Interview: Candy’s Michael Quick on Topical New Record, ‘Heaven Is Here’

Relentlessly pushing their sound to the most extreme, Candy’s latest LP, Heaven Is Here, out now on the venerable Relapse Records, is a stunning example of their commitment to intensity. The band aren’t just reinventing the wheel with this release, though. With the time allotted to the band during the pandemic, they were able to dig deeper into influences and incorporate new elements.  

“The biggest silver lining of the pandemic was the free time to really try to understand our music and find a better way to say what we’ve been trying to say the whole time,” says guitarist Michael Quick. 

After nearly four years following their previous full-length, 2018’s Good To Feel, and informed by the current socio-political environment, Candy have had the time and influence to create a masterpiece that feels fitting for the apocalyptic times we live in. The isolation and hopelessness felt by everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic was especially poignant for Quick. Forced to move to an isolated cabin while writing the record, the atmosphere of the end of the world influenced the tone of the album.  

“My girlfriend lost her job. My parents lost their jobs… (before) it seemed like things were going well, and then that’s all it takes. Everything’s gone. Then it’s just survival. What do we do to survive?” 

As evidenced by the name of the band and the accompanying song titles (“Good to Feel” and “Joy of Life” come to mind), Candy are a band that like to explore the dual nature of the human experience. Following in this tradition, Heaven Is Here speaks to the promised happiness from leadership figures who have failed to deliver a better world.  

“You have people in Silicon Valley who are saying their ideas are going to save the world. Meanwhile, you look around, and what is the price of utopia? It’s people being priced out of their fucking homes that they’ve lived in for years.”  

The aggravation and hopelessness experienced throughout the pandemic comes out on this record, with harsh noise interludes setting the tone for the music itself, which is equally blistering with little time to breathe. Meanwhile, tracks like “Transcend to Wet” and “Kinesthesia” maintain the brutality of Candy’s sound while exploring the industrial feel of metal. The electronic elements throughout feel perfectly fit for the apocalyptic atmosphere of the album, making the listener question how close we actually are to a cyberpunk nightmare.  

“This album specifically is probably the most bleak thing we’ve done because it’s so informed by the pandemic and that hopelessness,” notes Quick.  

Production-wise, Heaven Is Here utilizes new layers and techniques in a way that emphasizes the raw nature of Candy’s music, rather than sounding too polished. Co-produced by Arthur Rizk (Power Trip, Black Curse, Prurient) and Quick, the overall sound of the album has been expertly woven together elements in a way that compliments Candy’s sound.  

“I honestly would say we’re just trying to make punk and hardcore and metal with electronics,” says Quick. “That’s kind of how we saw it with this record with samples or with drum machines. And the pandemic also afforded a lot of time to figure out ways to make that sound right and to dive deeper into influences.” 

While elements of industrial, noise, and crust punk have woven their way into Candy’s sound, their signature no-holds hardcore still makes up the meat of this record.  

“We still see ourselves as a hardcore band because that’s the scene we’re involved in,” says Quick, “but the theory that guides us, is that it’s just a genre of music like anything else and it doesn’t need to be sectioned off from other kinds of music. It serves the same purpose as any other music. It’s supposed to scratch an emotional itch—a specific one—but that’s what it does.” 

Watch the video for “Human Condition Above Human Opinion” here:

For more from Candy, find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Bandcamp.

Photo courtesy of Michael Thorn

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