Madame Mayhem: Of course, thanks for having me!
BS: Let’s start with the origin of your stage name. How did you become Madame Mayhem?
MM: Well, my parents actually gave me that name. Ever since I can remember, no matter where I go, whether I caused it or not, mayhem tends to follow. So, they just started calling me that and it kinda stuck!
BS: It definitely fits the music! Speaking of: Congratulations on finally releasing the phenomenal new video for “Monster.” You co-wrote the song with Corey Lowery (Saint Asonia, Stuck Mojo), it was produced by Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, Winery Dogs) and features none other than Ron “Bumblefoot,” What inspired this video and how did it all come together?
MM: Well, I really wanted to make sure that we used to straitjacket for it to really show what it is about being confined and being put into, uh… restraints in a way. My past experiences, basically, has been while trying to pursue this career, whether it’s society instantly judging me or what I wanted to do with myself and how I was going about it and then in past experiences of people just trying to put me in a box somewhere where they thought I belonged to be and really just breaking out of that and turning into what I wanted to do, what I wanted to be and that was really the main idea of the video and of the song.
BS: You’ll be releasing your new studio album Now You Know on October 23rd via BFD/RED…
MM: Yeah, actually, it’s going to be even earlier than that! So you won’t have to wait that long *laughs*. It’ll be earlier in October.
BS: Oh, okay! What was the journey like while completing this album?
MM: It’s been an incredible experience! Just from writing with Corey [Lowery] and with Billy [Sheehan] and being in the studio with all these amazing talents has been interesting and an incredible journey because as a musician I’m really finding my voice and having these incredible rockers that I’ve looked up to my entire life really be involved in… in a project that I was able to make my own has been such a great opportunity and I’m still thankful for that and also y’know, just seeing these guys play in the studio and watching it, it… y’know not just being an artist and being one of their equals but really being a fangirl, seeing… y’know how incredible they really are.
BS: The album turned out phenomenal! I’ve listened to it quite a few times over the past few days since it was sent to me. On the topic of the title: What exactly will we know when this album is released?
MM: Umm… I think you’ll know… the reason I picked “Now You Know” is it’s a real introduction of me. You’ll know my truths from past experiences and it’s really just letting everyone know, out in the rock world, that I’m here, I’ve been here and I’m not goin’ anywhere. Y’know? Who is Madame Mayhem? This album will let ya know.
BS: I’ve been kind of analyzing the cover art, it’s wicked! Who was it that designed that cover art?
MM: Well, Donna [Distortion] Yavine took the photo and we had this really great concept and then we had this awesome best friend, Rahim, really help us glue it together to bring it to life. The two great artists whose teams that helped it happen and we were just trying to give off the vibe of who I am into the setting and really, just, giving off the right setting for the album.
BS: Do you have a favorite song on the album and, if so, can you tell us the story behind that?
MM: Uhh… it’s hard to pick! *laughs* Umm… they’re all really personal, so they’re really near and dear to my heart so it’s hard to choose but I would have to say “Monster” was a really good one for me, umm… “Left For Dead” also which we should have a video coming out in the next few weeks for, hopefully, and “Something Better (Now You Know)” since, of course, I took the title from that song. They all really speak to me and those three especially, I was able to put my all into them and I think in these songs there’s a lot of “me” in it, so, it’s hard to pick just one.
BS: That is the most common answer I get. I have to say I love that answer because I love when artists are so connected with the music they’re creating, it really gives an amazing listening experience. Part two of that question: Perhaps, not a favorite, but what song are you most excited for fans to hear or that you fans will relate with the most?
MM: Well, I’m really excited for people who haven’t heard “Monster” yet. I think that people can relate to that in all different levels. So, I really want people to go out and listen to that one because it’s one of those things where you could be defied by anything. It could be just someone telling you “no, you can’t do that” or in any aspect of your life, I feel like no matter who you are or what you’ve ever done, someone has experienced those frustrations. So, I really hope that people can listen to the song and get some sort of comfort out of it, y’know, that they’re not the only ones and uhh… yeah, and “Left For Dead” also being in one of those relationships or struggles, either in an ACTUAL relationship or even in just dealing with your past self and trying to get through it. I would hope that people out there could relate to anything. All these songs that I co-wrote are real experiences and I’m lucky that, while working with Billy and Corey, they really made me tell the truth and there were a lot of things.. and I’ve always done that in my writing but there were things that I was more worried as to “should I write about this? should I not?” and they really let me take control and do that so I could feel the songs because they’re from real things. People will be able to relate to it ‘coz it’s all real life stuff.
BS: On the topic of favorite songs: One of my favorite songs on the album is “Better Days,” part way due to the emotional impact that it has on the listener, however I really love the string arrangement as well. I didn’t really catch it the first time I listened to it but after that initial listen I started realizing the strings were thrown in there. It brings it together and really helps build it up. What’s the story on that track?
MM: There’s a few things, I mean, umm… I kinda wrote it for… I started writing it when I was a little bit down one day on myself and then also, I wrote it for my mom as well. She was dealing with a lot of things health-wise and it was just kind of one of those things, like, y’know “don’t worry, there will be better situations” and also to people, I was hearing stories about whether it was bullying and, me being the way that I am, I’m an artist and I look funny and I love it but y’know, growing up like that I really related to a lot of stories I heard of people getting bullied or being down on themselves or people having, like my mom, with the health issues. I just really wanted to write a song that would be like “yeah, look, listen: stuff’s gonna happen, it’s gonna suck and you’re gonna be okay.” Like, it’s gonna work out even though today is just not it. Even if you think things are gonna keep hitting you and hitting you, you’re gonna get through it because I’ve been able to do it, I’ve seen people been able to do it, my mom was able to do it. So, that one’s really personal too. Sometimes I kind of tear up when I sing that one. *laughs*
BS: We spoke a little bit earlier about the amazing amount of talent on this album. To me, it was really interesting to hear that you teamed up with Russ Parrish, who everyone knows as Satchel from Steel Panther. Had he been a fan of yours previously and how did that collaboration come to be?
