Elise Major
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Elise Major

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"Major, the writer and rocker for whom the band is named for. No where else can you find a female fronted act with looks, chops, and kick-assed songs you’ll find yourself humming through and through.”
- Bill's Music


"Major and her band produce catchy riffs as she wails on the mic–sometimes like a female Ten-era Eddie Vedder."
- Owl & Bear


“Elise Major is without a doubt one of the most talented outfits to breakout of the northeast of the United States, and will undoubtably put Baltimore back on the Rock & Roll map. All the right elements are there; great musicianship, a tremendously talented front woman, and songwriting craftmanship. The sky is the limit with this band. I love em'.”
- Joseph Lawson, FVIC Records


Chris Mandra, co creator of All Songs Created on NPR says, "Elise has a voice and ability that live up to her name: Major- She sings powerfully, in earnest and in tune, hooky melodies and sophisticated contrapuntal lines which combine harmonic surprise and intense dynamic shifts. Plus, she can play the crap out of the guitar." - Various


Band of the Month: ELISE MAJOR
January 2008


There are too many hard working female fronted bands that are overshadowed by gimmicky
acts that put their knickers before their voices. I know I'm gonna get hate mail now (like more
hate mail than I usually get), but when I hear an act live, I prefer to hear them playing their own
instruments, and the vocalist actually singing (not lip synching) the words to the song. I'm on
that soapbox again, but for good reason. You see, I believe I've found a band that perfectly
embodies the positives of what I'm "soapboxing" about. Elise Major, a trio from Baltimore,
Maryland serve up a polished brand of rock, that is stylish, original, catchy, and deserves to be
heard.


The band earns it's name from the front woman, who quite possibly could go down in history as
arguably having one of the greatest singing voices in the genre of rock music. I don't make this
comment lightly. She truly fits the bill. The lyrics are clever, the vocal arrangements are
unpredictable, in tune, and melodic. The demeanor of the performance is powerful, earnest,
emotional, and with both barrels loaded, directed straight at the listener. Elise also plays lead
and rhythm guitar for the band. With no three chord progressions within earshot, the guitar
movements are precise, well executed, and blended to perfection. She creates an atmosphere
reminiscent of the Foo Fighters and Veruca Salt, with the attitude of Janis Joplin thrown in to
boot. All in all, Elise Major produces layers of sound, which speak to
you softly, then loudly, then louder, until you get the point of the message. The point of the
message is simple; This band kicks ASS! The band delivers this message on their own terms,
and it's backed up by plenty of proof.

- Joseph Lawson, FVIC Records


Time and time again I have to ask myself, where oh where, would Baltimore Maryland be without Elise Major. Quite frankly, I'm not sure; but surely no place good. Fortunately for us (people who know about and appreciate good music), Elise Major has been waging a very public and persistent war to bring a blend of creativity and marketability (for several years now) to the Baltimore rock scene. A skilled and polished musician, Elise who fronts the band, has always chosen her
assassins carefully. Her current ensemble incorporates experienced, successful musicians,

Theron Day, and Alex Straiter, both of whom we hope will be permanent fixtures to Elise's
collaborative process. Since the debut of the bands self titled EP, which was independently
released in 2008, Elise Major has garnered critical acclaim, and established a tidy collection of accolades in return for her efforts. The record received rave reviews,with the title track (Green) earning Elise a coveted Silver Award placement in the 25th Annual Mid-Atlantic Song Writing Contest. She has shared the stage with Paramore (at the Vans Warped Tour), Big City Rock and David Ellefson of Megadeath. All these credentials and a super down to earth attitude, means Elise Major without doubt is once again our band of the month; June/July 2009. We were given the
opportunity to put a few questions to Elise, Theron, and the bands producer Rennie Grant.
Click the arrows to read how Elise dishes the dirt, to include the details of a new EP that's in the
works. - FVIC Records


Joseph: Elise it is so awesome to be catching
up with you on what is essentially a few days
after the anniversary of when we did this first.
It's been more than a year, and I recognize that
a lot has been going on. Most notably, a new
line up. Would you tell us about that? I
understand Theron Day and Alex Straiter are
now fixtures in the band. Is fellow Berklee
former student, Evan Anderson still involved?

Elise: Yes, it's great catching up with you and
FVIC! The line-up has changed dramatically in
the past year! I'll spare you the band and
personal drama but I'll tell you that in 2008,
Theron Day auditioned for the band and finally I met a bass player that oozes rock.
Theron has the ability to match my guitar's grit, and plays with power and aggression..... It's a match made in musical heaven for me.... He's also an incredible songwriter and producer.

I'm constantly listening to his past work with Thomas Lunch's "Diagrams Without Instructions" and
his own record, "Cubicle Junkies" and his ear for production really amazes me.

On drums, we have Alex Straiter, who currently is on tour with the band, "Bulletproof Messenger", so to fill in for a while we were lucky enough to get Jamie Kelly, a virtuoso drummer and alumni of
the Peabody Institute. Both guys are amazing players, and both know how to take the music to the level where I want it to go.
Evan, who is a presence on stage to say the least, plays with us on various shows from time to
time...

