CANDIRIA’S JOHN LAMACCHIA: THE METALSUCKS INTERVIEW
Candiria needs no introduction, but even those familiar with the band might not know that guitarist John LaMacchia is one of the most hard-working men in underground metal. In addition to his work with Candiria — who are releasing Toying With the Insanities Volumes 1 and 2 this September — LaMacchia runs Rising Pulse Records, the label that will be releasing the aforementioned new Candiria albums. He’s also a member of Spylacopa together with members of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Isis and Made out of Babies, and and he’s co-writing and producing a solo album with Julie Christmas of the latter. In a phone conversation earlier this month, I chatted with John about the new Candiria sets, the aforementioned side projects (which are only the tip of the iceberg), the current status of Candiria, and some local bands he digs. Our chat, after the jump.
You have this new record, Toying with the Insanities that’s coming out. Could you just give a brief synopsis of it?
Sure. Toying with the Insanities Volumes 1 and 2 are coming out on my own record label, Rising Pulse Records, on September 9th. The 2 volumes are going to be 4 in total. The first 2 volumes come out in September. The second two volumes, 3 and 4, are slated for an April 2010 release, but that’s as of now. Volumes 1 and 2 are compiled of remixes from friends and other musicians that we know and toured with and that are supportive of the band or have been into the band for a long while. Such as: Dalek, Dub Trio, Dillinger Escape Plan, members of Suicidal Tendencies (Rocky George did a remix), members of Peeping Tom, Kayo Dot, and a slew of others including a couple from one group called LIMA from Italy, another artist Stefan Betke who is this electronic musician. He has that project Pole which is kind of an interesting little mix to have in there to have with all these other artists. Then a slew of other underground artists ranging from just friends of ours to pretty well established underground acts. Besides the remixes, there are also a bunch of rare tracks that have never been released before from members of the band that were just old Candiria pieces of music that have never been released before and we are putting out now. It’s a lot of fun, and they’re really two of the most creative records I think that we have ever put out. It’s really exciting, and I’m very excited about it.
So when you were compiling these remixes, what was the process for deciding who would do what track? Then once that person had the track, did they sort of have free range to do whatever they wanted with it?
Absolutely, totally free to do whatever they wanted with the tracks. Selecting the artists was really more about who was more about gung-ho about the project, who really wanted to work on it. We went into it with the idea that if we could get some really amazing artists to really put their time and energy into it and they’re excited about it, we are sure to get some really amazing results. If not then it doesn’t make the cut. That was pretty much what I told everyone. I said, “look if your remix is bangin’, then it’s going to make it to the release. If it’s not great, then it’s not going to make it to the record.” That’s really what inspired a lot of people to put any energy to make this record what it is.
So this is coming out on your own label, Rising Pulse. How is it to be doing your own label? Do you find it liberating or is it a challenge?
It’s definitely a challenge. It’s totally liberating. It’s fantastic to have the outlet to be able to do this. It’s also great to have the go-ahead from the other members of Candiria. They’re totally behind it. You know ,you mix business with friendship and sometimes things can get a little funny, but these guys are totally behind the whole project and they’re totally supportive. They know that I only have the band’s best interest in mind. As far as a challenge goes, it is extremely challenging because pretty much it’s just me right now. The label is really just me, I’m doing everything and that’s including the art for the releases, mastering the songs and producing the records, finding the remixes and finding the artists, and then promoting the projects. I’m doing everything, which is definitely not what I planned, but at the moment, it’s the only way I can see getting this done the way that I want to get it done and doing right by the band. It was definitely a challenge, but it’s extremely liberating because there’s no contracts with anyone, there’s no leaving this into other people’s hands and worrying if they’re going to do this release some justice. So yeah, it’s all that.
How active were the other members of the band in assembling these remixes and this project? Was it pretty much a one man show or did they have input?
They totally had input. Even though I’m producing the first 2 volumes, it really was initially something I brought to the band that I’ve been wanting to do for a few years now. There was interest from other members of the band, but not as much, I guess, as I was interested in it. They’re just backing me up on it. I don’t think it’s really extremely that necessary for them to have that much input because really there’s not much of a creative process as far as the band is concerned because we’re not making the remixes; other musicians are. It’s sort of like I’m sort of putting everything together, and the other members of the band are overseeing it. Mike and Carley are the guys who have been the most supportive and most there for me during this whole thing and doing whatever they need to do to help me get this out properly. They are truly and 100% involved and in this with me.
Also on your label, you put out the long awaited album Kiss the Lie this year. Were you satisfied with the response and the general reception from the fans that the album got?
