Category: AXS Interview

Interview: Brooke Josephson discusses working with DJ Rocky G on infectious Re-mix of ‘Mr. Fix It’

Following the release of her acclaimed pop-rock EP, Sexy N’ Domesticated, singer-songwriter Brooke Josephson teamed up with international house producer Rocky G for an infectious remix of her single, “Mr. Fix It.” The electro-house version, complete with a progressive beat and dreamy synths, taunts female domestication by encouraging women to find someone who can cater to her needs.

The accompanying music video for “Mr. Fix It” showcases psychedelic visuals of the artist intermingled with scenes of a Rocky G live performance as well as Josephson’s adorable nine-year-old daughter, Shira.

AXS recently spoke with Brooke Josephson about the remix of “Mr. Fix It” and much more in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: How did the idea to do a remake of “Mr. Fix It” come about?

Brooke Josephson: Over the summer I was reading stories about other women who were pursuing being independent artists (and other careers) while at the same time juggling being a full-time mom. I came across Rocky G’s video where she shared her story about being an international DJ and a mom of six. I thought that was amazing. So I reached out to thank her for her work and inspiration as well as to let her know what I had going on. She responded and the two of us started talking about collaborating. I sent her my music and we started dialoguing about the song and bouncing ideas for a video. She told me that she would be performing at an event in Amsterdam, so I flew over and that’s where we shot the video. We even incorporated some of the events into the video as well.

AXS: What was the process like for re-mixing your original song?

BJ: I sent Rocky G all the stems from the original recording. She laid down a beat, took the original vocals and then added filters and a few other effects to give it an electronic vibe. Then she added an original melody at the intro.

AXS: What was it like working with Rocky G?

BJ: It was so much fun. I quickly discovered that she’s the same version of me, only she was doing EDM music. Her normal routine includes doing shows from ten at night until five in the morning. Then she gets home and instead of going to bed, she stays up and gets the kids ready for school. Then she comes back home and naps and does her work until she has to pick them up again. The same juggle I do in L.A. is what she’s doing in Amsterdam. Even though our styles of music are different our lives are very similar and the drive for what we do is very much the same.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Brooke Josephson by Clicking Here!

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Interview: Singer-songwriter Elizabeth Chan discusses her beautiful holiday album, ‘Best Gift Ever’

With a specialty in Christmas music, singer-songwriter Elizabeth Chan’s passion for the holiday has driven her to a career that’s unique from other recording artists. Case in point, her new album, Best Gift Ever, which is sure to become a soundtrack of the season.

Led by the infectiousness of the album’s title-track and Chan’s original renditions of such classics as “O Holy Night,” “The First Noelle” (aptly re-named in honor of her daughter), and the unearthed classic, “For Unto Us,” Best Gift Ever gives listeners a refreshing mix of tradition and universal acceptance.

In addition to the new album, Chan is also lending her voice to various charities and radio shows across the country. For her, it’s an honor to not only share her music with the world, but also to give back for the greater good.

AXS recently spoke with Elizabeth Chan about Best Gift Ever and more in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: What inspired you to take on a career as a Christmas songwriter and producer?

Elizabeth Chan: I’ve always wanted to write Christmas music from a very young age. When I was growing up, there was a radio station in New York City that went all Christmas every year, and I remember whenever the station would turn me and my sister would leave the radio on twenty-four hours a day. It wasn’t something I knew I could make a career out of until after I already had another career. I always knew I wanted to be a musician, but eventually chose a different path. Then about eight years ago, I had what I guess you’d call a quarter-life crisis. I thought, either I could keep working at the career I was at or do something that makes me happy. I think people are given one shot to do something with their life, and for me, it was music. I thought back to the one time in my life when I was truly happy, and that was when I listening to Christmas music and writing poems. I decided to give myself a shot, and here I am.

AXS: What’s your writing process like?

EC: I’m highly inspired by my family but also approach songwriting like a muscle you flex. I write Christmas music all year long. In the beginning, I’d force myself to write at least one Christmas song every day. Most of them were bad but I quickly amassed a vault of Christmas music. I now have my own sifting method where I’ll wait and see if I can recall a melody and lyrics of a song I wrote several years later. That’s how I know it has a classic, timelessness to it.

AXS: Let’s discuss a few original tracks from Best Gift Ever, starting with the title track. What’s the story behind it?

