One-Eyed Doll Interview

What do you get when you take two musicians from different parts of the Pacific Northwest and put them in Austin? You get One Eyed Doll. I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the band To find out a little bit more about them and their music.
What do you get when you take two musicians from different parts of the Pacific Northwest and put them in Austin? You get One-Eyed Doll. I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the band To find out a little bit more about them and their music. R to L Jason Rufuss Sewell:aka Junior,Kimberly Freeman

One-Eyed Doll photos

CFM: So how has the summer tour been going?

Jason: We’re pretty much always on tour as it were. We just always try to pick up shows wherever we can. A lot of time we will Pivot off of Amine conventions. We’ll book an Anime convention and then we will book shows on our way to and from the convention.

In April we did kind of a U.S. Tour We went from City to City and we played every night for five weeks in a different city. It was like a real tour ya know. And what we are doing now is we are focusing on Anime conventions because we have the whole AdventureQuest thing going. In general we also just do really well at Anime conventions

CFM: How did you start getting involved with the Cons?

Jason: Kimberly is just like a walking cartoon, so we tend to attract people who are part of that scene anyway. I think a lot of the fans are always asking us “are you gonna be at DragonCon?” Plus we ask our fans “Where would you like to see us play?” and our fans will say they wanna see us at these anime conventions. She just attracts those kinds of fans of animation and video games. Then once we did that and the kids are REALLY Into it so it makes it rewarding to play those conventions.

CFM:How did you guys get into the video game deal, did they approach you after a show?

Jason: Well Kimberly is kind of a walking video game character anyway; she is kind of a cartoon character. So One-Eyed Doll played at DragonCon last year 2009 and as a result got a lot of attention from that group of people and we had also played at MetroCon in Tampa. From those two conventions we made a lot of connections in that world and one of them was AdventureQuest or Artix Entertainment. They just invited us to be characters in the game and we accepted and we did some music tracks and let them use them in the game. This last event, The Friday the 13th event, we made an original song. The Call in the Game is “Battle on”, when you see somebody in the game you greet them with “Battle On”. When they are about to start a battle everybody says “Battle on”. SO we made a song and it’s super cool and now it is their theme song

CFM: Is that one of the ways that you keep on keeping an all age’s audience?

Jason: I would say that we particularly stay “kid friendly”. But if you are the type of parent who is open-minded, which a lot of our fans are.  Sometimes the subject matter can be a little bit strong, but Kimberly doesn’t swear or use bad language at all in real life. So there isn’t a lot of bad language involved, and there is really colorful imagery. There is a lot of talk about death and suicide and abuse and other very strong topics, but they are the kinds of things that if you have good parenting you can expose your kids to.  There are a lot of metaphors and good morals to the stories that our songs tell. Very good spirited even if you are talking about a dark topic.  Topics like abuse and suicide they effect 12 and 13 year old kids and it makes them feel good to know that there are people out there who can talk about that and relate.

CFM: Do you have a preference when it comes to the venues that you guys play? Do you prefer the bar shows over the anime conventions or vice versa?

Kimberly: They are both so cool in their own ways. I can say that the bars get to be a bit because of all the smoke and not being able to play for kids. I love the Anime conventions. But we ARE a dirty rock band (laughs) so we’re always gonna be lovin’ the dives. I love it all I want it all, so I wanna be able to play all ages huge venues like the anime conventions. Be able to do some video game stuff, and then also play at Headhunters on a Wednesday and pack the house. I love it all!

Jason: We enjoy playing these types of events because we get the chance to hang out with everybody after the show. If we were an overnight blow up and started playing areas then I would probably miss this and being able to hang out at the show with whoever happens to be there.

CFM: How did the band come together?

Jason: Back in 2005 we had both just moved to Austin. She had moved here from Eugene, OR and I had moved here from Sacramento, CA. I started recording for some of the local bands and started checking out what was going on in the area. She was in a band called Ghetto Princesses at the time. I checked out their MySpace Page and I thought “Whoa this is the coolest band in Austin right now I’ve gotta go check them out!”. SO I went and watched them and it was Kimberly and a drummer. The drummer at the time was really good really awesome and I was totally into her stage presence and everything. I really wanted them to be my showcase I wanted to record this band and they will be my introduction to Austin. I will have bands from Austin that I have recorded. But they didn’t have any money, the drummer was a painter so I had him come over and paint my house and I’ll record your album. So we started recording Hole which turned out to be the first One-Eyed Doll album. So there have been a few drummer changes but since then I have recorded all the One-Eyed Doll albums and the Kimberly Freeman Album. There have been five albums in total. And we are working on four more and we have almost completed 4 MORE ALBUMS. There will be a new One-Eye Doll album coming out January 1st, 2011 and a new Kimberly Freeman Dance album that will be coming out very soon too. That will really showcase that new wave kind of sound and do some things that we just can’t do with One-Eyed Doll. Which is what we call the Kimberly Freeman Project as a solo album is a really good outlet for that. We don’t have to play it live we can do whatever we want and put it on that.

