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      Articles Home » Music Talk » KALEIDO - Interview with Christina Chriss By Nina McCarthy
      KALEIDO - Interview with Christina Chriss By Nina McCarthy

      “IT'S OK TO NOT BE OK, SOMETIMES”

      Interview with Christina Chriss of Kaleido

      By Nina McCarthy, Sr. Music Journalist

      Boston Rock Radio

       

      Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, Kaleido was named Outstanding Alt/Indie/Punk Artist at the 2019 Detroit Music Awards and has been gaining similar recognition and fans since the early 2000’s. These rockers consist of Christinia Chriss on vocals, Joey Fava on drums, Cody Morales on bass, and Drew Johnston on guitar. Thank you to Christina for taking the time to sit down with Boston Rock Radio and have a sobering and honest conversation about their music and how it relates to mental health.


         (Christina & Nina)

       

      You’ve been an independent band band for like 7 years now, right?  What do you think are the advantages?

      CC: Yes. I do whatever I want, whenever I want. I don't have to ask anyone's permission and I just feel free creatively. Not that I'm not open to working with others, I do enjoy that, but I'm just working hard and looking forward to the future, getting bigger and bigger and better and better.

       

      Like you said, if someone else does become involved, you still want that creative freedom.

      CC: I'm not unwilling to consider other things, but there are certain things creatively that I'm happy that I have control over.

       

      The EP NO RLY...IM FINE was released in July of 2019. The title is an attention grabber. Let’s talk about the themes of some of the songs. Mental health issues are being brought to the forefront, especially with so many suicides, especially of high profile people. According to an article I read recently in Time magazine, “the suicide rate is at its highest since WWII."  They don't really know why. They said maybe the opioid crisis has something to do with it, but they really don't know.

       

      CC: I wonder if social media has something to do with it?

       

      Yes, they said social media too, because people can bully you easier nowadays. Tell me about writing the song “Pretending” and what it means to you.

      CC: It just came out of me at a very strange time. I was having a Christmas party with my friends at my house and in a time when everything should be happy and festive, I was kind of dying on the inside. I was hiding how I felt for a long time.  I sat down and it was later in the night and Joey had an acoustic guitar and we just kind of started jamming and I just sang out, “I’m tired of pretending I'm okay.” It was cathartic and my friends were around me and as soon as everyone heard me sing that vocal melody and those words, everyone's like, “Whoa” so they gassed me up on it. I was just kind of letting it out there. Then obviously, later when we actually went into the studio to work on it, the rest of it really came together. But that song means a lot to me because it is a subject that I think a lot of people struggle with, hiding how they really feel and having to put on a face to appease others, to make somebody else feel more comfortable.  I had to let it out and I had to say how I felt and I think it's something that will touch a lot of people.

       

      Definitely. We talked a little on the phone about “Blood” and after I talked to you, I went back and watched the lyric video and really thought about it and how it related to being controlled or being in an abusive relationship. Can you tell me a little bit more about that song?

      CC: The whole EP focuses on mental health and in each song kind of takes it in a little bit of a different direction. But I think that with abusive, manipulative relationships, a lot of times drugs and addiction and depression get the finger pointed as the cause of the mental unwellness. There's also another side of it, which is like an outside person that causes chaos and turmoil for someone mentally. “Blood” touches on that manipulative narcissistic type of relationship where somebody is kind of keeping you down and trying to make you feel like you're worthless.  That song is a breaking point for me. It's like, “You don't own me. You don't get to tell me what to do.”  I'll leave it to the imagination, but it's saying “there's blood on my hands.” When things get built up, your emotions build up and you are keeping them in for too long, explosions can happen.

       

      I was in two relationships like that. I was married to an alcoholic for five and a half years and I went through that whole cycle of emotional abuse so I can totally relate to that song. I was at that point where I didn’t like who I was becoming and knew something had to give.

      CC: Yeah, I was raised in a family that had a lot of struggles with substance abuse and alcohol. I think that a person that comes from an environment like that learns from it and you may have to make the same mistakes yourself because there's this tendency to gravitate towards those things.

       

      It’s almost like that's "the normal" that you learn.

      CC: Yeah. You know, and then I think that, you get to a point where either you say, “I'm gonna do this like this, what I'm used to, or I'm not doing this because I know what it's like and I'm not doing this,” but I know there's no perfect situation. Everybody has to figure it out in their own way and there's a lot of back and forth with it.

       

      My son, he's now 23, but he saw his father and what happened and he didn't want to drink at all. He may have a little here and there, but he grew up kind of afraid of alcohol almost. In a way that's good for him. I'm proud that he didn't follow in that path of alcohol abuse. But onto a little more upbeat topic...I read that you average more than 100 shows a year and they're energetic lively shows. So how has this extensive touring been beneficial for you as far as gaining fans or getting the name out there?

      CC: Yeah, it's fun. I love traveling and I love meeting new people every day in different cities in different venues. So it has been beneficial for us to get in front of people that never heard of us before. It's kind of like stomping the pavement and trekking all over the place, bringing the music to different areas. So I really love touring. We've taken a break from it for a little while and have been focusing on writing, so it's really, really fun to be out right now.

       

      I like traveling and meeting people too. It's funny because I used to be really shy and people don't believe that. But, going back to what I said, when I went through my divorce I got the attitude that 'life’s about me now.' I came out stronger for it, and here I am today. Instead of curling up into a balI, although I've had my moments with depression, I didn't let it control me any longer. There are so many reasons I relate to your lyrics!

      CC: Good for you. I’m glad to hear that. What I like about the lyrics of “Pretending” are how they say, “It's okay to not be okay, sometimes.” You can't stay not okay forever. But you know what, we're all entitled to have our bad days and you just have to find the light at the end of the tunnel and come out of it. I think that's like the ebb and flow of life and part of being human. It's like not everything is going to be great so that you can know when something is really great because you've made it through the not so great. So it's okay to not be okay, sometimes. We don't stay stuck at not okay. Always keep working to be okay.

       

      Exactly. That's why I get out and go to shows and meet bands. It makes life more exciting when you have things to look forward to.

      CC: Totally.

       

      Tell me about the Kaleido Club through Patreon.

      CC: This is a newer endeavor of mine. We've been doing it for several months now. It’s kind of for the super Kaleido fans that want to have access to exclusive content. They're also like my little 'Earth Angels' because they're supporting us and helping to make all this possible and I'm just so grateful for that. But it's just a cool little club with a secret Facebook group that you get access to joining through Patreon and you can get really exclusive cool things like handwritten lyrics, signed photos, and stuff that you can't get on our website, or anywhere. It's just exclusively for the Patreon Kaleido Club.

       

      That's great. So what would you like to say to your fans in conclusion?

      CC: I would like to say, check out the EP.  If you're feeling any type of way,  down or whatever, please try to reach out for help if you feel that you need it and don't give up. Also, keep on chasing your dreams and passions, because I feel like that's kind of what life is all about. You are cheating the world if you don't do what you're gifted with as far as your talents and stuff. Chase and pursue them.

       

      Great advice! I have learned that you need to live life to the fullest and enjoy it because it goes by way too fast.

      CC: I agree with you 100%. Soak every second in and smile more!

       

      Photos courtesy of Steve Sergent Photography

       

      Check out Kaleido:

      Official Website

      iTunes

      Spotify

      Facebook

      Twitter

      Instagram

      YouTube

       

      "Life resembles a kaleidoscope. Ever changing, intricate and beautiful." --Sharon Salzberg

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