Candyland is an energetic duo who are often turning heads with their unique ability to cross genres. Having started their sound in dub, they moved over a series of electro, house, trap, and virtually anything that sounded danceable. Now with their own self-run label, Candyland shows no sign of slowing as they excel into the forefront of electronic dance music. Originally from Santa Barbara, Califronia, Josie and Ethan have worked their way into major festivals all over North America in the last few years.
The duo is currently embarked on the Killer Fro Tour with grove master, Kill Paris. The tour managed to visit twenty six cities over two months and led both parties on an endless trip. I was able to sit down with Josie and Ethan at their stop in Montreal to discuss what they feel the value of a remix is, what weapons they would use in a post-apocalyptic world, their biggest accomplishment, and much more.
Photographer: Nick Centore of Centore Media
EARMILK: Hey Ethan and Josie, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us. How has each of your experiences been so far on the Killer Fro tour?
Josie: Tiring, but awesome.
Ethan: Yeah, I would say the same. We've definitely grown as a group, we've gone through a lot of crap. It's been a lot of hard times, but it's amazing because you push through them and you come out different, stronger people. It sounds tacky, but it's true.
EM: Do you find your style of music works well live with Kill Paris's signature 'baby making music'?
J: To be honest, it has been pretty hit or miss. I think people who like our sound might not be so familiar with Kill Paris's sound and vice versa, you know?
E: There's been some great shows, but it's cool because we're really different. That way people aren't getting the exact same thing the entire show.
J: Two shows in one.
EM: So Sweet Shop Records was started in 2012, how has the record label grown since then? Any upcoming releases you can tell us about?
J: Yeah, we started in 2012, but it kinda wasn't going the way we wanted it to. I just signed whatever I wanted and put it out just because it was popular at the time. Now, I've switched everything up, changed the logo, changed the image, changed all the artists, and have been releasing new stuff. There's a lot of cool stuff from Kayzo, Revoke has been working on his EP, and we got this new guy, 28 Mansions, he's been killing it. 28 Mansions is sitting on a bunch of tracks, making them and polishing them, and we're going to introduce them to the world, it's exciting!
EM: Is there any genre or type of production you two look for when signing a musician to the label?
J: It has to be unique, that's it. Unique and good.
E: I think it's more about the quality than the genre.
EM: Should there be any fixed number of broader genres or is there an infinite amount of possibilities for subgenres?
J: I think there's an infinite amount of possibilities. As long as people keep experimenting and don't get comfortable in one sound. If you go to Beatport top 10, it's all the same thing, I think that sound is what's killing it right now. There will be a new genre when it's time for a new genre, it'll happen sooner or later. That's just how it works, people get fed up with hearing the same thing over and over again, until someone comes out of the wood works. So hopefully it's us.
E: I also think there's an infinite amount of hipsters that'll know about every subgenre before you even think you made it up. So I would just go for bigger genres like electro house or dubstep or dance music in general.
EM: Your double win on Beatport's remix contests are extremely impressive. Do you think each win created a noticeable spike in attention or was your fan-base more gradually built up?
J: I think as far as social media goes, our OG remixes are what took that off. For the Beatport remix contest, I think what it got was more peer acceptance. We got a lot more of other DJ's recognizing who we were.
EM: As a duo, do you find you balance out the work, in a collaborative sense, or do you specify with what you are each personally best at?
J: I think with the last year, it was who was better with one thing or another. With this new album though, it's been a lot more collaborative.
E: Yeah, typically I do more of the production and she does more of the Djing. Now we're just trying both things and realizing we can contemplate and help each other out. Before we were in our own little boxes, but we're trying to break out of that.
EM: You guys are well known for your remixes, what would you say are the most common challenges and advantages when remixing another musician's work?
J: There will always be someone who prefers the original, so it's hard to do a remix and have everyone love it. I think it's hard to do anything and have everyone love it, especially with us because we do every single genre or try to. Even some of our fans aren't pleased with some of our stuff, but we kinda just make whatever we want.
E: I think it's great for remixes that you already have something to start off on. You don't need to make an original idea and then start from scratch, there is already something to work with.
