What do cats and rock have in common? Nothing, really. But Mixi Demner, the singer of Stitched Up Heart, has a passion for both. While she dedicates most of her time now to her rapidly growing music base, she still manages to continue helping kittens in shelters. Even though she may be on the road for a majority of the year, the talented musician finds ways to at least fundraise for the bottle baby kittens at the shows.
But there’s more to Mixi than touring and kittens. Her heart of gold enables her to draw inspiration for new music—and a new sound. Since I last spoke with Mixi in the fall, Stitched Up Heart has exploded with new music and fun surprises. Perhaps you’ve heard their single “Finally Free” on the radio. Since the song’s release, the music video has acquired nearly one million hits on YouTube—but even bigger news is afoot!
During their short-lived downtime, the band was able to complete their first full-length album, Never Alone, which will be released in June. I was able to catch up with Mixi and get some more details on what the band’s been up to and what we can expect from them this time around.
What have you guys been up to since your last tour?
Oh wow, we talked to you before the last tour we went on in November… We played through the whole thing and went back into the studio. And at this point, we’ll have released a new single, “Monster,” on the first or second of May. And then we have our first full-length record coming out—I don’t know if I can say the date at this point but it’s so awesome and I’m just really excited after listening to the whole sequence. I just think it’s a beautiful record.
That reminds me. Last time we spoke, “Finally Free” was just a baby.
Oh yes! Yah! “Finally Free” was a baby back then. It just reached the Top 20 chart. And we spoke long ago when “Finally Free” was just released and now all of the radio stations are picking it up and it’s just been growing and growing. It’s been six months? And it’s been moving forward and climbing the charts, so that’s really good! We’re really hoping that with “Monster” that it climbs even higher than “Finally Free.” That’s the goal.
That’d be really nice!
Yeah! And the music video was really fun to shoot for that. It was all day and it has an interesting storyline because “Monster” is about—it’s actually really interesting how that came about. It was almost as if I was taken over by some entity or some other thing. I was in a totally crazy mind frame when I wrote that and you could tell when you listen to the lyrics. Like there was this monster inside of me. And we were writing it at this guy’s house where he practiced all of these weird rituals and had herbs and spices and odd books, so that was where we first started writing this song. It was almost like something was speaking through me. Like it was being pulled out of me. Or it was the massive amount of Monster I drank that day.
That must’ve been cool! What was the filming process like for the music video?
It was an all-day event. I think the band loaded up earlier than ever for that. We were out by, like, 6 AM and it was probably the biggest video we’ve ever shot as far as crew members and most of our other videos were shot for pizza and beer. But this one, there was actually a storyline, lights, and fog… It was in a cool location, so it was different from “Finally Free” where we just rented a space in Hollywood and shot that there. And it was a really cool adventure. I got to work on my acting skills because I got to be a little crazy. And I really tried to embody the acting—I’m not an actress by any means, but it was really fun to pretend! It was really fun. I’m still on a high from that production.
I get that. So did you guys leave for the tour yet?
At this point, no. We’re leaving tomorrow, but by the time this is released, yes. We’ll have been well on our way. And then after this tour, we have another. And then after that tour, we have one after that. And one after that. Pretty much, we’ll never see L.A. again (laughs). This is gonna be long. I usually just bring a backpack and maybe an extra bag for makeup and shoes. But this time, I made sure to bring extra makeup and extra stuff. It’ll be interesting. I have one of my best friends coming out with us and she’s doing merch. Her name is Amanda and she’s a pretty hot model chick so come over and say hi to her. She’s a fashion designer and a fashion model.
That’s fun! How else have you been prepping?
Well, my apartment—I live in Hollywood—I’m really smart about it and I have a studio apartment and rent it out for the times we’re on tour. That takes care of rent. But I also look for someone to look after my cats so they don’t have to go anywhere. I try to find somebody that I’m comfortable with and I’m pretty good with vibes, so I can tell if somebody is crazy right off the bat. It’s always the hardest leaving them. And I wasn’t able to do any kitten fostering. We are still doing donations though this tour. But there was too much going on, but we will still be donating part of our merch earnings and so far, we’ve raised about $1,800.
That’s so sweet! But what does your setlist look like?
Well, we have a few new songs and a couple of different setlists that we’ve been playing through and another set that we created when we get to play a longer set with a few more new songs. So, if you get to catch a show where we get to play a little longer, then there’ll be even more new stuff. And we changed the wardrobe just a little bit. I’m not wearing too many shirts where my bra is showing. We decided to dress up a little bit more. All the guys are wearing ties and I feel really proud when I see them dressed up like that. But there’s lots of new stuff coming up!
Awesome! What’s a typical day on tour for you guys?
A typical day… We usually have an acoustic performance with a radio station for the area that we’re playing in that night and so we’ll get there depending on the time—sometimes it’s eight in the morning, sometimes it’s noon… And then we’ll do a little meet and greet before the show. Then we get all loaded in and play the show. But somewhere in there, we eat and then I think we’ll be doing a lot of night drives because of the radio stations and the early things we’ll be doing.
So, most of the time, if you know of a radio station in the area where we are, if you catch the morning or afternoon show, we’ll possibly be doing an acoustic show, so you may be able to catch that. And New York, oh gosh, New York is probably one of the craziest days with, like, 10 different interviews and photo shoots and things like that because that’s where the other half of the industry is. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also really fun. It’s one of those things that you have to be in the moment and enjoy it and appreciate it.
And the fact that in high school, I listened to WJOR and I would call in all the time for free tickets and I would be so nervous talking to the DJs and now, I’m on the other side of the spectrum talking to the DJs and they become kind of the team of people and it’s really cool. Radio stations really put their heart and soul into it and have a passion for the artists and the music they play. They really try to push for them and it’s a really cool perspective being on the other side of that.
Did you ever think you’d be on the other side like this?
Well, in the radio stations, I never really thought I’d be doing interviews. I just wrote songs and toured. And then we did something with Like A Storm with 30 of 40 radio stations and it was… I remember the label saying, “Are you ready to start working hard?” And I’m like, “What, we’re not working hard?” (Laughs) Meanwhile, we’re writing a record and on tour and they’re like, “Oh yeah you have these gigs as well,” so we were playing two shows a day. But that’s pretty much what we’re going to be doing more of. It’s a lot of work.
What can we expect from you guys?
Aside from that!
(Laughs) Oh! Well, I’m sure another single will come out and our record. And then another single and another music video… Just growing and trying to create the best music we can.
Stitched Up Heart will be playing at The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY on May 8 and the Gramercy Theatre in Manhattan on May 9. They’ll head back to the Gramercy Theatre yet again on June 9. For more information on these musicians, check them out at facebook.com/stitchedupheartrock.