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The Sound

A telltale heart

12/2/2015

For the uninitiated, Stitched Up Heart looks like a typical “assembled” band. They come from L.A., the band has a genuine gimmick in its sound (a glossy mix of metal and late-era pop punk), and the inclusion of a smoking-hot chick up front almost feels obligatory. You should always give everything a second look.

Stitched Up Heart plays Vaudeville Mews on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. Admission is $12. Failure Anthem and The Dirty Kids also perform.

The chick up front, a California transplant named Alecia “Mixi” Demner, is much more than eye candy for the Good Charlotte set. Demner had been interested in music from a very young age, but it was when she was living in the Orlando, Florida, area that she really got serious about it.

“I used to host open mic nights,” she said in a phone interview. “And in Orlando, not that many people are going to come see a girl play acoustically. I knew the industry was out in L.A., so I decided to pack up and move across the country when I was old enough.”

True to her word, as soon as she was able, Demner found herself out in Los Angeles. The location change kicked up her creativity and introduced her to the musicians who would eventually become a part of Stitched Up Heart.

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“I started the band in 2010,” she said. “Basically, I had been writing a ton of music. The music scene in L.A. is a pretty tight knit group of people, so we all kind of met through the Hollywood scene. We all have a great chemistry and mesh well. I really wanted to mix a lot of elements together that no one else has done, to think outside the box and create a new style — our own little style.”

In that regard, Stitched Up Heart has been relatively successful. With a look that plays heavily on gothic and horror elements, the band has cultivated a sound that matches. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the look came first, however, because Stitched Up Heart — Denmer handles most of the songwriting — is definitely a substance-first act.

“If you listen to the lyrics from anything I have ever done, a lot of it is pretty morbid,” Denmer admits. “There are some songs that might be poppier in some cases, but the lyrics are about suicide or dark places in your head. The lyrics have never been a happy, positive or chipper kind of thing.”

“There are positive messages in the songs about not killing yourself,” she continued with a laugh. “There are a lot of kids out there who deal with these things on a daily basis, and our songs let them know they are not alone and they have us.”

Bands like Stitched Up Heart will always come and go. The ones that have staying power do so because they have more to them than stage makeup and interesting hair. In a world where music choices are wider than ever, and fans can afford to be more and more selective, bands need to supply an experience that connects with listeners. Stitched Up Heart knows its audience and plays to it well. You can like what the band does, or take a pass. Just do not write the front woman off as decoration.

“It is all about hard work and tenacity,” she said of making a place for herself on stage. “Never give up. There are going to be a lot of people who are going to try and bring you down and try to not let you succeed, but you just have to rise above and be strong.” CV

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