Over the last three decades of post hardcore and metalcore evolution, the clashing sounds of both genres have steadily transitioned in a relatively predictable fashion. With the early landscape filled with concussive and heavy blends of styles (BOTCH, CONVERGE, CAVE IN, POISON THE WELL, etc.) and other late 90s torchbearers, innovators or groundbreaking offerings from post hardcore heroes GLASSJAW and their peers, more recent records favoured more of a melodic direction. Of course there were and still are bands, whose trajectory has never really been a point of contention, as their progression always felt like it evolved naturally (CONVERGE is a great example of that). Employing a dynamic range of musical styles was one of the ingredients of success, and thankfully there are many modern bands with eclectic influences and different reference points, who manage to recreate, or rather produce their own sense of genuine style. UK’s CANDESCENT A.D. and their debut 2-track single “Napalm Gifter / In Living Colour” (Affair Records) is a great example of that. Feeling both nostalgic and fresh, its arrangement of chaotic strikes and mathy undertones unveils a great new band to follow! To celebrate this offering, we have teamed up with the band to give you an insightful perspective on their work, the lyrical themes embedded into both new tracks, their take on the current pandemic situation, and their local music scene. Play the single and have a good read below.
The band comments:
‘Having got together at the tail end of 2019, we formed Candescent A.D with the intention of exploring something stylistically different from our previous projects (With Silent Eyes and Early Black). We’re really happy with how they came out, thanks to Jack Longman at Monolith Studios, London.
“𝑊𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑙𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑤𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 𝑝𝑜𝑡𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 ℎ𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑒𝑛 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑝𝑎𝑖𝑟𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝐺𝑙𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑗𝑎𝑤’𝑠 𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑙𝑖𝑒𝑟 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑟 𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑡-ℎ𝑎𝑟𝑑𝑐𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑎𝑡𝑚𝑜𝑠𝑝ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝐴𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑟𝑎 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝐶𝑜𝑛𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑔𝑒.”
Did it work? I suppose that’s up to the listener, but either way we’re really happy with these results.’
Rory (guitar): We wrote In Living Colour first. It started with me and Wil getting together and hashing out ideas. I’m really happy with how it’s come out. I think it’s a nice mix of in your grill riffs and a more atmospheric sort of sound. Napalm Gifter was the second song that came about, by the time we got to the studio it was still very much just a shell that me and Dan, our drummer, had worked on. We ended up really building the track whilst there, with the help of Jack Longman who engineered and helped produce the project. The dude is incredibly talented and having his input really helped make it what it is. I had been listening to a lot of Converge at the time, so was big on that fairly jarring and stabby sort of feel (I only wish I had the talent of Kurt Ballou though haha). When it comes to lyrics, I usually let Wil tell me what they’re about if he wants to, if not I’ll just try to see what kind of feel I get from them.
Wil (vocals) continues:
“𝐿𝑦𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑎𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔, 𝑖𝑡 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑎 𝑏𝑖𝑡 𝑠𝑢𝑏𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑠𝑐𝑖𝑜𝑢𝑠, 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑖𝑛 𝑟𝑒𝑡𝑟𝑜𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑐𝑡 𝐼 𝑠𝑢𝑝𝑝𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝐼 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑡𝑟𝑦𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜 𝑙𝑜𝑜𝑘 𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠ℎ𝑖𝑝 𝑏𝑒𝑡𝑤𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑣𝑖𝑜𝑙𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑙 𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑚𝑦 𝑜𝑤𝑛 𝑙𝑖𝑓𝑒 𝑎𝑠 𝑤𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑎𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑠𝑜𝑐𝑖𝑒𝑡𝑦 𝑎𝑡 𝑙𝑎𝑟𝑔𝑒.”
Napalm Gifter being a comment about my immediate family life growing up, and looking at the impact self-inflicted and outward violence had on my teenage years and early adulthood.
In Living Colour, on the other hand, is a bit more specific as I wrote that with the story of Christine Chubbuck in mind. I think in some ways there’s parallels in her story and broader society’s sensationalism of the mentally ill – almost as if it’s a bloodsport.
