Mike MacIvor - Candiria

June 14, 2004

Tell me a little bit about your band.

All right. The name of the group is Candiria. We're from Brooklyn, NY. The lineup that we're working with right now has been together since 1998. We've always tried to push the boundaries. We always tried to be the band in the scene that wasn't there. There are lots of bands that have a lot of different things to say but we always wanted to be the band that we felt was missing from the scene. So that's why we're constantly evolving.

You guys nearly got killed back in 2002.

We were on tour in 2002. I think we had maybe gotten two or three shows and we then just never made it to the fourth one. What happened was, we were driving and we got driven through is the best way I can describe it by a very large Mack semi truck. A big, big truck. It drove through, if you look at this other vehicle that we were in, there was a trailer connected to the back. The truck drove through the trailer and knocked it off and then hit the back. That's where me and John were sleeping. Back where those doors were. Then the vehicle jackknifed that way and hit the front where Kenny was. We flipped four or five times. Me and John went through this window, what used to be that window. No one ever expects anything like that to happen. Obviously that goes without saying. Especially for a rock band who pretty much lives in a vacuum. Traveling minstrels, gypsies if you will. Town to town. You feel invincible and then just stop, regroup, and learn how to do a lot of different things all over again. It was hard. It was hard to walk for a long while. Multiple surgeries from the accident. It's a big deal. Almost a two year recovery process just to get back in and be able to play. We still play through the pain but we love doing this. We don't how to stop.

I can't believe you guys survived that.

A lot of people can't believe it. I couldn't believe it myself. When it came down to it, when the people who rescued us...I tell this story ever now and again. I remember being rescued by a guy who, we were on one side of the highway and there's a grass median and there were cars on the other side traveling and all skidded out and stopped in various different spots. People saw the accident and just hit the brakes and stopped and jumped out of their cars and immediately came. Ran across the median to our rescue. I remember this one fellow. He must have been on his way to work. He had a Home Depot shirt and he came up to me and grabbed me. He looked like he saw a ghost or couldn't believe that I was standing there. I was wandering around furious at the accident and he was like "oh my gosh." It was weird. I was looking through him but after I processed it I was like wow that guy was so surprised that he was talking to someone alive and not pulling a bunch of bodies out of a twisted wreck. It was pretty intense. Interview over. What more can you say? You can't top that. I believe all of us were strapped in. Most of our seatbelts broke from the impact. We were all strapped in the back because my guitar player, John, never ever gets in any vehicle without putting a seatbelt on. When we went back to the scene later on and we investigated, we snapped. The force was that great either from the collision, the impact, or the roll. I'm not sure of the exact combination of all. I'm not really sure but the seatbelts broke. Seatbelts will save your life but not necessarily. Sometimes you need a little bit more on your side than a seatbelt.

Sometimes you need providence on your side I guess. You guys fuse metal, hardcore, jazz, and hip-hop. You guys are influenced by jazz?

Oh completely, yeah. That was one of the reasons that I think Candiria always stood out the most. At the core it's a hardcore metal act but we like a lot of different things. We like a lot of jazz. Jazz is probably next to metal the single biggest influence of the band. You don't necessarily hear it in all of the stuff that we do. A lot of times we do jazz breaks, jazz influenced things, but it's a lot in the time signatures, the polyrhythmatic tempos and textures that the different speed tempos will have together. The chorus voices and chorus colorings and things like that. My drummer is a huge jazzhead and he turned everybody on to jazz. I'm thankful because to me jazz is the most important musical art form that has pretty much ever existed. That's my opinion though.

I think it is too. Jazz and blues.

Yeah, exactly. Definitely. I keep them hand in hand almost. I feel you can't have one without the other. All the jazz that I really love is also deep rooted in blues. There's tons of blues in John Coltrane and in Miles. It's pretty important stuff.

Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich.

Sure, sure, sure. There you go. The drum perspective.

I fell in love with Gene Krupa from the first time I heard his shit.

My drummer Kenny actually told the story that I believe his first introduction to anything jazz was when he was a little kid and watching The Muppet Show. There was a drum battle between Animal the drummer and Buddy Rich. I believe, if my memory serves me correctly, that was his first introduction to jazz and the drums too. Candiria has a lot to be thankful for. We thank The Muppet Show and Buddy Rich.

You guys decided not to make jazz a focal point in the new album.

Yes. Not that it was intentionally but when we were writing all of our previous albums, the jazz was there all the time. It was just a part of us just flowing. That's what every flow of the music requires, not only that it be jazz influenced but it required it to be jazz straight up. This album didn't feel that way. This album because of the accident in particular, we had a completely different outlook and different things that we wanted to say. I feel also that it doesn't necessarily have to be the jazz. A lot of the time Candiria music is very cerebral and with this album, we were singing a lot more from our hearts and a lot much more an emotional than a cerebral level. There's still a lot of cerebral stuff going on but this was more about song writing and rock and roll and melody. Being able to connect to people because it was the first time that we really wanted to connect emotionally with people and that's why the album came out the way it did. If there was jazz on it then there would have been but it just wasn't so this time.

You were just glad to be alive god damn it.

Exactly, exactly. We just let it flow out and we all constantly looked at each other at times. We were like "are we going to put jazz on this album?" Everybody was like "well, it doesn't seem like the right thing." On top of jazz we also are into a lot of progressive rock and fusion from the '70s so that's why the last track on the album, "The Rutherford Experiment", is what it is. The instrumental. We were like "okay, we did the jazz thing. Let's touch in the rock fusion area this time. A little funk also." We put that together.

Tell me about some of the songs on What Doesn't Kill You....

