Interview with Mariel Loveland | By Dustin Verburg
New Jersey’s Candy Hearts play a hybrid of indie and pop punk that’s equal parts sugar and angst. Their songs are human and instantly relatable, but guitarist/vocalist Mariel Loveland’s lyrics are anything but ordinary. She conveys the human experience of relating to other humans with equal parts brilliant wordplay and plainly stated curse words. It’s a beautiful thing.
I first heard you on the split you did with Sister Kisser and immediately played your two songs for all of my friends. When fans tell you how they first heard Candy Hearts is there a broad range of stories and experiences?
It really varies, but hearing us through Sister Kisser is something I haven’t heard in a long time. Usually someone has heard of us from catching us on tour with Man Overboard or New Found Glory or via websites and magazines like If You Make It – where we put our first collections of demos – and Alternative Press where I’ve written some articles and our band has been covered. Sometimes people even tell me they learned about our band because they heard us playing at the mall.
You’re working with Chad Gilbert again. How was the recording experience?
Working with Chad is always amazing. We get along so well and have the same vision for everything that there are few times where we really have to plead our case on the way we feel like a song should sound. I think Chad compliments our work so well and he really thinks of the small things that turn a record from pretty good into a record that you keep coming back to. In my mind, that’s the mark of an awesome producer as opposed to someone who can just write a pretty catchy song.
You put out a cover of “Love You More than Life” by Neutral Milk Hotel. You also mentioned that as far as guitar lines and melodies go, there’s a lot of NMH influences on the new record. Can you tell me a bit about that?
I think a lot of my writing is based solely on a simple melody with an acoustic guitar, which is why Neutral Milk Hotel has had such an impact on me both melodically and lyrically. They’re some of the first songs I ever learned how to play. I also think that while our album doesn’t sound particularly lo-fi, I definitely used some fuzzy, lo-fi sounding guitar that really reminded me of the kind of blown-out fuzz on the faster songs on “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea.”
So, for the writing process, you mentioned that you essentially became a hermit. I sort of imagine you in your room listening to records you love and agonizing over every word and note you put down. What was that writing experience like on a day to day basis for you?
I think what you said is pretty spot on. Honestly, when I finished my record and flew back to New York, I had no idea how to re-assimilate myself into the real world. I was like, “Welp, I haven’t see my friends in a year, is it still okay to call?” I kind of didn’t know what to do with myself so I just started watching a lot of Lifetime movies and practicing guitar.
You’ve released some pretty rad music videos. Any future video plans for the new record?
Yes! We filmed a really fun music video while we were out in LA recording the record. It’s for one of the songs of the new record and I hope to be able to release it soon! I actually saw the first cut a couple days ago.
Candy Hearts does a great job with fan engagement on Tumblr and Twitter. Some bands shy away from social media a bit, but you seem to embrace it and actually talk to people. Why is fan engagement on social media so important for you?
It’s really important for me to be able to reach out to fans on social media because they’re the reason I can keep playing music. Why would you ignore the people helping you live your dream? I want to meet every single one of them and I will always be there for them like they’re there for me. That, and my friends don’t really care about what I had for lunch or if I think a movie sucks so I kind of word-vomit that onto twitter.
Preorder Candy Hearts upcoming album All The Ways You Let Me Down here.