Life Down Here
Gig Seeker Pro

Life Down Here

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative




"Life Down Here Calls Everything Out..."

Los Angeles based quartet Life Down Here is that pop punk act with an hardcore edge that really brings back the meaning of music. Find out what the band has to say about how they got started up until what they are doing right now.

1. Life Down Here what is Life Down Here?

Originally, "Life Down Here" was the name of one of our songs, which is now called, "Calling Out". We were in the recording process and we didn't really have a band name yet, we had tried to come up with several names, but none that really hit us. At that same time, my father was taken into the hospital and grew very sick. Within 4 weeks of him being in the hospital, he unfortunately slipped away and as it is, WE (the band) are living Life Down Here and he is no longer a part of that. So that's how "Life Down Here" came about.

2. Tell me about your music what type is it and what type of band are you?

First and for most, I am a guitar player and grew up listening to bands like Metallica and System and am very fond of what Haley from Paramore is all about. That being said, our music is a little more guitar centric and if we were to hit the road I'd love to see us play with bands like Rise Against, Paramore, or even System of a Down.

3. Do you have any material currently available right now?

Yes, our album "The Beginning" just came out on Jan 6th. It's available on Itunes or our website (

4. What type of recording process did you use? Who produced your recording?

We recorded our album "The Beginning" at NRG recording studios and Jay Baumgardner was the producer on the project. Working with Jay was a really awesome experience. He pushes you for the best takes he can possibly get out of you. If we say we've completed a song or a guitar part, we go back and listen to it the next day, and he or myself think it could be done better, we tried and tried until we got it just the way we liked it. It was a lot of work and lots of fun. I definitely learned a lot from that man.

5. How did you sell your CD’s/Audio Files?

Right now, we sell our cd's and merch at shows, online on our website (, Facebook Fan Page ( and Itunes. You can also find us on Spotify and our YouTube Channel (

6. Who are your musical influences?

Some of our biggest musical influences would be System of a Down and Metallica; to Paramore and Rise against vibe, even like the old school rock; Zepplin and Hendrix, all the way to something chill very singer songwriter vibe; Melissa Etheridge.

7. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

"The Beginning" is basically an overview of the last couple years of my life. Everything from abusive and failed relationships, to suicide and mental institutions, to believing in yourself and celebrating your life and being who you want to be.

8. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

I co - write every song. Whether it's written by only me; me and eli, the bass player; or a handful of other writers (ie: Jason Evigan from After Midnight Project, or Marcos Curiel from POD). There's no real process per say, the creative process is a unique and different thing for every song you create.

9. Are you looking for an independent label deal or a major label deal? (Why?)

Definitely the independent label route. It seems that there's a level of passion and attention to detail at the indie labels that I rarely see at the majors but I'm open to all things given the right circumstances.

10. What live performance experience have you had? (Any industry showcases?)

We play every weekend, sometimes even 2 to 3 times a week! It would have to be the one thing that I can say has really helped us develop our sound, look and feel as a band.

11. Life Down Here can expect to do what in 2012?

In 2012, I would ideally love to see us playing around like we have been. Maybe even get ourselves a little tour, we just released our album so trying to build a following and get our music out in the world so everyone can know who Life Down Here is! - Natalies World

"New Years Eve with Life Down Here"

Which brings us to New Years Eve 2011. Starting at 8 p.m., the nearly six-hour show was a chance for concertgoers to get a true taste of the Los Angeles music scene. The night started out strong with the Las Vegas-based Life Down Here, a down and dirty punk/metal band led by 18 year-old Michelle Blanchard. Though tiny, Blanchard has the spirit and passion of an early Joan Jett. Still in the early stages, keep an eye out for Life Down Here, you will be hearing from them again.

The next three bands honestly kind of blurred together.... - Lumino Magazine

"Life Down Here"

Rock act Life Down Here who are fresh on the scene will release a full length which was produced by Jay Baumgardner (Bush, Evanscence). They will perform at The Roxy on February 18th. Check out the video for the track All That You Are. - Kings of A&R

"Artist Spotlight"

LA-based band Life Down Here are the sole reason that I’ve logged on to Facebook this year. The only emotion stronger than my hate for Facebook is my love for rock-pop-punk, and these guys & girl do the latter so well. Their music player is filled with up-tempo crunching guitar tracks featuring slightly cynical and often sneered vocals that'll be enjoyed by anyone who has ever jammed out to Paramore.
Here's their latest track, "Running From Disaster", which is available as a free download.

