Interview with Jordan Viaene of Kandy Face
Kandy Face is John Pegg on lead guitar and vocals, Brandon Morgado shredding rhythm guitar, Jordan Viane slapping bass and singing backup and Jesse Rose banging the drums. The small town four-piece is kicking down doors and stealing stereos with a big city sound. With one album in the bank and another in the making Kandy Face is proving that they are not capable of slowing down. The debut album Farewell Flamboro, released in July 2013, was produced by bassist Viaene and released through his DIY label Lost Rockstar Records. The next record Stupid Famous is scheduled for release in spring of next year.
In this candid interview Viaene talks about the recording processes and methodology behind the Kandy Face tunes.
How has rock music changed in recent years and how does Kandy Face fit into the genre?
Rock music hasn’t only changed with the recent years but ever since the ‘90s music has become more and more processed and plastic. A band with true talent nowadays sounds just as skilled as a band with poor instrumentality due to the tools used in recording music digitally. There is no set genre for rock music now; all you ever hear is reiterations of music that has already been popular.
Our main focus is to give people true rock music that comes straight from our insides, music that we feel in our gut, music that will hit you in a way that the old bands once did. We do this and we incorporate a new age sound, that helps us fit in, but much more than just fitting in we want to stand out and bring back that true rock sound that all rock music lovers can say they miss.
Your debut full-length “Farewell Flamboro” touches on themes of nostalgia and angst, how has growing up in Flamborough influenced the band?
Flamborough has been like a pit of despair for all of us, and we still live here. Growing up in Flamborough with friends and the community definitely had an effect on us. The parties we used to have, the people we used to know, and the shenanigans we were once encompassed by all had an effect on the music. “Used to” is a key phraseÂ there because we all want out of this small little spinning circle we call our home. The music will allow us to reach our goals and move on, not to say we won’t ever return, but we need to expand our horizons. Flamborough has affected us as people and our passions which has turned us into who we are and in turn what reflects upon our music. I guess you can say we portray the sound of our upbringing of a true hardcore Flamboroughian.
How did the band start and where did the name come from?
The music started over a decade ago, Jesse, Johnny and I met at a New Years’ party when I was 18, so going on six years now from when I first joined these crazy people I call my partners and best friends. Kandy Face however, started when we decided to move on from our party days and become truly serious as a band. I was going to school at Metalworks Institute when I first started recording bed tracks for drums on Farewell Flamboro. I recorded Farewell Flamboro completely by myself over the course of two years, and I gotta say for a first ever complete project, it turned out pretty damn good. As for the name we didn’t have a name for the longest time, until the album was nearly finished and around the time our second guitarist Brandon joined us. Johnny’s 10-year-old daughter actually came up with the name strangely enough. She suggested we call the band “Candy Face” because it was a cartoon character in a show, we figured Kandy Face was a very memorable name first off, and that it’s meaning could be taken different ways. I like to tie it to the way we used to be; we we’re party animals shoving whatever “candy” into our faces as we could, whether it be alcohol, drugs, or women. You know that whole “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” mentality. I like to assure you we aren’t so much partyers anymore; we drove that liveliness into the creation of our music. Also the name just sounds and looks cool, especially with a K; we think it can be very strongly marketed.
What is the most important part of writing an album?
The most important part I’d say is to have the songs as entirely planned out as possible. Knowing as closely as we can exactly what part to play, what tracks need to be recorded and overdubbed, how the songs will be arranged, how I will go about engineering the sessions to get the sounds I am looking for, etc. The more prepared you are, the easier recording sessions are, and it makes everything go a whole lot smoother instead of guessing and finding out things through trial and error before hitting the studio. Some things are done on the fly but the more you have prepared, the easier the recording process becomes.
What are some of the benefits of being on your own label, Lost Rockstar Records? Disadvantages?
Being on our own label ultimately lets us be in full creative control of our writing and recording/production. We don’t want outsiders to influence our music. Because we have been playing for so long together and we don’t do things that are traditionally done with a rock band, we know better than anyone else how we want our songs to be. We are always open to ideas but when it comes down to it we have complete creative control. Now disadvantages? Well we don’t have proper marketing, distribution, promotion, merchandise, or support because for one we aren’t wealthy people… we’re musicians, and two we need to connect with the right people. That is one of the main things I am working on is the networking aspect and filling in our missing gaps. It’s a lot for one person to handle and we are definitely in search for any assistance we can get. Getting our music to the masses is the toughest part, and that is ultimately our biggest goal.
