One Eyed Doll On Being A DIY Artist

Photo Credit: Sergio Mazzotta

Photo Credit: Sergio Mazzotta

For the duo known as One Eyed Doll, they learned how to build up their band from the ground up on their own. Since starting the band in 2006, they have released 11 records total, including five of their first six full length recordings were released on their own (their latest Witches was released on Standby Records) under One Eyed Doll.

Vocalist and guitarist Kimberly Freeman and drummer Jason Sewell do all of the band business themselves. They shared some of the ins and outs of what they are working on, aside from constantly creating music and not necessarily intended for a record.

Kimberly Freeman of One Eyed Doll. Photo Credit: Crystal Dean (via Faccbook)

Kimberly Freeman of One Eyed Doll. Photo Credit: Crystal Dean (via Faccbook)

Touring is one of their lifelines of keeping One Eyed Doll going, and have shared stages with Orgy, OTEP, Wayne Static and Mushroomhead.

Thanks to all of these bands for bringing us out and helping us build what we have now. We will always be grateful for all of that,” says Freeman.

We go and we know there’s always a lot of One Eyed Doll shirts in the audience. People always line up at the merch table for autographs. You never really know if they’re really going to come just for us,” said Sewell.

Do they really like us or are they coming for the other bands?,” wonders Freeman, with a smile.

It’s really nice to know we can go out and headline and pack the house,” added Sewell.

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Of the tours they ventured onto, Freeman talked about a recent tour with Orgy they took part on. “We shared a lot of fans. I really liked the Orgy tour. There were a lot of girls and a lot of…I don’t know. I really liked that scene. I really liked their fans. The whole band was sweet to us.

He has been so encouraging to us and he’s just an amazing person and an amazing performer.

One of Freeman’s favorite pastimes is drawing, which ironically is also tied into the band’s business. Whether it involves designing merch or otherwise, she enjoys what she does and sees it as a part of them.

I wouldn’t call it art work. I doodle. Everything is involved with the band. It’s merch. I make and design our merch so that has to do with music. If you’re asking totally removed from the band what are my hobbies then I couldn’t tell you really. I don’t collect wine or anything. I write songs. I love writing songs. I just play guitar, piano or banjo.

It takes up 120 percent of our time. One Eyed Doll is a business. We pretty much handle all of the nuts and bolts of the business. We have a really cool team of people. We have a booking agent who helps us book shows. We have various members of the team, but for the most part we handle the day to day, ins and outs of making the merch. We collaborate with different artists and then Kimberly will design the merch based on their artwork. Kimberly also handles the web design stuff. I do all of the recording. We both handle a lot of promotions. We’re always working to keep ourselves funded so that we can continue making music and touring full time,” added Sewell.

one eyed doll live

Through the band, they have ended up working with a number of producers and musicians who had been influential in shaping their band and their career. One person is producer Sylvia Massey, who they worked with on some recordings that had yet to be released. But ironically, she is making a book and they shared the news about being part of it.

Sylvia Massey is making a book. We are going to be in that book. We just found out. Sylvia Massey, legendary producer who made the first couple of Tool albums, System of a Down, and worked with Johnny Cash, Prince, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and One Eyed Doll of course. She’s making a book on recording outside of the box – being creative with the recording process. She’s been talking to us about it. It’s really cool!,” said Sewell.

Sylvia Massey

Sylvia Massey

She’s one of the most creative producers of our time, if not the. She’s just gets it done. She knows what she wants to hear and she makes it happen. It can come out of some really weird places. We so enjoyed working with her. If you get a chance to work with Sylvia Massey, do it,” added Freeman.

Another person they befriended is Martin Atkins, the one time drummer for Public Image Limited, Killing Joke, Pigface and Ministry, and the one time founder of Invisible Records. Now he teaches music business via SAE School and included One Eyed Doll as part of his lectures and his book Welcome To The Music Business – You’re Fucked.

Martin Atkins

Martin Atkins

Sewell plays down how well the band is truly doing despite how the lecture makes them look. “I don’t know about making money but we can eat! We don’t have a day job.