Wil: I think a lot of it boiled down to us just wanting to try new things musically. It was quite a novel process, at least for me in terms of literally building the songs from their bare bones either in separate groups or in the studio with Jack. As opposed to as a whole solidified line up. Visually speaking, that was a bit of a new process for us in terms of working outside of a strictly DIY remit and asking Dev Place if we could use some of her photography on the cover and layout. I was super happy to finally collaborate with her on this one, just as I think her photography style is phenomenal and very much her own.
Rory: It was an interesting writing process for this record, and I feel like I’ve had an absolute blast doing it. Concept wise, it just started with me and Wil sitting in our practice space over several coffees and finding some reference points for the sound we wanted. There were some staples in there; Converge, Glassjaw, Deftones, but we’re also big fans of bands like King Woman, Amenra and Oathbreaker so that really helped with gauging the feel we wanted for the songs. I just started playing around with some riffs and Wil recommended experimenting with some weird timings and more dissonant stuff which cemented what we wanted to go for with both tracks.
Lyrically, with this band I’m trying to read through the lyrics more and try to write a backdrop to them rather than the other way around, so yeah it’s been really fun!
Dan (drums): I’m a big Deftones fan, and we had all agreed that they were a big influence on the sound, so it’s been nice to play with that kind of feel on the tracks, but also putting in some real heavy drum parts throughout too!
Recording and gear
Rory: We recorded the record at the rad Monolith Studios in London, owned by Charlie Wilson and recorded with Jack Longman who I’ve mentioned previously. They’re both dudes who have absolute bags of musical experience and knowledge, so I felt very privileged to be in that setting with them. Tech wise, the amount of gear in the studio was mind blowing so we were spoilt for choice really.
Guitar wise, we ended up using an Orange Thunderverb Head, as Jack pointed out that a lot of the bands I’ve mentioned already use Orange Amps, and just gives the guitar tone that extra bite. I’ve got a Mayones Regius 6 which I used for both tracks, and it just sounds incredible, I’m using the stock Seymour Duncans that it was built with, but they gave a really nice crunch for the heavy tone, then the bridge pick up gives such a full sound for some of the atmospheric sounding parts. We ran it through a really cool pedal rig; a Fulltone OCD overdrive pedal, an EarthQuaker Dunes pedal, which just gave the tone some extra smack. We also used an Electro-Harmonix Cathedral Pedal for delay and reverb. I’m a massive fan of that pedal, for me it gave the lead parts a really nice lift without sounding too saturated. Obviously after that, Jack worked some serious magic with the mixing and Pete Dowsett on the mastering. I’ve got to say, I think the drum sound is one of my favourite parts of the record too.
Dan: Drum wise, I used an Evans Hydraulic skin on my snare – which gave it a nice deep sound, but also that real snap to it. Jack really brought out the best from the snare too. The amount of takes we got on the first two days of drums was unreal, but very much worth it.
Wil: Long term, at least for this project, I can’t see us working with anyone apart from Jack. Very talented guy, but also a wealth of knowledge to bounce ideas off of. Charlie at Monolith had all of us creasing for days too.
Rory: Release wise, we’re putting out through Affair Records, which is close to my heart for a few reasons. Affair is the label that Wil, and my partner Mel run, so it’s really nice to have a DIY / Homegrown stance with the release. Be sure to head over to their bandcamp and check out all of the releases, don’t sleep on it.