Did anyone catch Life Down Here when they opened for The Lady Killer Tour? Were they good? I bet they were good. The band's been working with producer Jay Baumgardner (Papa Roach, Evanescence, Bush) on their debut record; watch out for it next year. -

"Interview with Michelle Blanchard of Life Down Here"

At only 16 years old, Michelle Blanchard, lead singer and guitarist for Life Down Here, decided to leave her high school in Las Vegas and pursue her passion for music. Just a few years later, Blanchard – with band mates Eli Shkurkin, Nick Adams, and Jeff Dennis – finds herself in LA recording with super producer Jay Baumgardner (Evanescence, Papa Roach, Drowning Pool) on his label, NRG Artists, set to release a debut album in early 2012. Here, the out lesbian front woman, who recently opened for Sick of Sarah on The Lady Killer Tour, talks about her decision to drop out of school, musical influences, being an openly gay artist, and more.
CherryGRRL (CG): So you guys just spent time recording with Jay Baumgardner. What was that like and what is the status of the debut album?
Michelle Blanchard (MB): Well, we just finished up a last minute song to add to our album “The Beginning,” which is set to be released January 6th. But the whole experience working with Jay and everyone over at NRG studios has been pretty amazing. All the inside jokes, the fun times we had taking the pics of the days, just the whole thing was rad! Not to mention, the cd sounds killer!
CG: What role did Baumgardner play in taking you guys to the next level? How did you come into contact with him and what did he say attracted him to working with you?
MB: We actually met Jay through a friend of an old business acquaintance. We showed him some demos, and I believe he saw potential. Right off the bat we all seemed pretty stoked about working with each other. This album, compared to the demo that we first had, are as different as night and day. Jay definitely pushed me as a guitarist, and vocally ripped me to shreds to get this album out of me. Jay would never take no for answer, and I thank him for that!
CG: I was really impressed when I learned that you are only 19 and that you dropped out of high school to pursue music at 16. Tell us about that decision and why you decided to pursue your dream so early.
MB: Around the age of 16 I dropped out of school and started working on my music career. I basically told my parents, “I kinda wanna do the whole music thing and be in a band for the rest of my life, what do you think?” They were all for it and ever since then, I went to vocal lessons, guitar lessons, writing sessions, put together a band, rehearsed, and started playing shows. Once you start putting yourself out there as an artist and a band, you start meeting the people you need to meet to make it to where you want to be. I’ve found that you have to stick with it, give it everything you have, and definitely work your ass off to make it in this business.CG: What was your biggest fear, if you had any, in making that choice?
MB: I guess the thing that scared me the most was never knowing what was gonna happen next. Even today, our numbers continue to go up, and more and more people are showing up to our gigs, but there is always that slight chance that things may not turn out the way you want. In all honesty if you keep fighting, and keep making sure you do everything in your power to get where you want, nothing can stop you.
CG: So your family and friends were supportive of it?
MS: Oh definitely! Everyone in my family tries to make it out to all the shows and tell their friends. I think they are more into it than I am! (laughs) Just kidding. But yes, they are super supportive in everything I do.
CG: Tell us about the evolution of your band’s name from “Lights Don’t Shine Down Here” to “Life Down Here.”
MS: “Life Down Here” has actually always been our name. We were thinking about having the name represent the fact that I was from Vegas. Not the glamorous part of Vegas, but more so the outskirts and the rougher areas. “Lights Don’t Shine Down Here” was kind of where we left that off, but then a big thing happened in my life while making this record. I lost my father. That gave “Life Down Here” the meaning that it has today. We are ALL “Life Down Here,” and he is no longer a part of that. CG: Life Down Here works to raise funds for finding a cure for autoimmune diseases. Is this related to your father’s passing?
MS: He had an autoimmune disease, and my two sisters also have autoimmune diseases. My dad got sick, went to the hospital, and within a month, I lost him. It was definitely the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with. I want to make sure we can help other families so they don't have to go through what I did. That being said, all our designs are purple, not just because it is my favorite color, but also because it's the color of the autoimmune awareness ribbon. I also wear a strip of purple tape around my left hand ring finger in honor of my dad and sisters. On our website, we have a little section dedicated to making donations to the AARDA (American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association).
CG: Clearly you have some crazy guitar skills. How did you learn to play and what kind of dedication does it take to get to where you are with your talent?
MS: Thank you. I actually started playing guitar when I was 8, but back then it was more about the fact that I was young and thought it was cool. Once I turned 10, I really took it seriously. I started taking lessons for bass and guitar, and ever since then I had many different guitar teachers. Now the band and I feed off of each other and make each other better everyday.
CG: What bands does Life Down Here get compared to the most?
MS: I would have to say Paramore. That's who most people compare us to, but over time they always say, "You guys sound like Paramore, but heavier!" A lot of people also tell me that my voice reminds them of Brody from "The Distillers," which is pretty rad if you ask me. I love her voice!
CG: What’s it like being the only girl in your band? What are the pros and cons of being with boys all the time?
MS: Putting up with my band all the time is hell! (Laughs) Just kidding, they are great…but you know boys will be boys and they can be annoying sometimes. It becomes more clear to me everyday why I'm a lesbian. But really they are my best friends and I wouldn't change it for the world, despite how annoying they may be!
CG: So speaking of your lesbianism... Anyone along the way so far ever tell you to keep that quiet?
MS: I've worked with a few people that have said that I should keep it quiet, and I told them HELL NO! Hiding that would be hiding a big part of myself, so I told them if they weren't cool with it, then I wasn't cool with working with them.
CG: Who are some front women in bands that you really admire and why?
MS: Brody from the Distillers, I absolutely love her voice and she's super badass! And of course, Melissa Etheridge is one my influences. Her lyrics, her voice, and the way she's so open about being gay helped me be okay with my sexuality, and being open about it.
CG: As you look to the future as far as your music career goes what are you looking forward to the most?
MS: The things I am looking forward to most are touring, getting our music out there, and having more people know who "Life Down Here" is. I want people to hear our music and be inspired by it, and relate to it. I would love nothing more than to have a line of kids outside the door with our t-shirt on, ready to see us play. Kind of similar to how it was when we opened for Sick of Sarah when the Lady Killer Tour came through LA! -

