By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Canada-based JUNO-nominated singer-songwriter Kandle’s latest video “Lock & Load” from her upcoming 2021 album has already been regarded as the “greatest James Bond movie never made.”
“Lock & Load” was recorded in Vancouver’s Hipposonic Studios with British producer Michael Rendall.
She grew up watching the classic films with her father (Neil Osborne of 54-40) and wanted to pay homage to those cherished memories, with help from director Brandon William Fletcher, who actually roughed out a film plot and character backgrounds for the video.
Musically inspired by Nancy Sinatra, Shirley Bassey and Billie Holiday, Kandle doesn’t shy away with her music, as she has covered lyrical subjects that range from heartbreak and addiction to sexual assault and chronic illness.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with Kandle about “Lock & Load” and more.
Music Bugle – How would you compare your newest music to your older material?
Kandle – I think it’s hard for any artist to take a step back and really notice the changes and growth in their creations, but me, I am constantly learning and being inspired by the great musicians around me and in my headphones. All of those influences affect my writing. I definitely feel I am stepping into a more mature and empowered phase of being a creator and a woman and I am less focused on the negatives in my past. My focus is now on moving forward with strength and confidence and having the freedom to fearlessly make all creative decisions. I have always been in love with fifties and sixties music and I am now unapologetically submersed in that writing and recording style. Nothing polished. Nothing over-edited. Few mics and raw band performances.
Music Bugle – Was there a specific James Bond movie you were inspired by to make your “Lock & Load” video?
Kandle – To be honest, we were pretty inspired by the entire legacy and trying to pull bits and pieces from all our favorite moments! Brandon Fletcher, the director, is an even bigger Bond nerd than me and he watched all the films many times to plan out each sequence he wanted to create. My personal favorite is the Goldmember one!
Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your latest album?
Kandle – It was a very unique and special experience. I set out to make my first independent record, free of labels and all industry influences for the first time in my career. I assembled my dream team of beautiful players and trustworthy friends to help bring it to life then the pandemic hit us hard just as it began on March 5. The first day of recording, life was normal, people were everywhere and hugs and kisses were not feared! By the second week, we were down to four of us and quarantined in the studio, unable to find sanitizer and toilet paper! My producer, Michael Rendall and I decided to devote all our focus and energy to the music and we lived and breathed this record for three weeks straight, shut out from the outside world, as each day seemed to get worse and worse.
Music Bugle – How have you been personally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Kandle – Oh, in a million ways, as I’m sure we all have been! For one, I had no plans to ever live in Vancouver, but as I finished the album and flights were cancelled and nothing felt safe, I decided to move in with my childhood best friend and stay creative. I am now trying to navigate how to run my own business for the first time without being able to perform and engage with fans and media in person. It’s definitely a huge struggle. I am just one person with 100 songs and a laptop, but I try my best to find happiness wherever I can and make sure I still make time for music and not obsess about business, algorithms and statistics all day long. I get lonely and frustrated as I’m sure we all do, but it ain’t gonna stop me from creating and sharing music.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Kandle – I am deeply in love with Michael Kiwanuka. His success brings me so much joy! For the last few years, I felt as though music was dying. Electronic was the way of the future and guitars were going into extinction. Michael ignored all of that and has made some of the best records I have ever heard in my life. His also happens to be the last live show I saw. I was crying in the front row, of course. I actually just checked my Spotify and apparently, I’ve also been listening a lot of Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen, Nick Cave, Marlon Williams, Mulatu Astatke, Buena Vista Social Club and Patsy Cline.
Music Bugle – Which of your songs was the hardest to write?
Kandle – The hardest one for me is called “Sweet Boy” and it’s about losing my dog to cancer. He was my best friend and greatest love, a magnificent, beautiful 130-pound mama’s boy who kept me grounded and happy for nearly 10 years. I wanted to write something beautiful for him and though it really hurt, I think it turned out just perfect. I like to imagine him still in the studio with me, chewing on drum sticks and approving mixes with his perfect floppy ears.
Music Bugle – What is the most challenging aspect of being a singer-songwriter?
Kandle – I think the loneliness. I’ve always craved loyalty and camaraderie, but as a solo performer and one who hasn’t always had the best people around me, it doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Being alone in this business makes you very vulnerable and I’ve had to learn to be my own team and work hard every day to believe in myself and trust that what I’m creating is worth pursuing.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Canada to someone who has never been there before?
Kandle – Beautiful, wet and friendly!
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Kandle – I think both. I don’t think its healthy at all and I hate having to work at it every day just to promote and engage. It has too much power over us and it feels quite toxic at times. Having said that, especially now in a pandemic, it’s great that we can still communicate and share with people globally without relying solely on media outlets.
Music Bugle – Away from music, what’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
Kandle – Oh, many things, I’m sure! I love doing laundry, I cry every time I see a dog, I used to be a cheerleader, I love knitting and I used to have a mushroom cut and asked people to call me Max.