Walls of Jericho Interview with Candace

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Walls of Jericho Interview with Candace Kucsulain 10/27/08

 

By Barbara Fara

President/CEO

MusicIncider.com

 

MI: Here we go, baby. What is your birthdate and you don’t have to give the year.

 

CK: Oh, you know I don’t mind – it’s August 2, 1980. It’s a really good birthday because there’s a lot of people like the guy from Red Chord, him and I have the exact same birthday on the exact same day, same year, same day.

 

MI: Really, you have to wish him a happy birthday for me; I’ve got pictures of him up on the site, too. And I’ve got pictures of you up from Mayhem.

 

CK: I will! This year we get to share our birthday’s together. We’re super good friends, super close. Actually, we’re dating. That’s kinda weird. Oh my god. (laughs)

 

MI: Who are the other members of the band?

 

CK: Chris Rawson plays guitar, Mike Hasty plays guitar, Dustin Schoenhofer plays drums and Aaron Ruby is bass. But when you see us tomorrow, Greg is going to be filling in for our bass player because he couldn’t make it for this part of our tour. And Greg is the bass player for the Red Chord.

 

MI: Who were your musical influences growing up?

 

CK: Musically, um, I definitely had a wide variety of stuff. My parents listened to a lot of rock and roll, but my dad listened to a lot of country like Johnny Cash. On my own, I listened to punk rock, like Minor Threat and then I was in a mix of kids that were really into the music scene, so I got into grindcore and stuff like that. Anything that seemed like it had a message, and was loud and heavy. (laughs) I threw off my dad’s Metallica disk, it was a single that had “One” on it and I would put the song on and headband until I fell over. I loved that. I remember that I didn’t know nothing about nothing then – I just knew that I loved it. The “And Justice for All” record was great; definitely a big influence on my life. I remember putting the Greatful Dead tape in and immediately took it out. (laughs) I was like, “This is garbage!” Punk and metal were my influences growing up.

 

MI: You’ve got a great voice – who influenced your vocal style?

 

CK: I’ve never really tried to sound like anybody because I never really thought I could sound like anybody, you know, I felt lucky to get what I got at that point – especially when I first started. I had a very high voice. I believe there was Karen from Crisis at that time, but nobody else was in our scene that I knew of so she was the only person they could really compare me to, but I never listened to Crisis. It was just any band; I listened to Earth Crisis and that actually is how I got the Crisis cd, because I ordered the Earth Crisis CD and they gave me Crisis by accident – that’s how I found out who she was. Earth Crisis, and the band Born Against was one that nobody really knows of them, a lot of just anything. I wanted to scream. I knew that you didn’t try to have a sound, you just pretty much showed your emotions through your vocals, you know, put out your aggression and your pain through your vocal chords. Also, whatever you have is good enough. I enjoyed singing by entire life; I was in choir and stuff like that, so…

 

MI: So is mom the road manager now that you’ve become the big singer?

 

CK: (laughs) No, wouldn’t that be amazing. My parents were normal parents; but kids will always rebel of course, so I went towards the heavier metal side, but I was drug-free and very much didn’t want to be the norm. I wanted to avoid all that because I’ve definitely seen a lot of what I didn’t want to be in my family, you know? There were things that I wanted to overcome and the hardcore scene and the metal scene was a place I felt like I belonged. I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere or I was a part of anything. I felt like an outcast.

 

MI: You poor baby! It’s okay to feel like an outcast! What is the inspiration behind your songs and who writes them?

 

CK: The band writes the actually music and then I write the lyrics and vocal patterns to the music. My inspiration comes from life; like I do believe it’s important to speak from the heart and otherwise…that’s where it always comes from is from that place of you speak the truth, you speak who you are, you always stay real.

 

MI: Now, I know the band broke up between ’01 and ’03, why did the band disband between that time, if you don’t mind me asking?

