Sunday, May 19, 2019

A Ripple Conversation With Doomstress Alexis And Brandon Johnson From Doomstress


When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.

What have been your musical epiphany moments?

Doomstress Alexis - I heard a lot of that from my folks as well growing up but then discovered Iron Maiden & Judas Priest from my older brother's record stash and that was that.

Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

Doomstress Alexis - Every song is different in its origins and I've written songs from a lyrical idea, a melody or a riff. It's all just how or what hits in the moment.

Who has influenced you the most?

Doomstress Alexis - musically, my older brother Tomasz (Sparrowmilk/Venomin James).

Brandon - Tony Iommi without a doubt. You know he's god, right?

Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

Brandon – I love going to live shows. Seeing a good band rock the fuck out can be very inspirational. But I have found recently that silence can be just as inspirational. It let me really focus on and organize the almost constant music I have lurking around in my noggin.

We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?

Brandon -  Houston, Texas is a huge, sprawling city built on the wealth of the oil industry in the swamp lands and bayous of the upper Texas gulf coast. With extreme heat and humidity, outside in the middle of summer can be very oppressive. With the oil and space industry, people from all over the world move and live here making it a  perfect melting pot of cultures. Houston has a ton of great music from all genres. We are the product of our environment, and all that I have mentioned comes out in our art in some way I'm sure but it's not a conscious thing.   

Where'd the band name come from?

Doomstress Alexis - I began going under the name Doomstress Alexis because I was becoming involved in so many activities from music to modeling to art, etc. Playing metal and having been involved in the kink community for years it was a simple mesh of terms I associated with. Once I was ready to start my solo project well it was the natural name to use.


You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?

Doomstress Alexis - "The Sword & the Sorcerer" was a great fantasy, action movie from 1982 but the score was atrocious and I always thought a heavy rock/metal soundtrack would be a vast improvement.

You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?).  You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?

Brandon - Candlemass' “Black Stone Wielder”, some of Leif Edlings best lyrics which is an alternate telling of the story about the 3 wise men.  An old tale freshened up with a very magical object, wizards and evil powers. Would 1000 words be enough? Sounds like a basis for a bad ass movie to me. 

Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?

Doomstress Alexis - Resuscitating a singer moments before stage time, getting lost back stage at a couple huge venues, flipping a trailer on the highway, "Hello Austin, oh we're in Dallas tonite?..."  its easy to lose track of what is craziness and what is just the “normal” crazy world of music and traveling. 

Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?

Brandon – I used to hate playing live but now I really enjoy it. I can actually have fun now and I hope that reflects back on the audience. They in turn send that energy back to me which creates a crazy energy feedback loop. Man, there is nothing like the feeling of a room full of people that are into the music you are playing. Best fucking drug in the world I'm telling you.  

Doomstress Alexis – I always enjoyed playing live but everything else Brandon said!

What makes a great song?

Brandon – To me a great song is one you remember the first time you hear it. It's all about that hook baby. 

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

Brandon – I honestly don't remember, but I can guarantee it wasn't good. 

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

Doomstress Alexis – Our song “Sleep Among the Dead”.

Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?

Doomstress Alexis – Castle, Royal Thunder, Disenchanter,

Brandon – Mos Generator, Tony Reed is just a incredibly talented person.

Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

Doomstress Alexis – Whatever is available at the moment really, though I prefer vinyl.

Brandon – If I had to choose just one, vinyl. The sound quality is just superior to everything else.

Whiskey or beer?  And defend your choice

Doomstress Alexis – Beer, because Brash Brewing, Division Brewing, St. Arnold's Brewing, Buffalo Bayou Brewing, 8th Wonder Brewing....

Brandon – Beer because beer is delicious. I've never really been a big whiskey drinker.

We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

Brandon – Houston, TX is the hometown, Sound Exchange or Vinal Edge is just what you are looking for.

Doomstress Alexis – Also Cactus Music, Deep End Records, Sigs Lagoon, Black Dog Records, Space City Audio up on the north side, oh and Black's Bodega has a small, mostly local selection worth checking out. Houston is a huge city so this covers the majority around the city.

What's next for the band?

Doomstress Alexis – Lots more touring with a few fests including Ohio Doomed & Stoned Fest on July 27th, and we've already been in the studio cutting new tracks during our winter down time but we've got plans to get back in again soon.

Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the Waveriders?

Brandon – It's been great talking to you. I hope everyone enjoys the new album and we'll see you out there soon.

Doomstress Alexis – Really amped to be working with Ripple Music on this record and really just thankful to everyone who has supported us on the road online and for being patient with us getting this record out! Truly humbled and honored by all of you! 

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