Rory: Wil and I have been best mates for almost twenty years now and have been playing in bands together since outrageous fringes were at an all time high and personal hygiene was at an all-time low, so a long time. We’ve also played with Freddie in different projects for a long time too. This project started on the back of a band that me, Wil and Freddie were part of called Early Black. Our guitarist ended up moving away for his career, but he ended up going a little earlier than expected and we already had studio time booked. We had all agreed that we didn’t want to carry on that band if one of us couldn’t do it, so we ended up forming a new project, which has become Candescent AD. I was originally on drums, but asked the boys if they’d be alright with me moving to guitar, which they were, so we ended up asking one of my really good mates, Dan, to jump on drums and he’s truly smashed it. We hadn’t actually all been in the same room to do anything for the band until it came to the recording, which was a bit strange but it worked really well. Future plans wise, it’s all a bit difficult with the current climate, but I’ve got a little budget home recording setup, so have been busy coming up with more ideas, and I know we’ve all got the hankering to play shows whenever the world and time permits!
Wil: I think with all the history between us, we were already pretty aware of our strengths and weaknesses when it came to writing and playing but it was also a fresh start in a lot of ways. In terms of the future, it’d be nice to get back in a room and write more ideally. Shows will no doubt come in time, but at the moment I’m more than comfortable just writing and recording between being a bit of a homebody by nature any way.
Dan: For me personally, I feel like it’s been a really good experience. It’s an eclectic group of people, influences and different reference points. It was great how quickly it came together in the studio, and I feel like it’s a really organic sound because of the way that it’s all come together. In bands I’ve been involved with in the past, it’s been a bit more closed off in terms of writing, so it’s been really cool having such an open way of putting ideas together. I’m very excited for the prospect of what’s going to come musically after this record, I feel like we’ll have more time from a creative standpoint, so it will be interesting to see.
Tour Dates Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic
Rory: We’ve got nothing planned as of yet, but we were aiming to have had a show or two under our belt by the end of the year, which obviously might not happen, so for me it’s really a case of seeing how this all plays out and going from there. However, it does mean there’s no excuse for us not to get cracking with more writing.
Wil: I think the likelihood of things happening this year in a live environment are a bit of a write off now, but when it’s possible and we’ve got a decent set together then it’s inevitable that we’ll operate how we’ve always done in terms of reaching out to friends and playing where and when we can.
I work in music, so the impact on my job and also interests kind of go hand in hand.
“𝐼𝑓 𝑤𝑒’𝑟𝑒 𝑡𝑎𝑙𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑝𝑢𝑟𝑒𝑙𝑦 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑎 𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙 𝑖𝑚𝑝𝑎𝑐𝑡, 𝐼 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑘 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑚𝑖𝑐 ℎ𝑎𝑠 𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑑 𝑜𝑓 𝑠ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑑 𝑎 𝑙𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑜𝑛 ℎ𝑜𝑤 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑘𝑙𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝑖𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑘 𝑖𝑛 𝑎𝑛𝑦 𝑐𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑦 – 𝑒𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑐𝑖𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑐.”
Which, I’m sure most people had an inkling of anyway. Why did it take a pandemic for Spotify to even half consider the bare minimum of paying artists and labels better? – Even then it’s just a patronisingly bullshit tip jar.
Why did it take a pandemic for people to start signing petitions to save venues and record stores that they have never once set foot in or spent money at, when for all these years a lot of them wouldn’t even blink upon news of another venue closing down or a small independent going bust? I could rant about it, but my main takeaway is that I hope people don’t take these things for granted anymore. Everyone was living day to day as it was, so after this is over you’d like to think that there’s an alternative life that’s better.
Rory: Work wise, I’m a mental health nurse, and due to the whole situation have ended up working on the wards, which has been a real eye opener to say the least.
“𝑁𝑜𝑡 𝑎𝑠 𝑚𝑢𝑐ℎ 𝑎𝑠 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑡ℎ 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑓𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙𝑠 𝑎𝑡 𝑎𝑙𝑙, 𝑏𝑢𝑡 𝑖𝑡’𝑠 𝑑𝑒𝑓𝑖𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑒𝑙𝑦 𝑔𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑛 𝑚𝑒 𝑎 𝑙𝑜𝑡 𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑖𝑛𝑠𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑙 𝑖𝑚𝑝𝑎𝑐𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑣𝑖𝑟𝑢𝑠; 𝑆𝑡𝑎𝑦 𝑎𝑡 ℎ𝑜𝑚𝑒, 𝑜𝑟 𝑎𝑡 𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝑏𝑒 𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑠𝑖𝑏𝑙𝑒.”
