Interview with Candace from Walls of Jericho
Why did you get started with music in the first place?
Candace: Probably just like most people, my parents were very heavily influenced by music, a bunch of different type of music. They were younger parents, so I had a very good mix of rocknroll and some country, also new pop stuff. My mom liked Michael Jackson, my dad listened to like Aerosmith and Metallica, also a bit Johnny Cash and stuff. So as I got older, I went through my parents CDs and tapes, I remember my dads whole box of music as I picked up a Metallica tape which was a single. On one side was One and I remember putting it on when I was in 6th grade or something and I remember I was headbanging until my head fell off. I grew up without cable so I didnt have any of the TV stuff to influence me those days, so I kind of had to go off with what I heard at school or with my parents stuff. What is always funny is that all my friends were always into popular rap, popular rnb and stuff, but I was never into that kind of stuff, I rather listened to Beastie Boys or Cypress Hill. Even though it was rap, I still liked the darker rap. And I also very much liked metal, and then got into punk rock, so it kind of took off from there. And the more aggressiv it got, the more I was interested, and the more they had something to say, the more I wanted to hear what they had to say.
And when did the idea about an own band got into your head?
C: I have been going to shows for years so it just made sense to me to be in a band. I was inspired by it. I went to every show I could. I missed so much school because so I could go to shows. I would get home in the morning, sleep in class and go to shows almost every night. Since 9th grade I was going to shows all the time. Being in a band then was not that much of an escape, but it was also not meant to be professional. Everybody that was in hardcore that time, that wasnt meant to be professional, still isnt. You feel lucky if you get to do anything that is outside of your state. I was in a band for one and a half years where the furthest we went was 4 hours away from my house once! We are definetly very lucky today. Thats why hardcore is so underground it isnt supposed to be mainstream, but it makes sense that it is now. But then it was just more of an outlet for us.
Why does it make more sense that it is more mainstream now?
C: Because it got so powerful, it got so influential, it got so inspiring. Hardcore is supposed to have a message, it is supposed to reach people, it is supposed to change life. It is underground until it has to bring itself out, it has to blow, it has to blossom, it has to grow. So I think it finally started growing, I think the message started to spread out. And the more people you get to hear your message, the more your message is going to make a statement, the more it is actually going to make a change. And that is wat is important, that is why mainstream hardcore can be good.
How much does Detroit, special things about that city and the life in it, and all your life circumstances influence the band and the music?
C: All of it. That is exactly what hardcore is about: speaking what you feel, things that affect you, things that get you deep down inside, things that piss you off, things that get you angry during the day, shit that you dont want to stand for anymore.
So, what is your opinion on that whole fashioncore thing where message is not really necessary and people only care about their looks and fashion?
C: I think at that point it kind of turns into what the music is about, and I think there can still be a greatness in a good musician without a certain message. I dont think it always has to have a statement. You can listen to something that is pleasing to the ear, and that is musically entertaining, and it will still be something that is moving. There are a lot of bands that I like that kind of seem more bubble-gummy-talk about relationships, but that stuffs part of our lives, too. So I will like any band that gets me, any band that has something that I can feel maybe once a day. So they are talking about crying, or they are talking about fucking rainbows, and at some point of my day I might wanna hear that. I will still give to anything because at that point it is about being musicians. Hardcore is about being musicians, and that is what I respect. Now, I do not want to say that I agree with every single thing and that I never have anything bad to say. I do completely dislike bands that purposely have horrible lyrics because it is all about getting the bitches and making the money. I will straight up tell that band then that they horribly suck!
Most people feel or say that women in hardcore feel the need to prove themselves against men. Do you agree?
C: Well, no no. I think MEN think that women feel the need to prove themselves. They make us have to prove ourselves and it is bullshit! And they will do that by comparing female shouters like: Oh, shes not as good as her or She does this but she doesnt do this. They compare us, and that makes us have to be aggressive against each other. The girls in the scene, those that I can at least think of on top of my head in hardcore and metal are sort of role models or rather role-model-esque in their statements. We are all strong-headed women, but in a way we are not jealous of each other, were not in a competition. And you wanna know why? We are strong women that got ourselves to where we are at, we dont have to prove anything. You prove it when you go up on stage. We are all good front women and that is all that matters. To me it doesnt matter if youre male or female, it only matters if you are good or bad.
Have you come across girls that told you that you are an idol for them, and that thank to you they have more courage to stand up for themselves? How does that feel?
C: Yeah, I always have, especially when I was younger. Not that it weirded me out, but I am a very humble person. And I believe that if you grow up to be woman in metal or hardcore it takes your own inner strength to get your ass up there. Whether you have a role model or not. So, I never want to take that away from somebody, but when somebody will come up to me and say that they want to be like me I will say. Girl, just be who you are, be yourself, do your thing! Because that is what sets you apart, and as I get older and I see younger girls get into the music I can say that it is good to have people to look up to. I am not the only one, they have a lot of women in metal and hardcore to look to, and it is better than them looking to people like Britney Spears or someone who has fucking nothing to say and just gets painted up. Because it is hard, it is hard to be a female in this. Men will constantly talk about: Oh, look at that girls hot ass! or Christina Aguileras look THIS month is awesome! Yet, what does that say to us? It says that they are not looking for somebody who has something to say, but they are looking for this image, this fake presentation. Because Christina Aguilera she may be beautiful, but she changes every fucking month! And what does that say about her personality? It just says that she is trying to sell her ass to whatever is popular that month. So, for younger women to look up to somebody who is just doing their own thing, not because she has to, that IS something. That is a good role model! I like the singer from OTEP. She gets up there and she just is who she is and doesnt care. And I like the fact that Ill get up on stage, wear skirts some day, dance around like a girl, and do my own thing, and not because I am supposed to I am not supposed to. I am supposed to be this tough shit, and I dont need to be that. I like the fact that girls can see that, they know its OK if the want to stand there and get a little wiggle in their bund instead of punching someone in the face. But if they want to punch someone in the face, then thats fucking OK, too.
All the injuries you get on tour: are you never afraid something severe might happen? Does it just come naturally? Out of passion or out of rage?
C: Its definetely passion! I mean I havent actually caused those injuries by myself. You know it has something to do with adrenalin. Everybody can hurt himself in a rush of adrenalin, but it takes more passion to have that type of positive aggression that is adrenalin. So I just get up there, and sometimes shit happens. Just on this tour, I jump into the crowd, have people singing along, and as I am singing along someone smashed the bottom of my mic, and no joke ripped open my lips. They started to gush blood and swelled up, and I wasnt like mad or anything, but I was like: Damn it! I have broken three teeth on this tour. You know, fuck, it gets to a point where it just gets expensive to have all those injuries fixed. But you want to have a good time, and you are not actually looking to get hurt, but it happens, and whatever, you deal with it.
How has your live show changed since the beginnings of WOJ?
C: It has definetely grown because you have to step up. When we first started we just did what we did, but the more shows you do, and the bigger shows you do, and the more bands you play with, the more you have to entertain as well, as well as you have to make people feel welcome. I want to show the crowd how much I care that they are there, and how much I want them to be a part of what is going on on the stage, as much as I want them to physically show me how much they care about what is going on in their world. That is why people dance, and mosh, and sing along. So, you have to step up your game, and you learn every day maybe different things or ways to get to people because not everybody knows exactly how to relate to people. I dont! It took me like six years to be able to talk to a crowd because if you knew me when I was younger, I could barely talk to the random person that would walk up to me on the street. I was a very quiet, shy girl. So when I got on that stage, during songs, yes, I was aggressive, and that was a side to me that I had. But in between songs I was like: Ok. Hello . I did not know how to interact, so that is how I would say how our game has stepped up. You have to grow as a musician, and as an entertainer, learn how to use the stage more, and you have to have fun. And to me, what is having fun sometimes is you have to do the Tootsie roll, or a little stupid butt wiggle. You know, we just have fun now, but people will definetely say it has changed.
What do you think is more important: having a really good live performance you are famous for, or rather a really popular record out?
