The Candliers: Meet ’em Today, See ’em on Saturday

Download MP3: Brighton Beach by The Candliers

The last time I saw The Candliers, they were opening for Limbeck at Turner Hall. It’s a good memory to have, because frankly, I don’t know of a venue more appropriate for this band, both in size, and aesthetic. Nevermind that the rich history of that venue no doubt holds some parallels to the sounds The Candliers embrace. Their style of music can only be best described as, well, vocalist Emily Morrow will do it way better than I could:

Fan-belt Milan: Firstly, can you list for me all the members of the band, what each of them plays, and what each of them prefers people buy them a shot of at a show, because that’s the nice thing to do when you like a band, right?

Emily Morrow: The Candliers are:
Riles Walsh – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Wurlitzer
Emily Morrow – Vocals, occasional percussion
Anton Seiger – Electric Guitar
Aytan Luck – Trombone, Trumpet, miscellany
Alex Cain – Drums, Percussion
Nate Norfolk – Banjo, Acoustic Guitar
Ryan Miracle – Acoustic Bass, Electric Bass

I think most of us prefer whiskey, but I’m not totally sure… Yeah, I think it’s whiskey. Although Riles had a glass of whiskey at the last show and it seriously tasted like wheat bread. Weird, huh?.


FBM: So, how did you all manage to come together and form a band?

Emily: Well, we started playing together in the summer of 2006. Actually, there were about 16 people who would occasionally get together and play a variety of country music, New Orleans-style jazz, whatever. Alex and I had played in a band prior to this, so he asked me to come down and sing along one night. At that point it was Alex, Riles, Anton, Aytan, Nate, Hanna (our first bassist), and me, and things gelled. We started practicing more and more formally and then in November we had our first show. It was serendipitous.


FBM: And at any point in coming together, did you get nervous about having so many members? Or did you say, “Fuck it. Let’s get ten more?”

Emily:I don’t think that ever crossed our minds. We just play with the number of players it takes to make what we are doing sound right.


FBM: In an interview you did with MKE, you talked about touring– how you loaded up the U-Haul, got in the van, and saw the country. Can you tell me a little more about it? Like, what made you guys decided to do it? What you learned from it? And what your favorite places to play wound up being?

Emily: The tour was crazy. I think at first the idea seemed romantic, and like something we had to do. So, we started contacting people in different cities and everything and eventually we were on the road. For instance, our second night we were suppose to go to Muncie, IN, but it got cancelled and we got a call from a man in Nashville asking us to come and play the next day, so we drove from Chicago to Nashville in one day.

Our tour seemed to be about patience. When you have seven people in a van in the middle of a heatwave that lasts two weeks, you get taught to hold your tongue and be patient. But we also had a great time. I think everyone can agree our favorite city was Memphis. It was hot as hell, but we had so much fun at our show that night. We also really like St. Louis, Lawrence, Minneapolis… It’s really fun rolling into a city you’ve never been to, setting up, playing with bands you’ve never met, putting on the best show you can every night and then celebrating after.


FBM: And, am I insane, or do you really not have a full-length album out yet? I know about the Trusty Knife split, but there’s no full-length record yet, is there? (Might this be the project you guys are working on with Billy Cicerelli from WMSE? A little bird told me…)

Emily: Yeah, we are going to record this Summer, hopefully with Billy from WMSE. It was kind of a weird spring. Our first bass player moved away in December and we were without a bass player until Ryan came along (and he’s awesome). So, we are going to get that full-length on it’s way, finally. We are all very excited. We (mainly Riles and Zach of the Trusty Knife, Aaron of Crappy Dracula, and an assortment of members of other bands) recorded a whole mess of songs and made an album called The Gas Station Soundtrack. It will be mastered and out this Summer as well.


FBM: I know you have a show Saturday, which I’ll get to in a minute, but you’re also playing Summerfest (Friday, July 4– 7:15 PM) this Summer. How did that come about? And are you nervous as hell to be playing for a few hundred thousand attendees?

Emily: I don’t know how that came up. I think someone just asked us, we said “Why the hell not?” and that was that. I think we all get a little nervous before we play, but no, I don’t think any of us are nervous to play at Summerfest. It will be nice playing with sun in our eyes and fireworks at our backs.


FBM: Now Saturday’s show, which won’t have hundreds of thousands of attendees due to space and fire codes, is at Stonefly. You’re playing with Sleep Tight Co., and Inspector Owl. If I had no idea what you sounded like, how would you describe the live Candliers experience to me?

Emily: Someone coined the term “Milwaunky Tonk” while they were drinking; it sticks. We have so many different sounds that it’s hard to peg. I think the best thing to say is that we have a lot of energy– we’ll knock your socks off and then we’ll wash them and return them to you.


FBM: Ha! Well, in case my atypical questions didn’t cover something super awesome you have in the works, spill it here.

Emily: “Super awesome” is what we’re calling it. You know, the kids. Actually, we’re calling it “Activities.”We are starting a recording collective and will be having a few releases in the near future. One by Farms in Trouble, one with The Trusty Knife, and also our full-length (when we finish it). There are a few other projects/bands that may have EP releases as well. The sampler will be the first release on it. We just started looking for local bands to add to the roster. Bands like Fahri, and Dear Astronaut, Potent Oil, Chalky Chip, Sonic Typewriter, Ultra-Girlie, Nothing in that Drawer, Scrimshaw, Trash Crack, and Friar’s Gate might contribute tracks for it. We have a Myspace page for it, too.

The Candliers play at Stonefly this Saturday, May 24, with Sleep Tight Co. and Inspector Owl. They also play Summerfest, and a bunch of other places this Summer. For more information, sound clips, and tourdates, check their MySpace page here.

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