Jamie Madrox: “There are two parts to horror, the piece that lives inside of you and surroundings around you”

I will say this though, through creating and releasing music, we’ve received so many emails from fans about the impact it’s made in their lives. They share their darkest moments with us, in fact, some people write us from the hardest day of their life. They often share, that certain songs saved them in that […]

Thrive Global invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive Global or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

I will say this though, through creating and releasing music, we’ve received so many emails from fans about the impact it’s made in their lives. They share their darkest moments with us, in fact, some people write us from the hardest day of their life. They often share, that certain songs saved them in that day. That’s a lot of weight to carry sometimes, to speak to the trials and tribulations of life.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jamie Madrox of TWIZTID.

For over two decades, TWIZTID has sold over a million records, traveling globe, performing on some of the biggest stages in the world. This alternative rap duo from Detroit, Michigan just released their 15th full length, entitled Mad Season. Outside of performing, the duo created Astronomicon, a pop culture convention going into the fourth year. In addition, the duo has a comic series called Haunted High On’s, which is currently in development for a series through NightSky Productions, the company responsible for Amazon Prime’s The Boys. I had the pleasure of speaking with Jamie Madrox.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I can remember being ten. I was so star struck by KISS. The music was powerful, but looking back now, I think it was the imagery, the visuals and special effects they excelled in at the time. They always had a poster you wanted on your wall.

Plus, they were the masters of crossing over to different mediums outside of just the music. They had a comic book through Marvel. They made the connections in fans minds and built the narrative of being their own universe of superheroes.

They always painted their faces, they performed with severe confidence, and their look and image, was all about the art.

In hindsight, they were an extension of horror movies, essentially their music and look, was a virtual movie in your mind.

When we started, make up wasn’t part of our live performance. Sure we had hoodies that covered our faces, but as we quickly evolved in the beginning of our careers, we started to wear make up and baby powder, because we wanted it to be about our sound, not the way we looked. We wanted the imagery of the characters we became on stage to amplify the sound — in the fans mind, through listening and watching to ignite their imagination.

Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your music career?

We’ve been performing for over two decades, there are so many moments I couldn’t believe we’re my reality in the time it was happening.

The story that comes to me when I read this question was joining the Van’s WARPED Tour in 2014. Kevin Lymnan, the founder of WARPED Tour, wasn’t just a pioneer in the festival style tours focused on the monetary gains, he truly respected the craft of artists, and more important he supported them through his innovative business model.

The WARPED Tour was a community, not a competition amongst artists. Bands grew together and supported each other in promotion and artistic creation.

For example, Senses Fail, this American hardcore rock band from New Jersey, called us on out Twitter before an upcoming date at the WARPED Tour, challenging us to a 90’s Rock Battle. Joining them on stage to perform these iconic hits by Rage Against Machine, System of a Down, and other songs was powerful and so memorable.

If we were part of the WARPED TOUR earlier in our career, I feel like we would’ve been much more successful earlier on.

We didn’t experience this kind of collectiveness before. This experience really showed the power of an army of creatives, not just being an artist.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

On April 20th, we released our 15th full length EP called Mad Season. We released this album in the middle of a quarantine. What does that mean to professionals not in this industry? We didn’t have the solid formula that generally involves months of pre-promotions and the usual resources like professional photographers and production teams in place. We don’t have the option to tour performing live to continue to nurture the record.

So, we took into our own hands. My partner, Paul Methric, known as Monoxide to fans, shot the cover of the album and the video for our first single release, “Off with They Heads,” completely on our cell phones in the confines of our own home.

To put this in perspective, when we embarked on our career, we didn’t have cell phones that were so advanced and to be candid, we’ve always had labels and professionals around us.

The results have been phenomenal. We have such a solid and loyal fan base, sales the first day trended just like the releases before.

Also, back in February, we announced a development deal with NightSky Productions, the company behind the Amazon Prime hit, “The Boys,” for our comic book series, “Haunted High-On’s.” Being such an avid comic fanatic my entire life, I never knew a possibility like this could exist.

Finally, three years ago we created a pop culture convention called, Astronomicon. Within three years we’ve attracted top talent including WWE Superstar, Alexa Bliss and 80’s Brat Packer, Anthony Michael Hall. Fans are coming from all over the globe now and we continue to see at least a 35% upswing in attendance every year.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

I am a super horror movie, comic and pop culture collector. When we started Astronomicon, there were times I was intimidated to meet some of the stars that would show up, because I was so enamored with them growing up. Think about it, I would work as a teenager, just to pay for the new comic book coming out or to pay for a ticket to the new Halloween movie.

So, here I am as an adult meeting and really getting to know the comic and horror icons. For example, I got to meet Robert Englund, the actor who played Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. He was incredible, we could’ve talked for hours. We became friends. He still sends us Christmas Cards.

There was another time I finally had the chance to meet Ace Frehley, the lead guitarist of KISS. As you can imagine, I was so excited. I wish I could share that it was an opportunity of a lifetime, but it wasn’t at all. Frehley appeared to be so disinterested with the world around him and that spoke volumes to me. As I mentioned earlier, KISS was the catapult to my career, they were such a motivating factor, and looking back to a shell of a person who was such a legend in my mind was devastating.