We do this full time. He is such an awesome, encouraging supporter. He is one of the coolest people I’ve ever met – so much respect. He’s such a great drummer,” said Freeman.

Sewell shared Atkins’ contribution to one of their songs. “He did a drum solo on one of our songs on Into Outer Space called ‘Live Or Die.’

It’s a great song. He just helped tell the story with his amazing crazy beat that he did. The whole bridge is this drum solo and Jason’s playing this weird bass over it. He is awesome. We love him,” added Freeman.

Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

Lastly, both of them gave a lengthy set of advice for any musicians who are indie artists and how to work their way up the musical ladder of life. Freeman shared her thoughts on the matter.

Don’t sign a contract you don’t like. Make it your terms and don’t worry about that. Get out there and play shows. Play shows and get one fan at a time on your email list. Get out there and play, tour outside of your home town, [and] build your following. The other stuff and all of that record label bs, it’s probably not going to help you out that much. Just keep playing shows, do your thing and run it like a business, take it seriously and make sure everybody is putting all of their energy into that.

[With] record contracts, when it comes time for that stuff, you just take it one at a time and check them out. Don’t just sign that first thing that comes by you. You say no if it’s not what you want. Half of the time they’re not going to live up to those contracts anyways, just so you know. Don’t rely on that. That’s not the goal. Your goal is to build your following to be strong and to have your back whether you’re independent or you sign, you have something to bring. That will support you. No record contract is going to support you. Your fans will support you. So that’s what you need to build.

The philosophy I think you can live by as a musician is when you need the help, it will be there for you. If you’re still able to handle stuff on your own, then do it. If you get to the point like, at this point we needed some help on some things…so if you need the help since you don’t have enough time in the day to handle all of the business that you’re getting – to handle all of the fans that want merch, handle all of the shows that want you to perform at…,” said Sewell.

There might be a point where you need to work with an agency or a distribution deal or a manager or a record label,” said Freeman.

You don’t want to jump into it,” said Sewell.

One area they mentioned was the use of a publicist and when a good time to employ one will come in handy. Once again, Freeman shared her thoughts.

A publicist is a big one that we grabbed onto that early on before we were on with anybody. We need publicity because we can’t schedule everything that’s coming in and we’ve got the blogosphere but we don’t know how to talk to bigger magazines and they don’t want to speak to us. We were at a point where we needed to hire a publicist.”

Just to give you a ball park thing that worked for us. We had gotten to the point where we’ve toured enough and we’re selling enough merch off of our website. We were getting our iTunes stuff was getting to about $1000 a month. That’s how much we could afford to pay for a publicist at that point. A publicist might cost as much as $3000 a month. That’s all we could afford at the time was around $900 and we asked someone if they would give us a deal and they said yes. That was one of the best things this band has ever done, even though it was hard times for us to be able to have to take all of the money we were generating at the time and shuffle it around.

We had to eat rice and then pay our publicist. That’s what we did, but that brought us to the next level. The publicist can really help you out if you find the right one,” said Sewell.

They got the attention of all of these other business types who wanted to work with us after that because they were able to see what we were doing. Before it was like they would have never been able to see it at all,” said Freeman.

I would recommend before a label or a booking agent or any of that, it might be a good idea to invest in a publicist. Give it a month or two and if it’s not working out, then try someone else. That’s the cool thing about a publicist – you’re not in it for a long contract. You can hire them just for one month and see what they could do. Most of them will let you do that, especially if it’s around an album release – you’re putting an album out, there’s a story….you want to have something to talk about – a tour, an album…or else there’s no reason to hire a publicist. But if you have something cool coming up, save your pennies, put it into a publicist and see if you could make some national news happen,” concluded Sewell.

By Rei Nishimoto

Got Witches: One Eyed Doll

one eyed doll

There are very few artists who live and breathe music like One Eyed Doll. The one time Austin, Texas residents (now they live out of their touring vehicle) have roughed it on the road and cataloged over ten full length releases (on their own Nebulost Records) since their beginning in 2006.

The duo of vocalist/guitarist Kimberly Freeman and drummer Jason Rufuss “Junior” Sewell have been touring behind their latest release Witches (out now via Standby Records) and most recently ventured on their first full headlining tour across the United States.

Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

Freeman admits that Witches came together by accident and was not originally planned. She explained how she was reading about the story behind the album and sparked her interest into creating an album about what she read about.

I just happened to read the story of a lady named Mary Esty, who was executed for witchcraft in 1692. It was pretty much new information to me besides from the fiction that I’ve seen. It was such a sad story. It was so interesting to me that I had to write a tribute for her. Her story needed a song and it was a dedication to her. It’s called ‘A Rope For Mary’ and I kept reading more and more about it, and the whole event surrounding her execution. I was inspired to keep writing more and more songs.

We weren’t out to write an album at this time. I just really had to write about this stuff when I read it. It was total inspiration from having read about the Salem Witch hysteria. It was interesting to me so I wrote about it. Then BLAMMO!…next thing we know, we have this whole concept album. The next album in line is going to have to wait because we’re going to put this thing out! We’re a little ahead of ourselves now.

Kimberly Freeman of One Eyed Doll. Photo Credit: Crystal Dean (via Faccbook)

Kimberly Freeman of One Eyed Doll. Photo Credit: Crystal Dean (via Faccbook)

The band self produced this album within a short period of time in a rehearsal studio they rented. Pushing aside another planned album they had ready for release, they decided that Witches was something they had to share with the world.

That was the one that was supposed to come out next but I accidentally wrote Witches…? I fell and wrote Witches. I busted my knee and it came out with all of the blood,” Freeman said, semi jokingly.

She wrote this whole album in the course of three or four days,” explained Sewell.

I was very inspired too. It came easy. We had been jamming this really cool acoustic music in the Redwoods and it sort of just worked. It translated really well to big wild epicness. We already had a lot of the music. It kind of worked out. We had all of these cool riffs and we had been jamming with banjos and mandolin and guitar, and it sort of worked. I had these melodies in my head when I was writing the lyrics. We weren’t trying to write an album. We jam and we write and we play when we feel like it. What we do for fun is bust out acoustic instruments,” said Freeman.

Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

Sewell explained how despite the short period of time they spent to write this album, the songs came together somewhat quickly. The music and the themes behind each song blend together and created a vibe that told them story about the Salem Witches and the overall story.

If you listen close, there’s a real cohesive feel to this album. Because all of the songs were written in such a short period of time, it’s almost like we wrote one long song. The melodies translate throughout the album. One melody right in the beginning, there’s the church bells playing the melody and that end up being one of the acoustic riffs in ‘Remember’ and it ends up being a metal riff for the very last song ‘The Ghosts Of Gallows Hill.’ It’s all the same riff. A lot of the vocal melodies are the same way. Sometimes the vocal melody will be a guitar riff in a different song, or sometimes for example, in the song ‘Inflicted,’ there’s a synth solo. That’s actually a vocal melody from the bridge of ‘Witch Hunt.’ We really were inspired to make a cohesive thematic kind of album where everything you hear different parts of different songs throughout the whole thing, as if it’s one long song.

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One of the unique instruments used on this album was a banjo. One Eyed Doll has incorporated unusual instruments to create some of their darkest yet exciting sounds on the new album.

There’s banjo on three or four of the songs. There’s banjo in ‘Remember,’ ‘Stillness,’ I believe there’s banjo on ‘Prayer’…,” he said.

I think there might have been…it at least was written with banjo…I can’t remember if we went ahead and recorded it into it,” added Freeman.

Like they have demonstrated with Witches, One Eyed Doll is a creative machine when it comes to constantly producing music and ideas. They also find new ways to release their music, whether it is through a new album or digitally as a single.

If we have free time, we’re always making new music,” said Sewell.

Writing and playing music is what we do for fun. I get asked in these interviews ‘what are your hobbies when you’re not doing music?’ What else would I want to do?,” said Freeman.

Eat, sleep, breathe….play music of course,” said Sewell.

We’re constantly tinkering in the studio and writing,” added Freeman.

They have built a loyal following through their past tours and the word has spread like wildfire about their energetic live shows. While their audience has their personal favorite songs, Freeman admits that constructing a set list and including songs off of Witches can be challenging.