 

CK: Our drummer, Wes Keely, who was the original drummer – during that time, bands were not touring full time and you could not survive on just being a band; before hardcore came up from the underground and more into the mainstream and public eye. He wanted to finish college and so he decided to move away to Seattle; well, at that time we couldn’t afford anything – I remember we went out for three weeks – I came home and I had about $150 dollars of rent and I had to go get a job at IHOP for two weeks so I could pay my rent. I came home after working for three weeks with no money. We just couldn’t survive – you did the band because you loved it. I do feel like that whole time is just like not a part of the music anymore. Kids do not – bands nowadays do not have to struggle to do something they love. They have no idea what it means to sacrifice everything you have to do something you love. So Wes wanted to go to school and be a respectable young man and we tried to find a drummer – I think we went through like five drummers – and all of them had their own special thing but none of them fit, none of them were right and then we got Derek Grant, who is now the drummer for Alkaline Trio and so he actually played with us for awhile when we did the last tour we did and that was pretty much the last show we ever did. He got asked to be in Alkaline Trio while he was in our band. It made perfect sense because they were a band that were definitely starting to get more attention and it was definitely more his gig, a little more on the dark, punk side and hell, if I was a drummer, I would have gone for that, too, because they’re amazing.

 

MI: Who came up with the name “The American Dream” for the album?

 

CK: Well, it was just a song to begin with; we actually weren’t going to name the album. We were kind of just going to do the number four thing. We wanted to get on top of putting up the design thing, you know the artwork for it and then we did the song “The American Dream” and it just came about. We actually started because we were writing a song that was about home; it was about how we don’t feel like our home is our home. If you know anything about Detroit, much like a lot of states, Michigan, the people are losing jobs, like it is everywhere but it’s hard to watch it fall around you. We had family and friends who own businesses and to watch them struggle and fail all because of this so called American dream, you know. Big business wins. The American dream doesn’t even exist anymore and so that’s what that song is about. We got a lot of people saying it was anti-american and an anti-war song and no, not at all, you know?

 

MI: It’s about the people struggling here in America.

 

CK: Exactly. And it’s about how we need to create a new dream, about how all my life, I’ve watched my family struggle. I watched my dad break his back to put food on the table, stuff like that, to where you really see what’s going on in America. I just want to remind people that not everybody is well off. I think there are a lot of people, especially in our scene today who…in the beginning the hardcore scene was for the kids, the misfits, more for the outcasts. We did not grow up in a wealthy family, we struggled and didn’t have shit and most of the people in the scene that I knew were the exact same way. Nowadays, because it’s so mainstream, you’ve got kids that are rich and way more well off and it’s easy to get in a band that mommy and daddy bought them and go tour the world so they can pay their rent. It’s a reminder of what the struggle is.

 

MI: What do you think would be the answer to fix the situation in America?

 

CK: Um, I do think we need a new hope. Like most Americans, I don’t like McCain or Obama, but if you had to go vote for one, I would definitely go vote for Obama. I think he is a new hope and it’s going to lift the spirit of the entire country and just get us off in the right direction, you know? We’ve definitely hit a wall and there’s a lot that needs to be done and I think if McCain were to get in office, a lot of people would think it’s just never going to change. But there are a lot of things that could happen; I’m excited to see. I hope they do not fail us and I hope that we do not have another Bush ever again.

 

MI: Everybody is going vinyl; are you planning to release this album on vinyl?

 

CK: We already have. We already released stuff on vinyl. All our records are out on vinyl, everything. You can actually get a double disk, or double vinyl of what we just released. I love the vinyl. I constantly go to record stores and buy vinyl for like 99 cents. You can find some really awesome shit. Especially older music and I love it.

 

MI: How long are you going to be in Atlanta?

 

CK: Probably just the day.

 

MI: If you get a chance before soundcheck, go into Little Five Points, they’ve got some really great vinyl stores.

 

CK: Oh yeah! I will for sure.

 

MI: Do you ever wish you had decided to stick with body piercing as your career?

 

CK: No! (laughs) That’s why I didn’t.

 

MI: What do you consider your worst job?

 

CK: My worst job – I worked for UPS. I would load boxes onto those belts and that was okay, I didn’t mind that kind of stuff, but then they’d have me sit down and there was like probably 500 envelopes that I had to scan in every single number and I’m not meant for that kind of stuff.

 

MI: How does your family feel about your career?

 

CK: Well, I don’t have much family left. I only have two brothers now. I have my grandma and grandpa and stuff.

 

MI: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to ask about your mom earlier…

 

CK: Oh, it’s okay. She passed just a couple of years ago, and my dad passed when I was sixteen. But they’re very supportive; I have the cousins I randomly see around. My one brother lives in Iowa, my other brother lives in Montana. We’re spread out; my grandma lives in California and my uncle lives in Seattle. That’s my family. But I can see them now and then and they are very supportive – not at first, but now they are.

