Candiria: The journey back
Bands face obstacles of all shapes and sizes throughout their career: member changes, cancelled record deals, crazy producers. But what happens when the obstacle is a speeding 18-wheeler with reckless tendencies?
“A lot of times, people don’t realize just how insane it is to be in a band,” said Carley Coma, vocalist for Candiria. “Being on the road, you risk your life. … It’s the law of averages — you’re going to get in an accident. It’s not if, it’s really when.”
The band known as Candiria, suffered an accident on Sept. 9, 2002 while traveling on tour. When they were en route to the next venue, a semi-truck plowed straight through the equipment trailer, head on into the back of the van. Four of the band members crashed through the windows, landing outside of the vehicle. Coma and the band’s driver remained in the front of the van, flipping over four times and eventually landing upside down.
“I woke up upside down in the van with my driver screaming,” Coma said. “I knew I was gonna die, so I passed out.”
All of the band members sustained serious injuries later deemed non-critical, and their equipment was completely destroyed. But the damage didn’t end there.
“One of the things I still [remember] the most was a firefighter was gonna give me a bottle of water, but then his … coworker stopped him and said ‘Give it to him [John], I don’t think he’s gonna make it’,” Coma said.
Guitarist John LaMacchia still has trouble sleeping while on the bus for Warped Tour.
“Sleeping on the bus at night, you know, no seatbelt … sometimes the bus hits [something] that lets you know you’re going off the road,” LaMacchia said. “When that happens it immediately wakes me up. I’m like, ‘Holy crap, here we go.’”
While the physical healing process went well, the mental scarring from this event took its toll on each member of the band.
“It was a crazy recovery period for us,” LaMacchia said. “It took a lot out of us. And as a band it really stifled our career for some time. We actually weren’t a band for 10 years [after that]. Two years ago, we decided we were gonna get back together, and now here we are again.”
The inspiration doesn’t end there. Candiria’s latest album, “While They Were Sleeping,” is its first attempt at a concept album.
“I think the story’s pretty cool,” Coma commented. “People are attaching themselves to it. It’s about a failed musician … named Mereya who pretty much falls into trouble, her career falls down, [and then] she rises up against a New York City monarchy.”
While the story itself may be a little strange, it’s hard to ignore the blatant parallels between the album and Candiria’s own history. Being a metal fusion band, Candiria finds itself rising against the parameters of its own genre, even after its career fell apart. Infusing jazz within its music is one of its unique qualities, and this album doesn’t disappoint. Finding the balance between the oddly smooth chords of jazz and the more jagged metal edges, fans are in for an unforgettable experience. The strange nature of the album makes it all the more relatable to listeners all around the world.
The road to what Candiria is today was not an easy one. The accident impacted not only the lives of each band member, but the band itself. Despite being thrown off its course, Candiria is now back on track and exactly where it needs to be.
Advice: How to do it
Warped Tour gathers some of the most talented bands the world has to offer. From well-established bands like GWAR and Hatebreed, to newbies such as Jule Vera and Knocked Loose, each band brings its own unique sound to this traveling concert.
So how do these talented musicians receive the honor to play at one of the most prestigious collective concerts worldwide? Here’s what some of the bands had to say about being successful.
New Years Day: “Never give up on your dream. You’re never too old, you’re never too young, you’re never too unknown. Just never give up. I’m a standing testament to that.”
Jule Vera: “Write songs and play shows. You never know who will be at the show. … Post your music, you never know who’s gonna hear it.”
William Control: “Stop writing [crappy] songs.”
Knocked Loose: “Just do it. Do as much and as often as you can. …It’s scary, it’s sucks so bad sometimes … but for 30 minutes a day, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my whole life. It’s so sick.”
The Gospel Youth: “Believe in what you do and keep doing it. That’s literally it. Sometimes you’ll be playing a show to no one [but] yourselves. And you’ll get home and be like ‘Why am I doing this?’ But you just gotta keep going.”
Bad Cop/Bad Cop: “It is a lot of work. You have to be committed … to the long haul. Because it takes a long time … it’s a long way to the top. [But] if that’s something you want to do, do it. Music has saved my life, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Creeper: “The thing is, I never really set out to make anything big. I always feel like the best advice I could give someone is to focus on what you’re making rather than ‘making it’ anywhere. If you’re making something that’s artistic and it’s true, you’re far more likely to be [perceived] as good.”
Silent Planet: “Above all, empathy. … I believe empathy is what humanizes us, and if you look at most creative, successful people … whether it’s an inventor like Steve Jobs all the way to some of the greatest musicians alive, I think they employ empathy to tell a narrative. I think, until you tell a story, until you use a narrative … you’ll never connect [with anyone] … music is a superior language in that way.”
Movements: “I think the biggest piece of advice I can offer is be true to yourself and be true to the music you want to write. … I think writing from an honest perspective and writing from your heart and your soul, as cliché as that sounds, I think that’s the most important [thing].”
Bad Seed Rising: “Find something that you love, whatever it [may] be. Whether it’s music or art or whatever, find the things that inspire you to do it. Then make it your own.”
Barb Wire Dolls: “Make music, because you need to make music.”
Dance Gavin Dance: “You’ve gotta be crazy … and as for something nice and positive and motivational, play your instrument, keep practic[ing], practice at least least 30 minutes a day, do drugs and drop out of school.”
Courage My Love: “No one said it was easy, no one said life was easy … you just have to truck through. … Don’t assume you’re good enough, you can always do better. If you love it, it won’t seem like work — it’ll seem like something you were born to do.”
To Write Love On Her Arms: The journey through
Warped Tour is an incredible melting pot of music, people and energy. Not only are there 50 bands, tons of food, and endless merchandise, there are also people travelling with this crazy bunch looking to do some good. One such organization, To Write Love on Her Arms, is geared toward helping people who are struggling with mental health issues.
“To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with things like addiction, depression, self-injury and suicide,” said Elizabeth Wilder, the music and event coordinator for the organization. “We’re not the counselors, we’re the bridge to the help. We have resource pamphlets for every city on Warped Tour, and they are resources we would send our family and friends to. They are hand-picked by us.”
Not only have they traveled with Warped Tour for 11 years, but they reach out in other ways.
“[We’re] telling people it’s okay to not be okay and reducing the stigma behind mental illness,” Wilder stated “By traveling to music festivals, churches, schools, you name it, we’ve probably been there, we talk to kids, people struggling [and we tell them] it’s okay to struggle.”
Wilder shared her a bit of her own experiences and talked about why she joined To Write Love on Her Arms.
“I struggled a lot with depression myself, and so [joining] kind of seemed like a thank you. Like saying ‘Thank you for helping me so much.’ It was just giving up my time for all of the times they saved me when I was younger,” Wilder said.
Though Wilder only recently joined the team in October, she enjoys the connections she makes with people as she travels with the organization. “We hear stories from all walks of life, saying ‘You saved my life,’ or ‘I’m 30 days sober because of you all,’” Wilder said. “It’s so rewarding to get to hear about reaping what we sow out here every single day.”
Part of To Write Love on Her Arms mission is to reduce the negativity that surrounds the act of reaching out for help. Wilder has a personal message for all of those who are scared to seek help.
“I didn’t reach out for help for three years, because I thought that people would judge me, and I just want to say that there are people out there who will love you no matter what,” Wilder said. “No matter what is going on inside your head, it’s important. You matter, and we’re here for you.”
To Write Love on Her Arms is ready to embrace you with open arms if you or a loved one is in need of help, . Email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for anything you may need. They answer every email they receive, and they will provide you with the help necessary to fight back against some of the demons that you may be facing.