The Commander In Chief is a brash, new female solo artist who has spread her metallic roots all over the Western world. Her debut EP "Battle For The Mind" is gaining rave reviews (including the one on this site) both here and abroad. From her new home and base of operations in Monza, Italy, we've asked the CIC to answer a few questions about her work.

Maximum Metal: What is the album concept for the "Battle For The Mind" EP? And what is the meaning behind the title track?

CIC: The overall album has no concept really, all of the songs are different from one another.

MM: What was the inspiration for each individual song?

CIC: Well, "Dropout" is about when I used to live in Chicago, and about a specific high school there; it's also about school shootings.
"Battle For The Mind" is about how everyone is vying for your personal attention all of the time; how all of that makes for a literal battle.
"Great Expectations" is actually based on the book by Charles Dickens, it's my favorite book.
"You're So Crazy" is about surveillance being everywhere all the time, and about how we're being watched by a lot of the different things around us.
"Illusions Are Dying" is...like with a lot of political scandals where people are revealed as something that they're not, the public finds out and their illusions start to die.

MM: What led you to do the cover of "Paranoid"?

CIC: I've always been a big fan of Ozzy Osbourne, but it was actually our producer that suggested we do a cover of it. He suggested it, but we wanted to do it in a way that sounds more Commander In Chief-ish y'know?

MM: It seems like a lot of bands that cover Black Sabbath's songs keep them slow, in the original tempo-but you have injected a lot of adrenaline into this one, much like Randy Rhoads would often do...

CIC: I'm a big fan of Randy Rhoads, especially his cover of "Children of the Grave" from the "Tribute" album, I love that song and his guitar solo on it.

MM: So you're a big fan of the heavy metal genre?

CIC: Yes, I listen to many artists: a lot of Norwegian black metal, bands like System Of A Down...even James Brown.

MM: Any Classical influences? Like Paganini?

CIC: No, I like Mozart. Someone gave me an album of Paganini the other day, it was the first time that I ever heard him and um, I actually hated it (laughs).

MM: Haha, okay. What type of audience are you hoping that your music will appeal to?

CIC: Well, I'm really hoping that it will appeal to as many people as possible. A lot of the reviews that we've gotten so far say that it's "rock" or it's "metal" and that's fine--I'm a metalhead myself; I like Slayer, Arch Enemy, Emperor, a lot of Norwegian black metal as I said before, and I like Lamb Of God too.

MM: What inspired you to play the guitar?

CIC: I really just wanted to be a songwriter at first and focus on that, I had no specific guitar hero when I started but later on I got into Ritchie Blackmore and Randy Rhoads.

MM: What about singing? You do all of the vocals on your records also...

CIC: I started out wanting to do vocals kind of like Angela Gassow, (Arch Enemy) but since I was eighteen I have been training with an opera singer who is also my manager, Elisabeth Hagen. The training has made me want to develop my voice in that style.

There's an interesting story about the vocal tracks: We had finished all of the tracks for the album through the whole recording process, but came back one day and they were gone! Nobody knew what had happened to them so I had to sing three of the songs on the spot, and we finished in one day.

MM: Wow! It certainly turned out well for being done in single day...

CIC: Thank you.

MM: And you do all of the songwriting as well?

CIC: Yes, I write everything.

MM: You play a seven-string guitar?

CIC: I play an Ibanez 7620, but I'm actually having a guitar custom-built for me by a luthier here in Italy. One of the reasons for using a seven-string was to see how it would sound with my voice, and the contrast between those two things.

MM: Who are the other members of your band?

CIC: We have a drummer named Hans, and the bassist Giorgio--we are mainly a three-piece.

MM: What about the recording process? Do you have a studio in your home?

CIC: We actually finished the final album In L.A.; pre-production was done in a home studio.

MM: So what's next for the Commander In Chief?

CIC: Well I'm really excited right now because we're going to shoot a music video for "Great Expectations" which should be out sometime around January. We're also recording more songs next year, but for right now I'm working on structures with my drummer.

Thanks to The Commander In Chief for answering some quick questions!

Visit the band Facebook page here: [Link]

--Ben McCraw

The Commander In ChiefBen McCraw1/14/2011

Battle for the Mind
Ben McCraw11/28/2010

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