Antihero Magazine’s Niwy Kovacova chatted with Mixi Demner, vocalist of SoCal rising stars Stitched Up Heart about the band’s debut full-length, Never Alone, as well as topics ranging from life on the road, playing Shiprocked, new tattoos and more!
AH: Stitched Up Heart has been around for quite some time. You have two EPs out and your full-length debut album Never Alone just came out last June. Can you tell us more about the record? Maybe introduce the band to the people out there who don’t know you guys just yet?
Mixi: Yeah, absolutely. Never Alone, we released it in June. It was actually our first album with the new label. We’ve been touring and doing it ourselves for good six years now I think. For a while we were just figuring it out ourselves and we finally teamed up with Century Media and we came together, we made that album. And it was cool because we didn’t really expect our first album with the label to do as well as it did. We kind of just expected to kind of grow slowly. We’ve got three songs on the radio stations here in the top 30. So that’s been really cool. I guess everybody’s liking the songs. That’s always a good sign.
AH: So, it’s been a good shift to go under the label.
Mixi: Oh yeah, absolutely. And they’ve been surprised how well it’s been as well.
AH: What has been the main differences between being on your own and under the label?
Mixi: There’s a lot. We thought that when we sign to a label it would be less work. Because we’ve been booking our own tours, scheduling everything, booking bands on the bill, even booking some locals in the area. And just doing all the social media work and promoting ourselves. And we thought that once you’re singed to a label that it would be a lot easier because all these people would do all that work for us. But what we found is that it is actually a lot more work. Because you have whole team of people that are getting you more work to do. So, it’s exciting, like today I think I have ten interviews. That’s going to be a crazy day for me on our day off when we’re driving a good twelve hours to our next show. And we were super lucky to be with a label we are with because that’s the one label that I know that just feels like a family. I know some people don’t have that feeling with the labels that they’re at.
AH: With the “Finally Free” single you released back in 2015, there was quite a noticeable shift in the band. The music got heavier, the band had a new line-up, even your appearance changed. What brought on all these changes? What was the evolution of the band like?
Mixi: There is a lot of internal research that I have been doing in a short period of time. Sometimes you have to cut the dead weight. There’s some people that just aren’t really cut out or don’t really want to do it as a jo. Some people just want to do music for fun and for art and you can do it at that level to a point, but you really must decide on whether you’re going to do it professionally. There’s sacrifices you have to make. We started to realize that we needed to take it more seriously, there was just lot of changes that needed to be made. Personally for myself I had a lot of growing to do. I really looked in deep into myself. I was starting to really come to terms with certain things about my life that I wasn’t happy with. And things that I was doing to make my life unhappy. So all that was like a weird chapter and transmission that all happened within a period of a year. With the new chapter of life and new hair color it felt like I just wanted a change. I changed things I felt I needed to change. I really dig deep and I’m very drastic on changing things. And I don’t know when the next turn of the events will be, or what my next hair color will be, but hopefully it will be a positive one.
AH: So, it was kind of like a fresh start in a way.
Mixi: Yes, exactly. Some people cut all their hair off, some people just go to a new state, but I just had a lot of internal growing I needed to do.
AH: What was the biggest sacrifice you personally needed to do?
Mixi: I quit drinking. When we were touring on our own, you’re at a bar every night. You get to the bar at like 3:30, load your gear, sit around for a few hours and we would just drink, we liked hanging out. It wasn’t really a big deal but this started to be every day. And I realized that every time I took a few steps forward I take a few steps back. It was not helping to progress the band. I realized that once I stopped drinking my head was more clear. And I realized that actually there’s a lot of things about myself that I don’t really like. I needed to figure out how to make myself a better person. So, it was hugely because of that. I’m going two years without any alcohol. We’re not all sober but we all stick together and support each other. And that was a big change in life in general.
AH: Quite a challenge to stay sober, congrats on that, because on tour life can get crazy.
Mixi: Hell yeah. Tell me about it.
AH: On a more positive note, it’s just been a few weeks since you guys sailed with the Shiprocked cruise, so, how was it? I’ve seen your performances onboard and I must give it to you guys, you were amazing.
Mixi: Oh wow, that’s awesome. Shiprocked is just one of those wow moments. It’s when your inner child is just so happy. The thirteen year old me wouldn’t ever thought that later on in life I would be performing on a rock cruise with all these awesome bands and awesome people you looked up to for so long. And you can’t really put it in words, the kind of euphoria that you feel when you’re performing or when you’re part of something like that. You never want it to end and you just want every show to be this magical. That’s a beautiful thing.
AH: You even took over Lovers Are Lunatics’ Instagram during the cruise.
Mixi: Lovers Are Lunatics have been so awesome to us. It’s Jacoby’s, the singer of Papa Roach, clothing company. We met on Rock on the Range last year and we hung out and you know they’ve been super supportive of the band. And we’ve been super supportive of their clothing line. They gave us a shout out on stage and it was like no way! So yeah, we took over the Instagram. It’s kind of hard with the Wi-Fi on the boat, it’s a little bit tricky so it was hard to keep posting but we did our best and we’re just so grateful that we were even able to be a part of that.
AH: You kicked off this year touring with Another Lost Year, now you are on tour with Lacey Sturm and you also toured with bands such as Pop Evil or Lacuna Coil. Looks like the band is doing really well and I’m not surprised, your live performance is amazing. So, what do you like the most about the tour life?
