By Sabrina Selkis
Photos by Miguel de Melo
There is always a first time for everything, and what’s better than interviewing face to face one of the strongest woman in hardcore metal!
Candace Kucsulain welcomes us on the Walls Of Jericho tour bus behind the Kentish Town forum in London. The band has been on a 12 date tour with Suicidal Tendencies and Agnostic Front. We speak about the new album, the videos, the highlights of the Persistence Tour and the importance of believing in yourself.
In March last year, Walls Of Jericho released its fifth album No One Can Save You From Yourself via Napalm Records, it is a very empowering album. What are the main messages you wanted to get across, and do you think you succeeded?
Candace: I do, when it comes to our genre of music, a lot of it is actual positive messages with aggressive power behind it. You do want to make sure you get the message through and that people don’t just think you’re angry, that you have something to say and you are trying to use that anger for something constructive. To sum it all up, there is change to be made in the world and everybody sees it. But nobody knows how to do it. The message is pretty clear: it has to start with you, your faith and belief in yourself and the fact that you can make a difference.
You have three videos out with this album, “Fight The Good Fight”, “Reign Supreme”, and “Forever Militant”. Who is involved in making those and can we expect another video soon?
Candace: There were three different people making these videos, we don’t have anything right now coming out. It’s probably the most videos we’ve ever done for a record. It was really cool to do real professional videos. “Reign Supreme” is my favourite, it was a lot of fun to do, we wanted something empowering. I train a lot, strength train a lot, I actually used to box when I was younger and recently started getting back into it for conditioning. It was just me, nobody else was there except for the guy at the very end, a friend a ours.
Candace : The underdog always wins! [laughs]
Now about your songwriting, this new record is inspired by your daughter and your brother, it comes across as writing has been therapeutic for you..
Candace: [nods] Absolutely..
Which songs are closest to your heart?
Candace : “Cutbird” is about my brother, it was a collaboration with my sister-in-law .”Reign Supreme” is close to my heart too as it’s a personal experience, that I went through in terms of overcoming and remembering that your experiences don’t define who you are and there is always a tomorrow.
I am trying to think of other songs… “Fight The Good Fight” is also a good one because it talks about what we all face day in and day out, people are constantly kicked down and don’t want to to get back up, don’t know how to get back up, searching for a hero when it is important to remember that we have to be our own hero.
What are the tours planned for this year?
Candace: For this year it is this tour, Persistence, and a tour in August. That will be all we do, 20 days this year. I have a 5 year old daughter, I am not interested in touring too much anymore. I have to find balance, I want to be present during her school vacations. They grow up fast, you got to be there.
What have been the highlights of this tour?
Candace: Definitely the people have been the highlight, the shows have been insane, and all the bands have been getting a great response, high energy. When you do a tour like this, there is usually a couple of bands that people don’t really want to see and others you maybe haven’t seen before, but every band on this tour have been great to watch. Burn is an old band, they have been around since the 90s. They were not together for a little while, but now they are back, it’s incredible to see bands who have paved the way.
Thrash has made a big comeback, is it fair to say that hardcore is having one also?
Candace: it kind of seems like it, especially older hardcore – the good generation of hardcore [laughs]. It’s coming back, we were talking about that the other day, bands that have something to say, that are powerful and make a difference.
You support the Relentless Foundation, a charity for awareness and support for families with children diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses, how did you get involved with it and what is it you do for them?
Candace: Relentless Foundation is in Minnesota and Detroit, there are two of them. I have seen videos of a guy lifting, saying he was raising money for cancer and other illnesses. I looked into it as I was lifting already for a couple of years, and Relentless Foundation Detroit was the first one I found. That’s my hometown, not only were they raising money for this cause but the money went straight to the families. It’s an event they put on every year, where we all raise money and lift weights for these kids and make it a family event. I feel very lucky to do something I love for something bigger than me.
Speaking of lifting, are you helping the roadies?
Candace: Yes, we all load in, there is a bunch of us that go to the gym every other day, it’s usually Dustin and Chris from our band, Jeff from Suicidal, and Gavin from Burn who is also an instructor, we all help each other.
Back in September 1998, when you auditioned for the band and became the lead singer, can you tell us how that day was?
Candace: I was already in a different band, dating the guitarist but we were on the outs, it made it difficult in the band and Walls Of Jericho was trying people out. I jumped in and went against all those other guys, it was magnificent to be accepted. I am always passionate about the music and the message. Hardcore is my home, we were talking about that the other day.
What’s next for Walls Of Jericho?
Candace: We are trying not to repeat history, it was eight years before we released the last album and already after one year people are asking “when is the next one”! We already have two songs that we are working on. We pick and choose tours depending on my daughter and if people don’t like this then it is their problem.
Cool, well many thanks for talking to us today and have fun at the show!