Cute kittens and heavy bass generally don’t mix too well. But lead singer Mixi Demner, or Stitched Up Heart, has certainly made it work. By night, she jams out with her band in dark, wild music halls—by day, though, she cares for newborn kittens in need of a mother. That is, when she’s not spanning the country.
This rock/metal mash-up group is capturing the hearts of America and is slowly mending them with new music and hardcore acts. This past fall, you may have seen Stitched Up Heart touring with One-Eyed Doll, but they’re swinging back around for yet another round of gigs. Although they’ve hardly had the time to catch a breath, the band is already set for another lengthy 12-week tour. Of course, Mixi will not be bringing any furry friends along.
While the band had some downtime, I was able to ask Mixi about their most recent tour and how the band could possibly finish composing and recording their first full-length album with their hectic touring schedule.
You just finished the Halloween tour supporting One-Eyed Doll. How did that go?
Oh, it was awesome. It was one of the smoothest tours we’ve ever done. Everything was just really positive and it was a really good crew of people. We made new friends and saw new faces. There were pretty decent-sized crowds… It was really great! I loved New York—it was so much fun, too.
What made it so awesome?
Well, we usually have like 10 people on our guest list, but for that show, we had about 20 and it was ridiculous because we had like 20 industry people dancing… On top of kids just getting down and moshing and everybody was really just into it. A lot of people flew out from L.A. like people from Sirius and Revolver came out. But it was a really good show. It was the best show we’ve ever done in New York. And we’re actually going to be playing Webster Hall again not too long from now on the next run.
That’ll be great to see! What was your favorite show while on tour?
Hmm… God, it was all like one, giant show. I don’t know where to start! Let’s see—our last show on Halloween was really awesome. I mean, Halloween is really awesome in general, but everyone was dressed up and we were dressed up like KISS (laughs). It was really fun. It was the last show, obviously, and we jumped on stage with One-Eyed Doll and threw candy out to the audience. It was just a really good ending to the tour. I think that was probably my favorite aside from the New York show. The New York show was pretty cool, too.
Did it feel weird playing on Halloween?
Holidays aren’t really holidays anymore (laughs). I don’t really remember the last time I celebrated Thanksgiving, so it’s like, “Oh, it’s my birthday. Let’s play a show in Chicago.” But Halloween, it was cool because I went out. I probably wouldn’t have done anything anyway because I’m lame like that when I’m home, so it was cool to see the costumes and everybody all dolled-up and having a good time. I mean, where else would I rather be on Halloween playing a show in KISS make up?
For this time around, is there any particular venue you’re looking forward to?
I heard the Machine Shop in Michigan is really cool; we’ve never played there. We’ve played in Washington, but we’ve never played the Knitting Factory which I hear is really cool, too. But everybody keeps talking about the Machine Shop and that’s our very first stop on this tour. But we are actually in L.A. now and getting ready to make the drive—2,200 miles to Michigan. Yay!
Oh boy! You get to start all over again!
(Laughs) I know! We were supposed to have two days off to be in the studio, but it turned into a tour. But yeah, two days off turned into a two-day show in L.A. I mean, at first I was like, “Oh, man! I was looking forward to the two days so I can snuggle my cat and lay in my own bed and take a shower in my own shower. Then all of my friends showed up and I was like, “Okay, it’s good to see you guys.” I had a really fun time last night.
But I think the cat’s more mad at me than I am about not snuggling. That’s probably the hardest part about going on tour for me is just leaving my little kittens and trying to find them somebody that will watch her and make sure that she won’t die… But actually, what we did on this tour that we haven’t done on any other tour was—well, I was fostering a lot of animals, well, cats, beforehand for a kitten rescue and obviously I can’t bring cats on the road with me. I foster them at home and get them all healthy again.
So what we did was bring a donation jar with us and we raised about $1,000 for the kittens. We won’t be doing that as much on this next tour, but we’ll probably doing that a little because the cats need it more than we do. It was good, though, and I really appreciate the guys being down with it and doing something nice for the rescue.
But yeah, it’s kittenrescue.org is the organization and they really focus on little bottle babies and the smaller kittens that don’t have mothers and it’s tedious because you have to feed them every hour, or two hours, and you have to burp them like a baby. I had a bottle baby and I was his Mom for a bit and he was so cute. They do have older cats as well, but they try to pull the kittens from shelters so they don’t put them down at the shelters because they can’t take care of them at the shelters—they don’t have the resources. So we try to save as many as possible.
I started doing stuff like that over the last year and once you start something like that, you can’t stop because you see how many animals really need the help and it’s kind of a problem for me (laughs). But we’re trying to do something to give back because things are going to well for us now so, why not try to share the positive vibes with other things like animals?
You’ve got over 300 shows under your belt, how does that work with fostering these kittens?
I was able to do that because we were home for a little while, working on this record so I just brought the kittens into the studio and obviously, I can’t take them on the road with me. But I was thinking of fostering another bottle baby litter when I get home from this tour, but I also feel like my cats need a break. I wanna help, but I also need to not put my cats at jeopardy as well. It’s something I’ve been thinking about. But whenever I’m actually home I have them and then they’re adopted or they’ll go to another foster parent for the time being so I can at least look over them for a little bit.
