Interview: Candlelight Red

lisa pikaard burns the candle at both ends…

The Rockstar Uproar Festival definitely found the right bands for this year’s tour including Candlelight Red. The band, fresh off its August 14 release of a new EP, Demons, took the Jager Stage day in and day out, playing both new tracks and songs from its album The Wreckage.

In the music world these days, some bands just don’t have the swagger, the attitude, or the energy that is necessary to become true rockers. Candlelight Red is not one of those bands. The Pennsylvania guys love what they do, know it’s a job worth working hard at, and have fun doing it. I don’t know when or why so many bands in the music industry got to be so stuffy and stiff, but Candlelight Red, fortunately, didn’t get that memo. The band, while it has its serious songs and moments, is a great time. The guys want to have fun and live, something that many people seem to be missing out on these days. Catch a show, catch up with the guys, catch their videos on youtube; have some fun!

When Pop-Break’s Lisa Pikaard hopped in the back of the Candlelight Red’s bus this summer to talk with lead singer Ryan Hoke, and guitarist Jeremy Edge, she knew exactly what she was getting herself into: an interview that was going to be random, hilarious, sarcastic, and crazy. The guys had no problem talking about the new EP and playing the Uproar tour, Playboy playmates interrogating them, getting pulled out of security lines, and aspiring to get on the no fly list among many other interesting topics.

Ryan Hoke: What’s all over back here? I don’t like white creamy substances in the back lounge!

Pop-Break: That’s going to be the start of the story!

RH: White creamy substances in the back lounge. That is what we’re dubbing this interview.

PB: Good start! So how are people responding to the new music?

RH: Seems to be good. It’s doing well on radio so far. It’s only been out for what? Three or four weeks now.

Jeremy Edge: Yeah, it’s hovering around 40. We may even get 40 this week.

RH: We should be breaking Top 40 this week hopefully with the new song, so it’s getting good responses radio, good response live. The shows on Uproar have been great!

Candelight Red’s Ryan Hoke. Photo by: Lisa Pikaard

PB: Have you guys released the video you guys just shot yet?

JE: Not yet. Still working on it.

PB: When are you anticipating it being done?

JE: Probably when the director’s done editing it. When she decides she’s done.

PB: What song on the new album are you most proud of, on the new EP?

RH: I love em all and I didn’t think I was going to like them, the way we went into it, the way we recorded it, but I’m just happy with all of it. Um, I think “Lifeless,” on the album is one of my favorite songs. I like “Sleeping Awake” too. “Demons,” of course.

PB: Just list them all!

RH: And uh, “Cutter” is great! [laughter] I mean I gotta tell you, the way I’ve been writing music for years, since as long as I can remember, and this writing process was totally unlike any other writing process I’ve ever done. I’ve never written lyrics with anybody else. I had some lyrics written and a lot of ideas and we got in the studio with Morgan (Rose) and it was time to start hammering vocals out. We didn’t have really anything in stone for these new songs, so me and Morgan would sit down and I’d give him my lyrics and we’d write and change some things. We got melodies down and I’d write a verse, I’d sing a verse, track it. I’d write a chorus, I’d sing a chorus, and track it. That’s the whole EP and I couldn’t have been happier. I mean I’ve taken weeks for a song. I wrote a song, it took me two weeks, to write and record, to do the vocals, and I recorded it roughly at home and I showed Jeremy this. It was actually one of the tracks on The Wreckage, and we didn’t play it for the longest time. Jeremy was like, “Eh, I don’t like it.” And I was like I spent two weeks on this song! I’m like are you kidding me? [laughter] It’s almost like going to a bar and playing trivia. You know your first answer is usually your right answer so it’s good to just come right off the top of your head and I think it’s real; it’s raw; it’s true.

JE: “Lifeless” is definitely one of those songs. That’s a little bit of a slower song although it didn’t start off that way. We kind of changed it and it ended up being a slower song with a really intense middle section but that’s almost ballad-ish or r &b-ish in a way. It’s a really strange vibe so I don’t think that’s something we wanted to release right away. We wanted to release something heavier but it’s definitely, we had a pretty big manager for some other bands drop by the studio and we let him hear that track and he was just like “That’s a special, special song.” There was definitely something a little magic about that song so hopefully that could be like a second or third single or something.

RH: Yeah, I think so. It’s just crazy, the whole experience with Morgan. He’s a great producer and he really got the best out of us I think. It was a lot of fun working with him.

PB: You’re going back into the studio with him after the tour?

RH: I think that is the plan, yeah. We’re going to go in the studio and we’re actually going to write a whole full length aside from the EP, and then we’re going to add the EP to the full length.

