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Can we start with a bit of history? How did Candy Coffins come about, and what musical paths got you to where you are today?
Before Candy Coffins, I had a project called Crown The Cake. It was a post-hardcore band similar to late 90s-era Dischord bands. After recording an album, each band member made life decisions taking them to three distant places in the country. We closed out the project by pressing the record to vinyl.
Following the dissolution of Crown The Cake, I thought I would go in a different direction musically. I wanted to write songs that were solely for my enjoyment. The idea of no rules or expectations with my artistic output, other than maybe a released demo version, was intriguing and appealing to me. Of course, given my driven nature, this only lasted a year. That was the genesis of Candy Coffins.
The most fulfilling aspects of Candy Coffins for me are leveraging my long history of music knowledge as a listener and fabricating songs from the elements of everything that I love about my favorite music. Because these elements come from my historical library, the listener hears touches of hardcore punk, post-punk, new wave, goth, and indie rock, as well as today’s darkwave and other genres. I am driven to craft songs that tastefully pay reverence to the greats of these genres and create fresh and exciting work simultaneously.
When I listen to “Every Day A Fresh Atrocity”, I hear the influence of many UK bands echoing out – The Cure, The Psychedelic Furs, early Cult – is there a conscious nod to that sound and scene?
Interestingly, when I was a child growing up in the small southeastern towns, the only outlet for an alternative culture was MTV. When it first started, the MTV catalog of videos was actually quite eclectic because the criteria for getting on the network was that the band had to have music videos, obviously. Early on, not everyone had videos, but it seemed UK bands were the frontrunners of that medium. So I have become a huge fan of music from the UK. There’s no doubt that their influences are baked into what I do, both consciously and subconsciously.
And what, specifically, are your new singles Every Day A Fresh Atrocity” and “Seaside Girls” about? What other themes do you explore on this album?”
“Atrocity” was written as a reaction to the claustrophobic social climate at the time. And this was before the pandemic kicked off in the US if you know what I mean. I wanted to run a parallel theme of a suffocating relationship with the current equally suffocating times.
When the pandemic hit, I decided I would not write a dark song as my first song penned during that period. It seemed too easy, given the times. It took me three months, but we got “Seaside Girls” from it, which is an upbeat sun-drenched rocker on the new album. I pull my inspiration for my songs musically and lyrically from various sources. I absolutely love taking potential lyrics that I have compiled over time and assembling them into something that is both captivating and allegorical. I don’t want to say too much about “Seaside”, because I think that’s part of the fun as a listener – to attempt to figure out “what it all means.” It’s all the rage.
The album overall somewhat chronicles a tumultuous relationship. It looks at it from a variety of angles and perspectives. There are heavy doses of self-reflection and self-preservation throughout. Cast over it all are existential, nihilistic, and debaucherous tones.
With the new album, Once Do It With Feeling, on its way, what can we expect to find there?
I am most excited for the entire album to come out because it is a collection of songs that, while a cohesive representation of Candy Coffins are each diverse and intriguing in their own ways. The lush instrumentation and efforts made in the studio have allowed for the crafting of a sonically immersive experience. There are some tasty treats within for the close listeners as well.
Do you still feel like a band of “cultural outsiders?” How has that shaped the band and the songs that you produce?
By the time you get to a certain age, you have figured out how to coexist in society despite your core idiosyncrasies. I’ll say for myself, writing songs and performing them live are the release valves that allow me to re-calibrate when needed. I do think that being somewhat of an exposed nerve my entire life, feeling things in a deep, impactful way, absolutely contributes to the microcosm that Candy Coffins has become, thematically and musically.
With the music scene changing so drastically during Covid-related lockdowns, how has this affected what you do in terms of recording, playing live or otherwise? And how are you managing to spread the word about your music in the post-pandemic landscape?
I don’t think many people foresaw the impact the pandemic would have on the music scene. Personally, we had some of our biggest regional shows cancelled and took precautions such as postponing rehearsals for the first two months.
As it became apparent that the pandemic was going to be something we needed to adapt to, I made adjustments to our rehearsal space to allow for increased air circulation and distance between band members so we could safely resume rehearsals.
In order to remain relevant during a time when we could not play live or record at a studio, I decided to record a performance without an audience and premier it online.
Thus, Live From A Distance was born.It turned out extremely well, thanks to my friends at DV8 Productions, and garnered immense positive feedback.
Afterward, my close friend and engineer John Furr of Pow Pow Sound came up with the plan to bring the studio to the band. John set up his recording equipment in our rehearsal space, and those recordings led to “Once Do It With Feeling,” which he engineered and produced.
So, where next for Candy Coffins?
In every endeavor I take on, I innately push it as far as I can, and Candy Coffins is no different. I truly believe that we have something new to offer that seems vaguely familiar but is vital, new, and refreshing at the same time. I want to get our songs into as many people’s ears as possible and then bring the music to them via live performances. I would really like to explore touring in the UK. I think our music would do really well there.
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