The most interesting person I worked with though was the late Sid Haig. Haig was best known for his role as Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie’s movie franchise, but back in the 70s and 80s, he worked on shows like Charlie’s Angel, Fantasy Island, The Dukes of Hazzard, The A-Team, and the list goes on. We hired Haig to act and help write two of our videos, “Sick Man,” and “A Place in the Woods.” He was a master mind. The videos were a caliber of an Independent movie.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

Hands down, John Carpenter, the creator, producer and composer of the Halloween franchise. Carpenter created these iconic characters throughout horror history, but more important, he had a vision and he didn’t let studios and consultants predict his path. The production of the first Halloween was a risk, but that didn’t deter him from demanding the best and most from actors and production partners. He never sold himself short.

As an artist, vulnerability and the fear of feeling accepted by fans can cloud your vision. There are professionals who are terrified of new and something never been done, but you need to persevere when you know in your heart of hearts that it’s right direction.

Carpenter built a legacy that generations still find common ground through his movies and characters. I’d love to talk to him about his process, the moments in his career he knew were risks but still persevered and what was the inspiration that brought these iconic characters to life.

He’s always said, “There are two parts to horror, the piece that lives inside of you and surroundings around you.”

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

This is hard to answer because we’re proud of staying in the shadows. Sure, we do events that benefit local food banks, animal charities and Veterans associations, but we don’t like to publicize it. We want to do what we can do, but not for accolades, It’s about doing the right thing when we can, not looking for the pat on the back.

I will say this though, through creating and releasing music, we’ve received so many emails from fans about the impact it’s made in their lives. They share their darkest moments with us, in fact, some people write us from the hardest day of their life. They often share, that certain songs saved them in that day. That’s a lot of weight to carry sometimes, to speak to the trials and tribulations of life.

We write songs from our own experiences and intentions, but the fact that people can interpret them as a way to help them through moments in life is the biggest reward of creating.

On many occasions, we take the time to respond in detail to these people that share their stories with us. The fact, they took the time to share these moments it’s important to us that they’re heard.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I know we’re talking about the future, but I think our Pop Culture Convention, is an event we want to continue to turn into a movement. For years, we did meet and greets and signings at conventions of all sizes. As a fan, I love going to all of them, but as they evolved so did the investment fans had to make.

Astronomicon is already an event based on community and celebration, but we want to continue to grow this event into more of an experience that is appealing to people of all ages, races and fandomonium. We want families to come together to see their favorite childhood stars, while keeping a family atmosphere. We want fans to enjoy a weekend away, where they can meet new people and have a series of events to let loose and have a good time.

We always say Astronomicon was built by real fans for fans. We want everyone to afford and look forward to an annual experience.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Don’t be in your craft 24/7. It drives me crazy when you hear peers say, “You have to do this 24/7,” or “You have to hustle harder.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone needs a break from creating in order for the best work to come to the surface. We’re artists, we can’t just create on demand, and honestly, how authentic would be the final result be. Art comes from living, experiences, the people you meet and interact with, and your imagination. Your imagination gets buried if you’re constantly chasing, not living.

Speak up, you need to be heard. Partnerships and professional relationships are built on honesty and consistent feedback. Always, saying “YES” or agreeing will get you nowhere. This digital world we live in is a great example of voices speaking in agreement not using their own voices or having original thoughts. People are constantly looking for approval and acceptance. Life isn’t built on accolades, there has to be a balance between compliment and criticism if any of us want to grow. An artist’s success is built on fans, but listen to praise and the haters. Just make sure you know to put the hang ups that don’t fit you’re narrative or goals in the closet, don’t let them live at the forefront of your mind.

You need healthy distractions. For me, its collecting toys, comics and movies. I enjoy dusting my toys, re-bagging and alphabetizing my comics, looking on-line to see values, watching for new releases, and visiting a piece of my childhood through tending to my collections.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Believe in yourself, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing then find a new avenue — If you can’t believe in yourself how can anyone else?
  2. Be about it, don’t just talk about it — Words mean nothing, if others aren’t seeing and experiencing the actions to get to the destination. As the old adage goes, “Talk is Cheap.”
  3. Always have a lawyer review business documents — When you start a partnership with someone new, or in my case with a company I worked with for a decade, a verbal agreement doesn’t stand up in the end. Interpretation of words in a private conversation generally don’t translate well in a business arrangement. Be safe, not sorry. Business is business.
  4. Don’t just say “No” to an invitation to create, figure it out or find a professional who can help you — We get lazy or fearful of the unknown, but we live in this world where we have this beautiful tool called “The Internet.” Use it to figure out how to make something happen, or use it to find the person that can make it happen.
  5. Have every role in your company at some point throughout the building process — If your going to build something, know how the process goes, know the time it takes for tasks to be completed, know what you will realistically expect of others. Even when you transition into a complete executive role, you still have to know if what you’re asking a person to do can be done effectively and efficient. I’ve watched so many companies crumble because they put trust in individuals who just weren’t qualified for the positions or have over-extending expectations, that would just set the mission up for total failure.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

I thought long and hard about this one, because there are so many legends that aren’t with us anymore. I think having a meal with John Carpenter would be incredible. I’d love to know pick his brain and understand how simplified writing a script can be. I’ve watched so many videos on other writers who’ve complicated the process, however from the research I’ve done on Carpenter, he talks about the simplicity of writing the script.

How can our readers follow you on social media?




Thank you for these great insights. This was very inspiring!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


All-4-One: “You can’t help everybody”

by Edward Sylvan

Social Impact Heroes: Sopranos Star Jamie-Lynn Sigler opens up about her struggles with MS in order to provide support to others with similar struggles

by Yitzi Weiner

Chinasa Broxton: “Take risks”

by Phil La Duke
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.