 

MI: If you could have lunch with any three people, living or dead, who would it be my dear?

 

CK: Oh my god…I’d have to say my mom, of course. Um, Janis Joplin and pick one from now…my best friend Stephanie. Close people. And I’m not very good with small talk (laughs) so if you know me, I’m not good with strangers.

 

MI: You’re doing just fine. What would you warn any upcoming band just entering the music business to watch out for?

 

CK: Managers. Definitely managers and your label and the best thing you can do is talk to older bands that have been doing it; find out what their deals are and their contracts. Contracts are the one thing you really have to watch out for because in the end it can screw you, for sure. A lot of people tend to take advantage of the bands that don’t know.

 

MI: Do you feel like Myspace and Facebook and all these sites have helped or hurt the music industry at all?

 

CK: I think it’s helped and hurt the music industry. It’s good, I mean, I admit it, you hear of a band and it’s so easy to go on Myspace and see what they look like and hear their music and all that stuff but um, I think it makes kids…they don’t appreciate the search, you know? It’s just so easy, everything’s right at their fingertips that there’s not too much heart and soul there anymore.

 

MI: Do you believe in psychics, my dear?

 

CK: I’ve gone to a couple, and they were never good.

 

MI: What happened?

 

CK: The first lady was like, “I don’t want to tell you your future; if it’s negative, I’m not supposed to tell you.” That was crazy. And then the second one told me that someone close to you is going to die or you’re going to die in a car accident, which was crazy. I was like, you know what, I don’t need to put myself through this kind of crap. (laughs)

 

MI: Have you ever had a paranormal experience?

 

CK: You know what? No, not really. I like to be scared, I’m the type of person to go watch a scary movie and go to a haunted house and try to freak myself out.

 

MI: Have you ever noticed any resistance from the music industry for being such a powerful female lead singer?

 

CK: Yes. For sure. I think every woman has in the music industry – especially this one. Especially the metal/hardcore industry. It’s not as popular and it’s not as accepted – it’s getting more accepted now but it’s clear as day to women how weird it is to be a woman in this kind of scene. The men will never…they just don’t seem to get it. I’m not cutting them down – there’s no reason for them to get it; they don’t care because we’ll never take over. (laughs)

 

MI: It’s like castrating them.

 

CK: (laughs) Yep. But that’s not what we’re trying to do and just stop comparing us to each other. That’s my biggest thing – I hate the fact that when you’re a girl, you’re instantly compared to another girl. They don’t do that with men.

 

MI: How did you get on the tour with OTEP?

 

CK: I actually said, hey, let’s do a tour with OTEP. Our manager and booking agent got a hold of them and we were lucky, they were doing a tour during a time we were available.

 

MI: Yeah, I’m shocked she’s doing a second tour in Atlanta in one year.

 

CK: We’ve never, I won’t say we did a show together, but we played a fest once and they were on the fest and they played a couple sets after us, but that was it. We don’t know them, but it will be interesting.

 

MI: Where do you see the band five years from now?

 

CK: I hope still going. I hope that the kids care enough about this band and the scene to keep it going. I hope that it isn’t like every other scene where it’s just a trend and it fades out.

 

MI: How did the death of Dimebag affect you guys?

 

CK: I didn’t know him personally. I know a lot of people who knew him personally. It definitely a tragic thing and a scary thing for the scene, for sure, that there are people out there that are capable of doing that sort of thing.

 

MI: are you guys taking more protection with you on the road now then?

 

CK: I wouldn’t say as a result of that. We are not, obviously, as high profile as him but you have to protect yourself. After we did Ozzfest and the scene itself has changed. There aren’t as many people as we used to know in the scene. When we would go through a town, we would never do hotels; we would always just stay at people’s houses. Now you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into because you don’t know these kids and kids aren’t exactly how they used to be; I’m not knocking the kids or anything but it’s scary because kids become more fans than just friends which is not how we want it, so…

 

MI: How do you think this situation with Iraq is going to end up?

 

CK: Honestly I don’t know. It seems like its going as well as it could be going right now and the only thing with Obama that I was scared of is that he would pull us right out and with as much money as we’ve put in, I don’t think we can do that. No matter what, no one likes war, but let’s face facts; we don’t want war on our turf.

 

MI: And that already happened.

