Interview ~ Madame Mayhem

Women in rock and metal used to something of a rarity, but not these days. Over the last few years, women have been fronting bands all over the place. The results are not always the same, so it’s always a pretty cool thing when you find someone with one hell of a singing voice, a strong vision of who they are and relying more on substance than style. We became a fan of Madame Mayhem right before the release of her album Now You Know in 2015. We gained even more respect for her when we saw her live show when she opened for Doro. We were floored by this young lady for many reasons including those mentioned above.

Here we are in 2017 and she just released her highly anticipated new album entitled Ready For Me. The multi-talented Corey Lowery (Saint Asonia) is on-board again as producer as well as co-writer of the album. His brother Clint Lowery (Sevendust) has several songwriting credits on the album as well. Madame Mayhem had been playing many of the new tracks before the album’s official release date on 10/20 as she was served as an opener on former Hinder frontman Austin Winkler’s Love Sick Radio Tour. There’s a great mix on this new album as she switches up grooves from some great rock songs with pop elements splashed in to slower songs then to some rockers with a bit more grit to them. Regardless of the rhythm, these are songs that are hard hitting and easily relatable. We had the chance to talk with Madame Mayhem before soundcheck recently on the next to last date of her run with Winkler in Winston Salem, North Carolina. We talked about the new album and much more!

I love the variety on this album; you have some slow stuff, the rock stuff with the pop elements and then the rock with some more grit and edge to it. You definitely don’t like to drive in the same line for this journey and that’s a good thing.

Madame Mayhe: We like to change it up a lot because for me; I like all different styles and tempos. It’s really what kind of riff we have and what kind of thing that we want to write about. We realized that it has all these different waves and it flows really nicely, so I’m really happy about it.

I think the sequencing on it is great and I wondered if you were involved with that?

Of course I am; I have co-writers and my producer who I love. There are so many people who have contributed to making this album what it is, but it wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t sticking my nose in everything that was happening too.

Tell me a little bit more about this album and who was involved with it. I know it was produced by Corey Lowery (Saint Asonia) and that he and Clint Lowery wrote a song together for it.

I co-wrote all of the songs on this album with Corey; on the last album Now You Know that Billy Sheehan produced, Corey and I co-wrote the two singles from the record as well as a third song. Billy told me that we should continue writing together and we did. We ended up coming up with enough songs to make an album and then we brought in some other people with us to write. Clint Lowery is actually a co-writer of multiple songs on the album. Some of the songs are just me and Corey and some are me, Corey and Clint. There are two that were written by me, Corey and Troy McLawhorn from Evanescence, which is really cool because he’s local to where Corey is based out of. To be able to work with all of those guys was really awesome. Bevan Davies played drums on some of the tracks and he’s such a great drummer. For the rest of the album, we got my old drummer Ryan Bennett to do it which is amazing. I’m really proud of this album and with each album that I do, I feel like I’m growing. The more I’m in this industry, the more I am developing as an artist.

What’s different in your development from the last album to going into making the new one?

With Now You Know, I started to open up and tell a little more truth which I was always nervous to do in my career. With Ready For Me, everything is out there; everyone is going to hear everything, every struggle, every frustration, my relationship issues and everyone will know everything.

It sounds as if your emotional floodgates have been opened.

Yes, you know everything now or at least everything at the time of the making of the new album. I felt like I needed to do it because it was really therapeutic for me. Writing about those things helped and I think that it actually contributed to the songs. No matter what the song is about initially when I write it, it could mean something totally different to someone else when they hear it. When my brother and I are upset, we listen to very heavy music and it makes us happy. To each his own and how they interpret it; I think people can relate to this new music and really rock out to it. We really weren’t going for any particular type of sound on this album except for being hard rock and modern sounding. We love real instruments too and there may be a little bit of cool effects, but not much.

Real instruments are always better in my opinion; it doesn’t take people long to figure it out when they come to see you.

When we play live, what we’ve been getting great feedback from people on is how we sound. They say it’s just as good as the album if not better and that’s a huge compliment. That means we’re doing our job on stage soundwise, plus we like to run around a lot and we need to make sure we have that high energy to do so.

