Kandy Face and Stupid Famous
Below, an interview by The Scene Magazine’s James Rockso with Jordan Viaene, bassist and producer of DIY rock outfit Kandy Face.
The worldwide music scene has evolved much since the height of bands like Alice in Chains and Queens of the Stone Age, seemingly making 90s grunge and rock music obsolete. What would you say to fans that say this music is dead? All of my music tastes aside, Stupid Famous is an album I genuinely enjoyed start to back- excellent music to rock or chill to.
Music like ours and music with programmed instruments are two totally different breeds. I would say that genuine music performed with real instruments is far from dead. In fact, I see more rock bands coming out nowadays than ever before. Not only rock bands, all types of music. Technology has brought us to the point where anyone with a decent computer and a few small pieces of gear can make something pretty decent whereas even 10 years ago, not nearly as many people were able to accomplish such sounds with such few pieces of technology. Music is so diverse now and there is no way something can ever really be dead in my opinion. Music from all eras pokes through all sorts of music today. I think what makes it tough is the fact that pretty much anyone can make a decent recording now, there’s so much to listen to and it’s hard to separate and pick out what actually holds value.
I say it’s definitely not dead, but harder to accomplish because so much has been done before, to have any sort of longevity with music now is so tough. You have to find an edge for sure. I always say that if we were back in the 90s right now, we’d be golden! But since there so much stuff to sift through, it’s much harder to stand out.
What sort of approach do you and the rest of the members take when creating new tunes? To keep things fresh, essentially.
Well, we are always trying to change things around and develop our songwriting skills. We have such incredible chemistry as a band. Johnny, the lead singer and rhythm guitarist, Jesse the drummer, and I have been playing together for over eight years. It took us a while to get where we are now, and it only continues to grow almost exponentially. From our songwriting to our recording to our live performance, all aspects are tightening up. When we do our songwriting we will usually have about 20 – 30 different riffs or chord progressions that we just kinda jam to, and then when it comes down to picking which ones we want to work on, it’s more or less just which songs just happen to fall into place naturally and which songs mesh well together. We end up scrapping a good chunk of things we write, but we’re always looking to write songs as straight bangers. A lot of the change comes down to the production and how we want the music to actually sound by the end, we put a lot of thought into it.
John writes all the lyrics. In terms of the lyrical content, it’s whatever he has in his crazy mind, but the new songs we’re trying to put a lot more meaning into so that people can really dig into and get something out of. Not meaningless crap, stuff with compassion that holds a purpose.
It’s nice to hear that a band is actually working together so tightly. I know a lot of bands, just by interviewing them and seeing how they interact, don’t look like a team.
We definitely are a team, and a family as well. The music is literally a representation of ourselves. It can get very emotional at times but that’s what makes our music so great. We read off each other so well and it’s second nature how we come up with stuff sometimes. We’ll be jamming and we know subconsciously what to play and how to play it too a lot of the time. We play and bounce off each other’s energy and that’s something that takes years to develop.
14 tracks on Stupid Famous, which I love, I get a better grasp on a band’s mentality and vibe with LPs instead of EPs. However, you announced a few days ago (Nov. 11) of a three track EP titled “KF3EP”, could you tell me a little more about it?
Yeah, 14 tracks on Stupid Famous, and 14 tracks on our debut. That’s a lot of work for one guy to record. The only thing I didn’t do on this album was the mastering, which is the cherry on top of the cake, when you’ve been listening to the same songs for months it’s a good idea to get a fresh set of ears on the final step. We really wanted people to understand what we can do as a band. You hear how diverse the album is, there is a very wide spectrum of styles involved. We wanted to keep things interesting and each song have something that stands out from the rest. This “KF3EP” thing we’re doing only started about two weeks ago, we had a little bit of a dry-spell from playing shows, and we have our own studio built here at our rehearsal space, so we can record any time we feel we are ready.
We have some new songs that we wrote shortly after recording Stupid Famous that we were just dying to get out, so instead of doing a full length and spending a year making that, we want to give our fans something quick and new to listen to. It’s going to be a concept EP, all about question, aliens and humans, the world, stuff like that, which we touched on in Stupid Famous. We just did all the rhythm guitar tracks, and we’re currently building around those, which we use as the foundation. They sound damn good already. I think we will be done this by Spring 2016 if we continue the pace we’re at, but we’ll be talking more about it as the project continues to build.
I hear a lot of Dave Matthews Band and Soundgarden in your music, but is there a line that you don’t cross when it comes to inspiration? Including metal techniques or crazy jazz fills?
Soundgarden for sure, any of the great grunge bands of the 90s. It’s hard to pinpoint really where our inspiration comes from. I wouldn’t say there is a really line we try not to cross. We take our inspirations from everything, we try not to let other music make too much of an impact on ours, we play what we feel basically. And I guess our influences naturally come through in our music without us really thinking about it too much. We were all fans of metal at some point, and still are when the time is right, and none of us are really too trained with jazz. We kind of set our own limits, putting into our music what needs to be put in, what feels right, nothing more and nothing less.
Evan, our guitarist, joined Kandy Face in May of this year. The guy is a machine and can play pretty much anything, including those jazz licks you’re talking about. One thing we are very excited for is having him write his own guitar parts for the new songs. I have always been the one to write the lead/secondary guitar parts and now that we have a guy who IS trained in jazz and truly knows his way around a fretboard, I’m excited to see what the new songs are going to sound like with a whole new type of influence in the band.
When can we expect a new single from the EP?
It’s completely undecided at this point, but at least a month before the EP is out. We may want to do some sort of a video to go with it. The song we will be releasing as the single will be the song “Klear” (yeah, we like to spell stuff different). It is without a doubt one of the best songs we have written- simple, catchy, powerful and meaningful.
I want to aim for the First Day of Spring as a deadline for the single.