EC: My husband is the most-simple, happiest guy on the planet who never wants anything for his birthday, anniversary or Christmas. I’m always prodding him by asking, “What do you want? What do you want? What do you want” [laughs]. The bridge is always his answer: “Don’t worry about me. I have everything I want.” It’s also a universal theme with people. Every year, there’s always that sense of hey, what do you want this year? It was a good opportunity to write a song about the way everyone feels.

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Interview with Elizabeth Chan by Clicking Here!

Interview: 98 Degrees’ Nick Lachey discusses group’s holiday tour, Christmas memories and career highlights

Photo: Elias Tahan

Last year, the group 98 Degrees (which features Nick Lachey, Jeff Timmons, Drew Lachey and Justin Jeffre) released their critically-acclaimed Christmas album, Let It Snow. It was followed by a seasonal tour that showcased the group’s signature R&B-laced, four-part harmony on Christmas songs both past and present.

This holiday season, the foursome is back on the road with a brand new holiday show that highlights songs from both Let Is Snow as well as seasonal favorites from their first Christmas album, This Christmas, and some of the biggest hits spanning their more than 20 year career.

AXS recently spoke with Nick Lachey about the new 98 Degrees tour, his favorite Christmas memories and more in this exclusive interview.

AXS: How has the new 98 Degrees tour been going?

Nick Lachey: It’s been great. We started in Canada and then went to the West Coast and are now making our way East. We did it last year and had such a great time that we thought why not take it out again. It was fun to put together a little bit of a different show than last year, and the crowds and their response have been great. We’ve been having a blast.

AXS: What can fans expect this time around?

NL: It’s a similar vibe to last year but a very different show. It’s a great blend of holiday songs, including songs from both of our Christmas records, all mixed with the classic 98 Degrees songs people have come to expect from us over the years. It’s a great balance of both. Since it’s the holidays, people are in a great mood and are getting into the spirit, so it makes for a fun evening.

AXS: In your opinion, what makes a great Christmas song?

NL: A great song is a combination of melody, lyrics message and performance. But when you write original Christmas songs it’s a little bit trickier. There are so many great Christmas songs that have set the bar to a certain level. You’re also a little pigeon-holed in what you can talk about, but that’s the challenge of it. For our song, “Season of Love,” we knew we wanted it to be about peace, love and the idea of why can’t we feel this way all year along. Why does it only have to be at Christmas?

AXS: What are some of your best memories of Christmas when you were growing up?

NL: As a kid, I remember how my family would always go to midnight Christmas Eve services at my church. I was always excited about staying out late and knowing that once you came out of the service, it was Christmas. I remember there was one particular night when we came out of the service and it was snowing. It couldn’t be any more perfect.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Nick Lachey by Clicking Here!

Interview: Author Mark Eglinton Discusses Working with Ken “K.K.” Downing on guitartist’s Autobiography, ‘Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest’

Mark Eglinton is a best-selling author and biographer with an uncanny ability to perfectly capture a subject’s voice on the written page. His musical accomplishments include co-writes with such artists as Pantera bassist Rex Brown, and his acclaimed 2017 biography on James Hetfield, “So Let It Be Written,” used exclusive, firsthand interviews to construct a definitive account of the life of the Metallica frontman.

Eglinton’s latest project teams him up with former Judas Priest guitarist, Ken “K.K.” Downing for Downing’s insightful new autobiography, “Heavy Duty: Days and Nights in Judas Priest.” In it, Downing takes readers on a journey from his impoverished childhood to some of the biggest stages in the world. Along the way, Downing gives an emotional recounting of his life and discusses all the highs and lows of his career, including a re-telling of events that led to his departure from the Priest following their epic 2008 double album, Nostradamus.

AXS recently spoke with Mark Eglinton about “Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest,” and more in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: When did the idea for doing a biography with K.K. Downing originate?

Mark Eglinton: The first contact was somewhere around 2015. I’d seen interviews with K.K. and always thought he was a soft-spoken, sensitive guy who had a good story to tell. At the time, K.K. was involved in his business, so getting time with him was difficult. We were limited to talking on weekends, where we got to know each other. The initial feedback was really good and from there the project was on.

AXS: As a music fan, tell me about your relationship with Judas Priest.

ME: Priest was one of the first bands I became aware of when I started listening to heavy music. I was at boarding school and was struggling with being homesick. Another guy who was a few years older than me gave me a tape with some music on it to keep me going. On that tape, among other things, was music from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Free, Boston, and a track from Sad Wings of Destiny called “Victim Of Changes.” It was something I’d never heard before. From that point on, I started digging into Priest. I’ve always been a fan of the band and K.K.’s part in it. He’s so down to earth and the same guy no matter how good or bad things are going.

AXS: What did you love most about their music when you listened to that tape?

ME: The darkness. I loved Boston’s “More Than A Feeling.” Those harmonies were a whole new world, and it was the same with the good-time feeling of Skynyrd. But Priest had something else. Sad Wings of Destiny had darkness and space. You could hear all of the instruments and it sounded so great. Those early Priest albums had the ability to conjure a world that really appealed to me at that point in my life.

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Interview with Mark Eglinton by Clicking here!

Interview: Nita Strauss Discusses Her Infectious Debut Solo Album, ‘Controlled Chaos’

Photo Katy Cooper

2018 has certainly been a memorable year for Nita Strauss. The guitarist, widely known for her time touring with Alice Cooper and for being one of the most in-demand clinicians on the planet, started the year out by unveiling her first Signature Model guitar, the Ibanez Jiva. This coincided with another round of live dates with Cooper as well as solo performances that included Wrestlemania and for the Los Angeles Rams as part of the NFL’s “Salute to Service”. Now, the beautiful blonde shredder is doing something else she’s never done before: releasing her monstrously cool, debut solo album, Controlled Chaos.

With help from her longtime visionary, Josh Villalta, the instrumental album is a snapshot of Strauss’ life as an artist and features an eclectic mix of emotion and guitar wizardry. From the dark and aggressive sounds of songs like “Our Most Desperate Hour” and “Mariana Trench,” to more peaceful tracks like “Hope Grows” and “Here With You,” there really is something for every taste. Strauss even gives a nod to Queen with a haunting version of “The Show Must Go On.”

AXS recently spoke with Nita Strauss about Controlled Chaos and more in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: How would you describe Controlled Chaos and how it relates to where you are as a guitarist?

Nita Strauss: This is my first album and first chance to show my personality, so I didn’t want to make a strictly rock or a strictly metal album. I wanted to make an album that encompasses all the different styles and emotions I’ve gone through as a person. On Controlled Chaos you’ll hear the dark and aggressive side (of course),4 but you’ll also hear a bright and fun side and a calm and peaceful side. It’s a snapshot of myself as a guitar player.

AXS: What’s your writing process like?

NS: For me, it starts with a story and with me saying this is what I want to talk about and here is how I want to talk about it. A common misconception people have about instrumental music is that it’s all just notes that work together in sequence. I learned from studying my guitar heroes that’s really not the case. I want to tell a story with the song but leave it to the listener to have their own interpretation of what each one is about. It’s not like a song with words where the lyric is already telling you what it means. These songs can be about whatever they make you feel. That’s the beauty of instrumental music.

AXS: What was the recording process like?

NS: I did a bulk of the recording on a break from the tour over the summer in L.A. The rest was done in the back of tour buses, venues and in hotel rooms. Anywhere I could set up my recording rig. Even if I only had a free hour in-between sound check and the show, I’d set up my equipment and get something done. It was grueling at times but was so worth it because I was able to be really hands on. The album came out exactly the way I wanted it to.

Read the rest of my
Interview with NIta Strauss by Clicking Here.

Interview: Jake E. Lee discusses the new Red Dragon Cartel album, ‘Patina’

With a career that spans more than three decades and includes work with Ozzy and Badlands, guitarist Jake E. Lee and Red Dragon Cartel’s new album, Patina ranks as one of the his finest and returns Lee to the bluesy, hard rock sound of his Badlands days with cleverly inspired songwriting and Lee’s unmistakable guitar wizardry.

Produced by Lee and bassist Anthony Esposito, Patina also reunites Lee with Max Norman (mixer), who worked with Lee on Ozzy’s Bark at The Moon as well as with Esposito on the debut Lynch Mob album, Wicked Sensation.

Red Dragon Cartel is Jake E Lee (guitars), Darren James Smith (vocals), Anthony Esposito (bass) and Phil Varone (drums).

AXS recently caught up with Jake E. Lee to talk about the new Red Dragon Cartel album and more in this exclusive interview.

AXS: How does the new Red Dragon Cartel album, Patina, compare to the first album?