JE: Yeah, I’m not really sure how they’re going to package that. I think they haven’t really figured it out, exactly what we’re doing. We’re basically just trying to get the schedule together. We get some more touring and we get Morgan’s schedule as he’s busy with Call Me No One and Sevendust, whenever he has a nice little break that he can come and work with us and try to make it all happen.

RH: I think the coolest part about this new EP and working with Morgan especially is my idea of a producer is somebody that can hear things differently than this band. We’ve written songs, countless songs, just an immense amount of music that this band has collectively has written throughout the years and I think that you know it takes a good producer, a person who can bring out new sides of what you have to offer as a musician, and I think that’s what people will hear on Demons, you know different from The Wreckage, is a new side of my voice. It’s a new side of Candlelight Red. It’s a new , you know, Jeremy’s direction is different, the tunings are different, we have two new members now, you know everything is just…

JE: You know, it’s funny like with the heavier sections, people are like “Oh! I can hear the Sevendust,” and, actually, the heavier sections is the stuff that we brought in and he actually threw out a lot of the heavy stuff and sometimes he would be like, “That doesn’t sound like a pre-chorus to me. That’s your chorus.”

RH: The way, yeah, the parts the arrangements that we had in mind and where they should be, he kind of came in and said no. “You should take this and use it as this,” and I mean I have no complaints at all with Demons. I love it. I’m happy for one of the first times in my life to be able to say I am 100 percent happy with what we did in the studio that day or those five days, four days! Four songs in five days so.

PB: You do have new members in the band; how has that changed you guys?

RH: You know, I think any band, you know all bands go through something similar to what we’ve gone through. ou start touring and you start doing this on this level, everything changes. Everything is a little bit different. You know, three years ago I wouldn’t be in the back of a bus doing an interview, I wouldn’t be on my seventh interview for today. There is a lot of stuff that changes stuff, and then living together nonstop in a cramped bus and you’re working every day and you know a lot of people would be like “You’ve got it made.” No. This is work. I was up at the crack of dawn. I’ve been working all day. I’ve been in the heat meeting people and I love it, but you can still get worn down and you could still get a little aggravated, especially when you see the same friggin, there are six other guys other than myself in this camp.

JE: There are some people who have never been away from their home more than two weeks.

RH: Yeah, absolutely.

JE: And for some people it’s liberating and sometimes it’s a shock and they can’t take it or they can’t take that they might be parked somewhere they can’t find a bathroom and they can’t take a shower.

RH: Yeah, it’s not comfortable.

JE: It’s not for everyone. So that was a big factor that, since we recorded the record, a couple of the guys who thought that is what they wanted kind of sat back and were like no we’re going to stay home and kind of focus on family. Like our bass player that we started out with, Adam, he was also a great artist and he got an opportunity for a tattoo internship so he kind of had two great opportunities to choose from and he is still a very successful tattoo artist and he actually designed our album cover for Demons and he’s talking about maybe the next one, if he gets a shot, he wants to do some sort of oil painting.

RH: Yeah, we definitely haven’t made any enemies in this process but we’ve lost two guys and it sounds horrible but what they thought this was, I think, and what it is, is different and maybe it wasn’t everything they thought it was cracked up to be. And new other things, like speaking of Adam, he met somebody. They just got married. He’s got a great job; he’s doing tattoos. He’s in a happy place in his life. He doesn’t have to be on the road to be happy. This is something we all worked for and he got the tour and I think maybe he got what he wanted out of it and that was it.

JE: The cool thing is me and Jamie played together for years before this band and he kind of hit one of those road blocks too where he was kind of starting his own small business, had some things going on at home, and he was like I’ve got to get out of this for a while. And I started this band and things started to take off so I called him, was like, “Hey, you want to get back into it?” and he was like, “Man, perfect timing.” So it’s kind of cool because me and him already kind of had a chemistry and we knew how to move around stage, you know, not tripping on each other. [laughter]

PB: I’ve seen that happen badly for some bands.

JE: Yeah, absolutely. So we’ve had that going for years and he has his bass tone and it gels with my guitar tone so that worked out really great and we just found Brian on New Year’s Eve. We actually had been using a fill in drummer and actually we were waiting on our drummer to give us some news on how things were going to go with his touring plans and stuff and we did a show and his band opened up for us and we were blown away. We were just like, “Hey dude, do you want to try out?” and he was like absolutely. So he thought about it, came down, kicked ass, and he’s been doing great for us ever since and his band is actually doing very well too and they’re going to be, they are one of the local battle of the band winners that’s going to be playing with us in Scranton so.

RH: We get along. I mean we definitely have a good thing going. We all have great chemistry in the bus, in living together. We’ve finally got like a good team I think. As far as like they say, you pick your friends cant pick your family, but in a band situation, they are your family and you actually have to pick em sometimes. I think we picked em right so, yeah!

PB: Awesome. So this tour is a little different from the last tour you guys just came off of, obviously smaller clubs and venues, now you’re playing these crazy shows, how does it compare? Does it compare?

