It’s fast, it’s quick, it’s powerful, it’s in your face

Walls Of Jericho

This month for our main story, we had the pleasure of interviewing Candace from Walls of Jericho, the lovely power-woman that graces our cover! She may be one of the angriest sounding women in the Metal world, but she’s a positive, cheerful person to talk to. That’s amazing in the light of the recent tragedy in her life, the loss of her brother. She’s a woman with a mission and a message.

We talked about Walls Of Jericho’s amazing new album that releases this month, No one Can Save You From Yourself. My first question, to start things with a smile, was a direct reference to the album’s first single: "Relentless".

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us! The obvious first question we have after hearing your exciting new record is: are you Relentless?

Haha, I am! *laughs* yeah. In many ways. In the most important way, I’m part of a mission where we raise money for children with cancer and other life threatening illnesses. For the past three years, I myself and my band have made efforts to raise money for these kids by having merchandise on tour or a donation bucket at the merchandise table. I also participate once or twice a year in a powerlifting event where we raise money for these children. That is what the song Relentless is about.

That’s quite the noble cause.

It’s actually kind of what inspired the record itself. I have been in a standstill with writing lyrics and then I became a part of this organization and I kind of feel that fire again. That started things off. What we did is, we put a Facebook thing out to have people record their voice saying “I am relentless” because there are so many people who are part of this, or have been affected or touched by cancer one way or another, and so we wanted people to be able to have their voice heard. There’s a boy on there, his name is Connor Bent. He is a part of Relentless. He actually is a Relentless kid that we raised money for last year. I got his voice on there saying “I’m Relentless”, only a few days before he passed away.

That’s intense.

Right. So you can hear his voice clear. It’s not amongst everybody, it’s on it’s own. So yeah, it’s a powerful thing to be a part of.

Yeah, and it’s a really powerful intro to the song as well. I really like it.

Thank you very much.

In a 'Metal Hammer' article it was mentioned the song had to do with a family member that passed away?

No, the song actually didn’t have to do with him because we wrote the song before he passed away. We actually wrote that song two years ago and we released it as a lyric video a year ago. That video was actually made by me and my brother together. Compiling all of the photo’s, my brother was actually the one who put it all together for us. Like I said that was two years ago and actually last year February 9th my brother lost his battle to brain cancer.

My condolences.

Thank you. He got diagnosed in November of last year and he only had four months to live, so it’s intense how I became a part of this other mission that then actually affected my life personally as well. It was really great for us to be able to have Larry, my brother, be a part of that music video and be a part of that song in general and to re-release that song, because we re-released that recording of the song on the day that my brother passed, a couple of days ago. So yeah, it’s really cool.

Is this album a lot more personal than the other albums you made?

Honestly, I would say that every album we ever made is personal, because that’s the only way we roll, haha. We’ve never been a band that’s like... we never succumb to the industry quo, that we have to put out a record every year. You know, we make records as we feel them, so all of our records have always been very personal, but this one was a different struggle, because it had been so long since we wrote a record. It was almost like our baby again. It was almost like our first time. You know? Haha.

I actually know how that works, yeah haha.

So yeah it was definitely an intense and memorable way.

I really love the title you came up with as well: No One Can Save You From Yourself. How did you land on that?

We were bouncing around a bunch of things that kind of embodied that idea, you know, just that we are our own worst enemy. It embodies that in so many ways you know? You can think of it on a personal level, on a political level, on a world level. There are so many ways that you can take that statement and it embodies all of it. That’s what we wanted to get across. In every aspect of our life we are the only ones that can make it better.

Definitely, we can all identify with that on some level. So, a new release! What can you tell us about the songs on this album?

Obviously, we write a bit about personal stuff. That has always been our thing, that we write about real-life situations that we have gone through. Like I said, "Relentless" is about the organization we are a part of and "Cutbird" is actually a song for my brother and his passing. And the opening song—we love that song; it’s fast, it’s quick, it’s powerful, it’s in your face and it’s really setting the tone of the entire record with high energy, and it’s pissed. This record is kind of calling things out as we see them, it’s calling the things out in the world that we see, the feelings that we feel… Songs just about the violence in the world. The apathy in the world.

There’s a lot of that at the moment, absolutely.

Right. If we keep looking at everything self-serving and we keep doing things just for our own personal gain and not as a whole, like as a world as a whole, as a group as a whole, even in your family as a whole, and you just go for one of your selfish motives, how destructive that is and how much better it can be if we kind of care about our neighbour.

It’s a great subject matter.

Thank you.

The track "Cutbird" you just mentioned, I spotted a few more punk influences in that song than in your usual work?

Oh yeah, I know there’s like a few songs on the record that are very, I don’t know, they’re very different. That’s the kind of band that we are. We want to create the music that we like, however it may be, without worrying about judgement or that we need to be a certain...

You don’t like labels.

