1. Who are you and what do you do?
Hey ho! I’m Melissa, aka Vile of the band Circadian Clock, I’m the vocalist and general person of contact with a face in the band. Nice to meet ya!
2. Why music?
Ah, well there really wasn’t much of any other choice for me. When I was a kid I would be running around my house singing made up songs that had chord progressions and resolutions, and I could play violin before I could tie my shoes (though to be fair, it took me till the third grade to figure out how to tie them.) The trouble with words is that when it really matters, they’re not enough. How do you communicate the depth of your love for your child, or the pain of losing the ones you love most with characters on a lifeless page? Music for me holds that element of expression that allows you to really feel that, to engage your emotions on a higher level. That’s what drives me to pursue music and to work on my band Circadian Clock, because that feeling is essentially what I live for. I’m also terrible at math.
3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to involved in music?
I’ve always enjoyed music, whether it was studying violin at Mannes Prep, or with my band. But the first clear moment I realized I wanted to really be a musician was when I saw Midori play live. It was at a large cafe in downtown Manhattan, and she was magnificent! Watching her bring so many ideas to life with her violin made me want to become a professional violinist. And while I do go to school for violin, as well as doing session strings for recording artists and teaching violin, I realized at 13 I wanted to be a rock singer when I heard Muse for the first time. As a classical musician who liked rock, I hadn’t heard anything like it and was completely mesmerized. I knew right then my new life path had been set.
4. What are your favorite subject(s) and style(s)?
I have a penchant when writing to approach the darker side of things. Exactly what is always up in the air, but in the concept album we’re currently recording, common themes include yearning, loss, desire, temptation, dreams, sin, addiction and drugs. A lot of these things are elements that make up your every day reality, and because they’re not high concepts, but relatable truths, it allows the listeners to empathize more easily, more honestly. I work in rock a lot for Circadian Clock, though there are elements of pop, punk, metal, and jazz in there as well.
5. How do you work and approach a new piece that you are working on?
Typically, little fragments of songs tend to float into my head at random times, and i’ll sing them into my phone as a quick reminder and then take it from there later when I can sit down with some instruments and make a full band demo of a track. I’m pretty precise about what I want my music to sound like, often times note for note, because I pay an annoyingly close attention to detail and counterpoint. I dissect everything, particularly in music, so often times my demos will be around 80% similar to the instrumentation of the final track. That kind of dissection is good for creation, but bad for the heart, and general peace of mind, I think, haha. Even when it comes to non musical things relating to the band, I like having a hand in the creative process, which I got the chance to do with our new music video, “Brightside”, produced by YW Productions. We had a lot of fun scouting out locations, organizing the event, and bouncing back and forth ideas and concepts until we had a finished product we’re all super psyched with, twerking zebras and all.
6. What are your favorite musicians(s), singers(s)?
My favorite singers/musicians are Freddy Mercury, Gerard Way, Esperanza Spalding, Casey Crescenzo, and Eric Nally. Freddy’s range allows for a great deal of expression, Gerard Way made me feel ok with being vulnerable, which really makes you powerful, Esperanza Spalding’s smoothness inspires a calmness and a sensuality that colors her work, Casey is a musical genius, and his raw grit and power are so charged it becomes electric, and Eric Nally’s voice, though I originally found to be peculiar, has so much strength behind it, it helped me to break out of my shell when I first started trying to evolve my singing style.
7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
I’ve had people tell me my music has made them cry, talk to their family members again, end/start a relationship, practice/write their own music, and even preventing them from committing suicide. To know that your music has an effect on people drives you even more to make it the best that it can be.
8. What do you like about your work?
I’m not afraid to be vulnerable in my work, which allows me to paint tones, colors, settings, feelings and ideas that I don’t think are accessible to a lot of people otherwise. It’s hard to open up, and doing that as a writer allows the listener to engage a deeper part of themselves and walk away with not just a tune, but an emotional experience. Musically it may be complicated, but only for the players, not the listeners. I try to manipulate the words and sounds to resonate with the audience, to communicate the emotions and meaning of the songs to them so they feel and understand the story with their ears and hearts in addition to their minds. I’m always working on it and trying to get better!
9. What advice would you give to other musicians?
If you’re not able to communicate your intentions in your music, reflect on why that is and how you can more effectively bring that out. Do your words feel like they might be insincere? Then they probably are. Re-write it. Always push yourself. Does your performance make you feel anything less than proud? Analyze what you’re doing that isn’t working for you and what it is you want, and then work to do that instead. It takes time, but it does wonders!
10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Hopefully, rocking out stadiums and touring! Nothing beats the feeling of putting on a good show, and I love being able to rock out with my friends with songs I am proud of, and a group I am honored to play with. It’s a privilege!
“Hello hello! My name’s Melissa, aka Vile of Circadian Clock. I’ve been playing violin for 18 years, singing for just as long, and studying just as hard! I’ve studied at Mannes College of Music, Laguardia High School, Manhattan School of Music, and Hunter College. I’ve gotten to play with artists like Foxy Brown, Micheal Barimo, Pasha, and I manage a recording studio in Manhattan called “Nightlife Productions”. I keep myself busy with the storms in my head and the songs in my heart. Currently working on Circadian Clock’s upcoming concept album with Multi-Platinum Producer Sean Gill of The Passengerz, due out summer of 2015. Stick around! We’ll keep you entertained!”