CFM: Does Kimberly Having a solo Project effect the band dynamic?

Jason: It’s just me and Kimberly No matter what (laugh). SO. Like on the Kimberly Freeman Album “Sleep” she played guitar and did vocals and I played everything else, guitar, bass, some drums, keyboards, pianos and set up some orchestral arrangements. It was originally just going to be an acoustic album. Then I just kind of jumped in and started adding all of this ambiance and production, so it is the same stuff.  Really the albums have really just been me and Kim anyway too because you might have a drummer who is there for one day and records their part and then leave (laughs), Then me and Kim are there working on production for the next 3-4 months. So I feel like I have been in the band the entire time just before I was on the production end behind the scenes and now I am in the live production of it. So the solo albums, to answer your question, they are the same for me it’s just a different brand for that music. It’s definitely not One-Eyed Doll, anything that isn’t One-Eyed Doll is the Kimberly freeman project.

CFM: As Far as the shows and it’s just pretty much you and Kimberly

Jason: We have various other musicians who will do guest appearances with us occasionally and we like to be open minded about that. Our friends sit in sometimes, but the core of the band is me and Kimberly. For the past few months we have had my friend John playing bass with us. He just came out from California for a few months. Which is cool he’s one of my best friends. I have been in bands with him for many years and if we do a big tour we may invite him back to come play bass with us. We’re also working on a Blue Grass album and John also plays banjo so he may come out with us when we tour for that.

CFM: When you are doing the Cons and other live shows and you have guest musicians are the shows planned far enough in advance to be sure that you have a fill in?

Jason: We don’t plan we improvise. For example, if I break my leg Kimberly will do the show with an acoustic guitar. If it’s just me and her then it’s me and her. If we decided we want to play with somebody else we play with somebody else for a couple of shows. I don’t think we have ever put a huge amount of thought into it.

Kimberly’s entire career has been run by doing things off the cuff. Just show up and play. We use what we’ve got; we record with what we’ve got. If we’re in a hotel room and we wanna record a song and all we have is a laptop we make the song. If she wants to record the song on her phone she records the song on her phone. I think that we can do that because she is such a great performer. She will entertain the crowd no matter what. If we’re a 2 piece a 2 piece or just her with an acoustic guitar. I have faith in her and that people will be interested in what she is doing and she is going to put on a show and perform.

A lot of bands are like “I have to have my Phaser petal and the battery in my Phaser petal died so the show is going to be terrible we can’t play”.I’m not saying that is a bad thing If that’s part of your show, lots of bands have backing tracks and drum machines and that is an important element of their show. For One Eyed Doll it is all about Kimberly and her voice. For example, we were doing a show in New Orleans and the power went out right in the middle of our show. Power was out on the entire block. Normally you would just think that power is out everybody is gonna go home. Well what happened was that the crowd lit lighters and cell phones and held them in the air and Kimberly did two more songs a cappella. No guitar, no drums and just sang two more songs it was beautiful people were crying. I think that is the main morale to this story we’re not dependent on the gear Kimberly will be putting on a performance no matter what.

CFM: What made you guys choose Austin?

Jason: Sacramento isn’t a big Music Town and I wanted to be able to set up my studio in a place with tons of bands. And there are Tons in Austin.  Me and My Girlfriend at the time drove around the entire country basically looking for where I wanna move. I made some money off some real estate in California. Sold my house and I was gonna buy another house somewhere else and set up a studio. And we drove all over we went to pretty much everywhere and Austin pretty much, We showed up on a Tuesday night and the streets were blocked off and there were people partying in the street and there were bands playing everywhere. No other place in the country had that kind of music scene from what we could tell. In Austin the music is all in one place and the government supports the music being there, they brag about Austin being the live music capital of the world and it means something to them. And I just really appreciated that and I have enjoyed living in Austin and working with the musicians there. I think Austin will be our home base no matter what. We might go out and tour and spend a couple months in New York but we’ll always come back to Austin.

