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The NAMM Show 2018 Interviews: Madame Mayhem

The NAMM Show 2018 Interviews: Madame Mayhem

The NAMM Show recently took place at the Anaheim Convention Center, showcasing a wide variety of instruments and accessories for musicians and fans from all over the world.  One of the attendees to The NAMM Show was the one and only Madame Mayhem, whose brand new magnum opus Ready For Me has been receiving a grand amount of critical acclaim.  Highwire Daze caught up with Madame Mayhem in The NAMM Show Media Center to find out more about their brand new video War You Started, touring with the likes of Doro and Fozzy, musical instruments of choice, advice on securing endorsements for an up and coming artist, and a whole lot more!  Read on…

Where are you based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
I’m based out of New York – New York City – so it’s a lot of rock and roll which I love very much!

What are you looking forward to the most about NAMM this year?
I love checking out the new gear. I’m with Samson and all these other great companies. It’s just really fun. You’re like a kid in a candy store here. You get to run around and check out all this new gear and run into new people. It’s a really nice community and I love it.

What are you weapons of choice and why?
Samson has been so great to me. The microphones are amazing and I use them live everywhere around the world. We’re with D-Drum and XKey and CME and Jamstix.  It’s been so cool that all these great companies are so supportive of independent artists. You don’t need to be the biggest artist in the world to still want to play music – and for companies to be by your side early on and then grow with them as you grow is the best thing ever. We’ve been with these guys for years and years – so the fact that were finally beginning to take off now and they’re still with us is the best feeling in the world.

What advice would you give a young musician seeking an endorsement deal? There’s plenty here at NAMM…
There’s so many! Don’t go seeking one, per se. If you’re going there looking for free stuff, don’t do it! What you really need to do is first, find something you love. If you’re a guitarist, find a guitar that you actually love to play – like something legitimate. And then if you’ve been playing it – if you’ve been using it – tell them! If you connect with whoever that company is, and you feel you have the same messages and the same interests in mind, then you end up working with them and then they end up being a great fit. It’s all about the connection with whoever it is. And you also have to use the gear! We were lucky enough to be with all these great companies.  You need to be invested in the brand as much as they are in you. Just keep hustling – that’s all I say – just hustle every damn day.

Let’s talk about Madame Mayhem and the music. You have a new video for the song War You Started that just came out. Is there any overall story or concept behind the lyrics to that song?
Yes, lots! The album (Ready For Me) as a whole is super personal – and I always like to talk about real life experiences or things that I went through – really therapeutic things. But more than anything, this album has really been that. I’d been going through really hard times – there was a really hard relationship breakup. I was dealing with a lot of frustration with the industry. As much as I love playing music and I love this industry – there are a lot of roadblocks and you can work your butt off and still be really frustrated. War You Started is a little bit like “Listen, you brought this on yourself. This is what you have to face. And now you’re gonna face me.” It’s kind of like a “bring it on” mentality. For me, being a strong person, and strong woman, or strong anyone is really big especially in these kind of industries where people are ready to count you out real fast. It’s kind of a “bring it on” experience. And the video is really cool because it’s one the first video’s we’ve ever had where the full band is actually in the video. You actually get to see the other guys! Usually it’s just me and it’s more for budget purposes being an indie artist. But the fact that we recorded it in between tours – so we were all together anyway – everyone gets to meet everyone else in the band – so it’s really fun!

Ready For Me by Madame Mayhem cover art

Select any other song from the new album and what inspired the lyrics for you…
All Around The Around, which was the first single, is a very straightforward rock song but it really talks about how everyone is all into just themselves and social media. And the way that technology has advanced us so well in music and communication and everything – but at the same time it’s also really confused us to what is real life and what is not – and what is really important and what is not. Everyone thinks they know best. And just to be like “Wake up! Look around and see what is really going on!” I think there’s a lot of topics like that on this album. The album is a lot of fun –it’s a lot of hard rock – really hard hitting songs. But if you’re into lyrics, they have a lot of real messages and I think people can relate to that – because they’re all real messages to me. The best feeling in the world is when someone can relate to something that you actually also feel – and then you don’t feel so alone. If someone says “Oh yeah, that really meant something to me.” Even if it’s not really the same message – that means that I’m not so alone. For me, being an artist in this world – sometimes you feel that way. For the community to gather around music is the most important thing in the world.

