Exclusive Interview - Candlelight Red Talks “Reclamation”

Candlelight Red recently released their new album “Reclamation” which was produced by Sevendust’s Morgan Rose. The boys in Candlelight Red had a lot of momentum coming from their debut album “The Wreckage” and the EP “Demons” followed by a slot on last years Uproar tour. The momentum carried through to “Reclamation.” Recently I got the chance to chat with front man Ryan Hoke and guitarist Jeremy Edge. Check it out.

Bob Zerull: You guys have a new album out “Reclamation” that you did with Morgan Rose (Sevendust), how did that collaboration come about?

Ryan Hoke (RH): We did a tour with Sevendust a while back, like 30 days with them, and we talked to Morgan a little bit here and there. He’d been talking about doing some producing, so we got this big tour last summer with Shinedown, the Rock Star Uproar Tour and we wanted to release a new single to radio so we had something new and relevant to tour on, because we had been touring on “The Wreckage” for like a year. We started throwing around ideas, where are we going to record it, who are we going to have produce it and Morgan came to mind, so we gave him a call to see what he thinks. He remembered the band and was all for it. He had a studio in Butler, New Jersey, Architect Studios that he did Call Me No One’s record at and spoke really highly of the place, we went down checked it out and it was an awesome studio. We booked it for five days and ended up writing four songs in five days and released it as an EP.

Jeremy Edge (JE): We’re glad we went with him, because they were talking about flying us out to California to do a song with some famous name producer and Morgan was like, ‘I got this.’ He hit it out of the park, the dude’s definitely got producing skills.

RH: Yeah, he’s worked with a lot of producers, so I think he’s taking a little bit from everybody he’s ever worked with. When it came time to do “Reclamation” we said let’s do the exact same team. Same engineer, same producer, same studio, don’t change anything.

BZ: What did he add to the album?

JE: A lot, he helped arrange the songs, he helped come up with ideas and melodies, all the way from humming guitar melodies to vocal melodies. He helped with ideas like switching up drum beats in different sections, a little bit of everything. He can play a little bit of everything, he can sing, play a little guitar so he can hear the whole big picture, he’s not just focused on drums.

RH: He gets our music. I mean Sevendust…we’re all kind of the same genre so he understands the sound we’re going for and what we wanted to achieve.

BZ: It seems like you’ve been on the road non stop the last three years, when did you have time to make “Reclamation?”

RH: In the studio on the spot basically.

JR: Yeah pretty much, we did thirteen days then we came back and did three more days and that was it. We had been on the road for 2 ½ months and we took a couple weeks off at home. Then we fired right back into the studio for thirteen days and just knocked it out right then. We’d have a rehearsal room where they’d be jamming out songs and I’d be in the other room writing lyrics. It was like a little assembly line of music.

BZ: Do you think that short amount of time adds to the creativity by preventing you from second guessing yourself?

RH: Yeah I think exactly that. With “The Wreckage” we had a long time to do preproduction and a lot of time to think about stuff. I think it works better, is more organic and honest if you just…

JR: Music is very easy to over think, if I had it to do over again I’d probably not have everything so non planned out, but seeing how this can go I certainly think it helps not to try and finish everything like its done done. Some producers call it married to the demo. You get attached to the demo and say this is the way it is and some producers come in and say no this isn’t that good, then you get all bent out of shape because you’re attached to it one way. In the end a lot of times the producer is right.

BZ: Does the quick turn around help with the live translation of the songs on tour?

RH: Yeah there are a lot of little things that go into a recording. You can tell in the playing and the singing that it’s new and it’s fresh and it’s still exciting to be performing it where as something we’ve been playing for months, you’re just kind of going through the motions. So this definitely has a more raw feeling and a live sound than the previous record does.

JR: I mean live is live and studio is studio. In studio we layer a lot of stuff to give it certain sound. I’ll layer with tracks of rhythms and tracks of octave guitars that are almost subliminal in the background. But we’re a live guitar band so live its more like there’s one really loud guitar (laughs). That part of it is different, but I think the energy translates.

BZ: You’re still a pretty young band. You started to see success early. You work really hard to reach a certain level of success and once you reach it don’t you find like you have to work ten times harder to maintain it?

JR: We’re going through that now a little bit. We had a lot of momentum off of Uproar and then “Demons” got a lot of airplay last year. We spent four or five months setting up this album and we’re still waiting for some things to be finalized. The band and the record company are taking new bigger steps to make everything bigger. That’s one of those things where we’re trying to go back out and reinvigorate our fan base and let them know that we have a new killer record and hopefully in a few months they’re going to be hearing about it non stop.

BZ: We all start out as fans, that is what makes you want to start playing music to begin with. When you see behind the curtain and your heroes start to become your peers, is that tough to adjust to?

LJ: It’s always one of those things…Ryan and I have been playing in different bands for years and I’ve gotten to open up for a lot of big bands even before we were touring or signed. Back in 2004 or 2005 we were doing a show in New York City opening for Staind. I’m setting up my guitar rig and somebody comes up behind me and says, ‘what happened to this guitar,’ to one of my beat up strats and it was Aaron Lewis. Most of the times when you meet other bands it’s like meeting a local band. They go through the same stuff you do. They have to wait two weeks to do laundry, they don’t get to see their families very often, we’re all kind of the same once you get to meet people. I think if I met Jimmy Page I’d be a little geeked out. The cool thing about working with Morgan is that we heard their stuff back in the day and were like man these guys are freaking awesome. Him hanging out with us when we’re going out to eat or to the bar or something is like having another band member. It’s pretty cool.