Joseph: To Theron; You have been developing some darn good projects of your own for quite
some time now, so what brought about the decision to begin supporting Elise? Would you tell us
why this collaboration is so important to you?

Theron: When I auditioned for Elise last year, I knew there was something special about the
music she was creating. It was powerful and real. When Elise sang that first note during my
audition I knew it was going to work! Her voice is a gift......it simply can punch through the wall of
sound of loud guitars, drums and distortion. You can't teach that, either you have it or you don't.
Elise has "it". Really it's an honor to be playing in her band....

Currently we are performing as a 3 piece, and in a way it's more stripped down and fun. Don't get
me wrong I love the production on the CD, but as a 3 piece it has a more punk / raw feel. Our last show at Fletchers (Feb 09) in Baltimore was great!!! Jumping around like a jackass in the background and locking in with our amazing hard hitting drummer (Jamie Kelly) while Elise, blond hair hanging in her face, motionless, playing guitar, and singing with pure passion and heart. The crowd loved us and demanded an encore. It was great!!!

Elise is currently working on her new EP and cutting demo's at my small home studio - Porkchop
Studios in Maryland. We hope to work with our good friend and engineer / producer, Adam Weiss from Prairie Sun Studios (located in Northern California...it's where Tom Waits records).

Elise's new material is a lot more stripped
down and raw sounding (think PJ Harvey
"Rid of Me" and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs meets
the Foo Fighters) with a weird twist. I think
this album is really going to put Elise on the
map and we definitely would love to play the
UK to promote it sometime this summer!!!!!
Yes bring it on!!!!

Joseph: Elise we picked up the self titled
record Elise Major as soon as it was
released. For me, the album sort of sets you
up as a heroine of sorts for the very best rock
and roll music coming out of Baltimore right
now. I know how difficult it was to put this
work together. Now that it's out there, has it
culminated into what you expected? Am I
correct in saying that at one point it was
debatable as to whether or not this record
was going to exist? You persevered and
we're glad you did! Has it been worth it?

"I think I do better when my music is the kid on the playground
by itself with no one to play with, it just gets stronger and meaner."
FVIC Records
The Noise Floor
Copyright © 2006 - 2009 FVIC Records Ltd. All rights reserved
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Elise: I'm so glad that the album ended up
sounding great, especially "Green", it was a big
thrill to win the Silver in the Rock/Alt category at
the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest! I'm getting a lot
of really great feedback from the album and its
nice to hear, but I'm ready to move on and I
have a lot of demons to tackle and spew into
the new stuff. It HAS been worth it, finally
getting something done that has been hanging
over you is a great feeling. I think the positivity
of the band I have now is really helping me find
out who I am musically, I feel like I'm really
coming into my own on stage.

Joseph: Again on the subject of the record, my
favorite track has got to be Scars.
Where did that track come from? I mean lyrically, it's just such a cleverly written track.
Musicianship-wise, there is a powerful energy that lifts the entire performance on the record.
Would you tell us about the session associated with this track? In fact, when you go in the studio,
at what point do you stop seeking perfection and sacrifice a little bit of that to simply get your point
across? Anyway, it's a brilliant track.

Elise: Scars is a song that has two different angles to it. On one hand it's an anthem to self
empowerment, that no matter who tries to violate my good nature, I will prevail. On the other hand, I started to write in a dedication to a person, and maybe in a matter of words I did. Now I feel like it's more a universal song about healing and removing toxic people from your life. My songs are in a way very therapeutic. Since I tend to be a very happy-go lucky person, I transfer lots of negative feelings, sadness, and rage in my music, so it stays out of my head. Some
songs are political or about current events, but usually I write songs as if writing a letter to
someone (that will never be sent:)....

Joseph: OK Elise, have you ever considered a career with the British Intelligence agency MI5?
It's a serious question. You gave us no indication at all that you were gonna have a track like the
piano version of Icebox on your record? You kept that info "uber" Top Secret! Before getting into the accolades stemming from that track, why did you do it? Was this the actual original Icebox, or did you decide to strip the track down after the full version was recorded?

Elise: Hahah! Well, my first instrument is piano and I love it. I love how playing an acoustic piano makes me feel, it's a completely different feeling from my guitar. I have a classical piano
background that roots itself in dark, dramatic chords. I heard that in my head for Icebox and one day I said to my band " I need to do this on the piano". So, yes it was definitely planned. That particular day my voice was very tired, so it was good that it only took me two tries to get the right vocal feel, .... It's a softer and sadder version of the song, much deeper than the electric version.

Joseph: Now Elise you recently received an honorable mention in the Rock/Alternative category in the 25th Annual Mid-Atlantic Song Contest for the piano version of Icebox. You know, I don't think people understand the full scope of these contests. These are extremely difficult contests to get recognized. You compete amongst thousands of "career" competitors. Now; you also won a
silver award in the same category from the same accredited organization for the song, Green.This is a serious accomplishment. I've been sticking my chest out telling the whole world, "I told you so!" Honestly, was there ever a doubt that you would bring home the bacon with this type of recognition?