"The Lady Killer Tour"

Los Angeles rock band Life Down Here opened the 2011 Lady Killer tour's West Hollywood show at the Roxy on September 3rd.
"It was my first time opening on a gay & lesbian tour, but it definitely won't be my last," said Life Down Here singer, 19-year-old Michelle Blanchard. "Sharing a stage with Vanity Theft, Hunter Valentine and Sick of Sarah was an absolute honor and I hope to play with them again."
Playing a short, fun set that definitely got the crowd pumped, the pop-punk quartet brought the kind of energy audiences beg for from an opening act. “For me it's cool because I'm a guitar player and a singer so everyone gets to see me taking the leads rather than just listening to the album on it's own," said Blanchard.
Delivering a combination of fierce vocals and ripping guitar riffs Blanchard is a multi-talented musician who writes all of the band's lyrics. "All of my songs are written about my life - anything from relationships and just being who you are, to mental institutions and suicide."
As an openly gay artist, Blanchard's unapologetic attitude in terms of her sexual preference is empowering, especially for those passing through adolescence. "As it is for any other kid, growing up isn't easy, you get picked on for your hair, the way you talk, the way you dress-- now imagine getting made fun of for all of that and then being gay on top of it," said Blanchard. "I was lucky to have a lot of accepting friends, but it's pretty interesting being one of a handful of lesbians in your school."
Inspired by the door-opening work of Melissa Etheridge, Blanchard admires Etheridge's ability to blur the lines of demarcation on sexuality and in turn create something listeners from all walks of life can connect with. "Melissa Etheridge is definitely one of my idols. The music she writes is usually about a failed relationship or a new interest- but whether you're straight or gay she does it in a way that is relatable for everyone; and, that's what I love most about her," said Blanchard. "Being gay is something to be proud of if you are, it doesn't mean that you are different than anyone else."
Creating the feel-good vibes one expects from punk predecessors like the Bouncing Souls, Life Down Here’s lyrical content is intertwined with a myriad of intensity. One song in particular, "Calling Out," came to life after several devastating suicide cases occurred within Blanchard's group of friends while attending high school in Las Vegas. " I chose to write about it because everyone goes through a rough time and it's not an alien thing to have suicidal feelings-- the "what if I commit suicide, would people care?" said Blanchard. "And yes we care, we care deeply! So that song to me, is directed toward anyone who's having a rough time-- I want to let listeners know its okay to feel pain, it's okay to feel sadness it's natural, but everything's going to be fine and you'll make it through in the end."
The turn out was large for such an early show, and it became clear as the catchy chorus-lines seemed to flow freely from the crowd's lips in sync with the band, that the group was in part responsible. For a young artist, Life Down Here’s recent participation on the Lady Killer tour has helped Blanchard develop a better idea of what she wants in terms of her future in music. "I strive to be as good of performers as they are" said Blanchard humbly. "Opening for them made me realize that I should definitely start opening for other gay rock acts because that's exactly the scene I want and need to be in." - Portia Leigh

