Only together two-and-a-half years, Candy Hearts are a band breaking through the music scene. With a style as sweet and infectious as their name sounds, it’s only getting sweeter as the band teams up to record with New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert for their latest release. Singer Mariel Loveland spoke to AP about the band’s first Los Angeles experience, working with Glibert in the studio, and her newfound songwriting vulnerability.
Interview: Kristen Swanson
You guys recently put out an acoustic EP to help raise money to travel to Los Angeles. How is that doing and how long did it take to put together?
Mariel Loveland: I’m actually super surprised, it’s been selling pretty well and I’m really happy with how it came out. We tracked it in two days and mixed it in two days. We came up with the idea of releasing an acoustic EP so we would have something cool to show people in between our last release and the EP we’re working on right now. Originally, we were going to do a cover and two of our old songs acoustic, but a couple days before we were supposed to record, I wrote [“Maybe”]. I was still writing for the record pretty much up until the day we left. I was finishing lyrics and stuff, so I had just written a song that I thought would be good acoustic and wouldn’t quite fit on the new EP, so we just decided to throw [“Maybe”] in there.
Candy Hearts are recording in L.A. What’s the vibe like there? I imagine the atmosphere of L.A. is different from New Jersey or the East Coast, in general.
Oh, my gosh, it is totally different. Everyone is really nice and laidback. We were going to the studio yesterday and running late because of traffic, and our entire car was freaking out with road rage and I feel like it was possible that it was just our car. It seems really nice and laid back here compared to what I’m used to. I feel like I’m still jet-lagged; we’ve been in the studio all day working really hard that we’ve been exhausted when we get home, so we haven’t really gone out much yet.
You’re also in the studio with Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory. How did you get in contact with him about producing the new EP?
Chad actually found us on Twitter. We were on tour in August and we tweeted about listening to New Found Glory, and we were on the road with Mixtapes at the time, and Ryan [Rockwell] from Mixtapes told us that we had to mention Chad in our tweet if we were tweeting about New Found Glory. Chad hit us up pretty much right after we tweeted, saying that he liked our band and we just stayed in contact. He told me to email him our stuff once I had demos and he was real persistent about it because I felt weird about bothering someone with my music. But he really sought us out and made it happen.
You also mentioned New Found Glory are one of the reasons you fell in love with music. What’s it been like to work with Chad? In what ways is he influencing the new EP?
It’s been great. He’s so nice and hilarious, and he really knows what he’s doing in the studio. All of the suggestions he’s made have been really great and I think our songs are going to turn out really well. I feel like there are a lot of parts on the EP that people are going to think he added that we actually came in with thinking, “Oh, my gosh, people are going to think that Chad changed our sound.” I wrote a lot of the songs the month that we got back from our tour with Man Overboard and sort of in that pop-punk mindset. As I was writing them, I was like, “These are really pop-punk and I don’t want to have too much of a departure from our old songs because I really like that alt vibe.” I was worried a little bit to go into the studio. [I thought] our songs would come out even more pop-punk because they already sounded so much that way to me, but he’s definitely made them sound way more alternative than they were.
What made you decide to go with an EP rather than a full-length?
I’m not really sure; a few people suggested it at one point, so I just sort of went with it. I mean, I think it’ll be good because we do have enough songs for a full length, but to just get the best ones out there would be pretty cool. I think it’s expected to be released in the fall, but I’m not exactly sure which month.
What makes this EP different from previous releases?
I feel like a lot of the songs from the last album are more about friendship and this album is kind of more about loneliness and relationships. I think it’s more about an internal, personal struggle and relationships.
Candy Hearts are signed to Kind Of Like Records. It seems like a lot of bands on the label are finally getting the recognition they deserve, such as Timeshares, Captain, We’re Sinking and Mixtapes. What has your own experience been like?
Kind Of Like Records is the best. I know so many people say our label is like a family, but it really is. We’re all best friends and we all hang out all the time and I feel like we work so hard together and we just have so much fun. Lisa, who runs the label, also manages us and she’s, like, my best friend ever. It’s just, like, business and fun, and everyone has each other’s back.
I’ve heard Candy Hearts compared to Lemuria many times.
We really love Lemuria. I can see a comparison with Get Better; it was a more poppy record for them and the songs that they put on that split with Cheap Girls sound a little bit like our songs. But overall, with their new 7-inch and Pebble, it’s a lot more technical and punk and I don’t really feel that we sound like that. I think that our vocals sound very similar. I feel like me and Sheena [Ozzella] have a certain tone to our voice that actually does sound similar. We don’t have the big Beyoncé or Paramore voices that a lot of bands usually have. We just have these kind of quiet, small voices that aren’t all that common, so I feel like that’s why we get compared. But in general, we’ve been mostly compared to bands with male singers.
On your blog you wrote, “Singing songs about real life has a certain way of dropping you right into a past moment,” which reminds me of a conversation I had with someone the other day—how musicians write about certain experiences or relationships, yet each time they perform those songs they are kind of reliving the experiences all over again. Is it a constant struggle to be honest in songwriting? How do you handle reliving those experiences, especially the bad ones?
Well, for this EP in particular, it’s hard because I feel like I wrote the other EPs moreso because I wasn’t afraid of what the people I wrote them about thought. Because they were people I was in a band with and my best friends knew I would be writing these songs and would really appreciate it. And with this one, it’s about a lot of things that still bother me, so when I sing them, not only am I embarrassed—well I’m not embarrassed by them at all actually, I really like the songs—but I’m nervous for the people who they are about to hear them because I think that they’ll know undoubtedly that it’s about them. And that’s kind of nervewrecking and a lot of the songs are a little bit hard to sing because it does bring me back to specific moments that still bother me.
So you just kind of have to suck it up for the sake of remaining honest in your songs?
Yeah, I really always want to be honest. I feel like people will relate to what I have to say more. In a selfish way, I would really like to relate to other people. I want to know that other people feel the same way as me. I just feel like the songs always mean more to me that way.