Elise: Aw, thanks! Well, I was hesitant at first,
because there were so many entries all over
the world that I knew I had to compete with. I
was floored when I got the email that "Green"
won......

Joseph: I would like to get your perspective
on the current state of the Baltimore rock
music scene. Are there outlets for
accredited artists like yourself? 98 Rock has
been a supporter of yours. Is Baltimore
doing enough to support independent
music? Is America doing enough to support
independent music?

Elise: Honestly, I don't feel that I have a place to fit in... there are a lot of different scenes in
Baltimore, but I don't see a place where I can find comfort... That hasn't stopped me though. I think I do better when my music is the kid on the playground by itself with no one to play with, it just gets stronger and meaner. I think it would be great if people could support live music more. I think if there was a cultural shift where more people went out to see bands on a nightly basis, it would really help support bands and make it easier for bands to get exposure.
- FVIC Records


Being a musician is no menial task. It’s a life that nearly every parent doesn’t want for a child of theirs and
the odds are almost always against you. It’s not something that just anyone can succeed at, and it something that takes years of practice and begging before you really can afford to do it full time.

Elise Major, a Baltimore music veteran, has been in and out of various bands in her lifetime, teaching piano and guitar
while bartending to make it by.
“I have sacrificed a lot for it,” Major explained to me. “My music basically dictates where I am in life. I’ve given it my full attention. Luckily, I love to teach on the side so even when I am working, I am working with music and focusing on what I love to do.”

Elise Major just released her first album, Self-Titled, and was relieved to finally get an album done and “tohear the songs as I did in my head.” The whole band was happy to finally have it all finished this past year at Grant Audio Design in Baltimore, their second attempt to track the album.
“I have a serious addiction to the dramatic elements of rock and roll,” Major explained. When I asked her
what she was listening to when she was writing and recording the album, it wasn’t a huge shock she said Queens of the Stone Age and Muse after listening to driving bass, riff-heavy guitars and a more classically-inspired arrangement.

My favorite track, “Green”, is a great example of her dramatic arrangement skills, starting sans-drums and
building to a heavily-driven harmonized guitar solo that drops off to a part reminiscent of the beginning, the major difference being a soulful Major vocal styling. “Icebox” is another recommended track, though the piano version, the only song tracked at Cue Studios, is in my opinion much better. Their track “Seal The Bleeding Heart” utilizes the Bellamy influence.

A good portion of the tracks from their new album are up on Myspace, including the three tracks I already mentioned, so check them out.

- Greg Slattery/Junkflush, Columbia, South Carolina City Paper


Discography

Self-Titled Album, "Elise Major" 2008

Photos

Bio

Baltimore rocker, Elise Major, is a beacon for those who dig intense guitar work and vocal prowess, both executed by the girl herself. A recent 2008 Mid Atlantic Song Contest winner (Silver Award Alt/Rock), Elise opened and commanded the stage at the award gala with her politically charged and crowd pleasing "Green". In recent news, her song "Green" is now featured in the game, "Tap Tap Revenge 3" for Apple ipod touch and iphone. Elise shows no boundaries; her music transcends the trendy to focus on Rock and Rolls true spirit and grit. Bands such as the Foo Fighters, Led Zepplin, PJ Harvey, and Queens of the Stone Age all resonate within her music. Elise is also a classically trained pianist who strives to inject each song with interesting and challenging chord structures that keep her music fresh and innovative, yet strike a common thread with the masses. A feat hard to accomplish, yet Elise manages with ease and grace.

Major is not alone, she surrounds herself with impressive musicians. Theron Day, an engineer, bassist and accomplished songwriter who has formerly toured for the DC electro rock artist "Thomas Lunch", along with drum wizard and Peabody graduate Jamie Kelly add to a tight and dynamic rhythm section.

Supporting her new album and band, Elise will be touring regionally in the Mid-Atlantic region in 2009. The rock songstress is also getting a buzz on college radio stations across the country and on sites like Myspace.com (up to 3000 hits a day). Elise Major's new self-titled CD is available on Itunes, Rhapsody, eMusic, CD Baby, Amazon.com and many other digital retailers. Standout tracks include "Green", the venomous " Heroine" and the heartfelt "Icebox (piano), all of which are essential additions to any rock lover's library.

Elise Major has opened for bands such as Paramore (at the Vans Warped Tour), Big City Rock and David Ellefson of Megadeath. Awards include: "Best Band" at the Emergenza Finals '06, winner of the WHFS 105.7 Underground Live Battle of the Bands, and her song, "Heroine" received "Track of the Day" on Garageband.com. Elise Major was named "Band of the Month" by FVIC Records in July of 2009 and January of 2008.

Heroine (Live at Rams Head Live):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aVoc6siJF4