Editor’s Note: It was a sweltering day as I actually sought out a bit of solace with back to back interviews with Courage My Love and Candiria. I was looking forward to discussing music, in particular one of my favorite albums from 2016 in “While They Were Sleeping”, in which John LaMacchia states that the way that frontman Carley Coma wrote the record, it was one of the most complicated pieces of music that he has ever worked on with Candiria. Candiria is near and dear to my heart because they mix metal with jazz and even a bit of funk influences in the music. Check out Candiria on the Vans Warped Tour! Without further delay, here is my conversation with John LaMacchia, guitarist for Candiria.
M.T.C.: Thank you for taking the time to interview with me for Madness To Creation. Just tell me who you are and what do you do in Candiria?
John: My name is John and I play guitar for Candiria.
M.T.C.: I absolutely love the album “While They Were Sleeping” and the story that the album takes the listener through, in case if people haven’t picked it up yet, what messages or story is being conveyed in the album?
John: To be honest, I’m not the perfect man for this conversation, Carley was the one that came up with the concepts. He started developing it in the very early stages of the writing process, and it was a very difficult thing for me to understand because we were writing songs and there was a part of the story for that particular song, but that part of the story didn’t happen until 1/3 of the way through or halfway through, so the way that the story was developing for me was so confusing because it was written on it. I listened to the album in the correct order, I listened to the whole thing, and I was like, “a-ha, now I’m beginning to understand it”, I didn’t fully understand it, but I was beginning to understand it. “While They Were Sleeping” as the title track, I think you have to read the lyrics, because what I don’t want to do is give you the wrong information. I would really hate to misrepresent Carley’s lyrics, so check out the album, check out the lyrics, sorry I can’t be more helpful there. I just play guitar man! *laughs*
“While They Were Sleeping” by Candiria Playthrough
M.T.C.: You gotta do what you gotta do while you play guitar. Basically, what I love about your guitar playing is the jazz undertones and I can tell that it’s influenced by different styles of music, is that what you grew up with when you learned how to play?
John: I grew up listening to a lot of different styles of music, as a matter of fact, when I was very young, I was raised on R&B, soul, and jazz, and all different types of music. My dad and my mom are big music fans, and they were obsessed about it. My dad’s musical influences had a little bit more of an impact on me because when I was 12 and he told me that I was going to play guitar, and he brought me home a guitar and he got me lessons, which I’m so grateful for. But in his record collection, he had some really interesting music, and he would always play music in the car, and he would always play really interesting music. It was bands like Earth, Wind & Fire, Yellow Magic Orchestra, he would also listen to all the great soul singers such as Marvin Gaye, so many great artists. But the Miles Davis “Sketches of Spain” record is the one I connected with the most, that gave me my first taste of listening to Miles Davis and listening to jazz, and from there I just got into it more and more, and then by the time I joined Candiria, it was mandatory that I would get extremely well versed in music and in more contemporary artists, so over the years its just been more and more where I just play different styles of music.
M.T.C.: If Miles Davis was in the crowd checking out Candiria’s performance, how do you think he would react?
John: I think he would be like, “he’s a bad motherf*****!
M.T.C.: I could actually see him saying that, that’s funny you said that! Basically, let’s rewind to 1992 when Candiria started out, and go to 2017 again, did you expect Candiria to be around for 25 years? Sorry for the odd question. *laughs*
John: It’s actually a really good question, especially given the direction that the music industry has gone. It’s been really extremely difficult for anyone to make a buck, for most musicians. When you got bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, and it’s not just because of this that they stopped, but one of the reasons that they’re going to stop is because it’s difficult to make a living, your home life is completely turned upside down, you’re on tour the whole time, you can barely keep any semblance of a normal home life, and at what cost, for what? At the end of the day, you can barely afford to pay your bills and barely can afford health insurance. You can’t have the regular things that every American has or every other person on the planet has, not every other person, but you get what I’m saying. But every other guy that can make a living in this country has a chance to have this or that, and for musicians, it’s becoming tougher and tougher because there’s no value in music anymore because people feel that it’s supposed to be free, it’s just a terrible thing that has happened because they have made it to where there’s no financial foundation, if we can’t sell a record, “what the hell, what are we going to do, pass the tip jar around”.
M.T.C.: Playing a festival like the Warped Tour, how is it different from playing or headlining a Candiria show at a venue?
John: It’s very different because every day your set changes and your time changes, so you don’t know when you’re going to go on, it’s very different from a club date. We’ve done an open air festival in France recently, but we’ve never done an open air summer tour, so the heat is way more of a factor than it would be at some clubs, but the heat and the sun is definitely a factor, it definitely changes things, it changes the vitality that the audience has when its a hot summer day. People can only withstand the summer heat for so long, so the energy level tends to weigh down a little bit, and you gotta energize the crowd. You really gotta work harder on those extremely hot days to get the people pumped, you know.
M.T.C: Speaking of energy, let’s say you’re in the studio writing guitar parts, and you’re not feeling it, what do you do to get motivated?
John: I write something else. If what you’re working on isn’t motivating you, then it’s probably what you’re working on, it’s more likely for me from my personal experiences, if I’m in the studio and I’m not motivated to write, it’s probably what we’re working on is not exciting enough. Other than that, to get motivation and to gain inspiration and all of that stuff, for me I always turn to these certain records, one is “Larks, Tongues in Aspic” by King Crimson, that album is one of the most dark, creative, and beautiful records I’ve ever heard in my life. I recommend to any music listener and especially any musician to check that album out. It’s absolutely incredible, and it was made in ’73 or ’74 or something like that, which is astounding, but it’s so ahead of its time. That record still inspires me to be creative.
