Candice Gordon is taking the “female songwriter” genre tag she despises and disposing of it with mixture of heartfelt sentimentality and punk rock attitude. TMF caught up with her for a quick chat to find out what she’s got in store for us following her current single ‘Smoking Like The Barrel Of A Gun’. We’re desperate to catch one of her live shows asap, but if you decide to come along make sure you don’t show up in the same outfit ...
Could I get you to sum up the sound of TMF favourite ‘Smoking Like The Barrel Of A Gun’ for our readers who haven’t heard your new single?
Well, it’s quite trashy! I just think it’s straight rock and roll. It’s really dumb, stupid, full rock and roll. It’s quite a relief when I get to that point in the set actually, when I play live, because I normally start off with my more sentimental songs, which are way harder to sing. Then I get to release it all towards the end when I play ‘Smoking Like the Barrel of a Gun’ which is… it’s a good release of energy!
The b-side, ‘I Haven’t Eaten In Days’ has a real different feel to it, much slower and more chilled out. Which sound are you more at home with? Which is more you?
I like them both at different times but I think when I play I prefer the heavier stuff.
Is that the sound you’re going to pursue and we can expect to hear from you in the future?
Yeah, definitely. I’m in the studio now and it’s quite trashy. The next release will be very trashy!
When can we expect that?
I’m gonna be releasing the next single in October, which is what I’m recording now. We’ll be touring that. I like to make videos so I’ve got a visual plan with the next thing, but I hope it’s not too big or bold, I hope I can achieve it!
Where are you from?
I grew up in Dublin, but I’m originally from Botswana. I’m based in Berlin mainly but I come over to London quite a bit because half my band live in London. It’s all over the place, and that’s why for the video for ‘Smoking like the Barrel of a Gun’ I kind of had to think of a way to film that. We filmed it in Berlin but the guys were in London, so that’s why we did the TV thing.
What’s your earliest musical memory?
My earliest musical memory was driving around in Africa with my Walkman listening to Paul Simon’s Graceland in the mid 80s. I knew all the words to it. I think that’s when I decided that was what I wanted my life to be, that’s it! I’ve always been doing music since, with a few other side lines. My dad is quite artistic, but my family are mainly academic and scientists. I think if I didn’t go down this road I like to think I’d be a scientist! Maybe I will be, when I totally lose my voice…
Which artists have influenced your sound the most?
It’s really hard… I think for a long time, when I was a teenager I listened to Nina Simone, I loved her a lot. I don’t really listen to her a lot now, but I like it every time I do. It’s just her attitude. I really don’t like genre at all, I hate it in fact. You can’t just label people with one genre and think it’s okay. Nina Simone, she transcended any kind of genre and she added this magic, this attitude, and it didn’t matter. I don’t want to play that game but other people do.
Having been quite a male dominated area, do you think the music industry is becoming a more level playing field for women?
It’s not a level playing field but over the past year or so, women have almost become a kind of genre. People have always compared me to other women, I think it’s a pointless reference, saying ‘oh, she’s like this other woman’. It helps if they’re brunette as well, because I’m brunette and they like to group me in that genre. I think there’s more women now, so there’s more women to be compared to, which is good, but I’m nervous about that. That’s the thing about the image, the look, the industry has no taste in music at all, and they’re just looking at what’s fashionable.
Now they’ve realised ‘Oh, people like women! People like solo female singers’, which is good because it’s fashionable…but fashion goes out of fashion! Who knows, in a couple of years everybody might be completely sick of women. It’s a bit of danger. I just wish people would forget it!
Going back to image, do you think yours is a big part of what you do?
Well, I’m aware of it. I’m a very contrary person. If I see someone else wearing what I’m wearing, I don’t like it. When you’re talking about genre, it’s easier to explain if there’s a visual reference as well. It’s just so pointless and boring at the end. I’m a very visual person, when I talk about songs to my band, I’m often talking about the actual video that I’m seeing with it, the whole vibe. I communicate in a visual way a lot.
What can we expect from a live show of yours?
There’s quite a lot of energy. I’ve been playing guitar for a long time, and now I’ve recently put down the guitar because I’ve got a band now, which is a luxury. It’s very strange now, I don’t know what to do with my body! People are watching me and expecting me to do something. So I just sort of stand there and sing!
Finally, what has the rest of 2012 got in store for you?
Just working on the next release really. I’m planning on doing quite a big project, so I’m going to have to work my arse off. It might be a bit much for little old me!
For more information, go to Candice's website