BZ: Were you guys big Sevendust fans?

RH: Yeah

JR: Yeah definitely, they’re the band that I think pioneered the genre and didn’t get a lot of credit. You can hear their influence in a lot of bands, like Breaking Benjamin. Nothing against Breaking Benjamin, they’re awesome. Sometimes the innovators don’t get the credit or aren’t at the right place at the right time and I think Sevendust really worked their ass off for years and years and had success but never got the credit we feel they deserved.

BZ: It seems like with grunge Nirvana and Pearl Jam got all the credit, but Alice in Chains was the band that pioneered the next era.

JR: Absolutely, Nirvana got all the attention and I was always a huge Alice in Chains fans.

BZ: I feel like Sevendust is the Alice in Chains of their era.

JR: Yeah it’s just the nature of the business, it just happens. You work your ass off, and we face that at this level. You work real hard to get it out there and somebody might notice another band before they notice us. It’s just the nature of the business, you just work as hard as you can.

BZ: The transitioning to start touring, it’s a different world, you’re living a normal life one day, the next you have to quit your jobs and

RH: Yeah it’ll flip your life upside down. It’s definitely tricky to get a grasp on. JR: It definitely is an adjustment, for years I had thought I had “toured,” but nothing like this. We’d go out for four days and come back and get your life back together or we’d go down from Pennsylvania all the way down south for two or two and a half weeks and then come back, since was such a shock because they send you out for a month and you go all the way to the west coast, just non stop and it’s a shock because…

RH: Especially for like Uproar because you’re gone for 45 days and you’re on almost every day.

JR: It was definitely a big adjustment financially, the home life, family changes a lot.

BZ: When you’re a young band what advise do you give a young band about when to go on tour? We’re friends with Three Years Hollow and I know they struggled with that decision for like three years.

JR: It is a huge sacrifice. We’ve been hearing a lot about Three Years Hollow from Clint Lowery and Morgan actually and they seem to be on the right track doing all the right things and they’re making waves on their own. I think they’ll follow the same path we did, you start making waves locally and next thing you know it’s national.

BZ: There isn’t the money there use to be in the music industry. Now it seems like you almost have to spend as much time on the business side as you do on the creative side.

JR: You’ll get this interviewing any band, especially rock bands. The industry is horrendous. A friend of mine said it best she said music is something that 99% of us rely to get through our day.

RH: Whether they know it or not.

JR: But the artists are not really appreciated or compensated in the ways…you think about anybody else you rely on that much like say the power company. It’s not intentional. It’s not the fans screwing the bands, it’s that they don’t realize that the industry is set up to not give the artists that are working so hard to bring that music to you their due. All streams of revenue is taken away. MTV is gone, advertising is gone.

BZ: Radio is pretty much gone.

JR: I think it was the singer from Cracker was talking about their song “Low.” He got paid like $17 for his song to be played on like Pandora a million times. People just don’t realize that if you don’t go to shows or you don’t buy a t shirt, some of their favorite bands that we know that are way more established than we are literally can’t pay their bills and at any moment could just say that they have to hang it up. I think there needs to be a real public awakening to what the music industry has done to bands and artists. Our future is going to be like the movie “Demolition Man” where there are no more artists any more and the music will just be commercial jingles, that’s going to be it (laughs).

BZ: That would be pretty amazing if “Demolition Man” got that right. I definitely don’t think there will ever be another Metallica or U2, I don’t think the industry will allow a band to succeed on that scale. 

RH: The youth of America are thrown in the wrong direction to begin with. From the time their five watching the Disney channel and the crap they shove down these kids throats like One Direction. There’s nobody on our side. We’re fighting the good fight.

JR: You practice your instrument and play your whole life to…

RH: Skrillex can hit a space bar and makes “music.”

JR: OR there’s a guy on You Tube who makes the worst version of a cover song that he possible can and people think it’s so funny that he gets fifty million hits. It’s a strange time we’re living in for music.

BZ: The fans too, in the rock world are so passionate about their bands that they turn on other bands when really they should be supporting rock music in general.

JR: When we hear people bash Nickelback or Linkin Park or other popular bands it’s like look we want to play with those bands, because they’re the bands selling tickets. If I hear a radio station bash Nickelback I think well they’re paying your electric bill. What other genre does that? What other genre eats its own? You think other pop artists trash Justin Bieber?

RH: Well they might bash Bieber, he’s not a very good example (Laughs)

JR: Bieber’s probably not a good example, but publicly they’re not doing it because all of those artists are keeping each other alive and their genre and music industry alive. You can say it’s not my thing, but to say every thing in rock is crap…you don’t want to chew off your own leg.

BZ: I just have one last questions and I know it’s kind of old, but you opened for Kiss awhile back. Did you guys actually get to meet them?

JR: We met Gene and our drummer Doc McGee. It was an online contest and that gave us the opportunity to open for them for one show and then we won the whole thing. They had Gene and Paul pick from all the bands and we got like a Guitar Center shopping spree and they wrote some cool quotes about us and it was really neat. That was just when we were starting to catch on, we weren’t signed yet and that was definitely one of the catalysts that helped spring board the band.

Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at bob@zoiksonline.com.
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