Kayla Dixon Of Witch Mountain on Lyrics, Theater and the Importance Of Live Music
Kayla Dixon of Witch Mountain may not be into going whoring, but she can write some top notch lyrics. Fresh off her premier release with the Portland doom outfit, she graced the stage at Psycho Las Vegas with an absolutely stunning performance. She is a woman who has been through quite a lot in her twenty-one years, and it was a pleasure to get to pick her brain and find out more about the mind behind one of doom’s most prominent modern forces.
How are you today?
I’m good! I’m pretty tired. We just got here maybe an hour ago. Yob was good, I caught the last song which was cool.
How are you liking Vegas?
We were here before and we played the Danzig and Rob Zombie show here and I didn’t get a chance to see or do much because it was the end of the tour and I was tired but now I’m here for a couple of days so we will see what happens.
So are you planning on going whoring?
(Laughter) I don’t think I will be doing any of that.
You obviously had a lot of turmoil in your family history – to what extent does that impact your music?
I try to not let it take over my entire life. I like to write about what’s going on in my life. So if I’m having a time where I’m reflecting on those things I will definitely write about it but it’s not like every song is about my dad. The song “Burn You Down” I would say definitely has a lot to do with my family life, but I also want people to have their own interpretations. I think the lyrics turned out in a way that people can do that. It’s personal but in a very emotional way.
What was that experience like writing lyrics for Witch Mountain?
It felt natural. We played so many shows before we started writing it just felt natural. Rob and I have been throwing ideas back and forth before we settled on writing this one. I keep a book of lyrics, I write lyrics every day. I will come up with a melody and record it on my phone or whatever. That’s what happened with this new single. I had a melody stuck in my head that I recorded on my phone. I’m always writing, that’s the thing. It’s always natural.
As an outsider looking in, what defines what Witch Mountain lyrics should be like?
I don’t think they should be like anything. They can be whatever I want them to be I guess. I am an actor too so I love telling stories through song. I haven’t had a chance to really do that yet, I like personal stuff too. To say that it should be a certain way would take away from it. I just want it to be natural.
Maybe a better question is – how does your lyric writing style differ from Uta’s?
I don’t know yet. I was in one band before Witch Mountain, Demons Within, and I didn’t write any lyrics. This is my first time writing lyrics for a band. Like I said, I’m always writing and always have stuff, but for Witch Mountain I’m not sure how it differs. I guess we will have to see.
What extent does your career as an actor impact your music, outside of the storytelling?
I would be lying if I said I thought about that at all while I was writing songs. It’s not like I’m sitting there thinking “Oh this line would look good if I performed it on stage in this way.” But naturally because I’m an actor; whatever I write I’m going to perform the way I know how to perform. I will do what feels natural. I sometimes don’t feel like I’m performing up there. Some shows I’ll like black out – I won’t even know what’s going on. I will just see scratches and bruises. I sort of go crazy onstage!
If you can have that sort of cathartic experience, why does Witch Mountain’s music resonate with you?
The bluesy vocals were the first thing that pulled me in. That’s what I’m used to singing. I’ve been in and out of voice lessons since I was five. I started out in musical theater and then I moved to jazz and rock and now I’m in a metal band. I’m still doing musical theater though. I was in a jazz band for a while in like the 7th grade. That’s the sound my voice wants to go to – that jazzy bluesy mixture. Ella Fitzgerald is one of my biggest vocal inspirations.
By extension – what do you love so much about music?
That’s a broad question. I would say that my favorite thing is the cathartic experience you get from it, either being in the audience or onstage. It’s people’s therapy. It’s very healing for people. My whole thing is like every show that we do I make sure to be 100% on top of my game. You never know who out there in the audience needs to hear what you have to say. I will go to a show and people will tell me how much they needed that. I always feel like people should walk away from a show looking at their own lives or feeling inspired. Going to a show should change you in some way. If you go to a show and don’t take anything way from it, it’s kind of a waste of time.