An In-Depth Conversation With KALEIDO Lead Singer CHRISTINA CHRISS On New Music and More!
Posted On 25 Jul 2019
Detroit Rock veterans Kaleido recently released a new single called “Pretending.” They also put out a video to go with it. Is an emotional and empowering song about mental health issues and it was co-produced with Michael Martenson & Jake Cemer (Boys of Fall). “Pretending” can be found on their just released new EP “NO RLY…IM FINE.” It was just put out last week on July 19th.
Singer Christina Chriss says of “Pretending”: “The only thing harder than the actual internal battle with anxiety, depression or addiction is faking a smile and pretending you’re fine on the outside. Especially after you’ve gathered the courage to speak up and someone tells you to “get over it”. I want you to know, it’s okay to not be okay; It’s okay to talk about it and it’s okay to reach out for help. Through my own struggles I wrote this song and I hope that it reaches everyone who has ever felt this way and needs to hear it: “ITS OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY SOMETIMES.”
Kaleido is made up of Chriss, Joey Fava (drums), and Cody Morales (bass). This group is as authentic as they come and writes memorable songs that are highlighted in their dynamic live show, which has garnered them accolades on the live music circuit.
Kaleido are true “Road Warriors” – they average more than 100 lives shows per year. They’ve opened for notable bands like Seether, Halestorm, Rob Zombie and Evanescence; and they’ve been featured on the Shiprocked cruise and multiple appearances on the Warped tour. The trials and tribulations of being Rock N’ Roll survivors in an ever-changing music business has made them stronger and tougher, and that is reflected in their music, including 2018’s muscular single “My Enemy”, which was produced by Johnny K (3 Doors Down, Disturbed).
Detroit Media has taken notice: Kaleido was just named Outstanding Alt/Indie/Punk Artist at the 2019 Detroit Music Awards and was a featured performer on WDIV-TV (NBC) Detroit Annual Fireworks Telecast. The band was recently featured on Detroit PBS show “Metro Arts” and CBS 62’s local music coverage. They were named Best Band in Detroit by Real Detroit Weekly in 2013 & 2014, and won two Detroit Music Awards in 2015 for “Outstanding Rock/Pop Group” and “Outstanding Rock Recording” for their second independent EP ‘Unbreakable’. Kaleido was nominated again in 2017 for their album “Experience” and won “Outstanding Heavy Rock Group”.
Their “Experience” album helped grow their fan base both in the US and abroad, debuting @ #11 on Soundscan Top New Artists Albums and #37 on the Top Current Rock Albums chart. The album was tapped as “New and Noteworthy” @ iTunes and Amazon Music and spawned the Active Rock charting “Die Tryin'” – which made it into the Loudwire Video “Battle Royale” Hall of Fame by remaining at #1 for 5 straight weeks.
Connect With Kaleido Online Here:
iTunes link: https://music.apple.com/bw/album/no-rly-im-fine-ep/1469927283
Learn more about Kaleido in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
We’re currently en-route back from South Dakota after playing with Asking Alexandria
Now that we are into the 7th month of the year, how would you say that 2019 is treating the band so far? What have been some goals this group has had this year? How close are you to reaching them?
Times flyin’! 2019 has been good, we’ve done some touring and just accomplished a huge goal of ours for the year, which was to release our latest EP ‘NO RLY…IM FINE’. We did it independently and we’re really proud of it.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Was it hard to think of a name that you could agree on? Has anything surprised you about this musical journey so far?
Cody, Joey and myself (Christina) were friends for quite a while before starting Kaleido. We were all in the local Detroit music scene together. We decided to try writing some songs and not too long after Kaleido was born. The name came to me during a ride to the studio to record one of our very first songs, and we all liked it right away. I somewhat jokingly like to say that the Universe named us, for how I was just Staring off into space and the name popped into my head. The musical journey has been full of surprises and I’ve definitely learned a lot along the way.
How do you think Detroit has influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group?
Detroit is home, always has been. I’d say if anything, being raised there, in blue collar households, has helped shape our work ethic and taught us early on not that nothing comes easy or free. We work really hard and grind and hustle. That attitude is definitely carried into the music.
What did it mean to you all to be recognized as the Outstanding Alt/Indie/Punk Artist at the 2019 Detroit Music Awards?