"For Life Down Here, this is just "The Beginning""

Michelle and the boys [a.k.a. Eli, Nick, and Jeff] of Life Down Here are one of the hardest working young rock bands in the LA indie scene. If you haven’t heard of them, that’s okay…because you soon will. They recently finished recording their debut album, aptly named “The Beginning,” (release date TBD) which was tracked at the infamous rock mega studio, NRG, by multi-platinum mixer/producer Jay Baumgardner (Papa Roach, Seether, Alien Ant Farm) and mastered by Howie Weinberg (RHCP, Muse, Nirvana). They released the first single off the album, “Seven Letters” free to fans last week as a way to say thanks for over 1500 likes on Facebook (up from a little over 700 this time last month). And every time we turn around these guys (and girl) are playing yet another gig in the LA area and beyond! Check it:

9/22 – The Libertine – Los Angeles

9/24 – Club Babylon – Fresno, CA

9.30 – Shamrocks – Chino Hills, CA

10/5 – The Good Hurt – Los Angeles, CA

10/7 – The Roxy – Los Angeles, CA

To say they are hard workers is an understatement. Between rehearsals, gigs, phone calls, emails, meetings and a tremendously active social media presence, they barely have time to come up for air before diving back in. But it seems that’s exactly the environment and lifestyle they most thrive in, as it should be. And in world where too many artists their age are trying to get “likes” on Facebook before they are trying to play shows, where they spend more time on Twitter than they do rehearsing, and put more energy toward how they look than how they sound, Life Down Here is a much needed exception and a breath of fresh air, both sonically and socially. But that’s not to say they don’t like to have fun interacting with fans on social media, because they do…like their ever-popular “pic of the day” posted on their FB wall, or even their behind the scenes video clips posted on YouTube including one pretty serious studio update that turned quickly into a Sharpie marker fight. Either way, this young, female fronted, rock punk foursome is a force to be reckoned with. Don’t believe us? Go check out one of the shows listed above and see for yourself. - Rockstar Digital

"Interview with Michelle Blanchard of Life Down Here"

When did you first start playing music?

I started off playing the guitar when I was 8, let's be honest when your that young I think everyone wants to play the guitar. haha, but I'd have to say I liked it a little more than most kids. I kinda got a little frustrated with it at first, so when I was about 11 I switched over to the bass for a while, I played the bass for a solid few years. Switched back to guitar when I was about 15ish, and about that time was when I started to write my own music, including lyrics. Of course, I also sing, which is a fairly new thing. I've been singing for about 3 years. I am also learning how to play the drums a bit too :]

Early on, who were your first influences in music?

Growing up, my parents always had the music on. So I listened to Zepplin, Beatles, you know all the classics that everyone listens to. But I'd have to say Melissa Etheridge was a bit influence for me lyrically. Musically, I listened to Metallica, a lot of screamo music growing up, now I just kinda listen to everything!

How do you feel about the state of rock music in the industry?