Mixi: Oh man, just the bands you were speaking of, like Lacuna Coil – we’ve been listening to them since we were little. It’s just one of those hard to really put in the perspective things. Lacey Sturm, I know all songs from Flyleaf. It’s insane, we listened to them growing up and now we get to play with them. And we’re friends with them and it’s so amazing. We’re fans of these bands and we get to perform with them. We’ve been trying to make this tour happen for a while. She’s such an inspirational artist and inspirational human being. I am just so happy that we get to do what we get to do for a living. It’s just really cool.
AH: Is there anybody you would like to tour with?
Mixi: Halestorm, In This Moment, The Pretty Reckless, obviously I like girls in bands. I’m very big fan of female artists and I think that there’s not enough of us. The best thing to do is give us all momentum and inspire other girls to get into the industry. Asking Alexandria, Bring Me The Horizon, AFI, Metallica, Megadeth, Nine Inch Nails. I can go on, they would be great to tour with. Or Rob Zombie!
AH: On the other side, is there any special part of being on the road that you are not so fond of?
Mixi: Lack of sleep probably. And stinky boys. I think that having a girl in the band actually makes them take showers more. Because I’ll let them know if they smell and they need to shower. Other boys don’t really care if other boys smell. Though they actually have pretty decent hygiene for the most part.
AH: You guys performed during the Revolver Awards. You were also nominated in best new talent category. What was it all like?
Mixi: About two months leading up to that show, I was so, I couldn’t think about anything else. I was so pumped and had all these anxieties, I was hoping that it’ll go well. I was excited and scared and nervous and happy, had all these intense feelings that lead up to that day. And we were about to go on stage, you got Dave Mustaine from Megadeth announcing and then you’ve got Zakk Wylde starting with the national anthem and then we go up, we have three songs, and I just wanted to do amazing. As good as I possibly could. It’s really nerve-wrecking, but it’s so exciting and it gives you this intense feeling that. I used to just try numb it down but I embraced the feeling that I felt. We got out there we did our best and when we got off. For thirty minutes we didn’t know if anybody liked it and we were like oh my god. Because as a band you hear every little thing that you do wrong or if you’re flat or if you’re off or anything. I really was like oh my god did we do okay? And then we go upstairs and everybody was so proud of us and they were just so happy and everybody enjoyed it. It’s almost like a roller coaster ride. When you go on it’s like you are going up to the roller coaster and you’re going up and you’re almost there and then you jump down and all this craziness happens. You’re on a stage, you’re just performing like a crazy bastard and then you get off of the roller coaster and you’re little dizzy and it takes a second to like come back to reality. I think we were on cloud nine for like a week after that. It was amazing.
AH: You’ve got quite a lot of beautiful tattoos. When did you start on those? Any stories behind them?
Mixi: Actually, the more tattoos I get, the less tattoos I have which is really weird. Because they start to combine into one tattoo. My arms would have small pieces that would end up being one arm piece, you know. I’ve been getting tattoos since I was about sixteen. My tattoo artist didn’t know I was sixteen. I started at a tattoo party and once you get your first tattoo you kind of let the tattoo artist see that you have tattoos so you can get more tattoos. Because they think you’re eighteen. But I actually lived at a tattoo shop in Florida when I grew up, I grew up in Orlando. I lived upstairs and the front was a tattoo shop and the back was a music venue. I was going to a college at the time and I got a lot of work done, I did these wings on my back. It was eighty hours of work during over two years to finish it. I have stories about each one but they are all long stories. I didn’t really anticipate anything really super meaningful, I just appreciate the art of tattooing. I like the way it looks, I like the art of it and I think over time it’s like the more tattoos I get the harder it is to get tattooed, the more painful it is. I used to prepare myself for tattoo like okay, I got this and I can do it and I’m tough and can get through it. Now I’m going in for another session like with the haircut and I’m like oh my god not again, aaaaargh. So weird.
AH: Yeah, but it can get addictive. Do you have any ideas for your next ink already?
Mixi: Yeah, I have still some more to do on my stomach I just got my ribcage done. Which was the worst pain you can imagine. It felt like they were cutting me open. Like I was in surgery and I was awake for it, no painkillers. It was the worst thing ever. And so I’m scared to go back and get anymore ink because it was so horrible. But I do have some more that I want to do on my stomach to tie it all together. I eventually want to do my neck but everybody keeps talking me out of it. But I don’t know I’m taking a break on tattoos for a little bit I think. We’ll see.
AH: So, what are the band’s plans for this year, what’s on the horizon?
Mixi: It’s going to be a mixture of writing and touring. Last year we did about almost eight months of touring. So, this year we kind of want to release something throughout the year, so that there’s still music happening and we don’t just completely drop of the face of the earth with going into writing. We will eventually release full length record, probably towards the end of the year. Possibly release some songs throughout the year as well.
AH: Any message for the fans out there or maybe for who don’t know you why should they get into the Stitched Up Heart?
Mixi: There’s a message in the lyrics that I try to make very positive and hopeful. I feel like music helped me through so many things. It can change a day from sad to happy, it can make you sad, music can change your mood. I wanted to write stuff that would make people feel something and I wanted it to be a hopeful thing. I wanted to mainly focus on people that felt sad because we’ve all been in a dark place and I really wanted to just bring people out of the dark and into the light. With the music and with the lyrics I try to send a positive message and inspire others to be positive because you know, positivity is contagious. If you can spread that, if you smile at one person or give somebody a hug, it can make them happy and in return they can make the same with somebody else as well. So I just want to inspire positivity in the world.