I also turn to a Miles Davis record that I love called “Get Up With It”. That record is extremely creative and I always find something inspiring in it, and now I watch the “Lord Of The Rings” trilogy to be honest with you. That trilogy always makes me feel like, “what would Frodo endure” *laughs*
M.T.C.: I’m going to fast forward a couple of years, where do you see Candiria in 2020?
John: Headlining Coachella! I see us being active, our new album has just come out, and we’re hopefully back on the road, and hopefully we’re back on Warped Tour, how about that? It makes perfect sense, you can’t do it every year, but to come back when our new record comes out again.
M.T.C.: Is there going to be any other music videos released for “While They Were Sleeping”
John: That’s a good question because one song in particular called “Opaque”, my girlfriend is the guest vocalist for that song, and we were only able to perform it twice on this whole tour, regretfully because I really think that people connect to it, and even though we are known to do wild and crazy music, that song just really seems to work for some reason, and in this myriad of insanity, all of this craziness, this piece of music is very meditative, beautiful, and melody driven, and it works. I’m so appreciative that people have reacted well to it, and that’s a song I would love to make a video for still.
“Opaque” by Candiria
M.T.C: What are the plans for the rest of the year?
John: Go home, relax, play with the cat. Go upstate New York and get some time in the woods, in the fall we are going to be working on something. It’s either going to be some tour dates or it is the 20th anniversary of the album “Beyond Reasonable Doubt”, and we would love to somehow pay homage to that album, whether that’s doing some live shows or re-release the CD in its original form, so these are some of the things that we are talking about, and hopefully one or two of them will come true.
M.T.C.: One of my writers, Sal, wanted to ask about “Paradigm Shift”, he couldn’t make it today because he has a lot of committments right now, I’m just going to give you the floor to talk about that song.
John: Lyrically, I’m really intrigued by that song lyrically because I still don’t understand what it’s about and I’ve been in the band for 20 years, musically it’s one of my favorites to play, “Beyond Reasonable Doubt” is one of my favorites, it’s iconic record for me, it’s the record I’ve toured for when I joined the band, and I still to this day love playing those songs, “Paradigm Shift” is a really exciting song to play, it’s a lot of fun, what else can I say about it.
“Paradigm Shift” Candiria
M.T.C.: I’m sure that you’ve been asked about this, if you don’t want to answer I understand, but any thoughts on Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell?
John: You know, I was growing up as a huge Soundgarden fan, I was never a Linkin Park fan, but I do appreciate them. I think the saddest thing is that is that people are writing this person off as an addict or a drunk, I saw somebody write a post as we posted something about it, is that it’s important to remember how powerful depression can be, and how powerful those thoughts can get, and no matter, and all of those judgments and all of those things being said about him being a coward, you know, “how can you take your life when you have six children”, you’re speaking about this person like he was in the frame of mind that you’re dealing with someone who is just normal, he’s not, this guy had serious mental issues, he was struggling with addiction and depression, you cannot judge that person when they are in that state of mind, they’re not thinking like a normal person. Being a coward shouldn’t even come into this, it has nothing to do with that. Suicidal thoughts are a really important topic that we should be discussing more, and we need to educate people more because people don’t understand that this is a sickness, there’s something going on in the brain that is a malfunction, it’s really really sad.
The connection between Chester and Chris Cornell is so dark and it leaves you with so many questions. And people that are talking about how these are no coincidences, these are murders, these guys were about to crack wide open this gigantic child pornography ring, and get all of these people that were involved with it. At this point, who in the hell really knows what is true, or how much of that is true with this connection with this whole thing. I think the most difficult part of it is that you’re left wondering about so many different things and it’s just said. With Linkin Park and their music and what they were a part of probably saved more lives than most people ever do in their entire lives in whatever career they have. Their music was probably so helpful in getting people through such dark times. It’s sad that people would react so nearsightedly with such judgmental remarks and impulsive remarks. How can you judge and how can you speculate that this man was a drunk or did this for this reason, or that he is a coward, it’s horrible man.
M.T.C.: I want to thank you for opening up. I agree 100% with you. Is there anything else that you want to add in regards to the record and where people can find you?
John: Well, I would like to plug my podcast real quick. It’s called “The Brooklyn Blast Furnace” podcast. It’s me, my friend Jimmy, and my friend Jeff, it’s a really fun podcast. We have all different kinds of guests on there from actors to stuntwomen to musicians and directors, and if you can check it out, it’s The Brooklyn Blast Furnace podcast.
M.T.C.: I want to thank you so much for taking the time! Good luck!
John: Thank you man, and thank you for the interesting questions, let’s do this again!
And there you have it! Special thanks to Becky, Danielle, and Amy for setting this up! Check out Candiria on the remaining Warped Tour dates:
Saturday, August 5th- Qualcomm Stadium at Jack Murphy Field in San Diego, California
Sunday, August 6th- Pomona Fairplex in Pomona, California
Candiria Rocks Shakopee!
Candiria brought a unique flair to the Vans Warped Tour setting. It was a smaller crowd, but enough to where people moved and danced to their set. They played “Paradigm Shift”, “While They Were Sleeping”, and “Mereya”, and a couple of other cuts including “Blood”, and “The Whole World Will Burn”. Carley surely brought the intensity as he is a very charismatic frontman and he leaves it all on the stage. John, Michael, and Danny brought impeccable rhythms, surely rhythms with quite complicated time signatures, and from a musicianship standpoint, Candiria is one of the most unique and eclectic bands on the Warped Tour package. I encourage you to go check out a set of theirs if you’re at Warped Tour this weekend!
Check out Candiria at the following locations: