Who are some personal musical influences?
CJ: Paramore is the band that gave me the courage to perform live and really try to do this. I remember seeing Misery Business on MTV in 2007 and just being so stoked that there was a girl in a band who kicked that much ass. But honestly, that’s the biggest thing about Paramore for me – that Hayley Williams was the first girl I’d seen doing exactly what I wanted to do. I don’t draw a lot of influence from their music. I really love bands like The Chariot, Blood Brothers, Twenty One Pilots, and Marmozets. For me, passion is the most important thing about music. If you aren’t being genuine, if you aren’t saying something that matters to you when you’re performing, it feels hollow. That’s what I really try to bring to my performances – unbridled passion for what we’re doing.
I remember being at a show at the Egan the first time I saw you guys play live. I think it was for Zombiefest. You told the crowd, something to the effects of, “this is what I want to do for my whole fucking life”. Would you say you are living out a dream or at least chasing the dream?
CJ: I came to the realization a few weeks ago on the way to Boise, Idaho on tour that “chasing a dream” and “living a dream” are the same thing. I was always kind of afraid that no matter how successful I was with music, I would never be satisfied. But every time we load up the van and get on the highway I’m just overcome with joy and excitement about what we’re doing. I don’t care that most nights we’re playing to less than 50 people. I don’t care that we might not get paid or we might not sell a ton of merch. This is what I’ve wanted to do my entire life. As long as I can make just one authentic connection with someone at a show, it’s worth it.
How is it moving states to be deeper in the music scene? Necessary?
CJ: For us, it was absolutely necessary. Alaska is a lot less isolated now than it was before the internet age, but touring and performing live are still huge parts of a band’s success. You can have the most kick ass social media following, but those numbers mean almost nothing if you’re not touring. In my opinion, you have to make a face-to-face connection to be memorable.
We just couldn’t afford to drive through the Al-Can several times a year to tour.
What do you miss most about being a band in Anchorage?
CJ: I miss how intense the shows were. People were always singing along, dancing, moshing, whatever. It always felt rowdy. Here, it takes a little bit more to break people out of their shell.
I vaguely remember a video of you getting to go onstage with Hayley Williams from paramore and sing a song with her. Tell me about that and how it felt.
CJ: Man, this was years ago! It was incredible though. I obviously look up to that band a ton. When that whole thing happened, I had really just started seriously playing shows in the last year or so. I wasn’t super confident as a performer; I didn’t feel like I had a right to play music. There was definitely some validation there; to get up in front of 3,000 people and thrash around like a maniac and sing with your favorite band, it absolutely changed my life. I would watch the videos of that night on youtube for years after and just cry about how intense and emotional it was.
You just came up to Alaska to teach at a Girls Rock camp? Can you tell me about it and how you got hooked up with them?
CJ: I did! I was so busy hanging out with rockstars-in-training!!! I knew Monica (the founder & camp coordinator of GRCA) through the music scene up there, and had expressed interest in getting involved last year. I wasn’t able to afford a plane ticket though the first year, so I made sure to come up this time! Girls Rock Camp Alaska was just absolutely inspiring. So many of these girls had never played their instruments before, but they just picked them up and fearlessly wrote a song…and then performed it in front of hundreds of people at Taproot this past Saturday. As a girl, you’re subliminally taught from a young age to be quiet and calm and docile. None of those things are generally associated with rock music. For a woman to get involved with rock, they have to overcome these learned traits. This camp was all about being entirely yourself, whether that meant being obnoxiously loud, or quiet and chill. I foresee a ton of young, talented, badass women overrunning the Alaskan music scene in the next 5 years, and I couldn’t be more stoked about it.
How has it been in Oregon? How’s the “local scene” down there compared to Alaska?
The local scene here is really cool. It’s a bit more “clique-ey” than Anchorage, but we tend to play with bands of all genres and avoid grouping ourselves with one type of band. There’s also way more opportunities to open for touring bands. We’ve opened for Marmozets, Like Moths to Flames, Palisades, Emery, PVRIS, Fall City Fall, It Lives It Breathes…. the list goes on. It’s been really cool to see how being in a major market affects the local music scene.
Who are some bands that we should check out from around the area down there?
CJ: We’ve met some awesome people down here, so it’s shout out time. Check out She Preaches Mayhem, Vigil Wolves, Subtle City, Grizzly, & We The Wild. There’s too many awesome bands that have helped us out to name, but those guys have really been there for us.
If you could create a music festival what top 3 bands would you pick to headline (current/past/alive/dead) doesn’t matter. Top 3 bands to headline would be…
CJ: Marmozets, Twenty One Pilots, and DIVIDES. Just kidding. My third would be Paramore.