Kimberly: Well I sort of accidentally ended up here on my first Punk Rock tour. I was living in Eugene, OR and I was pretty much already homeless. So I convinced the rest of my original Band to throw away all of their belongings and join me on the road and live with me in my van on the road. So the four of us took off, kind of blindly. I was borrowing phones and using library internet café’s to book our shows. I would book us as far as I could around the country (laughs) blindly calling bars. Started out in Eugene, Oregon and got as far as Havasu, Arizona. My Drummer (4 drummers ago), was a bit of a thrill seeker so he just had to go to Suicide cliff so he could jump off if it into the water. It was late August and the Water was low it was hot 120 degrees out that day. I asked him Please don’t do it. He did it. His head didn’t come right back up out of the water, and then it kind of did but he wasn’t making and sound so I jumped in too. I don’t know how high it was. I ended up getting pretty hurt but I was able to drag him to shore and that ended the tour. I was injured, but he had broken his sternum in half and he had his reasons why he didn’t want to go to the hospital. So we got some ace bandages and some pain pills and we put him into the back of the van. We had kind of decided early on that if anything happened we would find Austin, Texas because it was this musical Mecca, and that was the default. I somehow played acoustic shows to get us gas money all the way down there and our transmission broke.  I can hardly breathe because I have cracked ribs my spine is all messed up and I had horrible welts from my legs and they were all swollen up I have stretch marks from all the swelling. So here I am playing these acoustic shows at these metal bars where we were booked and 90% of the time they hated me. And we got to Austin and kind of settled there. Since them all of the original members have left the bad and we have been truckin ever since.

CFM: What were your musical influences?

Jason: Personally one of my earliest influences was KISS. It’s really cool coming into this band and being able to put make-up on and dress up. I feel like because I grew up being into KISS I really appreciate the performance aspect and the showman ship and the. That is what really drew me to Kimberly because she is all into the performance side of it too. That was when I was like 4. When I was 4 years old I was Peter Criss from KISS for Halloween. So literally from that age that that was what I was into. The in the early 80’s I was into the New wave sound Duran Duran and that sort of thing. That influenced my production style as well. I produced all the OED albums as well and you will hear a little bit of new wave keyboard synthy stuff which is really popular right now too so we are kind of adding a little bit of that into it and I really love that kind of synth-pop sound added into the synth-punk thing.  When I got around 12 or 13 I started getting in to Iron Maiden, Slayer, Metallica and thrash bands that influenced my drumming a lot. I played drums from the time I was 4 until I was about 15 and then I switched to guitar and I have been playing guitar ever since then. When I joined OED Kimberly asked me to play Drums and I was like “WHOA that is kind of weird” since I had been playing guitar all this time. But we just jammin’ in the garage while we were waiting to record an album and it just kind of clicked. In this band I can play all of those Metallica and Slayer type drum beats and it is like “Wow it’s perfect for this band” Those were my main influences. A lot of Kimberly’s One Eyed Doll stuff comes from influences like the Vandals, punk band the Lunachicks.  A lot of her Vocal styling I think comes from People like Dolly Pardon and country music that she listened to as a kid. You’ll hear if you listen that kind of vocal vibrato and the little yodely things that she does, that’s what I pick up on from her.

Kimberly: Well first and foremost the first saw I ever saw as a small girl was my Grandpa Bernie Jones. It was at a Party in L.A. and there were people drinking and hangin’ out and somebody announced “Oh Bernie is gonna do something!”  And everybody cleared out around him and he had this hat that he put on and he became this character. He did a slapstick routine and played a bunch of instruments he even had some sort of Nordic accent thing. And that sort of stuck with me for the rest of my life. When I started playing a lot of that was coming out in me and most of my musical influence came from Bernie. When I first got into music I had just gotten back from China I spent time there for a while. The first thing I did was I went to L.A. and I went to Bernie and I said “I think I wanna be a Musician like you. I wanna be a singer” and he said “Ok Kid sing me a song. Show me what ya got” so right there I sang him a song (I was scared to death since he was my performance idol). I song a New Orleans a cappella song he said ”Alright Kid ya got it! You’ve got a voice you’ve got a good song, you did write than song. Now you need to learn to play an instrument a guitar a piano something” at the time I thought I was too old to learn to play an instrument so I told him I didn’t wanna do that I would maybe use a backup band. I was Very Naive.  Bernie told me “No Kimberly you need to learn to play an instrument that you can pick up and take with you. You can never count on anybody else, especially not musicians” I said “yes sir” and to make a long story short he gave me his old Gibson guitar that he used when he was young. I fixed it up and learned how to play it I thought I would be a folk singer. There is also some Jpop influence and old honky tonkers like Patsy Cline Hank Williams.

CFM: Have you ever thought about doing your own cartoon?

Kimberly: Totally, that would be awesome. Funny thing I was talking to my mom on the phone and she said “Kimberly you need your own cartoon show” I was like “YEAH”. There has been a comic book. An Art student from Dallas did a One Eyed Doll Comic; there is only one or two of those. The guy who does our cover art, Hunter Carnelian, Has been throwing around some ideas about a One eyed Doll comic. He has drawn us into some cameos for some of the work he has done. So I definitely think that is something that is in our future. All of my crazy stories, nobody knows what is true and what’s not I kind of like it that way.