EM: Can a remix ever be considered an original piece of work despite using already made content?
J: I think the majority of our remixes started off as originals. When we first started we had almost no time and a lot of deadlines, so we just took whatever halfway started projects we had and took whatever vocals we were given and mixed the two. I think that's the reason why our remixes are so completely different than the originals because it started off as our own originals.
EM: What are your thoughts on bootlegs of your own songs? Or any musically inspired art made from listening to Candyland? I.e. artwork, mashups, remixes, etc. Are you open to the idea of spreading your work?
E: I think it's a compliment and we've heard some pretty cool stuff!
J: Some of it's hit or miss, a lot of the people doing it are producers starting off. But it's always cool to see what you've worked so hard to get out there and have some one mess with it.
E: It's cool too that you can do any song with a bootleg, like "Sandstorm".
EM: Quick questions. Answer in only one sentence.
EM: What has been your biggest accomplishment in the industry so far?
J: Finding myself.
E: Wow *laughs* How can I even top that. Finding myself... Dang, I'm going to have to agree with that and second it because there is nothing else I can do.
EM: Weirdest place either of you have been recognized?
J: Probably at Panda Express.
E: I would say in a mustang convertible, in a Walmart parking lot by a cop.
EM: Longest set you two have ever played?
J: New Years, three hours.
Niku (Candyland's Manager): You got to explain that one.
EM: Alright, go a little more in depth!
J: So, it was New Years and I was suppose to open for Krewella, but their flight got cancelled because of the snow. This was in St. Louis and I had to play for Krewella's spot. There was around a thousand kids there and they all payed a hundred dollars to get in because it was New Years and everyone pays a bunch of money. Krewella didn't show up so people were livid! I think we got chased into building, someone yelled at us, "Fuck you! You're not Krewella! Fuck you!" The building was a sketchy warehouse with no air conditioning, I got up on the turn tables and oh.. those tables. Nothing was plugged in.
N: They weren't officially cancelled at this point.
J: Yeah, I wasn't allowed to say that Krewella was not there. As I was playing the management told me, "Krewella's not showing up, you have to play for another two hours." So I played for the rest of the time, I don't know why I did? Yeah, it was bad. Some guy tried to fight me because he thought I caused the snow storm, which would be fucking tight because I would love to cause snow storms.
EM: Weapon of choice in post-apocalyptic world?
J: I love Black Ops so I would probably say, a fire- Wait, are we talking zombies? Or are we talking-
E: You're thinking too much.
J: I'm definitely thinking too much, I don't know, like a semi-automatic?
N: I would say crossbow.
J: Fuck crossbow, come on! You'll run out of ammo.
E: Weapon of choice in a post apocalyptic world? ... Love. *group laughs*
EM: Most surreal moment having worked with bigger artists or inspirations?
E: I would say when Freddie Mercury gave me a hug and kiss on the cheek.
J: That was just a total lie.
E: No shit it was a lie, it was a joke!
J: I mean we've worked with some cool people and people we respect, but I would say the most surreal moment was when we sent something to Knife Party and they actually liked it. I thought they were just going to rip it into pieces.
E: Yeah, that was really cool. They wanted it so they could play it out and we were like, GAHH. Also when Tori Kelly followed us on Twitter, we love her.
EM: Lastly, what type of milk do you usually drink?
J: I'm lactose intolerant so I don't drink milk.
E: Titty *laughs* In all honesty, I have been drinking whole milk lately because it makes you huge. Do squats and drink milk, one hundred percent works for building muscle. They did studies, one hundred percent!
EM: Thanks guys! It was great to finally meet up with you two.
Candyland's and Zak Water's most recent release is a 6-track remix EP of their combined single, "Not Coming Down". Three of the remixes, 28 Mansions, Revoke, and Kaj Melsen's , are featured in the post, while the whole work can be purchased on Beatport. Covering a range of genres and sounds, the tracks move spontaneously from one style of music to another. Candyland's ability to change harmonies and try new experiments is mimicked with clarity on their new release.