Candlebox: Wolves, Touring and the State of the Music Industry!

Candlebox returned to the studio back in 2019 to record their latest album, Wolves, and after a years delay it finally hit shelves last month! We managed to sit down with Kev, the frontman, and talk about the album, their current tour and also how he thinks the music industry is coping right now. Check it out in video or written form below!

How did the writing of the new album go?

How did the writing of the new album go? Swimmingly. We started working on it in sound checks in 2018. We do that a lot, it’s a good way for us to test out ideas and ways that we think songs would work in a live setting. And, its nice also you know, you’ve got the ambiance of the room, and the sound of…we’re very, we’re arena rock kind of music. So, you can listen to it in an atmosphere like that. It gives us an idea of how the songs gonna work. We do also sit down in the bus and write stuff, but yeah, but really sound check, so we get done the majority of writing in sound check, an then when it came time last…2019, last summer 2019 to really dig in an get the record ready. Everybody had sent stuff into a drop box file, we listened to everything and decided what would be the twelve songs that we would focus on in pre-production. So, that’s really how it happened. Everybody was super gung-ho. I mean we were excited about the ideas, some of them were partial, some of them were finished and, pre-production is kinda where we ironed everything out. So, it happened rather quickly, we don’t, Candle Box isn’t the type of band that will beat our head up over a part. If its not working, we’ll just move away from it. Songs are you know, Keith Richards said it a million times, songs are floating everywhere and if you allow yourself to grab them, you know, you’re better off no paying attention to that, then you’re going to miss it. An so that’s kinda why we don’t beat ourselves up about over it. And we release records that have no real, you know, we don’t really stay in our lane either. That’s kinda why this record sounds like it’s driving down the wrong side of the freeway on some songs, and maybe in the fast lane, the slow lane, in the carpool lane. The bus lane, the bike lane. We use a bit of everything.

So, obviously you kind of started getting it into the studios in 2019. Did the pandemic affect it at all?

No, we’d finished the record, you know, prior to everything getting shut down. So we were very lucky. The only thing it effected was the release of the record.

It just kind of got pushed back a bit then?

Yeah, I mean a whole year. It was supposed to come out August 2020. And well it just came out September 2021. So, I mean the nice thing about being able to sit on a record that long is, you know, you get to listen to it, you get to pick it apart and if we wanted to go in and change something, we could have. I mean it wasn’t like it was a difficult process, but I think everybody loved the record. We were all happy. And, the label were stoked, management were stoked. So, you know, it seems to be doing well. People are loving it too, so, maybe we did the right thing.

I’m definitely enjoying it, yeah!

Thank you!

In terms of lyrically, is there a story behind it? Or does anything spring out to you while you were writing it at all?

Well its really, its entitled Wolves for, like I’ve said in several interviews, I think that as a society we’ve become these injured, lone wolves that just feel totally dissociative, and you know, disrespected. And, everybody feels like they are being slighted in some strange way. You know, my concept of wolves is, they’re an incredibly beautiful species. Yes, they are dangerous but, when they work together, with the benefit of the pack, there’s really nothing quite like it. The Alfa male doesn’t leave the pack. He follow the pack to make sure the pack’s okay. You know, everyone in that pack looks out for one another to make sure that one another’s taken care of. And, as a society I think we used to be that way. Certainly after 9/11 here in the United States, you know twenty years ago. We all were greatly effected by that tragedy. And whether you believe it was the government or not – I certainly don’t – but you know, we have those people over here that do. Ninety five percent of the population was there for one another. I would love to see us get back to that, and I would love to see that worldwide. I don’t know, all this bullshit that goes along with religious, and you know, organised religion is the fucking worst thing in the world! It’s just a constant driving force between wars and all that bullshit. I’m just kind of over it, you know. Lyrically, to get back to your question, long story short. Its really dealing with who are we, what have we become, who am I and what have I become. What is my relationship with my family like? What’s my relationship with my wife like? And that’s really what the record deals with, kind of my immediate surroundings. And lyrically I spent three months, four months actually writing the lyrics for this record. Working in the melodies to make sure that it all sat well on the record.

You’ve already kind of touched on it being kind of, you don’t restrain yourselves to one kind of sound. But, would you say it’s different sonically to your previous works as a whole?

Oh, absolutely! I mean, absolutely sonically different inspirations, influences all over the place. So, I mean we, I think this is the first time on a record where we’ve been really free to use our inspirations and influences the way want. We, I think disappearing, we reached for it a little bit. But, we still blocked ourselves on some songs, we didn’t end up putting on the record. We didn’t do that this time. We just kind of allowed ourselves that freedom to write that song, whether is sounds like Motorhead, or whatever. Its kind of what we chose to do.