It’s so hard! It’s so hard to narrow it down, but there are some songs that are so fun to play together so we usually go for the funnest jam songs. We have some staples – I don’t think we can get away with playing a show without ‘Committed’ or ‘Be My Friend’ right now. There’s some that are fun to do live so you go with what feels the best to us. ‘Black In The Rye’ actually if we’re going to play one song from this album on this tour, this one is a blast to play live. So we’ll just do that.

Freeman’s vocal power is one of the band’s unique points, where her angelic vocals compliments her angst ridden screams during various songs. She shares her secrets behind how she takes care of her voice and if she has a regimen behind making it sound so powerful.

I basically do what feels comfortable. If it’s not comfortable I don’t do it. Like the RAHHHH parts that I do are comfortable for me. I don’t push myself hard enough at any point to like hurt.

I try to warm up a little bit for the show but I don’t have any specific tricks. I just drink lots of water, take my vitamins, eat my veggies, try to take as healthy as I can. Adrenaline carries me through a lot. I don’t specifically know how to do anything. I do what feels good and try not to torture myself.

Even Sewell, after being in this band with her for over nine years, has his own observations on how her voice sounds at different times.

I’ve been playing music with Kimberly for almost five and a half years now in the band, and even longer before that in the studio,” he said.

I’ve heard her voice change based on performing a lot and talking a lot, but to me it always even sounds better when it gets a little grit in there I’m like ‘oohhhh…it sounds cool.’ She can always still sound super awesome when you can tell she’s on the brink.

There’s only been the one time when she was like really deathly sick and actually lost her voice. We had to cancel the show,” he added.

It’s one of the few shows we’ve ever had to cancel. I couldn’t make anything come out. I got laryngitis,” admitted Freeman, about a rare show that they had to cancel.

Despite the setbacks, they got a little help from some friends in the audience who made it to the show the following night after they cancelled.

The next show we actually played it and it was a little rough in Pittsburgh after the show it was coming back,” said Sewell.

We had the fans sing along and they helped me out. I didn’t have to push it so hard that it hurt,” added Freeman.

Lastly, while One Eyed Doll has been living like road dogs, one of their highlighted moments was their recent return to Austin, TX’s South By Southwest, where they headlined the Heart of Texas Rock Festival, on a rainy Saturday evening during that week of festivities, and were joined on stage by a familiar face there.

“Something cool that happened on this tour was we hit South By Southwest with John Moyer from Disturbed,” explained Sewell.

He hopped on the stage for ‘Black In The Rye.’ We’ve been talking about jamming live together for years. We finally got to. He’s really a great bassist – such an awesome performer. The chemistry was so good,” added Freeman.

By Rei Nishimoto

Video: One Eyed Doll – Afflicted

Kimberly_3_HR

Avant-garde rock duo One-Eyed Doll has released a new video for their track ‘Afflicted’. You can see the track at this link or below:

‘Afflicted’ comes off of Witches, released this past March from Standby Records. Witches is a concept album focusing on the the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The ‘Afflicted’ video was shot on location in Salem and Danvers, MA where some of the activities surrounding the trials took place. One Eyed Doll is also embarking on a fall “Halloween Tour” and the dates can be seen below.

One Eyed Doll Witches_1500Cover1-400x400

One Eyed Doll “Halloween Tour” dates:
Sep 18: Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR
Sep 19: Studio Seven – Seattle, WA
Sep 22: Stage 112 – Missoula, MT
Sep 23: Pub Station – Billings, MT
Sep 25: Vaudeville Mews – Des Moines, IA
Sep 26: Vintage Villains – Danville, IL
Sep 29: The Token Lounge – Detroit, MI
Sep 30: Agora Ballroom – Cleveland, OH
Oct 01: Velvet Underground – Toronto, ON, CAN
Oct 02: Mavericks – Ottawa, ON, Canada
Oct 03: Trickshots Clifton Park, NY
Oct 04: The Studio @ Webster Hall – New York, NY
Oct 07: Thompson House – Newport, KY
Oct 08: Cheers Pub – South Bend, IN
Oct 09: Expo Five – Louisville, KY
Oct 10: Firebird – St. Louis, MO
Oct 11: Outland Ballroom – Springfield, MO
Oct 14: Southport Hall – New Orleans, LA
Oct 16: The Rail Club – Fort Worth, TX
Oct 17: Dirty Dog Bar – Austin, TX
Oct 18: Scout Bar – Houston, TX
Oct 22: Jake’s Backroom – Lubbock, TX
Oct 23: The Vanguard – Tulsa, OK
Oct 24: Aftershock – Kansas City, KS
Oct 25: The Elbow Room – Wichita, KS
Oct 27: Sunshine Studios – Colorado Springs, CO
Oct 28: Moe’s – Denver, CO
Oct 29: Area 51 – Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 30: The Dive Bar – Las Vegas, NV
Oct 31: Club Red – Phoenix, AZ