How did your recent European tour with Fozzy go and what were some of the highlights?
It was so fun! Everything was a highlight with the European and UK tour with Fozzy. We were with Fozzy and Hardcore Superstar. First of all, the bands are amazing – and we do share a guitarist with FozzyBilly Grey. We’re already kind of a family as it is. We were on a bus with Fozzy. They were the coolest guys ever – they were super kind and good to us. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation. And the fans over there were so cool – just music loving people. Also in the States – whenever you find people who love to go just to check out music – whether they know you or they don’t. They just like music. That’s always fun to talk about. We had a blast!

How did Billy do with two bands on one tour?
It was funny. He would wear his hair straight down when he would play with us and then he would spike it up for Fozzy. It was funny, because some people thought it was two different guys. He was a trooper and I really appreciate him doing guitar for both. And I really appreciate Fozzy for letting him kind run out and hang with us too.

How did you tour with the legendary Doro go?
That was an amazing experience. It was one of our early on tours. It was US run and we shared a bus with them. They are all – Doro especially –the nicest and coolest people. What I really learned from her – besides the fact that I got to watch her every night after I performed which is maybe the best thing that ever happened – the fact that she is genuinely as cool and as kind as she seems. Her fans love her, but she loves them just as much, if not more. It’s all dedication – she is all about the fans. And for me being a new artist at the time – to have seen that.  And that’s how I’ve always felt. And to see someone as major of an artist as Doro do with fans – to really connect and want to be with them – and just talk about music and genuinely love them – was the greatest thing I could have ever watched. She is so amazing – I love that whole band – they are so great!

What could one expect from a live Madame Mayhem show?
We are big on energy! We pour everything out there! I know I do. I’m very theatrical when I’m onstage, because I have that background. I grew up in the musical theater opera community – but I was a metal head at the same time – so this is like the perfect situation. But my band and I put everything into it! That’s like the highlight of our day. Just like the fans who want to hear the music – we are just as excited or even more excited to play. We literally just throw everything out there. High energy and a really good time – that’s what you can expect when you see us play.

If you could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I’m really happy to have worked with all of these other bands that we’ve had the pleasure to be opening for – and there will be some other awesome ones coming up. I used to always answer that saying Metallica because I had never seen then live. But I just took my mom to see Metallica for Mother’s Day – so I’ve seen them. My mom is cool as hell – she’s awesome! I mean Metallica is kind of a big deal to me – that would be awesome. And if I could bring back Chris Cornell and do something with Soundgarden, because they were one of my biggest influences growing up as a child, that would be awesome.

If your music was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
It has to have the filling inside – like the Boston Crème filling inside. It has to have the icing on the top because there’s just so many layers to it. I would just say that one, because it’s just so many layers and there’s just so much that goes into it and every bite is amazing! I’m not talking about the music – I’m talking about the experience of playing the music. I am genuinely so excited every time I play these songs – I relive the situations that I wrote and it’s really cathartic and therapeutic. And the fact that people have been having such a great response to Ready For Me (this new album) has meant the world to me. So it’s one of those donuts because those are my favorites.

What’s up next for Madame Mayhem? Any live shows on the way?
Yes, so we’re working on upcoming tour dates. I would say check it out in a couple of weeks –go to I just talked to my agent today – we’re working on things. As soon as we can finalize everything we will announce. We did just release a new video War You Started. We’re always writing so there will always be new music. But what we really want to do is continue to get this new music out to the world, so we will be coming up with upcoming tour dates shortly, so keep an eye out…

(Interview and Photo by Ken Morton)

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