STILLCHYLD: Battling Demons Through Heavy Metal

Greetings, brothers and sisters! Today, we will be chatting with Aleshia Handy, singer and keyboardplayer for the band STILLCHYLD. Aleshia is a pretty amazing young woman. She has overcome a lot of pain and obstacles in her life and has chosen metal music to help get her message out to her fans. Aleshia was kind enough to give us a few moments of her time....

Hello Aleshia and welcome to Metal Maidens.
Aleshia: “What's up and thank you for giving us the opportunity to do this interview.”

You are the vocalist and keyboard player for the band STILLCHYLD. Can you tell us how the band came to be?
Aleshia: Actually, it came about in a pretty strange way. I was in a pretty tough marriage at the time. I was punched in the face by my husband at the time and I ran to a local bar crying and met our former bass player (Bones), who talked to me and calmed me down. We began talking and we were doing some karaoke and I discovered I could actually sing! I never knew I could really sing until that night and told Bones, that I was a pianist/keyboard player and have been since I was in first grade. He then informed me, that he had a band kind of going and that maybe I could play keys for them. I believe, their name was THE ORGASMOS. Well, at that point, we started jamming in my garage and my husband didn't like it at all. He was more of a club goer / thug and the marriage dissipated, after I went ´metal'. I've always had hard rock/metal in my heart, so my ex and I were a strange pair. Scooting forward, I eventually met David Mosell (my guitarist) and we joined forces with Bones (bass player) Jay Partin (our former and first drummer) and Jeff Chambers (our former rhythm guitarist). Members have changed since then and this was back in about October of 2007. We didn't get too serious, until around March 2008. Our current and final members are Ed Bartels (drums), David Mosell (guitar), Josh Luckritz (bass) and myself on keys and vocals.”

You have some very interesting ink on your cheek (The cheek on your face not your ass cheek. After all, we don't know each other that well, haha). What significance does that tattoo have and why did you decide to get it on your face? After all, that is a pretty bold statement to make, correct?
Aleshia: “I do have a bit of ink on that cheek too (laughs). Seriously though, it’s actually a picture of my feral night elf druid from ‘World Of Warcraft’. I am seriously addicted to that game. But the reasoning behind why I put it on my face is, that people should NOT be afraid to do whatever they want. I think, we live too strongly by society's standards. I believe, that people should do what they want, as long as it's not harmful to others or detrimental to their health. And by putting a tattoo on my face, I simply did what I felt in the moment, considering it was a quick in the moment choice and it felt right. I don't really care, if others like it or not. I like it, I'm happy with it and if all you can see me for is the ink on my face, that's pretty shallow. "When you look at me what do you see?" as quoted from our song "Reflect".”

I bet you get a lot of different reactions from people on the street, right?
Aleshia: “Haha, yeah. I get people that say: "Oh my god! That is so awesome!" .... Then of course there are the people, that say they like it to my face and talk trash behind my back. It doesn't bother me. But then again, I come from a small town rather than a place like New York City, where something like this might be more acceptable.”

Do you have any other ink?
Aleshia: “I have David's name tattooed on my rear end (laughs). It was my first tattoo. He is the father of my youngest child and we were together for almost three years. We still have a strong friendship and in the future, who knows what may happen? For now, we remain friends (laughs). I also have a tattoo on my chest and stomach, that is currently under a lot of construction. So it's a secret, until it's done.”

How would you describe the band's music to potential new fans, who may not have heard of you?
Aleshia: “Melodic metal pop goth rock with a hell of a lot to say lyric wise.”

STILLCHYLD is a pretty cool name for a band. Who came up with the name?
Aleshia: “I did actually. I was standing in the shower one day and was thinking what would be a good name for a band and I thought: "What dies inside?" I thought of Stillborn, but that was already a song – actually, an epic one - and it sounded too harsh. So I thought, what means in another way that a child dies inside emotionally? Ofcourse STILLCHYLD!”