One Eyed Doll halloween tour

One Eyed Doll Releasing Witches via Standby Records

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Austin, TX rock duo One-Eyed Doll will release their new album Witches on March 24, 2015 via Standby Records.

“This is a “concept” album and is based on historical research of the Salem Witch Hysteria,” reveals One-Eyed Doll’s vocalist, guitarist and visionary Kimberly Freeman. “Many of the lyrics are direct quotes from the original handwritten witch trial court documents. The songs explore different personal accounts from real people and touches on theories about why it happened. It’s meant to be listened to in one sitting, from beginning to end, like a movie.”

“Even though this is probably our heaviest album yet, it was written almost completely on banjo and mandolin in the Redwood Forest near Santa Cruz, CA,” drummer “Junior” Sewell boasts. “It has this great “forest metal” vibe. It was also all written at once with several melodic themes that appear throughout the album.”

One-Eyed Doll is:
Kimberly Freeman – Vocals / Guitars
Jason Rufuss Sewell (aka Junior) – Drums

Track Listing:
01 Ember
02 Prayer
03 Black In The Rye
04 A Rope For Mary
05 More Weight
06 Remember
07 Witch Hunt
08 Stillness
09 Afflicted
10 Sorrow
11 The Ghosts Of Gallows Hill

Tour Dates:
Mar 04: Mesa Theater – Grand Junction, CO
Mar 06: Moe’s Original BBQ – Denver, CO
Mar 07: Sunshine Studios Live – Colorado Springs, CO
Mar 10: Jake’s – Lubbock, TX
Mar 11: Fitzgerald’s – San Antonio, TX
Mar 12: Trees – Dallas, TX
Mar 18: Scout Bar – Houston, TX
Mar 21: Texas Rock Fest – Austin, TX
Mar 22: Southport Music Hall – New Orleans, LA
Mar 26: Brass Mug – Tampa, FL
Mar 27: Atmosphere – Tallahassee, FL
Mar 28: 1904 Music Hall – Jacksonville, FL
Mar 30: SURREAL AT SURREY – Augusta, GA
Apr 01: The Warehouse – Clarksville, TN
Apr 02: The International – Knoxville, TN
Apr 03: Muncheez – Beckley, WV
Apr 04: Fish Head Cantina – Halethorpe, MD
Apr 05: Championship – Trenton, NJ
Apr 08: Amityville Music Hall – Amityville, NY
Apr 09: Smiling Moose – Pittsburgh, PA
Apr 10: The Loft – Covington, KY
Apr 11: Cheers – South Bend, IN
Apr 12: The Agora Ballroom – Cleveland, OH
Apr 13: Basement Transmissions – Erie, PA
Apr 15: Mojoes – Joliet, IL
Apr 16: Vaudville Mews – Des Moines, IA
Apr 17: The Firebird – St Louis, MO
Apr 18: AfterShock – Kansas City, KS
Apr 19: The Labyrinth – Oklahoma City, OK
Apr 21: Launchpad – Albuquerque, NM
Apr 23: The Flycatcher – Tucson, AZ
Apr 24: Club Red – Mesa, AZ
Apr 25: The Dive Bar – Las Vegas, NV
Apr 26: House Of Blues – San Diego, CA
Apr 29: DNA Lounge – San Francisco, CA
Apr 30: Lost On Main – Chico, CA
May 01: Fat Cat Music House And Lounge – Modesto, CA

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