C: Yeah, there are bands that are better live than their records, but that is a kind of different thing. It is a really tough question because you want your live shows to be entertaining and fun, but you really want people to care about your fucking CD. So, I am gonna choose our CD before the live show, and why I do this is because if you really care about our CD, and if you are really paying attention to what is going on, like the lyrcis, and you are learning the lyrics, you become passionate about a band, that is going to affect your live show. Because then you are going to go there with excitement, youre gonna go there and want to sing along. And when there are people singing along: to me there is no better feeling! It is amazing to watch people dance and mosh, I appreciate that, that is great, that is what a show needs. But: there is something different, strikes you differently when people are singing along because they fucking get it, they get what I am saying, we are on the same page
What does the ballad No Saving Me mean to you? Why is it on the record, because it seemed to be a bit controversial across reviews
Yeah, some people really didnt get why you put that ballad on there.
C: Anybody who doesnt understand why we put that on the record, what I would have to say to them is: Go back, do some research, and listen to all of our other records. Because every single record we have done I have once sang. Whether it is only little bits here and there during a couple of different songs, or like on The Bound And The Gagged where we have an acoustic song with me singing. Obviously that was 1999. We obviously wanted to do shit like that back then, and on All Hail The Dead we simply didnt have time to record vocals, so we did an instrumental thing called To Be Continued at the end of the album, so it only makes sense that on this record we would combine the two, and step up our game, and step up what we have musically going on to show the world. Because this is something we obviously like to do. And our new record is top game, and we knew this is our biggest record weve had out. So we wanted to do everything we wanted to do. We were not going to be afraid of the controversy it might cause. And we do our thing, man, thats all I can say. I can sing, and so I do! Why not? I have sang my whole life. I actually, when I went to school, I was about to got to school for music to sing. I could get scholarships and stuff, but I chose to do hardcore and scream. So somebody gonna actually going to tell me I cant do both, that I dont care about both enough, go ahead, yeah, whatever. We gotta do what we gotta do, and I have to be fulfilled as a person, so like it or leave it, I dont care. Youre gonna meet a person that has a couple of different sides to them: they have an aggressive side, they got their sensitive side, they got their cool side, and you either take it or leave it.
Would you agree with Hasty saying that the album has more composition than aggression on it?
C: That is actually not completely true. It is the heaviest record we have ever put out. Vocally it is our heaviest record. My voice sounds so strong on that compared to every other record. I will go back to some of our records and go like: Oh! My voice is a little high pitched for my own personal taste. So, the new one is where it should be its low, its angry. Its got structure to it, we got more like verses and choruses, and its got a good flow, and that is exactly what we were looking for, but at the same time I dont think for one minute its lost its aggression or that its lost its heaviness.
Did you feel pressure of success when writing Devils?
C: Oh, yes, always! There were times when Chris, our guitar player, was like: Holy shit! This doesnt work. This is no good. I dont know what to do! And then we worked on some things, changed little things here and there, but it was a lot of pressure. But it is OK, and we had a good time and we really look forward to our next record.
Are you already working on it?
C: No, not really. I have been writing some lyrics, but we are just touring at the moment, and that is all we have been able to do. We took 6 month off, wrote the record, recorded the record, and have not stopped touring since we put it out.
Do you still have spare-time? Because I read that Hasty produces bands and Ruby is a tattoo artist. It doesnt sound like you have a life apart from touring
C: Mike actually had to stop recording bands because he had no time, and Aaron actually, we get fill-ins for him because there will be like a whole tour, like a six week tour, that he will not be able to do sometimes because he has a wife, he has kids, he has a job, and honestly, straight-up, sometimes we dont make enough money on tour for him to go home and pay his bills. So if that is the case like this whole summer for example, we basically didnt get paid, we are doing more shows that are more to get attention from groups that usually dont see you. Like Ozzfest. You dont get paid to play Ozzfest. So Aaron couldnt come because he couldnt afford to come, and I actually moved out of my house and put all my stuff in a storage because I wouldnt be able to afford my rent anymore. But it worth it in the long run, and its what we love to do, so it doesnt matter.
Is it sort of like a dream come true?
C: It is! That is why you cant stop. That is why I am 26 years old and putting my personal belongings in storage because I care so much about this band because I love being on the road. Am also that person that likes being home as weird as that may sound, and seriously within the last 5 month that has kind of changed. I think I am more finally accepting that this is my life being on the road. But I love both.
So what do you think will the future hold?
C: I dont know. I hope good things. I hope well put out another record. I hope I will get to do more stuff musically, sideprojects and stuff. But I also look forward to going home, so I dont really know and I will take life as it comes.