Jake E Lee: On the first record nothing was ever recorded with more than one person in the room, which was a little alien to me. This new record is more old-school and was done the same way as when I was in Badlands, or even when I was with Ozzy. The band would get together and I would present ideas and riffs and we would work on them together. The process makes it sound more like a band. It’s more honest and organic and more presentable live. We could only do about half of the first record live because of the way it was recorded. For this new record, we’ll probably be able to do almost every song on it. It really hits you harder when it’s live and these songs, in particular, are going to hit hard in a live setting.

AXS: What was the songwriting process like? What inspires you when you write and create?

JEL: I always have a huge stockpile of ideas but for this album I wanted it to be fresh. The songs on this record are just the band getting in the room; jamming and coming up with something. Sometimes inspiration can come from whatever I’ve been listening to that day, like “Havana.” I’d been listening all day to a certain band and a song that had a great riff. When the band got together that day we started out by just jamming on it. Afterwards, I sat there thinking, “Man, I wish I could come up with something that cool.” That’s when Anthony looked at me and said, “Well, why don’t you?” So, I played around, gave it a twist and then we started working on it.

AXS: What can you tell me about the song, “Crooked Man?”

JEL: The title was inspired by the riff. It’s a very crooked riff that’s not in 4/4 time. I was having trouble sleeping and wrote that riff at like eight in the morning. It was “ugly” but in a really cool way. I love the dichotomy and juxtaposition of ugly and pretty; loud and soft. For me, the process is about throwing things in that you might not expect. Something that makes it different. Every song on this record is different and has its own special place.

AXS: How about the track, “The Luxury of Breathing?”

JEL: When you’re working on a riff or chord progression with no lyrics, you need to have something to call it, and that song was originally entitled “Fuzzy Bunny” because of the pedal I was using for the main riff [laughs]. If there’s one riff that sounds very Badlands, it’s probably that one. I play slide and there’s even some harmonica and a little guiro on it.

AXS: What was it like getting to work with Max Norman again?

JEL: It was great. I hadn’t seen Max in about twenty-five years. Anthony had kept in touch with him because Max produced and engineered the first Lynch Mob album, which was Anthony’s first professional record, as well as Bark At The Moon, which was mine. We were in the studio one day and Anthony was talking on the phone. Then he looked at me and said: “Hey, do you want to talk to Max?” I remember Max was very curious about what we were up to. He thought the songs were great and later asked if he could be a part of it. He did a great job. It was fate that we’d all work together.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Jake E. Lee by Clicking Here!

Interview: Ted Nugent discusses his new album, ‘The Music Made Me Do It’, career

Photo: Brown Photography

Over the course of his illustrious career, Ted Nugent has carved a permanent place in rock history. To date, the guitar legend and Motor City Madman has sold more than forty million albums and performed just shy of seven thousand shows.

On Nov. 9 Nugent, along with bass virtuoso Greg Smith and drummer Jason Hartless, will release a brand-new album, aptly titled, The Music Made Me Do It. As an added bonus, each CD will include a full-length concert DVD, “Live At Freedom Hill,” captured at the Freedom Hill Amphitheatre in Sterling Heights, Michigan in 2017. To tease the new album and raw energy of his live concert experience, Nugent has also released a video for the album’s title track that was shot at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, CA.

AXS recently spoke with Nugent about The Music Made Me Do It, his career and more in this exclusive new interview.

AXS: How did this project come about? What inspired it?

Ted Nugent: It’s not about spurts of inspiration. It’s about constant inspiration. I’m inspired every day I grab a Gibson guitar and go into uncharted territory. I figured out my American freedom and individuality a long time ago. When I’m outdoors and removed from music and the clusterf#ck of politics it cleanses my soul. We all need to escape, but that’s not to say we need to abandon responsibility. I’m so engaged in this beloved experiment in self-government and I raise as much hell in this guitar playing, we the people as I possibly can. I fight for the Constitution, Bill of Rights and freedom, and to raise the battle cry of “America First”. That’s why my music is the most soul cleansing, nature-is-healer, rhythm and blues, rock and roll groove fest.

AXS: What’s your writing process like?

TN: I’ve never in my life sat down with a pen and paper and said, “Hmm. What shall I write a song about today?” [laughs]. F#ck that! I just pick up my guitar and start pounding and create more bastard children of honky tonk and boogie-woogie. My hands start moving and I sing lyrics that are my life. It’s almost out-of-body. I’ve never contemplated chord structures or lyrics. I just love to go on adventures on the guitar neck.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Ted Nugent by Clicking here!