Photo credit – Ryan Ohlemeier / Strangeland
In the latest edition of Call and Response I catch up with Bellingham favorites Candysound, who first came to prominence while competing in Sound Off! two years ago.
* I first saw you guys perform in the Sound Off! Final a couple of years back. I was immediately captured by the interplay between Teo and Tom, the way you listened to each other and reacted. How has this dynamic changed with the addition of Jesse on bass?
Yeah. In some ways, definitely. As a two-piece, Tom and I focused a lot on dynamic contrast, since we were pretty limited with our instrumentation. Thus, some really extreme louds-and-quiets. When Jesse joined, right before tour two years ago, it really opened a lot of possibilities for us sonically simply because there was another sound to work with, but also because he has a lot of musical input and years of experience. And over the past few years since Sound Off!, progressing as a band in general and figuring what kind of songs we like playing has also led to a lot of shifts, too.
* Your live show is extremely dynamic. Do you go into each performance with the same mentality? Is it a mindset or is it just something that comes natural to you?
For the most part, we go into a show with just our set list for the night. As far as mentality, I think our expectations have always been pretty modest: Perform well. Have fun doing it. Hope the room sounds okay. We’ve played quite a few shows in the past three, four years, so we’ve definitely seen some of the ups and downs of gigging: sometimes the sound guy’s new to what he’s doing, sometimes there isn’t one. Sometimes there are no people to see us play, and other times reception is really positive. You know, good shows, not so good shows. Being a young band, we’re still figuring it out, but the process has been rewarding still.
* What do you most enjoy about playing shows?
Playing the songs. Meeting people. Making funny faces at Tom from across the room while playing. And van rides.
* You’ve gotten to a point where you have been able to tour a bit and play shows beyond Bellingham and Seattle. What is your favorite aspect of touring?
Touring’s weird. It’s expensive to do, you don’t sleep, and you’re crammed in the van with a bunch of sweaty dudes and their gear for a few weeks at a time. But there’s something about getting out and playing music to people up and down the coast that’s completely exhilarating. The last two tours have gone particularly well, not just because we didn’t go broke and our van didn’t break down this time, but the shows were a lot fun. We played better, people and bands who saw us the previous time we toured came out to say hello, and we hit the road with The Cat From Hue again, who are as fantastic people as they are musicians.
* A lot of my favorite bands capture the sound of their surroundings. To me, your sound is tangibly Washington. How has growing up in the Pacific Northwest shaped your sound?
I think our sound is both intentionally and unintentionally shaped by Pacific Northwest acts. Not just because they’re local and we can see it performed live frequently, but also because we’re pretty blessed with the abundance of talented people and bands that reside here. A lot of bands around here are very good, so we like to listen to them, ha.
* Your best songs were released this past year. How has time helped you to mature as songwriters?
Thanks man. I think sometimes that’s just what it takes. Sometimes we practice and I think “wow, this sounds like complete shit” and then three months later, we’ve rearranged it and turned it into a song anyway. Whatever that might say about us…
* How often do you guys play music together?
We’re all pretty busy with different aspects of our lives, and Candysound is definitely just one facet of that. We’ve been balancing full-time work, full-time school, and playing in other bands for a while now, but we try to practice weekly, and play shows about bi-monthly while we wait for summer so we can tour again. We’ve also talked about taking a taking a break from shows for a bit to solidify some new material we have, so we’ll see soon.
* Does your relationship begin and end with music, or do you spend a lot of time together when you aren’t doing Candysound?
Tom and I used to live together. We’ve joked about it a lot that sometimes being in a band is a lot like being in a relationship. And when you’ve shared a roof, rehearse, plays shows and tour together, sometimes you need a break. But on top of playing music, and most importantly, we’re all good friends, which is what brought us together to do this in the first place. It’s nice to be able to meet up after it all to talk, hangout, go hiking or just grab a beer.
* Your “Amadeus” and “These Days” EP’s showcase songwriting that utilizes dynamic contrast to a larger degree than many of your peers. Which of your influences influenced this specific aspect of your songs?
Thinking on it, I think our songs having dynamic contrast is always how we’ve written them, in Candysound and in other bands we’ve played in. And Tom was a jazz drummer through high school, so he’s particularly adept at it. Then combined with fuzz boxes and reverb pedals, I think our EP’s kind of just keep churning out that way, ha. It’s a vicious cycle.
* Who are some of your influences and what about these groups gives you inspiration?
We all have pretty different tastes in music, not just from each other, but also from the music we make. I preface this with the fact that I’m only speaking for myself, but I’m pretty fond of really loud and noisy bands, and really quiet ones too. A lot of 70’s punk rock and 80’s indie rock. And most things 90’s too. Pavement, Pixies, My Bloody Valentine, The Replacements, Fugazi, X. As cliché as it is, Radiohead is probably my favorite band, but I think artists like Mazzy Star, Cat Power, and Elliott Smith subtly influence our songs too. Oh yeah, and local music, of course.
* You remain relatively small in the Northwest. How do you plan to change this? I want to see Candysound playing Seattle’s best venues!
Ha ha, thanks dude. I can’t say we have a specific plan aside from what we’ve been doing. Hoping to keep writing, recording, and releasing. Playing shows, touring regionally, and making friends. We’re doin’ it all ourselves, so we’re open to any and all suggestions too! Ha.
* What is on the horizon for you guys? I was extremely excited to see that you are opening for the Thermals next month.
That was a really fun one. The Thermals always put on a fantastic live show, so that was cool to be there for. I’d never heard Brainstorm before that night, and they are really fantastic too. And Learning Team released a really solid 5-song EP that night and I highly recommend checking it out on their Bandcamp.
As far as things on the horizon for us, I’m pretty excited to keep playing Bellingham, Seattle, and Portland, and also play Anacortes’ Catapult Music Festival in June alongside Nude, Kithkin, Us on Roofs, Special Explosion, Cumulus and Bellamaine.
* Ultimately, where do you see Candysound a few years down the line?
In the long term, and a lot of musicians probably feel this way, it would be nice to find some longevity and sustainability in what we’re doing, meaning consistent shows, tours, releases and the like. But until we get to that point, I’m fine with just having fun while we do it.
Thanks a lot for your time and best of luck, I’m rooting for you!
Thanks a lot Chris! We appreciate your time and support.