Tell us a little about your band mates, if you like?
Aleshia: “Well, let’s see. David is an amazing guitarist. He's been playing for about six or so years now and sounds like he's been playing for forty. He's really one hell of a musician. His influences vary quite a bit. He listens to just about everything that's rock or metal. He's very sweet tempered and an amazing father. Ed is a damned good drummer. He's really got a lot of power behind his drumming. He would do anything to help out someone, if they needed it. He's very sensitive and has been through a lot growing up and has turned out to be an amazing guy - even with all he's been through. He can really pound out those beats. His influences are SLIPKNOT, GODSMACK and AS I AY DYING. Josh is a very chill guy, that plays the bass like a guitar (laughs). He has a lot of skill on that bass. It gives us more of an edge, seeing as most bass players in bands play a bass like a bass. He doesn't. He does his own thing and is good at it. He is the one, that usually sits back and says: “Sure, okay, whatever, that's cool!”(laughs).”

The band's CD is entitled "Killer Of Me" and as far as a first effort for a band, I think you guys are way ahead of the curve. This CD really kicks ass both musically and emotionally for me. Can you explain who came up with the title and how the concept of the whole CD came about?
Aleshia: “We all kind of came up with the title, because we thought that lyrics wise, it’s about fighting addictions and abuse and so forth, so we came up with the name “Killer Of Me” as in stating, that you should not let the emotions and darkness ruin your life.”

Some of my fave tunes on the CD are "In This Faith", "On My Knees" and "Left On Empty". Can you tell us some of yours and what special meaning they may have for you personally?
Aleshia: “My first favorite is "On My Knees", because that was my weakest point: the alcohol and drug addiction. I fought and fought. People would think I was lame, because I wasn't partying, so I'd fall right back into it. I was always afraid of being left behind or left alone. Besides the fact, that I have severe Borderline Personality (Emotional Intensity) Disorder and Bi-Polar with Post Traumatic Stress and Panic Disorder. It’s a really tough mix to have and when you throw in drugs and alcohol, it really messes up your family life and your whole life in general. It’s a sick disease, but a lot of people don't get help for it, because they think "Woo-hoo! Party time! I can handle it! I'm not an alcoholic" , so they continue on the road to destruction and a lot of times it's too late. My mother was killed in a drunk driving motorcycle crash, when I was six, so it’s been pretty tough on me.”

Lyrically as a band, you guys write some pretty intense stuff. Are you the main lyricist and do your words come from your life experiences?
Aleshia: “I am the only lyricist for the band and yes, it ALL comes from life experiences.”

You personally have struggled with some very intense demons in your young life. How have your struggles inspired you as a musician?
Aleshia: “Personally, I think demons are inside everyone. It’s just that some people don't know how to cope with them. I was one and still AM one of those people. Every day is still a struggle for me. I will be battling for the rest of my life, but each day I get stronger. And it’s okay if you fall down. What matters is that you get back up and say: "I will NOT let this control me. I WILL be strong, I am me, and I am proud" and then move on with your life to the next challenge. I have such a love for music and I like all kinds (laughs), even country. I wanted to have a way to vent and to also put into music what I've been through to hopefully help others, who are or have been through what I have gone through and still fight to this very day."

Can you tell us a little about your battle with substance abuse and alcoholism and how music helped you to fight through the dark times in your life?
Aleshia: “Music is a medicine. Substance abuse has been a battle for me ever since I was a sophomore in high school. An ex-boyfriend kind of introduced me to pot, then it all went to hell from there. I destroyed my friendships, my family and turned into someone I was ashamed of. And to be quite honest, this is something that even through the first couple years of the band, I still was failing, no matter how much I tried. It is a sick disease filled with many demons and there are so many roads you can choose to take. Some are good, some are bad. There is no one single right road. We must all travel different paths to really experience everything life has to offer us. And never be afraid to ask for help.”

Do you think it is some kind of twisted karma, that you have survived all of this horrible shit in your life to still be here today making music and possibly inspiring young people with your story?
Aleshia: “I'm a big believer in karma as I am into wicca and I believe that everyone in life has a purpose and my purpose is to be a role model for everyone.”

