Eyes Set To Kill's Alexia Rodriguez on Songwriting, Totalling Tour Vans, and Being One of the Hottest Ladies in Metal
Phoenix fans of the Tempe-based outfit Eyes Set To Kill have another reason to love the balmy Valley winters -- they keep the beloved band (fronted by sexy rockers Alexia and Anissa Rodriguez, both listed on Revolver's Hottest Chicks in Metal roster) in town and off the tour bus due to cold weather on the east coast, near-death experiences on icy roads, and four totaled vans.
The band chooses to rock out on stages throughout the Valley during the holiday season instead, and this year is particularly special.
The band's newest album, White Lotus, released in August, represents the band's rebirth much like the metamorphosis of the said white flower. The young members have spent years concealing their true identity (in part because it was suppressed by labels, in part because they were still discovering their sound and concept), but now collectively feel like they are representing who they truly are as musicians.
Since 2003, Eyes Set To Kill have carved out a melodically metal niche in the local scene, with an emphasis on chugging guitars, tortured screams and Alexia's soaring vocals, ranging from delicate to aggressive. With more than one million views on their YouTube page, they are one of the local scene's major players and have a loyal underground fan base that sports tattoos of song lyrics -- even some of Alexia and Anissa's faces -- and follow them to shows around the country.
Singer/guitarist/pianist Alexia Rodriguez sat down with Up On The Sun to talk about the difference between older and younger rock fans, totaling three tour buses, male groupies and the concept behind White Lotus.
Eyes Set To Kill is scheduled to perform Friday, December 30, at the Clubhouse in Tempe.
Up On The Sun: You guys have said White Lotus represents a rebirth, and that Eyes Set to Kill has finally revealed their true identity on this fourth album, what changes lead to that?
Alexia Rodriguez: I think the major change was not having our old guitarist [Greg Kerwin] in the band anymore. He caused all the drama and I was dating him and it became a distraction, and I think I lost a lot of focus because of that. After he quit I felt I could see everything a lot better and see what direction I wanted to go more clearly. When there's drama with one person in the band, it affects everyone in the band. When that factor was gone we all got along better as songwriters and as friends. You know, it's like when you have a close knit circle of friends, and two people in the circle start dating, and it throws off the whole balance.
You called [previous album] Broken Frames a concept album of all the memories you wanted to forget. Was there a concept behind White Lotus?
Not really lyric-wise, but something that was different about the lyrics I suppose was that it was a less negative album. I'm kind of a darker, negative person at times as an artist and I wanted to show the lighter side of myself. On this album is probably the first positive song I've ever written about love, "Where I Want To Be." [Laughs]. I think that song gives an example of how we've [widened our scope], our variety of what we sing about. Usually it's about relationships gone to shit; broken relationships and things that don't end up the way I want them to be. But on this album I broke through that. [It's] more about being hopeful and forgiving the people who don't believe in me and forgetting the people who have ruined me in the past. I'm focusing more on positive things
Do you have a favorite track that you think will be most powerful to fans, or does it vary day to day based on your mood?
I think for all of us, my favorite song is "Forget" because it's a lot different from most of our songs. My vocals also changed a lot for that song. I think that's a good track for people to see a different side of us, if you compare White Lotus to Broken Frames. It's a huge example of how we are trying to mold our sound still.
Yeah, that's a great song.
On Broken Frames, you also had a very emotional song called "Ryan" about your vocal coach that passed away. Did that experience make you want to continue to take lessons to become a better musician (I mean, obviously the raw emotion it caused you created some amazing music), but as far as lessons go, did you ever get back into them?
No. It was actually guitar lessons. But I did try to take lessons after that with a different teacher but it was just weird...every teacher has different methods. So...I felt like what I started with Ryan was unfinished and I felt like it was wrong to finish it with someone else. I don't think I'll take guitar lessons again. But, I would be open to vocal lessons.