 

CK: And look how we dealt with that. It would cripple us completely if something like that happened. We have to remain a superpower. It’s important that we do.

 

MI: If a movie was made of your life, who would you want to play you and what would the theme song be?

 

 

CK: Oh my god. Okay, okay, let me think of this…umm…so many…maybe like Angelina Jolie? But I don’t know how good she’d look as a redhead…(laugh) yeah, she’s great. A very strong woman, I like her because she’s the real thing and she’s always in those….

 

MI: And what would the theme song be?

 

CK: God that is a good question. It would have to be powerful; it wouldn’t be a soft song. Maybe a song by Concrete Blond…”Bloodletting” is a great song, it really isn’t like the words itself or the verses that exactly describe my life, but…

 

MI: So Angelina’s playing you and we’ve got Concrete Blond doing the theme song, will you be babysitting Brad Pitt on the set?

 

CK: (laughs) Babysitting him…oh my god…I’d be getting my groove on as much as I possibly could.

 

MI: Do you have any other dirty secrets you want to tell us about the band members?

 

CK: God, we are so not that band. We are so like, lay people.

 

MI: Like they don’t fart in their coffee or anything?

 

CK: They do like to chase me around and fart on me.

 

MI: What do you when you guys are not on the road?

 

CK: I do work. I work from home a good amount of time and I work at my friend’s salon. I also take a lot of time for myself. I enjoy quiet time and my personal time and I’m really just laid back. I work out a lot when I’m home – it’s a great stress reliever for me and I enjoy just walking, drinking coffee, reading…

 

MI: What’s your favorite book?

 

CK: Mystic River is one of my favorite books – and Invisible Monsters – I love that one because of how it’s written, it’s just very creative.

 

MI: So what do you like to cook?

 

CK: I’m not a huge cook, but I love to bake. I love to bake cookies and cupcakes…

 

MI: And brownies?

 

CK: Yeah, I dig brownies. I’m good with banana bread.

 

MI: What’s your feeling on the legalization of marijuana?

 

CK: For medical purposes, I believe in it, yes.

 

MI: What is your favorite movie of all time?

 

CK: Dogfight is one of my favorite movies – River Phoenix was in it. It’s just a good story about a guy and a girl, you know? It’s an older movie.

 

MI: I just saw one with him in where he played a country music singer…I can’t think of the name of it…

 

CK: Oh, that’s a great one, too! I can’t remember the name either. I’m a romantic for sure, so I love those kind of movies.

 

MI: Okay, if you were really pissed at someone, who would you throw a bucket of flesh eating ants on?

 

CK: Ooh…(laughs) who do I hate…Paris Hilton? Yeah. All those fake people that all those girls idolize.

 

MI: Now, on your last EP, Redemption, you recruited Corey Taylor from Slipknot/ Stone Sour to produce and it took an entirely different sound direction by recording it acoustically. What was the message you were trying to send and what was the overall reception it received?

 

CK: It was well received, for sure. A lot of people thought it was going to be our new sound and the way we were going (laughs) but we kept trying to explain in interviews and stuff that was wasn’t what we were doing – we just needed to get that out of our system. It was something that we wanted to do for years. The overall message was…I wanted to write songs that were…now the songs I write for Walls of Jericho are from the heart, like I said, but I do make them a little more vague and open so people can take them as they will. You know, put their own thoughts and feelings and situations into it. This one I wanted to write stories; I wanted to write straight up how I was feeling. The first song, “

Ember Drive

” is about my mother, about her dying and how much I love her. “My Last Stand” is about the constant search for yourself and your soul mate and we did The Animal’s song [“House of the Rising Sun] which I think is a great song and it’s just a little glimpse into what life is really about – what is true. It’s the real struggles that people go through – that song is about real pain and heartache and life. I really love that song and I’m glad we covered that song. And then the song Corey and I actually did together was about the people we love that are addicted to drugs; how it affects us and how it tears apart your family…we both had that in common.

 

MI: How do you think your music affects your fans around the world?

 

CK: I think it really hits home with a lot of people and hopefully it’s inspiring and healing for them, which is exactly what I am hoping to put out there – that’s what I want to get out of music myself. There are a lot of people who say that, you know – that your music has helped me or just knowing I’m not alone because we speak about a lot of taboo things that everyone wants to sweep under the rug. We tackle abuse – child abuse, rape, drug abuse, and suicide; tons of things that I’ve gone through and my friends and family have gone through. Its stuff that puts you in a very dark place; that makes you feel very alone at times and makes you feel like there’s no hope. I always turned to music to get me out of that and that’s what I really wanted out music to be to people.

