Kissing Candice is an industrial metal band based out of Long Island, NY (although every member now lives in a different state) with as much of an emphasis on horror-tinged theatrics as their crushing music. Beginning as just an idea in 2012, Kissing Candice developed their sound, image, and stage antics over the years until they are where they are now… After many tours with high profile artists and massive festivals, Kissing Candice grew into the beast they now are. Having released 3 EP’s, and 1 full length, along with a multitude of singles to fill the space, Kissing Candice is now ready to drop their 2nd full length. Postponed by the global pandemic, Kissing Candice has been using this time to make sure everything is perfect for this album so they can open the gates of Hell with this full length of all brand new songs! Filled with a refined sound which the band has been working towards over the years, they believe they are musically at their best and looking their absolute sharpest!
Kissing Candice is:
Aunt Donna (vocals): The evolution of Aunt Donna is constantly growing… This cycle of her is very… hmm… how can I say it? It is like a psycho-erotic man-eater. A cross between Marilyn Manson, Buffalo Bill, and Freddie Mercury. A very bizarre mash-up of people from many different walks of life. The outfit is completed with a fur coat, straight jacket style corset, knee-high platform boots, and a few other over the top accessories that you’ll have to wait to see. The mask is a full head silicone mask, created by horror special effects legend Tom Savini (who needs no introduction) and the super talented Jason Baker of Callosum Studios (Callosumstudios.com). Their repertoire includes works for a wide variety of other interesting individuals including Corey Taylor, Bray Wyatt (WWE), Code Orange, The Misfits, and expands all the way to Lady Gaga and countless others…
Pak (drums): This is Michael Pak drummer of Kissing Candice. My mask was originally based on Reaper’s Nevermore skin from the game Overwatch and was gifted to me from a good friend a couple of years ago, but in order to make it unrecognizable, it had to be drastically altered. The material is made of fiberglass plastic that easily warps under the exposure of applied heat. I wanted to take it a step further and literally burn the surface of the mask. While we were in the studio, at the beginning of 2020 recording the newest album, our vocalist was able to provide me a proper blow torch. You can watch the entire transformation done in our studio documentary.
Suffront (guitar): My mask was made by mask maker Jeff Koncor. My inspiration for the mask is a mix of the “Santiago Fulanito” which is an urban legend from my native country of the Dominican Republic. The story comes from the ’70s and took place in the city of Santiago, located in the Dominican Republic. A priest’s son was run over by an all-black Buick in front of the church during a Palm Sunday service. Legend has it that you can hear his cries every Palm Sunday at the downtown monument. Also, my mask is a mix of The Alien from M night Shylamalan’s film “Signs”. It’s a latex mask with bulgy bug eyes, which were made out of the sunglasses of a human female. The two rubber horns on top are meant to represent the demons that reside in all of us, even if we are aliens. I wanted this mask to look like the bastard lovechild of a Dominican demon and an alien.
Dreamer (guitar/vocals): My mask is based on the fact that things with somewhat recognizable, but not clear features messes with your mind and your brain fills in the details. Aesthetically, it’s taken from the movie Goodnight, Mommy, and the famous Edvard Munch painting: the scream. Featureless always leaves your head scratching and looking and wanting more and that’s the aim for this mask.
Grip (bass): My mask was made by an up and comer and frequent collaborator of the band, Jeff Koncor. With my masks, I have always gone for evolution. I want each mask to have some features of the last. These features have always been an exaggeration of the human face. With a large grin and huge eyes, I always felt there was something off-putting about this. I want my masks to always be recognizable in the way that you can tell it’s still me, but a different version. Over the years, I have drawn influence in my masks and costumes from a variety of sources. My look is inspired by steampunk universes and Hellraiser.
Here’s our interview with Grip – he’s not only the bassist of Kissing Candice since 2012, but he also handles the business/social media/marketing side of the band.
Well, we definitely had a bit of a weird start compared to most bands! It wasn’t your traditional group of friends or Craigslist thing. Joey had just left his previous band Dr. Acula but had wanted to continue writing and playing music. So immediately after he hit the studio solo with DA’s producer Jeremy Comitas to begin work with him on what would become the first EP Murder. The original idea was for Joey to come scream over it with a keyboard and an iPod. Jeremy decided this wasn’t the best idea, and that music of this veracity required a full band. So Jeremy started to reach out to friends. Each of the members was hand-selected by either Joey, Jeremy, or someone they had asked. I personally was asked by the guitarist of my then band Vishal to join with him. He had been asked by his friend. So it was like a big chain. However, Joey ended up with the largest group of weirdos from both New York and New Jersey to round out the first-ever lineup of Kissing Candice. From there, we started hitting the road, playing shows, and recording more music! We’ve had numerous lineup changes throughout the years but Joey, Dreamer, and I remain the core members from the very first show – which was oddly in Ohio.