RH: I mean it does and it doesn’t. There’s a lot of the stuff that never changes. We’re always out at the merch booth. We’re always trying to meet as many people. We’re trying to shake hands and make new fans and new friends.

PB: You guys? Never!

RH: No. Never! [laughter]

RH: Today less than. Today has been a busy day for us, but we always try to get out to the merch booth. It’s not just about selling records. Pretty much every show we give away free posters where some of the other bands are selling them for five bucks. We’re giving them to you for free. We don’t mind signing a poster for you. Come over, shake our hands. We want you to come back and say hi to us. We want to meet people. We want to make fans, and when it comes to fans, for Candlelight Red, we have good fans. We have fans that are lifelong friends and fans. We have friends that come out to shows, we put them on the list, they come. They hang out on the bus. They party. They started off just fans that loved the band and helped us out. You help us out, we help you out. That’s just the way it is. We’re good guys, that’s all it is.

PB: You claim you’re good guys! I’m just kidding!

RH: I think we’re good guys!

PB: I’m just kidding! [laughter] I wouldn’t be here if you weren’t.

RH: Allegedly we’re good guys.

PB: Then again, you are on a bus with mirrors on the ceiling.

RH: Those are stars, twinkling, if you will.

PB: You have a twinkling mirror on the ceiling of your lounge. Let’s just put that out there.

RH: I did not design this bus! We are simply leasing it.

PB: So, completely different, what’s the most random question you’ve ever been asked in an interview?

RH: In an interview?

JE: Oh, I know what the most random question is!

RH: Your worst date ever? Because that was in the last interview.

JE: Yeah and there was another random question.

RH: I think I know what you’re going to say.

JE: Yeah, uh, what do you think about shaved vagina.

PB: That was in an interview?

JE: That was in an interview.

RH: We did Playboy Radio, yeah, so that was a great great story actually.

JE: I mean, she went straight from “How did you guys like working with your producer” into shaved. “What do you think? Shaved or not shaved?” and we’re like, um, wow.

RH: Yeah this is the craziest thing. That was a good question to ask because there are a lot of people who do interviews and they ask all of the same questions and we are so used to answering the same questions it’s like clockwork. You know you’re going to answer this question. So we walk in and the singer for Kyng was there. We just seen those guys. We did Sunset Strip, we did the Viper Room in L.A. and we had Playboy Radio the next day. We walk in, it looks like it was almost like a little movie set. They had their little booth set up with the couch and the microphone and they walked out and we walk in and our publicist, Chip, was there in the glass window watching the whole thing. So we walk in and I think the first thing they said was, “Ryan do you shave your balls.” And like that was the first question. And my face, in an instant, was like bright red and I’m like looking out at the window at Chip and he’s just like hands in the air, just go with it just go with it! Like how do you answer a question like that!

PB: Do you answer a question like that?

RH: Yeah, I try to honestly answer anything I could answer.

JE: I don’t remember, did we both answer? I know I answered trimmed.

RH: Yeah, I answered the same and then we talked about vaginas, shaved or not shaved, and then the one girl who was doing the interview was talking about having electrolysis on hers so it doesn’t even grow for the most part.

PB: You do realize all of this is now going to go online too, right? But it’s already been recorded I suppose.

RH: Yeah, like you could look it up, like Playboy Radio. It was one of the most awkward interviews.

JE: So we’re probably giving them a great plug. People are going to see this and go, I’ve going to tune in!

RH: I need to start listening to Playboy Radio! That’s great; I didn’t even know they did bands.

PB: That’s probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve been told by anyone as the answer to that question.

JE: I never thought I would have an ex-Playboy Playmate asking me those kind of questions.

RH: As soon as you asked that question, I know me and Jeremy were both, instantly, Playboy. Take it away Jeremy! [laughter]

PB: So what books do you read? [laughter]

RH: I don’t read!

JE: We’re in bands!

PB: Wow. That’s awesome!

JE: I read books!

PB: What books do you read then?

JE: Uh, what books have I read recently? Or…

PB: Favorite or recently? You said you read so lets hear it.

JE: The last book I read I think was Kurt Vonnegut.

PB: That is not an easy read so nice job.

RH: I don’t read anything unless its an easy read. I read the papers on the clipboard. You know, the way I look at it, if it’s a good read, it’s going to be on TV. I’ll just watch it then. I can get the gist of the story.

JE: Yeah, I read a lot of nonfiction.

RH: It’s called reading, left to right top to bottom.

JE: Actually like the google book, I’m not going to give away too much because we’re not a political band, but sometimes I’ll just download the free samples on Amazon just to see if I could download enough of the controversial ones that I could get red-flagged to get pulled out of security.