“All Around The World” is your first single and video; was it tough picking that one to launch the album with?

Picking the first single for this album was probably the hardest it’s ever been. I’m in love with every song and there were certain parts about each song that I thought people would think were catchy. It’s funny because no one could agree on which song to be the first single. Finally, we had to come to a consensus and we will definitely have a few singles off of it, but what should the first one be? “All Around The World” is an upbeat, hard hitting, straight forward, no gimmicky type of song, so we thought we would power start with that one. We already have two more chosen and another music video in the works. It’s being edited and we’re probably going to shoot another one. Everyone should be on the lookout for the other video because I think we’re going to keep promoting this new album because of the possibilities of these songs.

You’re headed over to Europe with Fozzy which should be a pretty cool experience.

We have one more show after this one and then we go to Atlanta to rehearse. My original guitarist is the same guitarist for Fozzy. He’s with them right now and for now I have Joey Raggs, who you saw with us on the Doro tour. We’ll be going with Billy Grey for the Fozzy dates, plus sharing a bus with them. It’s going to be a great experience and I think the first date is October 27 in England and that’s one week after the release of my new album.

Your last album was also released in October; is that just a coincidence or is there something to that?

I think it’s just coincidence; if it was up to me I would have released it on Friday the 13th! The release is more of a label call, so they decide what works best.

You played Sturgis not too long ago; what was that experience like?

It was an amazing experience; it was Sturgis Buffalo Chip and we played two nights. One night was right after Ozzy Osbourne; we were on the side stage and it was the coolest thing. As everyone was filing out from the main stage, they could see us so that was pretty cool. We had a day off and the next day we played the main stage opening up for Alter Bridge and All That Remains, which was also very cool. They warned us about the bikers revving their motors; it doesn’t mean it’s bad when they do it. It’s actually a good thing to hear and as soon as I got off stage I had to ask someone if they revved them and they did.

There have been several high profile tragedies surrounding live music since we last talked including the tragedy in Paris, the Ariana Grande concert and now Las Vegas. Do these events make you change how you approach playing live?

It makes my parents really nervous and it does us as well, but I always tend to be super aware of my surroundings. We’re about to go to Europe and the UK and we have to hope that nobody wants to put a target on our backs. You can’t stop playing music because of it; this is my passion. Creating and writing songs, I love it and it’s so important to me, but singing and performing live is my actual passion. I put my blood, sweat and tears into that and it’s always been my favorite thing since I was a very young child. I can’t stop it just because of an attack like that and if I did I would be miserable. You just have to hope that everyone will get their shit together and stop attacking people.

Here are a few fun questions to wrap things up with. You’re back on the road, so what is your favorite road food and also one that you try to avoid?

They’re both the same thing; we try to be a very healthy band so everyone usually eats right. For some reason on this tour, all of my guilty pleasures including Easy Mac, Reeses and Cup of Noodles are all I have been eating and it’s terrible. We ran out on the bus, so we’re not getting anymore and I need get back in shape once we get home before heading off to Europe. I am the junk food queen and it is a problem; that’s why I work out every day.

If music was over and you had to go into professional wrestling, what would your wrestling name be?

I’d keep Madame Mayhem; I’m not changing it.

Ok, but what would your finishing move be?

It would probably be some strange move from the stage that I would incorporate into it; definitely something with the gloves.

I know it’s almost time for soundcheck, so we will end on this one. You have young girls in your audience who may be looking to you as a role model and I think that’s great. You are a very strong female, with your own sense of style and you are showing them that they don’t have to flaunt everything to make it. What do you tell those girls who are looking up to you and who may be getting bullied because of daring to be an individual like yourself?

Every single person will tell you something different and I’ve been told to lose weight, be sluttier or less slutty, cover up, and don’t cover up. Be you and be comfortable because as long as you are comfortable then it doesn’t matter what other people think. If you’re getting picked on for being different, you may think it’s the end of the world right now, but just keep doing what you’re doing. I was always picked up in school and I had my friends, but I was different from all of them. I worked on my craft and I focused on what I wanted to do with my life and then I came out better for it.

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