MM: Well, umm… with Russ actually Billy and I were looking for… well, we had “Bumblefoot” who we’ve known for awhile now and is also very close to Billy and so he was a given. We wanted to also find another person that would really be able to fit the music and the style and what we were trying to get across and he just came up as an option so I was like “Yeah, go for it!” I was actually a fan of his for awhile beforehand and he listened to the stuff, he liked it and he came into the studio with us and he played and it was an incredible thing. I’m so appreciative of everyone on this record believing in me and really digging what I was trying to say and do musically and being a part of it. It’s been unreal.
BS: You have an incredible voice! I have to ask, are you self taught or do you have a vocal coach?
MM: I have been classically trained. I’ve actually been singing since… probably before I could actually walk properly. I took lessons, I studied at the University of Miami School of Music actually for classical and musical theater vocals, so I’ve been doing this for a very long time. My voice is my life so, thank you, I’m glad you like it! That’s good, I’ve been working very hard for it.
BS: How would you describe your music to prospective fans and what do you think feel would keep them coming back for more?
MM: Well, my music is definitely hard rock with a touch of metal in there and really, just good instrumentation, heavy in your face songs, with melody (which is important to me). I think what will keep them wanting more is just the truth that comes out of it and being able to relate to it and really getting into it. There’s some fun songs, there’s powerful songs and I think there’s something for everyone, really. Especially if you’re a rock fan. I feel with all the different songs on there, people will be able to dig it.
BS: You’ve been doing this for quite awhile but I read that the real push that you had was when you were featured on iHeartRadio’s “New, Discovered and Uncovered” artist chart shortly before you opened for Buckcherry. How did it feel to really be in the limelight, once things took off for you?
MM: It was awesome! I was just trying to push off on all the momentum that was happening, y’know? One thing with me is once something starts going, I do my best to not let it stop. So, I wasn’t really thinking about it in terms of “Oh, this is great!” and not even in a celebratory sense. I was like “Okay, here’s my chance, jump on it!” and that’s been pushing through ever since so, I’m glad that they gave me that opportunity and I’m glad I’ve been able to transform even since then and really recreate and make sure that I’m getting across who I am and I got that opportunity starting there.
BS: On the same topic: When you opened for Buckcherry, what’s your memory of that experience?
MM: It was an amazing experience and it’s so funny because I actually just saw Saint Asonia open for Buckcherry last night so I got to see all the guys again, it was really cool. I got to think of all the times from before but the best experience when I opened for them was when I was singing, on stage, doin’ my thing, people were digging it, we got to the last song and we did an Aerosmith cover, “Livin’ On the Edge” for our last song and I’m singing, I’m feelin’ the audience, I’m in the moment and I look to my left and Stevie D is on stage with us, he grabs his guitar, ran on stage and starts playing with us and I was so excited I ran over and… I forgot I was even doin’ a show! I was just singing with him, so into it and it was like the coolest surprise I could ask for. So, that was definitely a very cool moment.
BS: Definitely sounds like it was an amazing experience! You’ve toured and packed some of the most famous venues across the nation. Has there been a favorite venue/city that you’ve played and what would contribute to that?
MM: I don’t know if there’s been, like, a number one. I think all the places, y’know, with all the history of rock is really cool to play in ‘coz you think of all the other artists that have been there before. Your idols and, y’know, people that… made history in these places. Like, there I was… out in L.A. or in New York and it’s just really cool, in general, to play in these places. There’s definitely not one that’s better than the others, that I’ve experienced so far. I think, me just being on stage, I’m at home. So, throw me up anywhere and I’ll be happy but it’s just been really cool to play in some of these legendary places where, y’know, idols of mine before have hit the stage.
BS: This question comes from Andrew Wayne and he wants to know if there’s any advice you have for up-and-coming artists trying to make it in the business?
MM: Well, I would have to say just keep going. I have been trying and doing for a really long time and there’s gonna be people that are gonna say “no” and that same day, there’s gonna be people that are gonna push you forward and if this is your passion, if this is your life… you’ll make it happen. You can because I’ve been able to and all you gotta do is just keep working, y’know? Just keeping going, it doesn’t matter if you hit a roadblock, you look at it and go “Okay, how can I get around it?” just barrel through it, whatever you need to do but uhh.. I’m still workin’ on that but it really is just don’t stop, this is it, y’know? If this is what you were meant to do, just keep doing it!
BS: Absolutely! Once again, thank you for doing this, it has been a pleasure and I look forward to our readers discovering more about who you are, the music you create and your new album. Was there anything else you’d like to say to our readers, your fans and the general public before we go?
MM: Well, thanks for having me and yeah, y’know, I just wanna say check out the music video for “Monster,” I hope you like it. Keep an eye out for the album coming out in October, it’ll be online, in stores and hope to meet all of you when I get to get out on the road again, once I get on tour!
“Monster” (Official Music Video)
Pre-Order Now You Know (link coming soon)