RH: Excellent. He has gotten pulled out of security one time. It’s a great story. We’re at the airport. We did a show in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the next day we had a radio interview so we stayed behind. We had a hotel and they took the bus to Washington. The next day, we’re just grabbing enough stuff to get us through the night. We’re not going to pack a bunch of bags obviously, we’re meeting up with all our stuff in a day. I think I took like a pair of clothes and a backpack. Nothing very much at all, so I had my chain on my side and my passes and all this metallic stuff on my body that I could easily fashion into some sort of weapon and Jeremy is like man, I don’t know if you’re going to get on the bus. I mean get on the train, or I’m sorry the airplane! [laughter]

PB: Yes a bus, a train, a plane. Got it.

RH: Geez. I’m going to get one of these modes of transportation right. So anyway! I don’t think that I’m going to get through the airport with all this stuff on your body and I’m like, ah, it’ll be fine. So I breeze through security, no problem. Jeremy has this sweatshirt with earbuds wired into it so when he goes through the x-ray thing, there were wires all the way through his clothing.

PB: Oh my god.

RH: They swabbed his hand, like all this stuff. They did the full treatment on Jeremy and he’s the one trying to play it safe and I breeze through.

JE: I’m thinking maybe I shouldn’t have downloaded Guerrilla Warfare.

PB: Are you sure you’re not on a list already? [laughter]

RH: Yeah, so he’s got the freakin archanist cookbook or whatever on kindle so!

PB: So yeah, read about terrorism and all that stuff and maybe you’ll end up on lists.

RH: The no fly lists!

JE: Yeah, then I don’t have to worry about flying!

RH: I love flying!

PB: You can then only tour this country and Canada. Congrats!

JE: There’s boats! I’ll just have to leave early!

RH: There’s a lot of people that ask, their question is, “what do you want for your band, like for the future, what is the ultimate goal for your band?”

JE: Yeah, we got that yesterday and we’re like death clock.

RH: Yeah we want to be like death clock and there is some truth to that because my ultimate goal is, is to fly to every show. I don’t want to be in the bus; I don’t want to drive 13 hours from show to show. I want to fly to it.

PB: Where do you want to do a show? Anywhere?

RH: Anywhere in the world?

PB: Anywhere!

RH: I don’t know. There’s a lot of places. I mean there are too many to list. I mean I want to go to Europe. I want to do Tokyo. I want to do a lot of…

JE: Yeah, some of the stuff that I’d like to do, sounds like a great idea, but it also seems a little scary, like watching or seeing Audioslave play Cuba. That looked pretty crazy.

RH: Nickelback in Portugal.

JE: No, that actually looked good, in a good way.

RH: But he got hit in the head with a rock!

JE: Russia.

RH: Yeah, Russia would be cool.

JE: And if you watch like the Pantera footage of them playing over there.

RH: Yeah, that’s insane.

JE: That was just, it was crazy at the same time to see how people were reacting to them. Also, it was really crazy how the police were very very bad to them so, I would say that definitely the one place we will not play is Czechoslovakia. The Czech Republic.

PB: I’m glad that was the question.

JE: Czech Republic, yeah.

RH: I actually think we’ve got a lot of iTunes subscribers from the Czech Republic.

PB: Look what you just did! You just pissed all of them off.

JE: Sorry!

RH: Great! Now they know there’s no hope.

JE: Yeah, there’s no hope until they do something to…

RH: There’s no hope until somebody says you’re going there and playing then we’ll be like, okay. We don’t have a choice regardless!

JE: Until they do something like, drop all of Randy Blythe’s charges.

RH: I see where Jeremy is coming from with this.

JE: Yeah. I’m not going to play somewhere and get arrested for manslaughter for being on stage.

PB: Yeah, that’s crazy. So nobody has died on this tour yet so far, right?

RH: Thank God!

PB: So have any of the other bands given you any advice?

JE: Yeah, they said quit now!

RH: Run! Run for your lives!

PB: So, last question, well two questions: if the people who read this don’t know you guys yet, what song should they listen to first?

RH: I don’t know. That’s a hard one. Listen to “Demons,” I guess.

JE: Yeah, I think “Demons,” at least has a little bit of all the elements of what we sound like. What Ryan sings like, the guitar solos, the drum riffs, the bass line.

RH: It’s got a little bit of everything.

JE: It’s a nice introduction to our sound I guess.

RH: I mean they’re all so damn good! It’s so hard to pick just one! [laughter]

PB: Last one, do you guys want to tell anyone anything?

RH: You want me to like confess my secrets about people? No, I’m not going to do that. I mention no names ever. But, uh for the poeple reading, candlelightred.com, facebook/candlelightred, twitter us @candlelightred.

JE: And get your ass out if you haven’t been already.

RH: And if you’ve already been, come again!

PB: They probably will.

RH: I hope they do!