Have you been able to prep much for this tour at all?
Yeah, we’ve drilled it. I mean before this [Halloween] tour, we rehearsed for five nights a week from 11 till two in the morning for three months straight, we just kept going and going and going until we were on autopilot and everything was solid and tight and we really worked on that—obviously getting everything ready for merchandise and getting the van in good shape to travel. So we’re kind of growing up. Hopefully we’ll have a bus one day. But for now, we’re all squeezed into a 15-passenger van, I don’t know if you know what that must be like (laughs).
How do you guys handle that? It must be so tight in there.
I think you kinda get used to it. It takes about a week to get into the vibe. The first week, you can’t really sleep because you think you’re gonna crash when you’re sleeping, well for me anyway, but the first week is rocky. But then you get into the routine like, go to the venue, load in, sound check, wait around for the show to start, watch the bands, talk to people. We really like hanging out with people while on the road. We love making friends. We’re not really the ones to hide. Maybe one or two of us will because we need a moment alone, but otherwise, we’re all pretty much out there making friends.
Yeah, I heard you guys are so friendly with your fans.
I don’t really like to call them “fans” ‘cause it’s kind of degrading. I mean like, if I meet somebody, I genuinely care and I wanna be friends for as long as possible and really get to know people as much as I can and so do the boys. I just feel like it puts somebody in a category and I think everybody’s got greatness inside of them. So… They’re my friends.
That’s such a great point! Will you guys be switching anything up for this tour, or was there not much time to change anything?
Yeah! We’re playing a bunch of new songs. So for a lot of people, this is their first time seeing the show. And some of the people from the last tour came to a bunch of our shows. So each time, they’ll be like, “Oh, now I know the words to the song that hasn’t been released yet.” But maybe after the next record, we’ll change some stuff up a little bit, but for now it’ll pretty much stay the same.
It makes sense—you guys don’t actually have a break between the two tours.
Yeah! We have one day to practice eight new songs (laughs). But the one difference is, we might add a couple of acoustic things to the radio performances and television performances. We just did an acoustic performance over here this morning at the label. So we have a couple songs in a different format. We may wind up playing them that way. We don’t know yet. We’ll see. This tour basically went from a six-week tour to having two days off in between, so it really became a 12-week tour. We didn’t really have time to change much up!
But you know, one of the things that I realized with being overwhelmed and being like, “Oh god, I’ve got too much on my plate,” it’s something that everybody does. We always feel like, “Oh, I can’t put any more on my plate. I’m so busy.” But then once you start adding more to your plate, you’re like, “Wait! I can add more!” And then you add more and more and it’s amazing what you can do when you stop limiting yourself.
Everybody has that same feeling. I mean, we didn’t want to play a show, but then it turned into a show and we had a great time. And then we had the performance this morning and then I had a photo shoot and I was just like, “Just give me sleep!” And then I was like, “Eh… I caught up with five hours of sleep. I’m good.” Everybody feels like they’re overwhelmed. But then you see somebody who’s gotten so much accomplished, they probably feel the same way, but even more. You know?
And another thing is the problem with procrastinating. Like, all the time I meet all of these amazing singers and they’re like, “Oh, I wish I could start a band.” But do it. Just do it—get a bunch of people together and start a band. Just get people together, make some music, and work your ass off. If you’re lazy, you’re not gonna get anywhere. But being lazy is just an excuse not to do it.
Exactly! Now, earlier, you mentioned a new album?
Yeah! We just released a new single, “Finally Free,” and the music video. It’s being played on Octane and a few other stations. It actually wasn’t meant to be our single, we were just gonna put it out there and show off what our new music is gonna sound like. We had a few others lined up, but yeah. People are really liking it and we’re just going with it. And in the spring, we come back from this tour at Christmas, and in the spring, we should have the new full-length record.
How excited are you for that?
I’ve been playing these songs for a while and I really want everybody else to be able to hear them! I really can’t wait to see what happens and everybody’s really excited for this record, so, we’ve got a lot of positive feedback. It makes me even more excited for everybody to hear it. But our last record was a do-it-yourself kind of thing and I was also in a darker place than I am now, so the lyrics came out darker.
But now, since things are going well, I’m in a more positive place and pulling from the dark part. So the songs are coming from a dark place, to a light place. And everything is more polished and understandable. There’s a lot more thought process going into it now. A lot of the people who’ve seen us on tour in the past, they’re seeing a completely different band.
That’s awesome! You’ve all worked so hard—what else do you guys have up your sleeves after this tour?
More touring after the record probably. And more music videos… Probably never, ever see L.A. again… So much touring! But once the record is out, we’ll be touring until we release another record and then we tour again. But the next record has to be even better so the band can keep on getting better and better and better.
Catch Stitched Up Heart when they pull into Webster Hall on Dec. 15 for their final tour of the year. For more information on the band, visit their Facebook page: facebook.com/StitchedUpHeartRock.