Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Candiria interview with guitarist: John LaMacchia. January 25th. 2010.
Vista: Hey John. You guys have been around for a long time, but have had some line-up changes. Can you give us the current line-up?
John: Currently it is myself John LaMacchia, Carley Coma, Ken Schalk and Michael Macivor. It must be made clear though that this line-up is for any studio work we have done recently or will do in the next year or so. Candiria is currently not a touring band.
Vista: One thing I need to get to is, as it just came to my attention...From reading up on Candiria, is that original guitarist Chris Puma passed away in the Fall of 2009. I was really shocked to hear that! Can you shed some information on what happened?
John: Very sad. We are not exactly sure what the cause was. Chris' family did not specify the cause and we felt it was best to not delve and ask questions out of respect for them. Chris was a great guy and a very talented guitar player. Very sad news.
Vista: As a band, Candiria has gone through so many ups & downs. What is the story with "Type A" records? Can you give us some information on this? Also, from what I understand, you have since released the album?
John: Fortunately, Type A records and Candiria do not have anything to do with each other any longer. We agreed to kindly go our own ways with no hard-feelings at all towards each other but it is certainly best for both parties. We did however come to an agreement about the release of "Kiss The Lie", the last official studio album release before the most recent remix and rare tracks series, "Toying With The Insanities". Type A records allowed my label "Rising Pulse Records" the rights to press copies of the record in LP format only. It can be purchased at http://risingpulserecords.bigcartel.com/artist/candiria. A digital bundle is available upon request with the purchase of the record. I'm very happy this record has finally been released. It received next to no press and not many people know it came out.
Vista: Does Candiria have a current drummer? Also, are there any plans on playing out?
John: If any drummer will be playing or recording any new music at this point, it would be Ken, which I'm very happy about. Ken is such a huge part of the bands sound I couldn't imagine writing any new music without him. He sent me a song he recently constructed and it is really amazing. Very energetic and excited and extremely challenging. Can't wait to get started working on it. As far as playing shows, we have no plans at the moment. There were a couple of shows offered to us but with Ken's current living situation it would be next to impossible to pull the band together to do so. Besides that, everyone else is extremely busy with other projects, including myself.
Vista: I remember seeing Candiria so many time in the past, it seemed like you guys were always on tour. I know that the band was involved in a pretty horrific tour van crash. Can you tell us what the hell happened, for those who may not know?
John: We were on the road a lot when we were making the last 3 or 4 records. We had to be. The accident happened in September 2002. As a matter of fact, the last official release "Toying With The Insanities Volumes 1 & 2" was released on the anniversary of the accident, September 9, 2009. We were rear-ended by an 18 wheeler. He basically drove straight through us. Everyone suffered several major injuries, and thankfully no one was killed and no one is in a wheelchair. It's a miracle really. Just take a look at the cover of " What Doesn't Kill You". Truly a miracle no one was lost in that accident. We flipped several times, four of us were ejected from the vehicle. Anyway, you can purchase "Toying With The Insanities Volumes 1 and 2", which is the first 2 volumes of a 4 volume set of remixes & rare tracks at http://risingpulserecords.bigcartel.com/artist/candiria. Please pick these up. There are some rally incredible pieces of music on these releases.
Vista: I remember that Candiria always seemed to be on different record labels over the years. You guys have done records for small labels as well as big~biz labels. After all these years, what's your take & opinion on all of it?
John: Well, to be honest if I could do it all over again I would have stuck with Century Media Records. They loved the band & truly believed in what we were doing and that is beyond anything else the most important thing a label can offer a band. At the time though, Century Media wasn't as big as they became when metal really broke in 2001, 2002, etc. but I truly believe it would have been best for us to stick with them. Guess we'll never know. We signed another deal with a deadbeat label, *@#shore records and then we got crushed by some idiot truck driver who fell asleep behind the wheel.
Vista: John, as a guitarist who are you influences?
John: Nice, I love this question. There are several. David Gilmour, Nels Cline, Tony Iommi, Frank Zaapa, Steve Howe, Robert Frippo to name a few...My guilty pleasures...Dave Navarro, K.K. Downing, Glen Tipton, Steve Vai. Those guys among a few others really influenced me as a teenager which I think is really important because what you learn when you are a young player will really stay with you throughout the years.
Vista: Are you guys able to make a living from doing the band? I should ask...Are you at least able to pay bill or is doing the band just out of the love of making music?
John: No, we are certainly not. We never really were able to and at this point how could we? Most people who love our band are not buying our records. Everyone is stealing them like just the thing to do now. I see these posts by people on-line where they send out a link to other folks, "here's a link to the Candiria discography...Keep seeding people so other people can download it for free too...". DOESN'T ANYONE REALIZE THAT IF YOU DOWNLOAD OUR MUSIC ILLEGALLY YOU ARE STEALING WHAT FEW DOLLARS WE MAKE A YEAR RIGHT OUT OF OUR POCKETS? It's completely immoral. No one cares anymore. So people are going to wind up with no choices because there's only so long musicians will starve before they find something better to do with their time. Like go make a living doing something else, like playing in wedding bands or some ridiculous thing like that. Peoples choices are going to be Jay Z, Beyonce, Kid Rock and Matchbox Twenty soon. No one can afford to make a record anymore and people walk around scratching their head wondering why do bands always change their sound, or why are their so many crappy bands out there? Or why doesn't this band make records anymore? Well, now you know cause *!@^heads have no morals and just steal music like it grows on trees. No, people like myself spend hours, weeks, months & years making these records for some dickhead to post a torrent of it the day after it's available. Thank you dickhead.
