In 2017, Candy emerged from the ashes of the members’ previous bands, and the Richmond, Virginia, group’s debut EP, Candy Says, offered a glimpse into their merciless brand of hardcore. Though Candy’s sound may be similar to their peers’, there’s something unique about the band’s presence. In a genre in which ideas get recycled day by day, it can be hard to separate yourself from the crowd, but for Candy, the solution was simple: be louder and be real.
On Sept. 28, Candy unleashed their blistering debut LP, Good To Feel, via Triple B Records.
The nine songs on Good To Feel may come and go quickly, but Candy make every second count. From beginning to end, Good To Feel is a magnified interpretation of the sound the band unleashed upon the world in 2017. Each song moves with purpose, leading the listener through an onslaught of breakneck rhythms and skull-splitting breakdowns. The record flows from song to song with a fluidity and cohesiveness that’s rare nowadays.
Between the fizzling guitars, explosive drumming, and vocalist Zak Quiram’s scalding vocal delivery, Good To Feel is a passionate representation of the band’s thoughts, emotions, and fury.
How did Candy come together?
Candy is a product of all of our previous bands we’ve all been involved in and playing shows together. We formed after touring together in another band, but this is the product we have created together.
How did you first get into hardcore?
I got into hardcore through skateboarding. Hanging outside every day and seeing what the older kids were doing after it got too dark out. Listening to music they would play from their shitty cars in the parking lots, I just felt like I found something brand new that was comforting, interesting, and aggressive all at the same time—the same feeling I had when I found skateboarding.
What’s the hardcore community like today?
The community is constantly changing and evolving. There’s pros and cons, but I think it’s in a very good place right now. People recognize problems in the world, in their local scenes, in their hometowns, and things they struggle with personally, and talk [and] write songs about these things. The people and bands who have nothing to say fall to the wayside—as they should, because nobody needs to take time out of their day to go to a show or listen to music that has no substance. I think the bands that really thrive are bands that have something to talk about, and I appreciate that.
How have things changed since you first got involved?
I think the biggest thing that has changed is my perspective. When I started going to shows, I didn’t know anybody except for the three people I hung out with every day. Going to shows, being afraid of getting beat up because we weren’t straight edge, so we all X’d up before the show. Not really knowing fully what you were getting into, but it was exciting and an incredible feeling.
Now, I’m 11 years older and know full well what I’m doing and why I’m still here. People always talk about the glory days of when they first started going to shows, but if you don’t like the way things are, then you either voice your opinion and change things or you go the fuck home, because nobody needs you. I’m thankful for the people I know and lessons I’ve learned through going to shows, and I’d like to somehow give someone else that same knowledge.
Candy have gotten a lot of attention very quickly. What about your sound do you think sets you apart from other hardcore bands out there?
We purposefully focus on making music that can fit into people’s traditional ideas of hardcore but also try to throw in unfamiliar elements so that we’re not regurgitating the same blown-out ideas over and over. People are responding to this because it’s something they recognize but not something they’ve heard 1,000 times before.
There are a lot of differences between writing EPs and demos versus a full-length. What was your approach for writing Good To Feel?
We didn’t want to make just a collection of disconnected songs. We wanted to make something that flowed from beginning to end and played off each other. If we wrote a heavy song, we knew we needed to put a fast song beside it. If we wrote something fast and short, we made sure that melodic and slow music was accounted for. We just wanted to make a piece of music that created a world, and every song and part in the music built a whole instead of existing in a vacuum.
Did you work with the same artist for both the LP and Candy Says?
Yes! His name is Andrew Barnes; he lives in Brooklyn. He’s an incredible artist, and we’re super thankful he’s always down to work with us. We give him some loose ideas, and he runs with it, and the product is always perfect.
What about the art do you think really captures the band’s energy?
I think the fact that it’s an oil painting by someone from outside our direct scene is important to us in itself. Hardcore is a small community, and I think people forget that; we didn’t want to use one of the same five artists who do every other band’s artwork. He’s important to us, and we respect his art. I think it works great for us, because its slightly grimy and aggressive and shows some of our vibe before you even listen to the music.
Can you share a little bit about the meaning behind the first single?
“Good To Feel” is the title track to our LP. I think, as we all get older, we learn a lot more about ourselves and life in general. A lot of the things I’ve learned recently are about myself and the things I enjoy and the things I really hate. A lot of that is about feeling, and I think people tend to push feelings to the wayside and shove them into a hole or little pocket of their life. The title Good To Feel is a reminder to feel all of that all the way through, and there’s no problem with that, whether it’s positive or negative. Enjoy that time that you’re able to feel.
The single seems a lot more aggressive than your last release. Was this intentional?
That was intentional. We looked at that song as being sort of the most base, intense version of what Candy could be. Fast part, faster part, hard part—that’s all there really needs to be in hardcore.
How important are lyrics for you in this genre?
Lyrics are extremely important to us as a band. It’s your only chance to portray your feelings in a thoughtful and thorough way. Lyrics can really make or break a band for me. Meaningful lyrics are much more enjoyable.
What inspires you when it comes to writing lyrics?
Other bands, poetry, movies, everyday life, etc.
What do Candy stand for as a band?
Exploring new options.