I love them all but I'll tell you about my favorites. "The Nameless King" is a really, really important song to the band because it was the very first song that we wrote with the approach of Candiria is going to do something more melodic. More structured as a song. A song that doesn't require a tremendous amount of brain power to digest and appreciate. I think everyone can relate to it. It's about having the weight of the world on your shoulders. Everybody has felt that at least one time. The lyrics and the chorus is "I've walked the endless mile, can you feel the pressure?" I think everybody has felt that at one point in their lives like "wow, is this going to be uphill the whole time? When is it at least going to level out a little bit? When will I reach the plateau?" The song "Remove Yourself", also it's another big kind of epic melodic song. That song in its core is about basically a lot of people in life, I think that a lot of people beat themselves up. A lot of times life is very hard and people must think that they don't deserve happiness. They get involved and they get themselves in bad situations whether it be with drugs or they drink or abusive relationships. That's what that song is about. Basically probably singing to whoever might be in a situation that way and pleading with them to please do something to get out of that situation. You have to be thankful and hope that everybody has a friend. I think every one of us in the band has been in a really bad position and whether it was another band member was able to pull them out and remove themselves from that situation or it was another friend. We've been thankful that that was something that we've been able to have because you need people around you. You definitely need people around you a lot of the time. It's hard. A lot of the time life is very hard and it's not easy to get through things on your own so that is what that song is basically about. I think one more which is probably one of the most not controversial but if your simplest song and most melodic song is a song called "Down" on the new record and that song was the very last song that we wrote for the album. When we started a different approach and was leaving out the jazz, we had this outcry from a lot of core, core, Internet fans saying "Candiria, please don't do this. How dare you change your style and blah, blah, blah." We were like "are you for real?" There weren't many people but a few people. I was like "you want to put a petition together? Candiria, don't release this new album. Reconsider." We wrote a song that basically says we love you guys but we have to move on and you're either coming with us or you're getting left behind. If you don't understand that we had to make a change for ourselves, then you don't really understand who we were. Even if you loved all of our previous albums. I feel like every real, real Candiria fan is either going to grow with us on every album or eventually there's going to be an album where they're like "you know what? That's it." Would they have evolved into something else now? We're not done from who we used to be but we have to be something different. Evolution is the key to survival. If you don't evolve, then you might as well be dead. And you eventually will die if the evolution process doesn't continue. That's what the song "Down" is about. Basically saying we love you guys but please don't tell us what to do.

That reminds me of the Metallica thing. I'll never forget when they cut their hair. My friends were like "they cut their hair!" I was like what the fuck? Yeah, they're also 30 or 40 years old. Get over it.

Exactly. Ride The Lightening was a long time ago. Kill 'Em All was a long time ago. The thing is, the band Metallica is a perfect example. I'm friends with Robert and Lars from Metallica and those guys, if you go see them play now, they play a majority of old material. Every time I've seen them in the past year with this St. Anger album, their set consisted of mostly old material. They're not abandoning that. They just have something different to say on this record. You like it or you don't like it. Whatever. Kill 'Em All still kicks ass. Ride The Lightening is still one of the best metal records I've ever heard in my life. As is Master Of Puppets or ...And Justice For All. It's just weird. People are so quick to point the finger and cry sellout. Come on. Metallica were millionaires in 1986. They didn't sell out. They were rich back then. Maybe not millionaires but pretty close to it.

Let's face it. If you don't rake in money then you're going to have to go flip burgers.

Exactly, it's one or the other. If you want to see your favorite band continue being your favorite band and go on the road, then you have to accept if they have something different to say and if they have to reach a different market or a larger audience. I just think it's selfish to be like "this is my band. Fuck off. You're not cool enough to like my band. This is my band." Music is supposed to be about bringing all of us together and supposed to be for all of us to share. Unfortunately not everyone agrees to follow that credo. I don't know why but that's whatever.

What can you say? How has the tour been going?

This tour has been fantastic. It's been a week long and so far it has been one of the best tours Candiria's ever been on. We've been on tours that lasted a month or maybe six weeks and it took nearly that whole time to really create a synergy between the bands and really feel like you have family within the bands. Then it's like "god damn, we just really started to get to know each other and the tour is over in a week." This tour was ignited from the second night. We're rolling around here like this big freaky dysfunctional family. We've only been out there one week. We've known 36 Crazyfists for about two years. They're our blood brothers, those guys. We love them to death. We just met Twelve Tribes on this tour. We love those guys to death. They'll do anything for us. The girls in Kittie, they're aces in my book. They really are. They're sweethearts. They're one of the most pro bands that I've ever seen. I've got nothing but respect for everybody on this tour. Just very, very pleased.

Very cool. What's going to happen after the tour is over?

After this, we're home. Candiria is home for about two or maybe three weeks and then we do about two or three weeks of Shadows Fall and The Haunted. That will bring us into the first week I think of October and I don't really know after that. Hopefully in a couple of weeks we'll have October through November and December booked as well but that's the only information I'm privy to right now is through the first week of October.

Any other thoughts or comments?

Since this is for a webzine, I would like everyone to come out and check our website which is www.candiriamusic.com. It's a lot of fun. We've got a forum with a lot of really cool people. Really into music. The majority of the people on our forum, there will be two or three of the bashers and the majority of forum will have 50 kids bashing the haters. We have such loyal, loving fans. They're willing to take a bat to somebody's head. Some of these kids. It's fantastic. I'd like everyone to come check out the website. There's a lot of art creators in the band. Some of us are photographers, painters, graphic designers. There's an art gallery section on there. Photos of us and our friends on tour. Music to listen to. Lots of cool things like that. I'd like everyone to come check it out. Please give it a listen. Give also a listen to samples of all the music so in case you're thinking about buying the record, you can go and sample some of it and maybe go and purchase it after that.