Jason: I think if somebody offered to produce a TV show for us that might be nice. I think that being part of AdventureQuest makes us a part of that video game and a lot of the kids will invite us back to their house to play video games. And we will get to their video game house and they will have my drum set up in the corner. So I feel like we are part of that world and we’re open minded and we don’t like to think too far in advance. If an opportunity arises and we feel good about it we’ll just take it and go.

CFM: Can you elaborate more on what happened on the way to Dallas when you helped the truck driver whose Rig was on fire?

Jason: We were going from Abilene to Dallas, and we’re just kind of curious. We’re driving around and we see stuff all the time and we’ve gotta go check it out.  If there is a weird box on the side of the road, me and Kim will have to pull over and check it out. It might be a bomb or it might be like $10,000 who knows. So we just wanted to see what all the fire was.  I don’t wanna spoil the story so watch the video and check it out   “Sometimes People Just Do The Right Thing” We let him use our phone to call his wife.

Kimberly: We just happened to be there, the guy had gotten himself out of the truck he was just standing there watching it this thing happen. Before I got into music I was all about volunteer work, I was with the Red Cross, I was at 9/11 and I use to help with fires all the time. But I was super trained to watch for when people might go into shock or when they are injured and didn’t know it, just very mothering. So we just grabbed him and sat him down in our truck and gave him some water. I tried to get a policeman to help him “We asked, could you just turn on the A/C and let him sit in your car?” We just weren’t really sure if he was comfortable with us. The officer said no because he was low on gas. SO we just stayed with him and talked with him made sure he was alright and didn’t go into shock or suddenly feel paid anywhere. He was shooing away the ambulance.  We all know how expensive an Ambulance is here in the U.S.

When we saw the smoke we thought it was an oil Derek had exploded. We didn’t think anybody was in trouble we just thought it was oil country. Then we found it and the we were “oh, oh geese there was this guy who was in a wreck, ya know what are you supposed to do, whatever you can”

CFM: Do you think you will always keep your personal connection to your fans?

Jason: You can always e-mail us at and we will probably answer. People will preface their e-mail with “I know you probably won’t get to read this” and I’ll respond like “hey bro I’m right here I’m reading it don’t worry. How’s everything going?”

It only takes a few minutes and Me and Kimberly both really enjoy talking with our fans. If Bands don’t enjoy it that’s cool and a lot of bands would rather live their lives doing other thing. But the reason Kimberly and I do it is because we get to interact with the fans.

Kimberly: Oh yeah, that is my favorite thing. It is very dear to me corresponding with fans as long as they are patient enough. There are only 2 of us (laughing).

CFM: 2 of you against the world (laughing)

Kimberly: (laughing) Yeah against, We’ll get all of you Aggrrr Crush you one by one

Jason: That was our first AdvertureQuest

Kimberly: Oh yeah we were the bad guys

Jason: We were the bad guys we had to fight 30,000 kids

Kimberly: They won

Jason: They won though actually

Kimberly: Yeah they defeated us. I was the Chaos Lord

CFM: Wow they defeated the Chaos Lord how does that work

Kimberly: Well it was 30,000 to 1 so it wasn’t really fair

Jason: She put up a really good fight for about 20 minutes

CFM: Now with the AdventureQuest games are they short games or are they things that are ongoing?

Jason: They are pretty long the one of Friday was like 4 hours.

CFM: So these are pretty instantaneous?

Kimberly: Yeah they all flood the servers at once, they break the servers they have to fix them (Laughing). And then the event starts and everybody get to do it all at once and then they let it continue on for a week or so. So that the millions of kids who couldn’t get into the server get a chance. It’s insanity but its fun.

CFM: So the kids just log into the website and pay a fee to play?

Kimberly: Yeah They actually don’t have to pay to play. You can pay for extra privileges.

Jason: Armor, weapons

Kimberly: But it’s basically Donate to play just like our albums. That was part of the connection we have with the Artix Entertainment people. They have the same type of mentality, if you can’t afford something we’re not going to keep you from playing. That way everybody can enjoy it. That is the same with us, People will donate money to download our albums and sometimes a weird dollar amount will come in like $3.29. And you know that is probably from some third world country, you know for them they paid as much as they could afford and the conversion caused it to be some weird amount. Then other times we will get $50 for an album download. And the artist entertainment people survive really well off of allowing people to pay if they want to. It a lot different than most of the games out there and they are just really loving people.  They are smart they can pull in different types of people by doing the celebrity appearance kind of things. They had George Lo the guy who does Space Ghost and some other Adult swim stuff.  That’s what I wanna do is expose our fans to these really cool companies and Artists since I feel they are doing something cool.

Author: Katarina

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