We don’t like labels. We are who we are. You know, which we think is very Hardcore Punk, very Metal. Do whatever the fuck you want to do. We like all these kinds of music, so we play them. So it’s our main goal for the entire record, which is something we learned over the past seven years of not writing a record, is what we like live. We wanted to create a record that we wanted to play every song live. That was our energy, in a song. Because we create, and we feel we create a very powerful energy on stage as the band as a whole, we’ve worked together for seventeen years and we feed off each other. We create this thing on stage that we wanted to be able to put in every single song, because our setlist ended up just being a song from this record, a song from that record, we pick the songs that give us those emotions while we’re on stage. So that’s what this record is about. Let’s have that super high energy, pissed off but positive *laughs*. You know it’s the positive aggression put out there, because we do see things, and we do have that attitude that we are pissed off at what we are singing. We want changing, and we demand certain things but while we are on stage we want it to be fun.

There is a whole lot of energy in this album. It really bursts.

Oh good! *laughs*.

There’s one song on the album that’s really a ballad, the song "Probably Will", the last song on the record. What can you tell us about it?

Ah right. On every record we’ve ever done, we’ve always put a mellow song. Whether it’s just an instrumental that’s the very last song, or… I think the only record is our very very first record that didn’t have something, but every other record has a song. So I wanted to kind of keep with that because I feel like it’s also a part of who we are. We are not a band that’s ever going to play that stuff on stage, but we like and enjoy that kind of music, and since it’s our band we can do whatever the fuck we want *laughs*.

Haha, definitely.

"Probably Will" is a song I heard, I don’t even know, so long ago. It’s a B-side from Concrete Blonde I’ve absolutely loved from the moment that I heard it. Being a woman in a male dominated world, I have heard I don’t know how many times that I will fail, that I am a gimmick, that I will never be as good, or that I had to prove myself, things like that. And that song itself, you know, we always have doubt. Again, we are our own worst enemy. We all have self-destructive moments and we all second-guess ourselves. There is that darkness in us that we cannot avoid. It’s important to me to recognize them, to acknowledge them, and that’s how you move forward. And that song is all of those things. Everyone probably expects me to quit or to fail. No one thought we would be around for seventeen years. I myself didn’t know if I could do this or that, and that can happen in any part of your life. Not just music, you know? It shows us that if you stay strong, if you keep moving forward and you just believe in yourself no matter what people say, you can do whatever you want. You’re the most important person that matters, the opinion that matters is your own opinion about yourself.

I agree. Have you tried any of the new tracks before an audience yet?

No. Well, "Relentless" is the only song we have been playing, and we’ve been playing it since we wrote it, because we thought it was so powerful and it’s for the kids. It’s for the families. It’s for these people that are involved, so we just immediately wanted to get this song out there, and that’s why we did a lyric video—which we have never done before—because we felt it was very important that you could just see what we are saying. But none of the other songs have been performed live, except for yesterday we finally all got together and we practiced and played all the new songs as a band. The first show after our record release is in Detroit, the very next day, so we will be playing quite a few of these songs.

And how does it feel to play these songs as a band after the whole recording process? To have the finished product?

Ow *laughs* it’s definitely ehm… You know, in a perfect world we would all live near each other and we would have all these songs before we actually recorded them, haha, but it didn’t really happen that way. It just is what it is, it had to be that way because of the distance. So, you know, you figure things out. It’s funny as I’m like, okay maybe I can’t sing that entire verse on my own *laughs*

Yeah, there’s the studio and there’s the live situation.

*Laughs* right. So then you kind of have to work the bugs out that way. Like how can we do this. Aaron and Mike are very good with backup vocals, they kind of help with that stuff. Those are the things that you find out when you play live. So, it was fun, it was definitely fun. And then sometimes there’s songs that you think oh this is going to be great live, and then you play it, and you’re like it just doesn’t have the energy that we thought it would. That’s the beauty of just trying it.

One thing I noticed when I was preparing for this interview, you have 5 studio albums and 3 EP’s out now. How come there’s not more of your music on your Spotify?

Good question! I don’t really know. Honestly, I would love to say the answer to that like I know what I’m talking about, but I’m just so bad where it comes to that industry jargon and why things are. We haven’t had a label in over five years. Our label released The American Dream and then that was it. We have not had a label since they went under and then somebody bought them out and then it’s just been in limbo. We were trying to get our own music rights for quite a long time before we went to another label and then kinda realised that wasn’t really happening. It’s just the industry. When you don’t have money backing you, you don’t get things out there.

I get it haha.

So I’d love to say that we aren’t fed what we should like in our world, I’d love to say that, but it’s not really true, you know *laughs*

It made it a bit harder to prepare for the interview. I was like, where’s the rest?

