Just moments ago, singer-songwriter and guitarist Electra Mustaine released her brand-new single, “Evergreen,” a song about doing it your way.
Since Electra’s father is Dave Mustaine, frontman of Megadeth, you’d automatically assume she would become a musician/singer. But Electra is Electra and pretty much a force of nature, so she traveled her own route, starting out in musical theater.
Later, she covered Megadeth’s “I Thought I Knew It All,” infusing the muscular hard rock song with country-pop textures. She followed with “Life Is Good,” another country-pop tune.
“Evergreen” has Electra shifting to potent pop flavors, demonstrating her gift for owning any genre she tackles. What sets her voice apart is its unique raspy edge, a wickedly alluring serrated tone, unlike anyone else.
Guitar Girl Magazine spoke with Electra Mustaine to discover more about the person behind the music, what kind of guitar she plays, and her songwriting process.
What three things can’t you live without?
Well, music is too obvious so I’ll say matcha, my dogs Romeo & Gunnar, and traveling—I’m a pretty explorative person, and meeting new people and cultures really gives me life.
What’s your songwriting process? Melody first, or lyrics?
Melody for sure. Sometimes I get lucky and it’s both. Most of my ideas actually come when I’m driving, so I’ll put my voice recorder on and head straight to the piano when I get home. Lyrics on the other hand, honestly, don’t happen easily. For me, words can be very hard to find because I want all my songs as honest and genuine as possible. Sometimes the truth is ugly or weird or intimidating to talk about…and we all want to but maybe don’t know how. So, I’ll call a friend to come vibe with me and finish it… and just having someone else in the room to bounce off of helps force me to spit it out! Lol.
What do you hope your fans/listeners take away with them when they listen to your music?
I just want to connect with them and if you like my music then we probably have a lot in common, fans/friends whatever you wanna call them; it makes me happy that I can tell someone else’s story through my own. If Covid taught me anything it’s that we can’t survive without human connection. So, as unique as each of us are, there’s still this underlying commonality we all share and music is one of the best ways to do that no matter where you’re from or what language you speak.
What is your definition of tone? Has your tone changed over time?
Ooh, tone is like the fingerprint of an artist to me. My tone changed once I started leaning into it and embracing it. I had a few vocal coaches try to subtly train it out of me. Funny enough, an otolaryngologist actually sent me to vocal therapy to change the way I spoke permanently, which took away any drop of texture I had. They’d have had me sounding like a robotic Disney princess lol. I never went back!
What kind of guitar do you play? And why?
I love my black Epiphone MKH Les Paul. The action is super low. It plays like butter. But especially because it was a gift from my father when I started really learning. He might have been hoping to inspire me to keep going because he opened this dusty ole’ case in the basement up and it was the sleekest most beautiful thing I’d seen. We had Flying V’s all over the house growing up. But never a Les Paul, so this was especially cool for me because it felt like ‘my own!’
Do you use any special recording techniques in the studio?
Many! Many of which I’ll leave a mystery… but, the prep leading up is like a ceremony that starts like 24 hours in advance. But I swear by my tea, and I hate warming up right before I track. I try to rest my voice for at least an hour after I warm up, so I can get my rasp back and warm back down to hit that lower end. I always stay and comp with my producer and for some reason, I always take my shoes off when I track, lol maybe it’s sacred ground??
How did you get started in music? What’s the backstory there?
Music was everywhere around me from the musical family I grew up in. But, I really wanted to be my own person from an early age, so I fought that part of my DNA and thought I’d so something else like acting… but my mom swears I’d sing myself to sleep every night. So I tried out for this musical theater in the tiny town I grew up in. Mind you, I was like 6 years old, but I really wanted to get the lead role so I thought the way to do that was the be the best singer, not even considering that you can’t be a 6-year-old Cinderella kissing a 16-year-old prince charming but hey, it made me take singing lessons and it was my very first vocal instructor who got me to eventually play a cover set at my local state fair. And that moment was where it all began. I put together a band, learned songs, finally flew to Nashville to write my own, and ended up leaving school to move there and write songs full time.
Which musicians/vocalists influenced you the most?
Madonna, No Doubt, P!nk, and Blondie.
Which artists are you listening to right now?
So many, across all genres old and new. You can check out my Rock. Rinse. Repeat. playlist to see what I’m vibing with here.
What inspired your new single “Evergreen?”
‘Evergreen’ highlights a tipping point in my life when I was constantly seeming to fail outside expectations. This song is me consciously choosing to ignore them because their perception might never be accurate. There have always been people telling me how I should be living my life including, how I should make my music. It got to a point where I was like, I just want do me. I wanna make my own mistakes. And music is art – it’s the artist’s to express. But win or fail, it didn’t matter, for me doing it my own way was the gold.
Why do you make music?
It’s the purest form of expression for me. You know that feeling when you’re holding back tears? Even if I shove it down, I can’t. It’s in my DNA and I would be miserable without it.
What’s next for you?
More and more music. I’ve waited a long time to release ‘em. But, we’re gonna keep adding logs to the fire and I hope people that hear the songs find some connection within them and join me on the journey!