I think the impact on the local music scene is pretty significant, obviously with tours and shows being cancelled across the board, recording bands being off the table and venues being shut, it’s really affected a lot of people’s livelihoods. I’m hoping things can get back to some sort of normal as soon as possible on all of those fronts. On the other side of the coin though, I think it’s generating a lot of creativity and new projects, which is always exciting, it’s just sad that it has to be under these circumstances. I don’t really want to say too much on the pandemic or come across as preachy at all. The only thing I will say is, please be safe and look after yourselves. For various reasons, this is a really stressful time, so please don’t be afraid to reach out to people, be that your loved ones or professionals if you feel like you just need a bit of support.
Dan: I’m also a mental health nurse, so it’s been a pretty strange time working in healthcare during this pandemic. It can also make it a bit more difficult with band stuff, having to work shifts, but we’re still finding the time to share ideas and keep things bubbling along.
Derby & London music scenes
Dan: I lived in Derby for a long time, so it’s been really interesting linking up with the rest of the boys, who are all from London originally and getting an insight into the scene. The Derby scene is a lot smaller and therefore quite close-knit, but it’s great to see how thriving and varied the London heavy music scene is.
Wil: I don’t know if I’d say any of us particularly belong to just one tight knit specific scene, just because of where we’re from. London’s very interesting in that respect, it’s quite fractured and I don’t say that in a negative sense at all. There’s a lot of mini scenes that all coexist and are by and large very supportive of each other and those different sounds all have a tendency to overlap. For instance, London hardcore has a lot of different styles that are being lifted up by separate circles but all are equally supportive of the other. Same to some extent goes for the metal, punk, alternative and indie scenes. On the whole I just go to whatever appeals to me at the time, and the overlap of people and bands is what makes it so exciting. I would say UK music and talent is in the healthiest state it’s ever been right now, current climate aside. It would be nice, after all of this, to give a bigger and better platform to UK bands – especially on the heavier music circuit.
Rory: I moved to Derby, from South London a few years ago for University, and they’re very different scenes. There’s a really good community of local musicians performing great original stuff from singer/songwriter stuff to Hip-Hop and reggae. In terms of the heavier scene out here, I haven’t really tapped into it, but there’s staple spots around Derby and Nottingham, Leicester and Northampton that bands will always be sure to visit on tour. I think in terms of the London scene, it’s characterized by people wanting to play music that they like with their mates, obviously it goes deeper than that from a creative and personal stand point, but what I like about it is that you can delve into the heavier side of the scene, or like I say just listen to some fucking great bands and sink a few beers if you’d prefer.
Other bands and labels worth a check
Hip hop wise, I’m loving Jam Baxter and Lee Scott’s collaboration album A LOT at the moment.
Rory: I would totally recommend the following for your ears; Grey Brain, Binge Drinker, Who Cares?, Devour and Human Hell. I’ve also been on a huge Hip-Hop flex over the last few years, so would totally recommend the new The Four Owls record and the newest Lee Scott releases. Both UK artists with a tireless work ethic, so would totally recommend a listen if you can dig that kind of stuff!
Rory: Big up IDIOTEQ for premiering the release for us, I think in terms of what’s important for me; don’t sweat the small things at the moment. Times are truly fucking strange at the moment, which is enough to deal with, so be sure to cut yourself a bit of slack at the moment and try to delve into the shit you enjoy.
Wil: Thanks for the time, and I’m gonna mirror what Rory’s said really; just do you. I’d also like to shout out the following labels for keeping my lockdown cool and I think people should support: Mark My Words Records, Deathwish Inc., The Coming Strife Records, Rucktion Records.