A difficulty of starting a new label is that there are so many people trying to do it! I meet people everywhere who claim they are some “producer” or “engineer” and they have this “sick studio” and they have these “connections.” Whatever, that’s one thing. The hard part is getting all the divisions to function equally. I focus mainly on the recording aspect for now because we need to continually produce music but everything else seems to take a hit. I wish I could clone four or five of me to send out and finish the tasks I don’t have time to do. It is impossible to successfully start a label by your lonesome, but one thing I can say is that having a solid plan together, knowing your goals, where you want to be, and devoting yourself to slowly getting closer to those goals bit by bit without trying to let anything sit idle is the key. You can’t wait for others to do work for you. Sure if help comes along then take it, but I already realized long ago that in order for anything to happen, I myself must take the action.
If you could play a show with any musician/artist/band dead or alive, who would it be?
Nirvana, Soundgarden, Zeppelin, Queens of the Stone Age would be high up on the list. Any good grunge band from the ‘90s I believe we’d fit in great with. Just thinking about it now, I think a back-to-back show with us and Nirvana would be pretty kickass if Kurt was alive. Although playing a show with Zeppelin would be cool, they would put us to shame. As of today, I think QOTSA would be the number one for us.
What was the first band that really made you fall in love with music?
When I was younger I never really had a set band to listen to. I remember listening to, if anyone knows still, the Big Shiny Tunes compilations? I used to rock out to those hard! First full album I was addicted to was Dookie by Green Day. From there my dad would show me stuff he’d listen to. As I picked up the bass guitar and learned to play for the first time I was getting really into Zeppelin, Sabbath, Deep Purple, Rush, and The Chili Peppers. Those bands had a massive influence on my playing style. What helps with us too is that we all have a very similar music tastes.
How is Kandy Face different from other contemporary bands?
We are different from other bands because, well this is supposed to be a secret but I don’t think people will start copying us because other guitarists look at us like were speaking Chinese, but we write and play in Open D Major tuning, on everything! It gives us this sound that you just can’t get in standard tuning. And speaking of the word standard, we refuse to become the standardized rock band that is expected nowadays, we want to bring back that true edgy sound that rock music had in the ‘90s. We like to think we aren’t at all the same as other bands because we more so influence ourselves and try not to allow other new music to influence us. Another thing to that makes us unique is that we are all 100 percent self-taught musicians and none of us use any theory at all during the writing process. In fact, I am the only one in the band who really knows the laws of music.
What’s next? What do you want to have accomplished by the end of 2014?
By the end of this year we will have finished the physical recording process for our second album, Stupid Famous, which is by far the highest point we have reached as a band. The songs are undeniably good, and we all can’t wait to see the reactions people have. This next album is like Nirvana’s Nevermind. We are aiming to have a master version of our album ready to release for Spring 2015.
That’s a tough question. The best shows we’ve played are our local shows; the ones we promote long ahead of time and when our true fans show up for us to melt their faces off. One in particular would be our first CD release show at The Casbah in Hamilton last July 2013. The place was packed and the energy was incredible. The most entertaining show this year was a local show in Waterdown at Bo’s bar where we had all local acts playing. This too was one of those packed nights with tons of energy. Playing at the Boston Manor in Burlington and Stonewalls in Hamilton were two very enjoyable shows with nice stage setups and acoustics. It’s nice to play at a venue where we don’t sound mash-y, because we are so loud we usually need a bigger space with a nice PA system to really put out our sound in a clear fashion.
Anything else you want to say?
Umm… well, get ready! What we have coming up is definitely something to be excited about. This next album is truly incredible and I can’t wait for everyone to hear the finished product. We have it embedded in our minds that we will make it to the top, and if this album doesn’t do it for us, then well, there is literally no hope left for modern age rock music. Aaand ya, support us, like us on Facebook, listen to our debut album at www.kandyface.bandcamp.com, and watch our newly released music video for our song “Grave Place” on YouTube. Other than that, I want to thank you very much for this opportunity and for those who will read this. Kandy Face is happy give you our music to enjoy. Cheers!
Interview by Griffin Elliot
About Griffin Elliot
I enjoy dogs and long walks on the beach. My interests include Lord of the Rings and black coffee. I recently completed a double major in Journalism and Greek and Roman Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. I plan on spending my life writing, playing music with my friends and experiencing the world, one tune at a time.