Interview with Stitched Up Heart’s Alecia “Mixi” (2020)

Interview by Joshua Becker & Jessica Clingempeel | June 25, 2020

First, I wanted to say that I saw you in concert last year in Cleveland, and you guys were great.
Awww thank you! That means the world to us.

You were so interactive with the fans in the audience, acknowledging them in the crowd as they were singing along to your songs, and that was just awesome.
You’re very sweet. I try to connect with everyone I can at the show as much as possible. I know, for me as an audience member, I love when bands notice me, so I know how it feels and want everyone to know I see them and I’m grateful they took the time out to watch us!

Are concerts easy for you to get right into, or do you get nervous at times? From what I saw, you seemed so comfortable like you were right at home.
Honestly, it took me a while to be comfortable when I first started. I forced myself out of my comfort zone when I realized I wanted to play my songs in public. It took time to eventually be one with the stage. I still get butterflies before I go on for any show but it seems like as soon as I start a switch is turned on and I’m a whole different person.

Your latest album “Darkness” was such a powerful record, and the lyrics were so dark, and so profound.
Thank you. Hence the album title Darkness.

When did the decision arise to name the album “Darkness?’ and what led you to that?
We wanted to be consistent with Never Alone by using a song title off the album as the album title. The song “Darkness” was dedicated to a few close followers of the band. It was written to take them out of the dark and scary mental state they were in and bring them out stronger. The whole album is meant for every listener to attempt to do the same.

During the writing process, what was going through your mind? It seemed like you were dealing with some very personal things in your life.
I dug deep. I definitely had some major challenges that I was working through at the time. I decided to let myself be vulnerable and voice my thoughts and feelings honestly. I wanted to connect with anyone feeling that way and be their medicine.

When it comes to songwriting, do you have a certain routine like a cup of coffee, or something, to get the creative juices flowing?
I have found that meditation before I write is very helpful. When I’m in writing mode I also listen to a lot of motivational speakers to learn and teach concepts that I’ve attached to the music.

Continuing with the album, I could not help but notice the industrial metal influences in the background. What made the band decide to add the electronic sounds in the background?
It was really just to try something different. There are so many ways to create sounds through electronics and in rock we aren’t just limited to guitar, bass, and drums. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can make it sound much different by messing with synths and chopping up my voice to create its own electronic sounding instrument in the background. We just wanted a modern edge to this album.

I know the Coronavirus outbreak came about late in the making of this album, but did it have any influences on the writing, or even the instrumentals?
No. We were done writing this over a year before the virus hit.

Being that you are all in California, one of the hardest-hit states for the Coronavirus, how has this affected your day-to-day?
I am a homebody as it is, so I am pretty good at staying home. That part hasn’t changed. I haven’t been exercising as much and have been surviving on cupcakes since the pandemic started. Which, by the way, I have perfected the art of. Also, wearing a mask and trying to smile at people you pass at the grocery store is a little awkward. We all have to do our part.

Did you take up any new hobbies while you are waiting this out like everyone else?
Baking has been a new one, and gardening, which I have a lot to learn still. I also redecorated the house!

Is it possible the Coronavirus may be inspiring you to write material for your next album too?
It will definitely have some influence as I draw from current life events in the writing process.

I found in an interview way back that you experienced homeless when you first arrived in L.A., and that really made me tear up. I want to say I am so glad you have since found a home, and you are doing much better.
Yes. That was a scary time. I had just moved to LA with a boyfriend and it didn’t work out. I was lucky enough to find couches to crash on and at times would just sleep in the back of my car on a pile of clothes. But this city is tough and it made me who I am today by going through that. I’m definitely a road warrior from living like a gypsy.

If you knew you years ahead of time this would happen, would you do anything different, or plan anything different?
I would save more money. $1,000 was all I had and I didn’t realize how expensive it was gonna be to survive here. But I stuck it out and am now living comfortably.

Furthermore, with so many in the world facing homelessness, what can we do to really make an impact?
I try to give change if I have it on me when I pass by someone. Some aren’t mentally stable enough to take care of themselves and hold a job. Some have other reasons. Some people choose that life. It’s very sad. But $1 goes a long way.

Do you have any homeless charities you have worked with that we could donate to, for example?
I used to work for the Los Angeles Homeless Service Coalition when I was actually homeless. We would petition at grocery stores and raise money for the homeless. It was too difficult for me to do as I was currently living out of my car at the time, so I didn’t work there very long. I would suggest looking up a church that feeds the homeless or a local food bank in your area online.