Vista: Like I've mentioned, I've seen Candiria perform at least twenty times live through the years. What would you consider your band. For example, you could easily say that Madball is hardcore. Slayer is metal. Hatebreed is metalcore, and so on. What would you say Canndiria is? I'd say something along the lines od "jazzmetaldelic". Is that a fair guess? How would you describe your style?
John: It's a fair guess as ours. We called it Urban Fusion and I really believe that best covers all the bases. We mixed so many different styles but we were truly inspired by our urban lifestyle. Growing up in Brooklyn, NY was a very fortunate thing for us as musicians & artists. It's such an inspiring place to grow and evolve as an artist yet at the same time if you allow it to, it can influence you too much and you never really focus on your craft enough to really have a unique style. Candiria is the perfect example of that. Then again, its what made our sound & style so unique.
Vista" Have you had any formal guitar training? Also, have any of the other band members hasd any formal training as well?
John: I did as a kid. I took private lessons from several teachers in the first 5 or so years as a guitar player. Then writing and playing in bands became way more important to me. So I just learned from other players. Mostly drummers. I owe a lot to the drummers I played with over the years, especially Ken. I learned so much from playing in a band with him and just jamming or recording. We spent many hours making all kinds of recordings that have never seen the light of day. Maybe one day they will. Ken also took private lessons but like myself is self-taught, same with Michael Macivor. Pretty much self-taught as well. Countless hours playing in bands or sitting home figuring out Yes songs or Metallica songs and what have you.
Vista: What is your opinion on the record industry? I mean, with people endlessly downloading music is it possible to at least break-even with a vinyl-only release or a cd release? Or is it pointless in life to expect to make any amount of money?
John: If I knew this question was coming I would have saved my rant for this one. I'm not sure anymore, what to think. My personal experience, no I don't think there is any way to break even or make any kind of living being a musician at my level. If I told you how many records Candiria has sold as of late you probably wouldn't believe me. It's not that we are not known or anything. On the contrary, Candiria is a very well known band. It's just that people are not really buying records anymore. Not LP's, not cd's, not digital downloads, not Itunes etc...It's just too easy to steal it and people do it without any remorse or concern of what type effect that will have on us or more importantly, the entire record industry. The industry is barely breathing. It's dying., quickly, and no one cares. On the flip side, I just read an article about this band Owl City who have just sold 700,000 copies of their record. Maybe that's a fabrication. I would hope in a way that it is cause if it's not, then I am really out of touch with this industry and music in general. Hahaha. So, who knows? I don't. One thing for sure, I'm always going to make records & be a musician. It's who I am. I hear stories about how this guy is done with music for good or this guy is calling it quits because he can't make a living. Hogwash!! You can't stop. You never picked up an instrument to make a living in the first place, so if you are truly a musician or an artist you will continue to be one until you die. For those of you who still do buy our records in whatever format you like the best...Thank you. Actually thank you isn't even enough. We make these records for you. We don't make them for people who steal them. We make them for the guy or girl that really gives a shit. So, one million thanks you's to all the people that have supported Candiria and Spylacopa & anything I have ever been part of on a musical level.
Vista: Speaking of technology...What were the last 5 bands that you've loaded into your Ipod? Assuming that you own an Ipod?
John: I do have an Ipod. I love it!! I have two actually. Let's see, the last five things I have uploaded into it? Dead Meadow, Feathers, sort of a stoner-rock version of Clutch meets Earth meets The Verve. Rachels, the album Systems/Layers. A Neo Classical chamber ensemble that have been a real inspiration to me over the last decade or so. Soundgarden, Louder Than Love, needs no explanation. David Bowie, Outside...Once again, no explanation needed. Oceansize, Frames...Really amazing band from the UK.
Vista" John, what are your interests outside of Candiria & other musical projects?
John: Food. Haha...Well, yes, but not really. I am an artist. I draw, take pictures, design images in photoshop. Other than that I love collecting microphones, vintage instruments, guitars, effects pedals. I'm a geek like that. I watch tons of movies & that's about it. My life, in two sentences.
Vista: Did Candiria ever tour through Europe and/or Japan?
John: Yes we have, both actually, a handful of times through each. Had some great times in other countries such as Japan, and the UK, and Western Europe. Had some really rough times out there too. All great memories though.
Vista: I read somewhere that you have a side-project? If so, what's that all about?
John: Spylacopa, features members of Isis, The Dillinger Escape Plan & Made Out of Babies. Please pick up or debut EP at http://risingpulserecords.bigcartel.com/artist/spylacopa. I feel that Candiria fans will really dig the sound & style. If you like Dillinger's recent music & if you're a fan of Isis and Made Out of Babies, check it out.
Vista: That's all the questions that I have for you. What's the best way to get in touch with you & Candiria?
John: Visit us at Myspace, Facebook and http://risingpulserecords.bigcartel.com/artist/candiria
Thank you all so much for supporting Candiria!!!