Candice Gordon is a Berlin based Irish artist who delivered a big slice of high-tension, trashy, garage rock with her latest single ‘The Kids Are Alt Right’. We talked about the mundanity of mainstream music and pop-culture phenomenons, before she signed off with an excellent list of artists that she recommends. Oh, and a shout out to a lost pair of her most valued black jeans.
Hi Candice, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about how you got started as an artist?
I don’t think there was one definitive lightning bolt of a moment for me. It was a part of my personality to be turned on by exploration and adventure. From when I was a kid I loved the freedom and independence that busking allowed me. I travelled with my guitar and later with a crystal ball. Songwriting as an artform also appealed to me from early on.
You are originally from Ireland but now living in Berlin, what were your reasons for moving to Berlin?
Before Ireland I lived in Botswana. I had been living in Ireland for long enough that I wanted to get the fuck out again. I was depressed and suicidal, and Berlin seemed to be a decent option, and when I first came here it felt really right. I like the grassroots movements that happen in Berlin. At the moment there is a fightback against Google moving into a neighbourhood. I don’t think that sort of thing is common in a lot of other places. In Ireland they welcomed Google, Apple, and Facebook with open arms and tax breaks.
What are the differences between the music scenes in Berlin and Ireland?
Both Germany and Ireland have terrible taste when it comes to mainstream music. But I’m in Italy at the moment and there’s that common thread of god awful music on most all the radio stations, so I don’t know if there’s a place in the world that’s immune. There’s a lot of talent in Ireland for such a small country, but it’s not getting nurtured and celebrated like it should. Berlin is comparatively huge so there’s a huge amount of artists. A lot of great artists live here. I think in Berlin there’s an effort to push boundaries and break standards. I like that.
We’re loving your latest single ‘The Kids Are Alt Right’ (great name) – can you tell us a bit more about what inspired this?
I was looking at modern culture and the alt-right movement. When there’s the idea that young people are progressive, looking forward, and open-minded, it’s a surprise to discover that they are conservative traditionalists, looking backward. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that “alt” means “old” in German. Every time I see another pop-cultural phenomenon my expectations in humanity are lowered yet again. Be it ‘Gangnam Style’, or Nigel Farage. I think they’re all the same. It’s mob mentality and veneration. The chorus is a play on The Who song, but I don’t think they’re alright. I think they’re fucked. We’re fucked. But yeah, the song is roughly about data analytics and propaganda. On a deeper level, I think capitalism causes media to do shitty jobs – they can’t afford to have integrity, so they give Farage a microphone because he’s entertaining.
Am I right in thinking that it was aptly recorded in a basement in Texas soon after Trump’s inauguration? And you have been targeted by members of the alt-right online since it started streaming?
Yeah, I recorded it in Texas. We went over last year and the only food I could afford was tacos and donuts. Yeah, because of YouTube and Facebook algorithms, when I put the song up it got directed to alt-right people and they write comments and emojis, but it’s probably time sensitive because it was only during the first week or so. I feel if they are distracted by my video it’s serving a valuable purpose. The finished video is coming soon though, so fingers crossed I can catch some trolls.
The single was launched at Berghain in Berlin, how was the party?
It was a great gig. I lost a bag with my most valued black jeans and red Hawaiian shirt though, if anyone finds it.
Your music has been described in such a variety of ways from “gothic guitar-noir” to “garage rock raucousness” to “sweetly dark folk-tinged music” … Do you feel that you fall into any of these descriptions?
Yes, I think they’re all really good descriptions of elements of what I do. But I think genres are for marketers.
You are in the midst of your current tour, how’s that all going?
I am currently in Terni, Italy, eating cherries and drinking coffee in the sun. So it’s not bad. Great shows, great audiences, not enough sleep, too much car. Unsurprisingly incredible food.
What can fans expect from your live shows? And, more importantly, are you planning on coming to the UK anytime soon??
Let’s see… There’s drums, bass, synth, electric guitar. Sometimes there’s other instruments. I sing. I wear shoes. People clap. I sing some more. I was planning on a London show but now I’m booked up until I don’t know when!
Finally as we’re a new music focused site, are there any other new/upcoming bands or artists you’d suggest we check out?
A.S. Fanning – lyrics and tone to die for.
Alice Dean – acid beat straight from the lab.
Louis Brennan – Sartorial quips in song form.
Nina Hynes – fourth dimensional.
Paddy Hanna – manufactures earworms.
Badhands – sensationally crafted songs.
Gordon Raphael – endlessly entertaining.
Medicine Boy – representing psychedelic desert blues from Cape Town.
Huge thanks to Candice for answering our questions!