It’s super cool to be recognized by your hometown, especially a city so musically history rich and eclectic. It meant a lot. We’re honored.
I always like to ask bands if you all hang out socially apart from the music? In other words, when you aren’t working on music, do you guys enjoy hanging out for fun?
We’ve had a lot of fun together over the years. Many adventures and good times! We eat, sleep & breathe this band though, so anytime we’re together (and when we’re not together) we’re working on music, or band business. It’s constantly on our minds 24/7. It’s what we love the most. And to me, that IS fun. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
Let’s talk about your brand new EP, “NO RLY… I’M FINE.” What was it like making this collection? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
This EP is very emotional and introspective. It’s dark, personal, and unabashedly honest. The most revealing piece of art I’ve ever released. It was therapeutic and eye opening to create it. I would say that it surprised me how it unfolded and as scary as I thought it was to show these sides of myself, it became effortless as I allowed it to flow. It was meant to come out and I hope it touches and helps others.
How would you say that you first single released from the EP, “Pretending” prepared listeners for the rest of the EP? What was the inspiration for this song?
It very clearly let it be known that I was not okay when I wrote this. There was a breaking point, and “Pretending” came from it. I feel that all the songs on this EP fit together hand-in-glove. They were all born in a dark time of my life… For so long I felt I needed to be strong and put on a smile, no matter how awful and tortured I was feeling inside, and when I finally couldn’t do it anymore, that’s where “Pretending” came from. I needed to tell myself that it was okay to not be okay sometimes – I am human. I am allowed to embrace how I feel purely, without trying to micromanage and manipulate my feelings.
How do you feel that Kaleido has grown through the years? What has remained the same?
We have done a TON of growing, and it’s very clear when you listen to our discography. We were basically kids when we started this journey, and we have come so far and learned so much – it’s been a cool ride! We have become stronger, smarter, and better at our craft. We have gone through 3 guitar players, who each decided that this just wasn’t for them. Joey, Cody and I have been very close and like a family since the beginning, so adjusting and persevering through the loss of people we considered our brothers, has definitely taught us a lot. And I’ll tell you, it has made us appreciate and love one another even more. The 3 core members have grown tighter than ever, and I feel that currently we are the best version of Kaleido to date. We’ve gone through a lot of changes, but what has stayed the same is our dedication, passion & commitment to what we love the most and each other.
Generally, how do you go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately?
We just catch it as it comes. Sometimes we start with a guitar riff, sometimes it starts with a vocal melody. We write together and also write separately. We don’t try to control it, we just know that when inspiration strikes, we try and grab it! Joey and I do a lot of the songwriting, and Cody always comes in and adds his flava’ 😎.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
On stage performing, for sure. There is nothing like it when you’re pouring everything you have into a live show, and the crowd gives back their energy.
Where can fans see you perform next? What do you think makes for an ideal show? What has been a favorite show of yours in the past?
We have a few shows through-out the summer, so check out KaleidoBand.com for all upcoming dates. An ideal show is a packed house with great energy. The 25th Anniversary Van’s Warped Tour we just played in Atlantic City in June definitely goes down as one of our favorite shows ever, there were more than 20,000 people there.
How has social media impacted this band? How often are you all on your different sites interacting with fans? How have you been able to utilize it through the years?
Social media has helped us reach people all over the world. We try to stay very on top of it and keep our fans informed and up to date on what’s going on with us regarding shows and releases.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape to all the current events?
Music is definitely an escape. It spans time and space and can take you anywhere mentally depending on what you listen to, or also in our case, write.
What musicians have really been inspiring you since you first started making music?
Dave Grohl, Halestorm, just to name a couple.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
It’s okay to not be okay sometimes. Be yourself and do what you love – enjoy your life! Look for the good, but embrace the bad, don’t bury it deep down. Bring it to the surface and face it. Find your strength. We all have demons, we just need to learn how to beat them. Never give up – stand up for yourself! Love yourself and spread love wherever you go. Be there for your friends!
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about Kaleido?
Go listen to our new EP “NO RLY… I’M FINE”, it’s available on all digital platforms and for sale on CD at KaleidoBand.com. Stay tuned for upcoming show dates and more new content!