So, I know over here over the last year or so, we’ve been in and out of lockdown, with barely any gigs. Did you guys manage to gig much? Obviously, I know you guys are on tour now, but before that did you get out at all?

No, we started touring in 2020. We had dates in February. Cus, we knew the record was coming out in August, so we were supposed to pick up in April and continue on. When that got shut down, we didn’t do anything. I didn’t play my first show until June, May of 2021. I did an acoustic show for a friend, at his charity in Oklahoma. That was the first time I’d played a show since February 2020.

Oh wow! I imagine its pretty good to finally get back out there then, get all together on stage again?

Oh, its amazing! I mean its weird. Certainly people aren’t, you can tell the audience isn’t able to relax either. You know as well as I do, the reason we o to concerts is because we wanna get lost in that music. We don’t wanna be thinking about anything but that music, and that’s just not what the case right now. You can tell there are certain people that aren’t thinking about any of it. But, I’d say that the majority of our audience’s we’re playing to, in the back of their mind are concerned about covid. Whether they’re gonna get the Delta variant, or something like that. So, its strange in that sense, but we’re still enjoying ourselves. We’re still playing shows and having fun, and I think the crowd is enjoying it. It’s just not the way it was. And I don’t know how long its gonna be until we get back to that. The freedom of just being there.

That was kinda what I was thinking with the next question. How do you think the music industry is? What state do you think it is in? What position do you think it is in? Do you think it is ever going to recover? I’ve spoken to a few people who are saying it might never get back to the way it was.

I don’t think it will. I mean no certainly in the next two years. I mean, its upside down right now, some of the biggest bands in the United States can’t sell tickets right now. Which is weird. Its just, well the Foo Fighters are probably the only major rock band right now that are selling out every single show. Everybody else, Violent Femmes, Dropkick Murphys, Blues Travellers, you know these kinds of bands that are kind of in the same realm as we are. We’re all doing three quarters capacity venues, we’re doing three quarters even though they’re saying they’ve sold out. Its three quarters of the tickets. So I don’t know how its going to recover, other than just waiting out this depressive financial state. I mean, its gonna be years before its in the black again. Honestly, its tough. Its real tough!

It is a shame! So, you’re touring the US at the minute. I know its obviously quite hard to plan out at the minute, but is there plans for a more international tour? Or are you just waiting it out a bit?

No, fingers crossed we’re working on some stuff in Europe and Australia, New Zealand for 2022 and 2023. Fingers crossed that works out. I mean its really again until these restrictions get lifted on travelling. Or being in certain countries, you know, I mean we’re all vaccinated and we have our vaccine passports and shit. But, that just doesn’t seem like its working. So, we have to kinda wait it out and see what governments are doing. I mean, the health minister in Australia, I think the guy has been a bit crazy, certainly the Australian’s are losing their minds over it. But, I did an interview in New Zealand the other day, and they’re under lockdown again. You know man, its really up in the air. It really is, unfortunately.

I know we’ve had a few gigs over here kind of cancelled and paused, stuff like that because people are just not able to travel. To finish on a slightly lighter note, if there was one band or artist that you could collaborate with, whether it be a song or a full album. Does anyone immediately spring to mind?

Oh, I’d love to work with Nothing But Thieves. I love them. Really love that band, I love their new record, I’m forgetting his name. I don’t know why cus I love him! An English cat, with tattoos on his face, real soulful voice, something man. Shit. Its ridiculous, I listen to him every fuckin day!

Rag’n’bone man?

Yes! Rag’n’bone man. I love him. I just think he’s got some cool fuckin records going right now. Love his voice, And of course, I mean, I’d love to do something with Adele, I’d love to o something with Johnny Moore. I’m a big fan of English music man. I, the Manchester movement was a huge influence on me, a huge inspiration for me. When I was in, its funny. I think we played Manchester, went to the Stone Roses bar. You know this place? Its so fuckin cool man! I went there, we had two nights off. We played the one night and I went there after our show, and I stayed there until four in the morning. Just dancing and listening to music. And I went back the next night, because I was just like, I didn’t here one fuckin rap song, I didn’t hear any stupid pop shit, it was nothing but English rock n roll. I was like, this is the greatest fuckin bar in the world! And I love that about England. I love that your country does that! It like you support your fuckin arts. We don’t do that here. You have bars that play rap music, but its shit, you know. The venue sucks, and the people suck, the music’s not the best rap song, its some like, all the shit we know. No body digs deep or anything here. And I just thought the DJ at that club was so fuckin amazing. Every song I knew, and there were some where I was like, man, that was a fuckin deep cut. And I love that shit! I’d like to collaborate with those guys!

That’d be cool, I’d definitely love to hear that!

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