Right, that’s okay. Well I think, what’s really cool is that things are making a comeback. Like vinyl and other things are making a comeback to bring it back the way it was before the industry had their hand in it. I’m not blaming it you know, it is what it is. It is a machine and we are also fortunate that this machine runs because it has gotten music out there worldwide, and not even that long ago, ten years ago, it was very difficult for bands to even go overseas. It has broadened all those horizons and brought us to different worlds and brought different worlds to us, you know? But in the same token, if your label doesn’t hand over money, you may not get in something. It’s political, and I don’t like that game personally, I’m never good at it *laughs*

What music do you listen to yourself when you’re not writing? Do you have favorite bands?

I am all over the place. I like so many different types of music and I’m one of those people that… I kind of dress how I feel that day, I listen to how I feel that day, depending on what is going on in my brain. The other day I was listening to Anthrax - Among The Living. I absolutely love that record, I think it rips. It’s like a staple. I’m also starting to like the White Buffalo *laughs*. Yeah I like him. I think he’s got a great voice and there’s a lot of meaning to what he says. He really writes from the heart, do you know what I’m saying? There are people who just write because they have to and there are people who write because they love it. You can tell the difference. Like I said, it depends. I absolutely love Wisdom In Chains, they are a great Hardcore band that I love. Let me think what else I’m listening to right now. Always Iron Maiden. That’s pretty.

The classics!

Yeah, like the classics. I was listening to Neurosis the other day, By the Grace Of God, you know, I listen to everything. But all that stuff inspires me in different ways. That’s kind of like I’ve always been.

That’s good! What’s the weirdest or most outrageous thing you’ve ever encountered while on tour?

Okay. I have many, many, many I think, but one thing immediately pops into my head. We were in Russia, it was years ago, and we’re playing a show. In the middle of the show—now I’ve had people grab at me, I’ve had people jump on me, I’ve had so many things happen because we are a band that likes to be involved. We like to be with the crowd. I hate barriers, I hate all that. We like the energy, we’ve always been physical. Like I’ll crawl on you, you jump on me type of band—but one day, in Russia, a kid jumped on stage and he motorboated me while we’re on stage.

*Laughs* oh wow.

He just went for it. Probably a teenager, you know, you could tell he was younger.

How do you react to something like that?

Yeah this is the thing, this is why it was so bizarre, because our normal reaction, I probably would have just front-kicked him or like throw punched him like that, just by immediate reaction, because you know, if you’re gonna touch me then I’m gonna touch you *laughs*. That’s kind of like my thing. But all of us, the entire band, were in such awe that this kid just had the balls *laughs* to like attempt this, that we just all broke out laughing. It was just hysteric. I couldn’t even sing, I was laughing so hard. I think, when the song was over we applauded him. Obviously, that would never happen again, that’s a once in a lifetime thing that no other person would ever get away with.

I expected a fun answer here, but this is a great one *laughs*. What album releases will you be looking forward to yourself this year? For instance, I know Hatebreed will be coming out with a new release!

I know, Hatebreed! But a lot of people are. I’ve been reading a lot lately about a lot of different records that are actually coming out around the same time. I’m excited about it, looking forward to the new Hatebreed record. I’ve always been a fan of Hatebreed, so you just wonder what they’re gonna do next, what it’s gonna sound like. I’ve always been a fan of his lyrical content, he says it as he sees it. I’ve seen that band since they started, from when Jamey [Jasta] was walking around Detroit handing out demo tapes of Hatebreed. They don’t live far from us and they played Detroit often, so I’ve always love that band and I definitely look forward to that release. For the rest I’m totally blanking on who’s coming out. The pressure! I know Agnostic Front just came out with one. And I think Wisdom In Chains just came out with one too.

Where will we be able to see you play this year? Do you have any live shows or festivals planned?

Yeah, I think we’re working on Mexico. Like I said we have the Detroit show, we’re going to be over in Europe for a few dates doing Groezrock in April, we’re also going to be doing other festivals, and we will be in Europe June and July. All that stuff will get announced on our Walls of Jericho Facebook page, and we are in the works of organising more this year. I personally would love to do something in the US, do a few overseas, hit Japan, but all that stuff is in the works.

I think I am through my questions! Do you have any last words for our readers?

*laughs* It’s the age old question, there’s never really a good answer. You always feel like uuuuh…

There are fun ones, there are serious ones, some bands give you like a book worth of words of wisdom!

Yeah, it’s usually words of wisdom. I guess, what I’ve personally been dealing with is, life is hard you know, and you just have to find the moments in the day and figure out what makes you happy. That’s kind of what I’ve been focussing on a lot lately. Dream big. Never stop dreaming, feel those dreams. I focus on what I want, what I wanna be in my future, and I feel them like they’re already happening. That’s the happiness. Happiness doesn’t come when you get these things, it comes if you want it to be there. Find your Happiness for the day and get on with it.

Are you a happy person?

I try every day *laughs*. I’m not always happy, because if you’re always happy you can never enjoy your happiness. I enjoy the journey and I enjoy the contrast.

That’s a great way to look at life. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, I’m looking forward to seeing you on the road!

Metal On Loud!

Randy Gerritse