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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Artist Interview: Chemical Refugee

Chemical Refugee's newest video is a two-fisted response to all things mundane. Don't believe it, look for yourself. 

MW: In viewing your video, I was surprised at the turn it took when this bearded punk-rocker turned out to be a transvestite. With the lyrics declaring “I don’t need no therapy,” there seems to be more than just a little bit of a social statement going on. What is it you hope the viewer/listener will walk away with?

Doc: That there is nothing wrong with being who you are, whatever that is. No matter who says otherwise.

MW: The auto-tune quality creates for a very schizophrenic sound, in a good way I mean, is this representative of your other works?

Doc: Rad man, getting dirty with auto-tune was sic. With the general approach we take definitely, we actualy have a song about Schozophrenia bing released soon, The red light district.”

MW: You mention approaching the song and video like a “method actor,” is in line with the way you usually create your art, or was it something new for you?

Doc: This is the first time I’ve hunted down and become the subject matter for our own art. Instead of reflecting on personal past experiences. Creating the concept album by injecting myself into the concept.

MW:  I would love it if you could explain your name; “Chemical Refugee.”

Doc: A Chemical Refugee is someone who uses chemicals to escape the harsh realities of whatever they are running from. It doesn’t have to be a drug, it’s the feeling me and Nick get when making music together, when I hit that first chord and he kicks in on drums… That effect… Like a shot, that ‘ping’ at the back of ya’ head. Everything that is fucked up in our lives just begins disappearing. The feeling our music creates and our chemistry is our drug to seek refuge within. Music is like that for so many people, it’s their drug that takes the pain and suffering away for a little while.

MW: There seems to be quite a lot of musical influence in what is an incredible tapestry of sound – could you tell us about some of your influences?

Doc: We like pushing the boundaries, John Frusiciante, Billy Corgan, Jimi Hendrix, Geoff Lynn, Butch Vig and also artists like Marcel Duchamp and Ron English kick our ass into creative mode. Stuff like, reversing the sound of nick breaking his beer bottle and overdubbing a cardboard snare.

MW: Many readers are interested in the creative process of creating and recording tracks, do you record yourself or do you work with a producer?

Doc: We record at Mainstreeet Studios with our producer Adam Jordan. He is basically the 5th member of Chemical Refugee, I’ve been recording with him since I was like 19 or someshit. We all have a fuckrad vibe together and he just knows exactly what we want to create.

MW: The ending of the song, with the vocal runs on “fuck yea” seems almost like an audio middle finger – am I totally off on that?

Doc: Hell yeh, hold those audio fingers up!

MW: Would you rather be in the studio or be performing live?

Doc: Live man, that’s what the band is about. I go through temporary phases of preferring each, but live performance is our home. It’s a one time only deal at a live gig and that’s wildrad, like it can’t be re-done. It’s art.

MW: What’s next for Chemical Refugee?

Doc: We are filming the music video for our next single ‘Decimated Days’ this week, so shit will be getting wild!

MW: Thank you so much for spending your time with us today!

Doc: Radness man, All the best!

Artist Interview: Donica Knight

This week's interview features Donica Knight. According to her bio she "is an acclaimed singer, songwriter and entertainer hailing from Montgomery, Alabama. Donica’s unique blend of Southern rock, country, blues and old East Memphis music has led to a rigorous touring schedule in the Southeast, performing more than 350 dates, opening for both country and rock superstars." Personally, I can't disagree - in short, she's awesome!

MW: I love how you come out of the gate swinging with the refrain “My love ain’t a prize,” do you try to make all of your songs hit so hard?

DK: Glad you find it slamming like I do! ;) …Yes this new EP, Can’t Buy A Southern Girl, is loaded with power, sass and rockin guitars

MW: The banjo (and mandolin) features very prominently, which I love, whose decision was it to make that such a forward instrument?

DK: I believe it was the combination of my producer Jim Huff and myself. He may have suggested to add banjo and I went crazy about it. I love banjo. And funny enough there is no mandolin, Jim doubled the banjo riff an octave up on his acoustic giving it that mandolin kinda sound!

MW: Wow, shows how good my ears are! I love the video – there is this kind of gypsy-esque, almost folk influence to it with a campfire and your jewelry-adorned outfit, how did you come up with the design for it?

DK: Thank You! Those were actually all of my clothes and hand-me-downs that I wear at shows. I was real excited to pick out my outfits this time around and be a part of the video design. The warehouse where the video was shot had this awesome outside scenary with a neat fire pit. Glad you caught on the the gypsy-esque influence.

MW: I would love to hear about your songwriting process.

DK: Well, on this new record, since Jim has a great network of songwriters and artists he writes with, in the beginning, we co-wrote with a lot of people to try and find some magic combinations that really worked in the style I wanted to go for. It was a new thing for me because I knew I wanted to stretch my boundaries of traditional straight up country and get a little more edge going on with southern rock and blues influences both lyrically and musically.
My new single “Love Ain’t a Prize” is a co-write with myself, Chris Vos and Jim Huff,  there is a couple songs on the EP that Jim and I co-wrote with Billy Alexander and a super cool song called “Stomp” that just Huff and I wrote.
I’m proud to say that I co-wrote all the songs on my new EP “Can’t Buy a Southern Girl” coming out in 2016. The songs are high energy, full of rock n roll guitars, Motown-ish beats and a story to share/ sing-a-long too.
There is nothing like the music-making process. It is full of creativity and exploration. The song writing process happens different every time l. It is crazy how some songs can come together in 15 minutes and others just evolve over time.

MW: One of the great things about this track are the backup vocals – who are they, and do you tour with them?

DK: The AMAZING background vocalists were CJ Emmons and Maiya Sykes. I cannot express how talented, professional and hilarious both of them are. They really brought this track to a different level with their creativity, soul and talent. They do not tour with me but from time to time CJ Emmons will join me on stage. CJ is currently on Dancing With The Stars as their lead band vocalist as well as recording artist and Maiya tours with Macy Gray.

MW: your own voice is very powerful. Can you tell us how you got started in singing?

DK: I would love to. As a young child I would always sing. Everywhere I would go I would openly sing to folks instead of talking HA. I had my first solo in the 1st grade with Auhns Angels and always had the solos/big songs growing up. I participated in church choir, school choir and school show choir. Being a professional singer was always a dream of mine but it wasn’t until two years into college that I decided to pursue that childhood dream which was enstilled in my heart.

MW: Some people might describe this song as a “woman’s anthem,” is that a fair assessment, or am I missing something?

DK: You are not missing a thing – You are very correct. Love Ain’t A Prize – You Can’t Buy A Southern Girls Heart is definitely a country girls anthem!

MW: Can you tell us what you’re up to artistically now that “Love Ain’t a Prize” is doing so well?

DK: After you work so hard on a song writing it, recording it, doing a video for it, and finally get it out there for the world to hear it, it is nice to sit back and enjoy that fact that people are loving it as much as I do. This girl is definitely grinning from ear to ear! ….. Artistically I’m heading back to LA to do some new writing, put my touring band together, play a few shows and shoot another music video.

MW: Where can people go to hear more about you and your music?

DK: Please check out my website 

I am on youtube, Instagram, twitter, facebook all those social media outlets. Also you can find Love Ain’t A Prize on iTunes, Amazon and my website.