What about advice for those who are homeless?
I would suggest staying off substances. For a lot of them, that is unfortunately what keeps them on the streets. Substance abuse is a real disease and is very hard to overcome. For some with mental illness, or who choose to fly under the radar, it’s difficult to tell someone how to live their life. Jobs definitely help and there are programs to help shelter and feed them.

I also see you are a huge animal lover and work a lot with Kitten Rescue. Did the passion for animals start with you as a child, or is this something you discovered later in life?
Animals are simple innocent creatures to me. There is something so simple yet so complex that draws me to them. There is a peace and sense of purpose I feel when I am helping an animal. Doing something selfless for something else is my soul food.

Do others in the band have the same passion as you Alecia?
They all love animals. You’re not allowed to be in the band if you don’t! Hahaha but I’m the one with the intense drive to keep doing the volunteer work and connecting with fundraisers.

At present, how many animals do you all co-habitate with?
Well… I have 3 cats. I am currently fostering 3 two month old kittens who will be going to a different foster mother soon. I am currently volunteering at California Equine Retirement Foundation (Cerf) that helps care of retired racehorses and rescues. It gives those homeless animals a sanctuary to live out their days.

With Covid, we wanted to do something to get others minds off it, so I have some additional questions I would like to ask (if you have the time, since there are quite a few).
Even when you don’t have much, do something selfless. That is all 🙂

Survey Questions

What made you want to become a musician?
I have just been drawn to instruments since recorder class in elementary school. It was my favorite class, so I continued band in middle school playing the tuba. Once I got to high school, I found the guitar and it was all downhill from there!

What are some of your hobbies outside of music/career?
Painting, animal rescue (obviously), art.

If you had to be anyone else for a day, who would that be and why?
I am comfortable being me, but maybe a bird so I could fly!

Do you have any pets?
I have 3 fluffy cats

What is your favourite animal?
This answer has changed over time but I’m gonna go with a unicorn this time!

Are you a Herbivore, Carnivore, or Omnivore?
I like to say a liberal vegetarian. I try to eat very little meat but sometimes I feel like my body needs the nutrients and I cave in.

A new law has passed where only one genre of music is allowed, which would you choose? (It is totally alright if you choose Disney music! No judgment here.)
Rock ‘n’ roll babyyyy!

What is your favourite country?
Well, I haven’t traveled anywhere aside from Canada & Mexico, yet, so I’m gonna say it would be the one I was born and raised in…USA.

What foods do you love to devour?
My grandma’s recipe of mac ‘n’ cheese!

Apple or Android?
Apple! 100%.

Where are you from?
Born in Atlanta GA. Grew up in Orlando FL. Lived my adult life in Los Angeles, CA and I am currently in Riverside CA

What was your favourite possession as a child?
My pets, even though they weren’t my possession. They’re my friends. They probably own me more.

What is your favourite possession now?
Same answer!

What motto do you live by?
Be kind.

Do you play video games? If so, what do you like playing the most?
I have a love hate relationship with video games. When I get sucked into a game I will play forever. I have to stop myself or it will consume me! World of Warcraft is my kryptonite.

Which gaming platform do you prefer?
PlayStation or PC

Any particular soundtrack you would recommend to people?
All of the God of War soundtracks or Doom is pretty sick too!

Are you into any comics, manga, or anime?
I was into anime for a while. Watched over 250 episodes of Nature till it became fuller and I got bored.

You are now stuck on an island with only one item (cannot be phone.) What is the item you choose?

What is your favourite colour?
Fluorescent clear.

You can bring one famous figure from our past back to life, who do you choose and why?
Jesus would be interesting!

Any embarrassing moments to tell?
One year at Rock on the Range I was crowd surfing on this epic inflatable Pegasus pool float and it popped. That was pretty embarrassing.

Were you a good student or a class clown in school?
I was a B student artsy kinda kid.

Ocean or Mountains?
Beach babe.

If you had to play in a film, what kind of part would you want to play?
The rocker chick

Top 5 Musicians/Bands
The Beatles, Metallica, Louis Armstrong, NIN, and Linkin Park

Top 5 Shows/Movies
South Park, Ancient Aliens, Supernatural, Grandmas Boy, and anything with The Rock.

Top 5 Books
The Missing Piece. Mindfulness books and self help books.

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