Behind the name:
This is Joey’s story, as he had a name and social media pages before the rest of the members joined. However, I’ll take a quick crack at it since I’ve heard him tell it so many times, I feel like it’s my story too! Quick version though… So Joey knew a girl in High School named Candice who he was crushing on. He thought she would never be interested. She kissed him once during a game of spin the bottle. After high school, they went their separate ways, never speaking again. She now is your typical suburban mother. White picket fence, husband, kids, soccer mom van… and Joey has tattoos on his face. It sort of shows the dichotomy of the different paths we can take in life and how no path is unwalkable if you want to take it.
Personally… Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Korn, anything with steampunk vibes, the drive to be creative and create my own destiny.
As a whole, I would add some Rob Zombie in there and all the greats we grew up listening to, lifting weights, eating weird food, being weird, talking to other weird people, so on.
Inspiration behind the upcoming album:
The need to finally solidify the sound we have been working towards. We feel like we finally found it and this album will shut a lot of people up. A lot of people find it hard to look past masks and theatrics unless the music is absolutely killer. This is an album of absolutely killer (yet diverse) music. I would say some songs are very experimental to the point there might not be anything out there that sounds like them. I’m probably wrong, but I like to think we really let our creativity and originality shine here.
Describe the upcoming album in five words!
OUT OF THE FUCKING BOX
After Murder, we tried a couple of different routines. When we changed producers to Zach Jones, we decided to all be there for the recording process together to put in ideas and riff off each other. Everyone has their own area they specialize in. So yeah, we are definitely a fully functioning team! Although some of us can’t write guitar riffs (me), I am well versed in marketing and have an ear for what is catchy so I can critique said riffs!
It has affected us a lot… And every touring band in the world! We crowdfunded a portion of the new full-length album last February. We finished up recording, started to get going on picking up tours and setting an early summer release date. Touring stopped, the ability for us to put out the album stopped. We were out of options. Our members are now all over the East Coast of the United States so some of them can’t even travel to meet up to do a live stream show or something etc. However, the time has passed and we can’t let the fans down who donated to this album, every promise we made them will be delivered upon!
We would love to, but it is insanely hard with the 5 of us living in 5 totally different states. Some of those states have quarantine restrictions, which makes it super difficult. Perhaps once those restrictions lift we can make something happen.
Joey collects anything Ghostbusters like it’s the only thing that exists in the world. He has a Ghostbusters room in his house. Dreamer loves lifting weights and being jacked as hell, but he recently went vegan about a year or two ago and is still jacked as hell (and loves cats). Pak sleeps more than any human being I have ever met in my life (we also call him The Machine, so maybe he just isn’t human). Suffront was in the band Neurotic November, after that, he should have pursued a career in stand-up comedy… But he ended up with us instead! I love marketing and am constantly taking courses online to expand my knowledge on the subject. I am also a college graduate with a degree in Sociology and Environmental studies. However, the week after I graduated I decided to be in a band instead (and also love cats). All in all, we are probably the five weirdest people you will ever meet in your life. You would say there’s no way those guys are in a band together. However, we are all so weird in our own individual ways that no one is bothering anyone else and we all kinda just click despite totally different interests.
Make sure you stream our new single from our currently untitled upcoming full-length album on Spotify and watch the most disgusting music video of 2020 for it on YouTube!
We are celebrating the 5 year anniversary of our first full-length album Blind Until We Burn with a super limited cassette and vinyl pressing of the unheard original version before the label made us make changes to it. There are 110 vinyls (100 pink and 10 test prints) and 60 pink cassettes (50 regular and 10 special edition with a customized walkman)!
The BUWB 5 year items can befound here. We recently started using a program called Community which lets you directly text the band directly (and we respond and do free giveaways)! To join that, just go to: https://my.community.com/kissingcandice or text +1 631-206-5808. The first two texts are automated for the joining process but after that, it’s all band on fan communication!
I’d also like to just thank all our fans who have stuck with us and supported the band during this tough time. I want you to know that we are all working super hard at all times to make this album release our most exciting yet!
Photography by Andrew Wolfe