Candlebox Talk "Love Stories & Other Musings"
Tue, 01 May 2012 09:10:47
Candlebox have come a long way.
The group's latest album, Love Stories and Other Musings, stands emblematic of their immense growth. As the title says, it truly is a collection of stories. Singer Kevin Martin portrays life, love, and longing vividly across the record's landscape. In addition to some of the band's best songwriting, the album also boasts some anthemic energy, coursing through the likes of Damone cover "Out All Night". This is Candlebox at their best.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Candlebox mainman Kevin Martin talks these stories and so much more.
What's your take on Love Stories & Other Musings as a whole? Did you approach it with one vibe in mind?
It's an interesting question. After the Into the Sun record, we took some time and refocused where we were going. We did some demos in the fall of 2009. I did the record with The Gracious Few guys, which was a good distraction. At the same time, it offered me a lot of new experiences and I recognized things in my life that maybe I was missing like personalities, relationships, and realities. I hadn't paid attention to them for a long time or perhaps I'd forgotten. We got back together to start this record, and I really focused on what I wanted to talk about. Most of the time, I'm pretty personal. I don't like to be the type of guy who puts things out there, but I was feeling a lot of loneliness when I was away from my family. I wanted the songs to emotionally resonate that type of feeling whether the lyrics were saying it or not. I wanted them to feel a bit alone, desperate, angry, scared, upset, and frustrated. We go through all of those emotions. Plus, I was paying a lot of attention to what's going on in the world. "Youth in Revolt" was inspired by what's going on in Egypt. I happened to be in Lancaster, PA working with The Gracious Few and I was overwhelmed by those 48 hours of television showing uprising. The song came to me from that. The record arises from those types of moments. That's where that cohesion comes from. I sat down with Pete and said, "This lyric is about this. This song is written around this kind of emotion, love affair, and relationship." We spent a lot of time talking about that. When we got in the studio with Ken, he was able to help us focus that direction.
Where did "Out Here All Night" come from?
That's actually a cover song by one of our favorite bands, Damone from Boston. We used to play it back in 2006 and 2007 on tour. It's an homage to them and the heavy metal side of that band. It has that urgency to it that people recognize in Candlebox's music.
What's the story behind "Sweet Summertime"?
It's inspired by what my job does, where it takes me, and how far it takes me away from my family. It was written in my dining room at my apartment. I was kicking around some simple guitar patterns. I tried to simplify the songwriting on this record a lot more. It was more about melodies than it was about construction. Music is music. It's everywhere, and you can grab it when it's ready. In all honesty, it's my favorite song on the record. I love how the song starts with the drum beat. It's very Americana. I love playing it live and going to it first on the record.
Are you drawing inspiration from the same places you were at the beginning?
When we went back to do the re-records, I started realizing how I had to sing the songs relative to how they were written in 1991 or 1992. I had forgotten a lot of things that inspired me as a lyricist. I've grown so much over the years. After 20 years of making music, I've grown into a different storyteller. I think I'm a little bit more realistic now and not so dreamy in the sense that I had fantasies when I was a kid of trying to weave this web of unconsciousness in lyrics and trying to creative that way. Nowadays, I realized that nobody really gives a shit. It's all about the melody and whether or not you swear in a song [Laughs]. I don't know what kinds of stories I'm telling now other than being a father and a husband. My life is a lot more real now. I have a lot more real responsibilities. I'm not just out running around buying Porsches and flying all over the world having fun. It's all about raising my family now and enjoying every day I can with my son and my wife.
What inspires you outside of music?
I watch a lot of films and television. I like to read biographies. I'm really inspired by my surroundings and what's happening in the moment. "Them Eyes" was inspired by the movie "Crazy, Stupid, Love" and what Steve Carell's character was going through in that process of Julianne Moore telling him she didn't love him anymore. I imagined myself in that position thinking about what would happen to me if my wife came to me and said that and how I would deal with it. It felt very real at the moment.
What movies do you always come back to?
I'm a bit of jackass. Step Brothers is my favorite film [Laughs]. I'm all about the goofy one-liners. As musicians, we live our lives on the road, and we probably watch Step Brothers at least four times a week so we can all have a good laugh together. That's what keeps us grounded. I do go back to movies but not really for lyrical influence or inspiration just to relax my mind. I like to write every single day, and it's nice to get that distraction.
Are there any heavy bands you dig?
Tool has always been one of those bands. I'm a fan of Mastodon. The heavy side of Candlebox tends to come from Pete's metal background of Iron Maiden and Led Zeppelin. This record is more on the poppier side of things. They're chord progressions that make my ears pop up and inspire me.
In some ways, this album feels reminiscent of Happy Pills.
Happy Pills was an interesting record for us. Dave Krusen played on this album and Happy Pills as well. It's got that loose groove vibe which is Dave's when he plays drums. He was really instrumental on that album.
What's your favorite Candlebox song?