I think the music industry in general is very very different these days. Not necessarily in a bad way, there are so many different networking outlets out there and so many ways to get your music out in the world, it's crazy! But I think that it's mainly all about the pop and hip hop right now, and I think there needs to be a few damn good rock bands to get out there and make the rock scene come back into play a little more.

Your in the studio now. Whats your favorite part of the process, writing or recording?
All around the whole music process is great. Writing is a great time for you to express what's going on in your life, in the world, it's really just an awesome feeling to write. But the recording process is also so much fun! You get to hang around a studio all day, play, mess around, have fun. This is kinda a hard question because I don't like one verses the other, it's both part of what I love to do :]

It seems that every female fronted band that comes out gets compared to Paramore. What are your thoughts on this?

I do agree that we often get asked "do you guys sound like Paramore," I'd have to say we don't sound identical to Paramore but I mean a lot of people always associate a girl fronted band to Paramore because they made such a good name for themselves you know? We are a heavier and more metallica sounding so I'd have to say it's a little different vibe from paramore that we do, but they are a big influence of mine. They are great :]

Favorite band right now?

That's a toughy. I don't think I can really answer that question without have several bands named. It starts anywhere from Alesana, Tegan and Sara, Paramore, Armor for Sleep, Melissa Etheridge, I mean the list goes on and on. But as you can see from that list I listen to everything from screamo to chill acoustic indie vibes :]

Best moment in your music career so far?

I would have to say I've had some great times. One of my most memorable times was my last birthday. On my 18th birthday last year, we played at the whiskey. It was a great show, had an awesome slot, filled the place up. There's absolutely nothing better than playing a show to celebrate your birthday!
- Beneath The Grid Music


Life Down Here's debut album, "The Beginning" was released on January 6, 2012, featuring their first single, "All That You Are".



Determined to remain authentic at all costs, the Los Angeles based quartet Life Down Here goes against the grade of contemporary female fronted rock-bands with a sarcastic punk attitude and contagious energy that is evident both on and off stage. Categorically pop-punk, LDH consists of 19 year-old lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Michelle Blanchard, Eli Shkurkin (Bass), Jeff Dennis (Guitar) and Nick Adams (Drums).
Formed in early 2011, the group was immediately discovered by super producer Jay Baumgardner (Evanescence, Papa Roach, Drowning Pool) who went on to sign them to his artist services company, ‘NRG Artists.' After spending a significant part of the year in the studio writing songs with industry heavyweights Marcos Curiel (P.O.D) and Jason Evigan (After Midnight Project) among others, Life Down Here is currently focused on promoting their debut album "The Beginning" which is scheduled to drop January 6, 2012. Produced and mixed by Baumgardner at NRG Recording in North Hollywood, CA, the 11 song album, delivers a pop-punk feel with a hardcore edge, and includes a heartfelt tribute to her father, who was a great supporter of her music career.
Initially based in Las Vegas, Michelle's love affair with music began after receiving her first guitar at age eight, a miniature Jackson Surfcaster with lipstick pick-ups. She began writing music soon after in order to better learn riffs and chord progressions. By age 13 however, what began as a means to an end became an outlet for life's challenges as well as a place for her creative expression to flourish.
Michelle made a seemingly suitable move for a future rock-star and dropped out of high school at age 16. Leaving the general indecision that torments the teenage years behind, while other kids killed time gossiping on their lunch breaks she chose to finish the remainder of her education at home where she could focus on cultivating her music skills. Michelle's heart was set on writing music and playing guitar from the get-go, it wasn't until after she left school that she realized she wanted to sing her lyrics rather than write them for someone else. Michelle moved to Los Angeles where she met Life Down Here bass player and fellow songwriter Eli Shkurkin at a local rock show. After hearing their demo, Jeff Dennis (Guitar) and Nick Adams (Drums) joined the duo and solidified LDH's line-up.
Most of their current lyrics are about the love and loss of past relationships, as well as a short-stint in a mental institution which is the basis for one of the songs off the album titled "Running From Disaster." Having survived similar struggles, Life Down Here is an active supporter of the organization "To Write Love On Her Arms," a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those struggling with depression, cutting, suicide and addiction. As driven, talented and captivating young musicians with an uncompromising will, Life Down Here are well on their way to being rock-stars.