songs that come out from being on the road and the experiences you have. It’s a crazy feeling. Sometimes, you feel like you’re with seven people in a tiny, little RV and it feels like sometimes you’re all alone even with all these people or up on stage with all those people. Sometimes it feels like you experience it by yourself. There’s also a lot of times where we feel there’s a lot of people around all the time, so having some time away from people is good too.
ML: Stitched Up Heart is on tour right now with Halestorm, In This Moment and New Years Day. Describe your excitement and what can fans expect from your performance.
M: This is the coolest tour I have ever done in my whole life. I’m hoping for more like this. It’s just so empowering and inspiring. The artists on stage have been through a lot, just like me. They had a lot of challenges in the music industry alone, not just being in a girl but in general. It’s hard and a lot of people can’t handle it. Seeing how strong these women are and how far they have come, it gives me so much inspiration and I just like knowing that I can be in that group with them.
ML: Everyone has a list of places that they still have to hit. What are some destinations, either work or pleasure, that you need to see?
M: As a band, we have only been to Canada on a cruise ship in international waters. We all have our passports sitting here, being like when are we going to use these? I would say Europe definitely. London or Paris would be the first stop I would go to. Australia, Hawaii – I’ve been to Hawaii but it’s still in the country – and Japan. But, I think all those places would be amazing.
ML: Definitely, they’re all so scenic and filled with vibrant cultures! One of our core objectives at SCP is to bring people together while traveling, not only to influence people to see and appreciate our beautiful world but to also minimize cross-cultural divides. What effect does traveling, specifically surrounding music, have on humans in this regard?
M: If you’re in a tiny city your whole life, you don’t get to see anything else. A lot of people don’t leave their own town and they just stay there. But through traveling, you see more culture and understand the connection we all have together. It just opens up your mind to a new perspective on people.
ML: Whether you’re traveling for the band or for leisure, what are you most excited about when visiting a new destination?
M: I’m psyched to know where it is, but I’m always excited to see the architecture, atmosphere and the trees that grow there. I’m a hippie on the inside so I always look for mother nature. I’m taking a walk outside right now to take fresh air. I like to see the planet and the people on it.
ML: So, when you have some downtime and are relaxing on the beach or taking a hike as you are right now, what type of music are you listening to?
M: I usually don’t listen to anything, because I like the sound of my surroundings. I’m inspired by life, and when I’m at the beach, I like to listen to the seagulls, the waves and what the planet sounds like. The other day, we were hiking through the forest and we were listening to the Skyrim soundtrack from the video game, because it was such a Skyrim moment. We were listening to the traveling parts of Skyrim and it was pretty epic.
ML: Lastly, what do the next couple of months have in store for you and the band?
M: We are going to go back and write the record. We have been in the middle of it, but we had to take this tour or we’d regret it. Hopefully, we release it sooner than later. We’re 22 songs in and we’re writing, writing and writing, because we want to make the best record we possibly can. We don’t want to make the record that we just “did,” because we want to evolve and grow artists, but not lose our identity in the process.