Interview: Doomstress Alexis
By Rob McCarthy
Photo by Qu Griffin (Griffin Wing Studio)
Doomstress Alexis is always busy. Whether she is working hard on finishing a new album or performing as the vocalist and bassist with her doom metal band, Project Armageddon, booking and hosting shows, running Houston’s Doom Brigade, fashion designing and modeling, or just working her day job, Alexis is always hustling and making moves. Never content to keep the status quo, she’s been shaking things up in the metal community both locally and abroad, and her story is as unique as it is inspiring. She is so inspiring, in fact, that our mayor declared July 5, 2013 as Doomstress Alexis Day. FPH had an opportunity to talk with Alexis about the future of Project Armageddon, Doom Brigade, and her other endeavors.
What was your first experience with metal?
I had an older brother who was into metal and rock. I was like five or six and I just remember flipping through the album sleeves and being so enthralled with the art and titles and the imagery. Going to first grade singing Judas Priest and all that. Still so vivid in my head.
The Houston Press Music Awards recently nominated you for best female vocalist. How does that feel?
Getting nominated for best metal band was a great feeling in itself but being nominated for best female vocals just goes beyond words, personally. This is a historical precedent that exceeds myself. It also helps in one of my biggest goals which is to be able to reach out to the transgender community and serve as an example to my sisters and brothers, and to help inspire those that may doubt themselves or their potential.
Has it been difficult for you being a woman in what many consider to be a “boy’s club” genre?
Actually, even being an openly TG woman in the scene, nearly everyone I’ve interacted with, from bands to promoters to club owners, has been very respectful and great to work with. It’s been like a big metal family that I’ve been fortunate to be a part of. Sure there’s always a few who will be negative but by and large it’s been a great experience and environment.
Why did you pick the bass guitar?
Everyone always played guitar, including myself, but there was never a bass player around when friends would get together. I had a bass and so I would always switch to that for jamming. I always had a love for the bass and one day I started jamming with some new friends, and it just felt so right that it finally just stuck.
Most inspiring female musicians in metal? Musicians or artists in general that inspire you?
Marissa Martinez of Cretin (CA) was a major inspiration for me back when I thought I would have to give up playing metal when I transitioned, until I read her story in Decibel Magazine. I love Mlny Parsonz from Royal Thunder. We played with them about three years ago and I got to hang and chat with her last October when they played at Rudyard’s. Tomasz Scull of Venomin James/Wide Gauge (OH) has been a major musical influence throughout my life. Over the past few years, I have met so many amazing artists, photographers, body painters, models, etc. Anybody that finds the heart to express themselves in whatever medium they can, I find inspirational.
How did you connect with your bandmates?
I auditioned and joined their old band. We toured with Reverend Bizarre from Finland and The Gates of Slumber through the Northeast for a few weeks. We got back home and recorded a record at my house. The three of us kept working and jamming and eventually I started writing stuff that didn’t fit the other band so we formed Project Armageddon as a side project and quite quickly realized it was the only project.
Your music has been growing and evolving since your first record. From what I understand, Project Armageddon is well on its way to finishing up the next album. What can you tell us about your writing and recording process?
Writing takes many shapes, from free jams on riffs to someone bringing in pieces of a song and then hashing it out as a whole. Everyone contributes to the writing. Even our drummer Raymond will pick up the bass or guitar to play a riff or he’ll suggest an alternate way of playing something or switching certain notes in a riff. Likewise, I’ll climb behind the drums and beat out a few ideas to show the direction I may be hearing something going in and then he’ll develop it from there. Brandon is just the man. He’ll start ripping something out and Raymond and I will just stare sometimes like where the fuck did that come from?! I do write ninety-nine percent of the lyrics but I encourage the guys to contribute even if it’s just ideas or themes and I give them credits for that.
What is next for you and the band?
We are planning a video shoot for mid/late July for “Into the Sun.” Several shows coming up including my second international booking for August 3rd at Fitzgerald’s with Project Armageddon, Doomdogs (UK), War Injun (MD) and Leather Nun America (CA). Also, we’re returning to Dungeon Manor Studios to finish demos for the third record. Then we are gearing up for our fall touring schedule, which will hopefully have some out-of-state shows, as well as some Texas towns we haven’t made it to yet.