Interview: Michael Quick and Zak Quiram of Candy Talk ‘It’s Inside You’

From the first dirty bass notes and hammering drums of opener, “eXisTenZ,” the audience is warned that the following 80 seconds will encompass rage and terror. It’s Inside You by Candy, dropping June 7 on Relapse Records, will subvert (and exceed) most expectations.

Guitarist Michael Quick and vocalist Zak Quiram chime in on the writing of It’s Inside You, which they started writing as soon as 2022’s Heaven is Here was completed. Quick illuminates the band’s direct approach. “We decided not to think about it too much. We just did what felt natural. Sometimes bands, us included, over-think things and you lose something with that. We wanted to make something easy and have fun. We all have such diverse interests that we can make something that crosses the threshold of uniqueness for our own standards.”

Candy have had two ferocious albums, lauded and respected by fans and critics, that lured the industry’s top aural manipulators to want to work with them. The band produced It’s Inside You with Ben Greenberg, who also engineered. Kurt Ballou mixed and Brad Boatright at Audiosiege mastered the record.

Quick is not subtle about drenching one person in acclaim. “The person who ended up putting in a crazy amount of work and being responsible for how this ended up sounding is Kurt Ballou. All love to everybody (involved), but I think you could argue that some of the Nails’ records are the best sounding heavy music ever. Kurt did those albums. To get to work with him and see the effect he has on the music, it was so cool.”

Candy traveled to God City in Salem, MA to be in the room as Ballou mixed. Quick speaks with reverence, noting the absence of any ego. He reports that Ballou just wanted to let the process happen organically. On It’s Inside You, the band dramatically increased the use of electronic sounds and noise with the music. Quick addresses Ballou has little to no history of infusing the two. “I haven’t heard him incorporate guitars and electronics in music. And it took very little for him to get what we wanted.” Ballou’s instinct and knowledge of sound is apparent and extracted powerful results on the album.

Quiram is unrestrained and quite open in the band’s goal. “We were definitely trying to bring in the rave culture—dance scene and that type of music … techno music. We wanted to reference other bands that we have seen do that super well, like Atari Teenage Riot. (We wanted) to blend heavy music and electronic music in a new way in 2024. There aren’t other hardcore bands doing that. We wanted to find our lane and hone in on that.”

The fusion does work well. Even non-techno fans will find fluidity on It’s Inside You. The energy is maintained and heightened by these elements. They never detract from the album’s utility. Seamless transitions aid in Candy’s ability to land a punch.

Quiram views all music as equal opportunity. “We both grew up on hardcore. But we listened to that stuff.” In more of a perplexed manner than a lament, Quiram vents, “Crowds that are into one specific type of music think that their music exists in a vacuum and can’t interact with other things. We weren’t trying to do anything, it was more, “Why not?’ We just were looking at things differently. Fans of heavy music, they’ll be happy if you give them a breakdown. Then, they’ll be fine with some sirens … I think if we add a crazy kick drum, that sounds techno-y over a breakdown …” he interrupts himself, “There is no rule written anywhere that says that can’t be done. These cultures build on themselves where they think that they can’t associate (with other genres). And we’re part of that, for sure. So, we just looked at it differently and knew we could bridge all of this.”

Quick adds, “we have seen the parallels of both genre. They’re both super aggressive at the end of the day and bring high energy.”

“Love like Snow” is the most egregious of the electro songs, even employing an ethereal component for the atmospheric manipulation. The track also features electronic musicians/composers mirsy and mmph. But for the hardcore purists looking for some legends, that track also features Trash Talk’s David Gagliardi. Also check Integrity’s mastermind, Aaron Melnick (also In Cold Blood, Shin to Shin) on “Short Circuit” and Justice Tripp (Trapped Under Ice, Angel Du$t, Sai Nam) on “You Will Never Get Me.”

But don’t get the impression that Candy took a hard left turn and made a rave record. The band simply packed a few extras in the car for this journey—some additional tools to double the impact. It’s Inside You is a heavy record. An angry record. Tracks such as “Short Circuit,” “Terror Management,” “Silent Collapse,” and “Dehumanize Me” all pummel eardrums with relentless fury.

Among the enmity is also sincere concern for this world. Quarim uses the opener to set the tone of It’s Inside You.

The lyric, “Remember what you dreamt to be” is a beacon to all ensnared in this daily routine of work and a disdainful news cycle, coarsely delivered from the vantage point of looking around and seeing people who forgot their goals. Society today is littered with vacuous hordes chasing materialism and vapid corporate status symbols. Quiram explains that he wrote that line/song in reference to the philosopher Chartres and his version of existentialism that boils down to: Life is about what you make it to be. You create your own purpose. You seek the things that are important to you. Remember what you’re aiming for.”

It’s Inside You is out Friday and you can pre-order it from Relapse Records. Follow Candy on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for future updates.

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