It was definitely mixed. The way the record was made, we knew from the get-go that the response was going to be mixed because the majority of the material was never intended to be Candiria material. So I knew right off the bat with this record that the fans were going to be definitely mixed on it and the response was going to be questionable at times. Honestly we can’t make records for other people. We have to make records from the heart, and the music has to be right for us first before we can even make a record and get behind it. The people that did get it loved it. There are still people that want us to play “Pages” from Surrealistic Madness that was 1995, 14 years ago. Although we still think that’s great music, and we appreciate people’s enthusiasm about the older material, we are going to continue to make music and continue to evolve and do other things. I would hope that most people understand that and would be open-minded, but you can’t please everyone.
Are there any plans to make new music?
Yes there are. There’s unreleased music on the first 2 volumes, and that is definitely something the fans will dig (I think people that love music will dig). Volumes 3 and 4 may or may not be all new music; it really depends on the response we get on Volumes 1 and 2. If Volumes 1 and 2 do as well as we hope they’re going to, we’ll definitely move on with 3 and 4. I’m more than likely going to put 3 and 4 out anyway, but depending on how well they do will inspire me to do it quickly and do it the way I’m planning on doing it or maybe I’ll hold off on it. That’s the plan. We plan on writing some new music for Volumes 3 and 4, and there’s already some new material on the first volumes as well.
That’s great man. What about some of the other stuff that you’ve been working on? You did the Spylacopa thing which was really cool. Are there any plans to do anything further with that?
Thank you. Absolutely. I’m actually supposed to be releasing a little digital bundle type release right now, but I’ve been so bogged down — I won’t say bogged down, it’s sort of a negative way to think of it — I’ve been so busy with Candiria right now that I really just can’t get to it. That’s another project where the guys in the band are waiting for me to finish up the digital bundle. I don’t want to get to it until I’m pretty much done with this and doing this right. Then I’ll get onto that. So before the end of the year there will either be a small digital release for Spylacopa or we’ll begin working on the second release which is either going to be an EP or a full length. We’re not exactly sure yet.
That’s awesome. So the writing process for that is you put all the music together and then you send it around?
No, actually. Greg [Puciato] is definitely an active writer for Spylacopa. Jeff Caxide from Isis is definitely an active writer. We all sort of do, but as far as the recording process, I’m funding that project. Usually the studio time is booked in Brooklyn or in New York somewhere where I have access to a studio or working with the drummer to work out ideas. Pretty much it’s kind of mixed. The input with the writing comes from all the members. It’s just that usually the best tracks end up in a studio near me. [Laughs] So it all goes through me, and then I’m sending it out to other folks.
Are you working on any other projects at the moment?
There are a couple of things I’ve been working on. I just finished doing a film with Julie Christmas of Made Out of Babies [also in Spylacopa] and it will be called Debut. We worked on 25 minutes worth of music for the movie. It’s this director David Blinn, I believe. It’s a French film. I’m not exactly sure when it’s going to be finished, but that’s one thing I was working on. I’m also working on Julie’s solo record called The Bad Wife. We just finished tracking one of the last songs, and I think that’s slated for a 2010 release.
Yeah, the material is great. It’s really great. We worked with Andrew Schneider. He produced it, and it’s coming out amazing. I’m really excited about that.
So you’re a writer on that one?
Yeah. I did a lot of writing on that one. Me and Julie wrote most of the music together. We worked so hard. We’ve been working on it for a couple of years now. So I’m excited to see that it’s being finished up and maybe it’ll make it out for a 2010 release.
Is The End Records going to put that one out?
We’re not exactly sure. It may wind up on my label actually. We’re not exactly sure. She was asking me about it. I mentioned interest in putting out the record to Julie, of course. She responded somewhat positively to it, but of course she’s going to shop it a bit to see if she can get herself a great deal with an awesome label. If not, I’ll do my best to do right by the record because it’s a great record, and I think fans are going to love it.
Cool. That’s awesome.
Another thing I’m working on, the only band that I’m only playing live shows with is a band called A Family Plot. That’s Mike MacIvor of Candiria’s band. The music is really cool. It’s a lot different than Candiria. Anything I’m really doing is a lot more straight forward and progressive rock, but it’s really great. The energy and the music is great, so I’m excited about that too.
That’s awesome. Are you doing shows around New York mainly?
Our first show is August 22nd. We’re playing a place called The Cup with strangely enough Hope Kills Fear, Carley Coma’s new band. It’s funny that Candiria will all be at this show, and we’re not sharing the stage together. So that might be interesting.
Cool. That’s awesome. Are there any other sort of local area acts that you’ve been digging on lately or working with in any way?
I’ve been really digging this band called Demilitia. They’re this straight up psychedelic thrash metal band I guess you could call them. Bunch of musicians that get together and play some really bad ass, raw fucking metal. They’re a great band. They play extremely passionately if you could put those two words together. They’re great. I think people should check them out.
Thanks for taking the time. I appreciate it.
No problem. Thank you.