 

MI: How did it feel to see Corey again at Mayhem this year?

 

CK: He’d come hang out all the time – he’s actually a good friend of all of ours.

 

MI: I know – I heard him sing happy birthday to you on Youtube…

 

CK: Yeah! (laugh) It’s was really nuts. It was great hanging out with him and meeting Slipknot; I didn’t know any of the dudes from Slipknot except him and Jim, so it was cool to meet some of those dudes and the company he keeps, like his security guys around him are great, great guys. I don’t know. This summer was an amazing time for me – it’s something I won’t forget.

 

MI: So what would you say your best tour has been so far, ever, and with who?

 

CK: What we just did in Europe. We just headlined the Hell On Earth tour and it was us, Stick to Your Guns, Animosity, the Red Chord, Cataract, and All Shall Perish who was on half the tour. It was an amazing tour. I can’t complain – I get to travel, see the world, and see amazing things together with people that you care about. Like I said, The Red Chord and our band, we’re in love. Our bands are in love! (laughs) and then All Shall Perish, they are great, great dudes and Stick To Your Guns, we had done a couple of shows with them years ago and we always wanted to tour with them and they are just amazing dudes – all heart in that band, you know? Reminds me of what hardcore used to be. It was a wonderful thing, every single day.

 

MI: Would you say that US news or European news is more honest?

 

CK: Yeah! For sure – the US tries to put blindfolds over us as much as they possibly can – but we all know that. What shocks me is that we allow ourselves to fall into that trap.

 

MI: Have you been getting a lot of MTV play?

 

CK: No, I don’t think so. You only get MTV play if you have a video and we put our video “A Trigger Full of Promises” out two years ago and it was about politics, you know what I’m saying? It only gets a certain amount of play and that’s it. They’re always looking for the best, hot new thing and so were hopefully going to do a video soon so we can get some play.

 

MI: So how did you end up with Dana Gordon?

 

CK: Our manager. She’s great! I really enjoy working with her.

 

MI:  If you had a million dollars to donate to any charity, what would it be?

 

CK: Probably…I’d definitely donate it to environmental science – I think it’s important that we keep on top of our environment and do what we can do to keep it a safe place for our children, the next generation.

 

MI: Are you in any of these groups now?

 

CK: No, actually I used to…I’d donate to women’s shelters and stuff like that but it’s like, I’d obviously keep things green. It’s been pumped through everybody’s mind right now and I think it’s important that we don’t forget because the environment is very important. It’s our home, you know what I’m saying? You’ve got to protect your home. That’s another reason I hope Obama wins, because I know that McCain, just like Bush, has no interest in putting any more money into our environment.

 

MI: So what was the worst thing you ever saw on tour?

 

CK: Probably I’d say the injuries that the crowd incurs. Broken ankles…I saw a guy, offstage, and I was like, what did that guy do with his eye, did he leave it backstage?

 

MI: What’s your favorite quote of all time, darling?

 

CK: Oh man, wow.

 

MI: I got one – this will be an easier one for you while you’re think of your favorite quote – What do you plan for your little fans for Halloween?

 

CK: I don’t know if we’re doing any thing for Halloween this year!

 

MI: Do you have a Halloween message for your fans?

 

CK: More tricks than treats?

 

MI: Good one – now, what is your favorite quote of all time?

 

CK: Okay, the thing is this is one that I was in this class and so I don’t know that this is the actual quote itself but it was something that just recently I heard and it really just sticks in my head – “We are products of our own choices.” It absolutely just rings true for everything. We are the results of our own choices. It’s just something to live by more than a quote.

 

MI: I know exactly what you’re saying. So where can your fans find your websites, my love?

 

CK: We have our Myspace/walls of Jericho

 

MI: And of course you’ve got www.wallsofjericho.com, correct?  Okay sweetheart, you get ready and I will see you tomorrow night!

 

CK: Thank you so much – see you then.

 

 

 

 

 

  

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My name is Barbara Fara. Musicincider.com is my baby. I am a psychic and a photographer-and a writer! I am more than a little crazy, because I love taking pictures with people body surfing over my head

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