Stoked on Melissa Brooks: An Interview

   The cyber world and real world are anxiously anticipating the arrival of Melissa Brooks' new album. After releasing Stoked on You on Bandcamp under The Aquadolls (its arrival on iTunes is December 2nd), Brooks decided it was time to take a new direction in her career by releasing an album under her name — and her name only. And, boy oh boy, does it feel so right.
   This is just one of many examples that show how much of a boss Melissa Brooks really is. With a cult-following on her social media, a contract with powerhouse Burger Records, a wardrobe to make mermaids cry salty tears, and talent to make anyone feel some kind of way, she's got it all going on.
   While we know that new music from her is scheduled to drop sometime in 2015, most fans almost know nothing of what the album will consist. WRITTEN CITIZEN was lucky enough to interview the busy-bee songstress and nab the answers to a few unanswered questions.

WRITTEN CITIZEN: Hey Mel! What’s been up with you?

MELISSA BROOKS: I’ve been good! Busy, but good.

WC: We are so stoked for a much anticipated solo album. How excited are you?

MB: Aw, thank you! I’m really excited to finally release music under my name. It’s like, hello world, here I am! It’s been almost a year since I self-released Stoked On You, and that was recorded so long ago. My mind was in a very different place then, so this next album is more of how I am now. I’m very excited to share it soon!

WC: What’s been your favorite part of the experience so far?

MB: The whole process has been very eye-opening for me. I feel like I've opened a lot of doors to new things. The greatest feeling I had was when I was tracking my vocals at this really cool studio in Studio City. Michael Jackson recorded his last album in the same room that I was recording in, and the vibe there was unreal. I totally felt his presence when I was singing, and the magic and energy was undeniable!

WC: Can you give us a little taste on what your album is like? How would you describe it?

MB: This album is a reflection of who I am, almost like looking in a mirror or reading my journal diaries out-loud. It’s more reflective on how I view the world and how the world views me. Stoked On You was my silly side of my personality. A lot of the songs were made up stories, but my next creation is more true to myself and my feelings. It’s very raw and emotional, delivered with punk attitudes and bittersweet emotions. The sound is more upbeat, yet some of the songs are darker lyrically. It’s showing a side of me that I haven't shown anyone yet.

WC: How did you develop the name 'The Aquadolls'?

MB: My old friend actually made the name up, and I just stuck with it. My original plan was to make an all-girl punk band, but it never happened. When I started making music under The Aquadolls, I really wanted to make it seem like it was a full-functioning band that everyone contributed to — hence dolls, not doll — but it was never really that way at all, which is why it makes more sense to me to go under my own name for my next album.

WC: Can you give us the name of your favorite track on the album and tell us a little what it’s like?

MB: Oh jeez! They are all my favorite, but I’ll tell you about a new one called Dead Wrong. It’s an epic breakup anthem, but not in a sappy, sad way. It’s more of a I’m-not-going-to-deal-with-stupid-shit-ever-again type of anthem, and I say anthem because it has an epic chorus. It’s also based on a relationship I had in high school that obviously didn't go too well (laughs). I played it live for the first time at our last show and it was so fun to perform; I got really into it! When I hit the high notes, it's like a powerful scream. It feels really good to me and I think a lot of people can relate.

WC: Would you mind telling the readers what the album name it is? When does it get dropped?

MB: I honestly don’t even know what it’s going to be called yet! I have an idea, but I’ll probably think of something more relevant to the overall theme when I get closer to finishing the record. I’m still writing and recording songs for it, but it will be out next year!

WC: What are you planning on doing to celebrate your album release?

MB: My ultimate goal is to tour the world, starting with America, then Europe, then everywhere else. I know I've got fans all over the place, and I want to go to everywhere they are! My fans are my life.

WC: How did you get into singing? When did you know you wanted to pursue it as your career?

MB: My mom tells me that when I was a little baby, I would sing to people everywhere. Grocery stores, the mall, you name it, I was singing to them. I wanted to learn more about singing, so I started taking opera lessons at age seven, but I knew I didn’t want to be an opera singer. I wrote my first song in second grade about a princess in distress, and after that, I continued to write music all the way through high school, but never showed anyone or recorded anything. I knew I wanted to be a singer somehow, like Hayley Williams of Paramore. She inspired me as a thirteen year-old to want to front a band or something, so in high school, I was a part of a few bands, but no one really took it as seriously as I did. It was at that point I realized I needed to do my own thing, so I started recording my own songs with the help of Ryan Frailich and released my demos under The Aquadolls. When I graduated high school, I made a goal to drop out of school and get signed to a major label as an artist, which is still my goal! (Laughs.)

WC: As a singer, what’s been your favorite moment 'in the industry' so far?

MB: I really enjoy the songwriting process; it's therapeutic for me. I get to be whoever I want to be and say whatever I want to in my songs, and it's freeing and empowering. Not sure if that counts for 'the industry', but it's my favorite thing to do.

WC: As a gifted musician, you must be able to pick out who the other gifted musicians are. Who are you currently listening to?

: I've been in love with Hole and Courtney Love lately. I've also been jamming to Live Through This and obsessing over watching old interviews and live footage from her in the 90's. She's the ultimate bad bitch, and I love it.

WC: How would you describe your style?

MB: Crazy, sexy, cool. Just kidding — I have no idea.

WC: Anything else you would like to share with the Citizens?

MB: I love you all!

WC: What do you think is next for you, Melissa?

MB: World domination, baby!


Image credits go to Tumblr
Find Mel on Instagram @beachgothmel
Listen to Stoked on You here

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