Would you be comfortable as a role model or mentor for young women, who may want to follow in your footsteps as a musican and what advice would you give to them personally and also about the music business?
Aleshia: “Of course I would be comfortable being a mentor. That’s part of the reason I do what I do. The music business is really tough. You just have to push and push and never give up. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you cannot succeed.”

As far as women in the metal scene today, do you think they are finally starting to get the respect they deserve as musicians from male musicans and the media?
Aleshia: “Absolutely.”

What is the one stereotype about women in metal, you would change if you could?
Aleshia: “That just because most women cannot pig squeal or get as low as a man can, it doesn't mean our music isn't as powerful. It also just depends on your style of lyrics. Some people (including men) write about history, some people have only like three words in each song, that they randomly scream at the top of their lungs, some have nothing but sounds and some write about their life. It just depends…”

Who are some strong women in metal and all music in general, who you look up to and would love to share the stage with someday?
Aleshia: “My very first idol in metal was OTEP. I have developed a love of her music over the past few years and have seen her in concert. Her lyrics are deep and she has a love for what she does. I just do not agree with the women out there that are out there as sex symbols. I don’t think that is a good image to have especially for this newer youth. Seems as though girls and guys alike are getting younger and being sexual. It’s a bad influence to be up there singing about sex and things like that, if you are aiming towards the younger generation.”

Tell us what we can expect from a STILLCHYLD live show?
Aleshia: “You get what you see. We are who we are. As of right now, it's not like we have a show with flashy lights and dazzlers and things, we just do our music and get the crowd involved and are trying to get out there right now. We are still pretty new.“

What does the near future hold for the band with touring?
Aleshia: “We as a band would like to be touring this spring/summer/fall and would like to hit up anywhere we can.”

Where is the one city or country you would love to play if it were possible?
Aleshia: “Personally, I've always wanted to go to Canada or Ireland. But anywhere in Europe would be beautiful, I think.”

What kind of things do you enjoy doing in your spare time not related to music?
Aleshia: “I love the outdoors. I'm a bit of a tomboy. I like to stuntblade, walk, camp and read. I LOVE to read. Dean Koontz is my favorite author and would like to meet him someday. I have all of his books. I love animals, so I kind of have a bit of a zoo at my house. And going to Jungle Bungle with my kids is totally amazing, because I'm tiny enough to crawl in all those fun maze tubes with them (laughs).”

You have a pretty large family. Do they support what you are doing and is it hard sometimes to juggle family life with being in a band?
Aleshia: “Yes, it is absolutely very difficult juggling a family with a band, but it´s something I am choosing to do with my life and my children are well taken care of and have good fathers, so it always works out somehow. My parents on the other hand (laughs) don't think, I will make it. They have told me several times, that I cannot be a parent AND in a band at the same time. It gets kind of depressing to hear that from people, who are supposed to believe in all you do.”

Where can fans find out more about the band and check out your music?
Aleshia: “We are currently working on a website and our new My Space will be done soon. So for right now, we just have a small My Space [] and we are also on Facebook.”

Where do you see yourself and STILLCHYLD in the next five years?
Aleshia: “I see us going pretty far. I'd love to share the stage someday with any band that has a love of music, and can draw a crowd, so we have that chance to really make new friends and help as many people as we can.”

Is there anything at all you would like to add to this interview?
Aleshia: “All in all, we are just really small town young adults, that have a message to get out there. We would very much appreciate people giving us the chance to let us say what we have to say and pass the word along that we are here and that we will talk to you personally. We don't have a manager, that will not let us speak for ourselves. If we have a fan write us, we will talk to you ourselves. Not like some bands, that if you write them they don't answer you back or their reps do. I don't agree with that. I think bands need to be more personal with their fans. If it wasn't for their listeners, they wouldn't even be who they are. Listen to your fans, because as a band, you may not be the only one with something to say.”

Aleshia, on behalf of myself and Metal Maidens, we want to thank you for sharing your time with us today. I think you are a very talented and strong willed person and I wish you some peace in your life with your personal battles and continued success with the band. See you on the road soon!
Aleshia: “Thank you and Metal Maidens.”

copyright: METAL MAIDENS
interview by: Nick Rohm, Metal Maidens 'zine / November 2010.

Visit their My Space at: