INTERVIEW WITH KISSING CANDICE
‘The New Chapter Of HORROR’
By Stephanie Stevens
Impacting the music world with their brand of metal/industrial music; The demented, chaotic, abstract horror visuals from the bands look to the videos and live stage presence they have brought to stages, Long Island, NY’s KISSING CANDICE is one band you are very unlikely to ever forget.
The band is opening the real gates of Hell with new single/video ‘Tapeworm’. With a refined sound and musical growth, you can hear on their newest track, I believe it’s just the tip of the iceberg of what is to come out of the bands 2nd full-length album!
This is the next chapter into the wonderfully psycho, creepy aggressive world of KISSING CANDICE.
I had a chance to chat with Joey Simpson AKA Aunt Donna, the vocalist and founding member of Kissing Candice. Tom Sciro aka DREAMER, the original guitarist and 2nd vocalist of the band and Mike Grippo aka GRIP the original bassist of the band as we talked more about the evolving growth of the Masks, the growth of the music, the 5 year anniversary of the bands 1st full length album “BLIND UNTIL WE BURN” and so much more
Q: I love talking to you guys because not only do I love your music I adore the creative side you have for the visuals. With that being said I want to jump into the new mask’s look. You guys worked with a few different special effects people. Was this the next level of creating the masks or had you worked with others before to make your older ones?
Grip: Dreamer and myself worked with Jeff Koncor on our masks. He also did Suffront’s, the transition masks, and fan masks! Also, thanks for having us again, it’s always a pleasure!
Joey: I had the honour to work with special effects legend Tom Savini and his partner, special effects mastermind Jason Baker. They brought the new Aunt Donna look to an entire new level.
Q: How have the masks evolved since last time?
Grip: They’ve only gotten crazier and more intense. But it’s still an evolution. (Shout out to Jeff Koncor who did my mask. Dreamer’s, and the transition masks!) You can still look at us and know who we are.
Joey: With new music comes new masks, new faces , a new sound, a new message. For Aunt Donna, she’s only gotten more weird, more hungry for the bizarre.
Dreamer: The new masks are an evolution of the character we each have built. We just tried to focus on certain aspects that we wanted to showcase in them.
Q: Do you feel the masks are your inner personality to a tee, and if so, does it change your mindset when they are on and you’re performing?
Grip: We kind of like to think of it as a reflection of our dark side…Those sides are the ones that are in control during the performances.
Joey: Absolutely. When the mask goes on the world shuts down and things that matter take a time out (I like to think of it that way). It’s show time. It’s time to do what Aunt Donna wants, what she desires.
Dreamer: For me, it’s definitely some parts of my personality, but not my day to day. It’s super visceral, so it absolutely contributes to when you have it on and how you act.
Q: ‘TAPEWORM’ your newest single creates that signature sound the band has come to be known for. When you started writing the new songs was there any particular part of songwriting you wanted to redefine or focus and how did that process go?
Grip: We believe that on ‘Safe Word’ we found “our” sound. On this one we wanted to hone in on it and refine it while also expanding it with some out of the box ideas. Zach Jones has been a game changer for our sound.
Joey: The band flew out to a house in Vegas for 3 weeks along with our producer Zach Jones. In that time frame writing was amazing, It was such a creative experience in so many different ways. Things I can’t even describe unless you were in that room. So different than any other studio time we have had. The only thing I will say is, it all came together the way it was supposed to!
Dreamer: The recording process was one of my favourite experiences in being in this band. Totally open minds, some ideas, head time and living in the studio for a month. It was a super creative and fulfilling experience and I was able to just go to all the places I’ve heard in my head, whenever I wanted. We wanted to just make a unique, honest and raw record that we loved. We did just that.
Q: Your 2nd full-length is on the verge of coming out and with the chaos of 2020, you had some extra time to really perfect everything. Did you change anything drastically or swap out any songs for others when you went back and listened to the album?
Grip: We were really happy with how the album came out. This time has given us the opportunity to seek out some guest vocalists to add (a first for us), have Maor Applebaum master the album, and focus on creating more visuals for the release. It was really just slight refinements that make a huge difference. Nothing was cut or added…just made a little bit better.
Dreamer: No, it was pretty much smooth sailing on that front. We messed with mixes and mastering, but like I said before…we made a record that we love.
Q: I know you guys love pushing the limits and love evoking emotion, especially in a visual way. With the ‘TAPEWORM’ video did you guys have to pull back the reigns of the horror/gore aspect at any time because of the fear of being censored?
Grip: There have been times we’ve stepped back and been like “WHOA, this is too much to put anywhere on the internet without having it pulled down”. But that wasn’t the case with ‘Tapeworm’. We knew the song was dark and we needed visuals that represented it. I’m much more worried about our next music video being censored!
Joey: YES!! Some of the original shots I wanted to do would have been censored for sure. It’s very hard to market something over the top gore HAH!
Dreamer: Not at all. We don’t care lol. Just went for it. If we like it, we do it.
Q: How hard was it shooting the video because of all the policies, rules, etc due to Covid and if you shot in NY?
Grip: We shot at The Meat Locker in NJ…and hey…we’ve been wearing masks for years!
Joey: Lucky for us it was a small, closed set with the band crew and some close friends that helped make this video possible.
Dreamer: It’s always a hassle for video stuff in general, we just had a few extra steps. But I genuinely thank everyone that was a part of it to allow it to happen!
Q: 2015 was the last time you put out a full album. In between, there have been EP’s and singles to keep your fans full of your amazing music. What made you feel it was time for another full-length?
Grip: It’s been way too long. We’ve wanted to do this for a long time but have been in between record labels. We finally decided we don’t care, and we will crowdfund it and pull the rest of the money out of our own pockets to see it happen.
Joey: We just knew it. It was time to shed the old masks. Shed the old sound and release the beast.
Dreamer: We had been wanting to do one for a while, but things just kept coming up. We were definitely long overdue.
Q: Along with new masks is the storyline for the new album anything conceptual or does it have a common thread to each of the tracks and does the music incorporate what your masks mean to you?
Grip: There are a lot of different concepts on the album. This is us exploring what we can do with our sound and vision. We just wrote what felt best with Zach and then recorded it.
Joey: I’ve been saying from the beginning of making this album, it’s really not an “album“. It’s more like a horror movie. I can’t explain. But when you hear it front to back you will understand !
Dreamer: The new album is just a mouthpiece of things happening today.
Q: 2020, you are celebrating the 5-year anniversary of your 1st full-length “Blind Until We Burn”, is there anything you are doing to commemorate it?
Grip: Yeah! When the album originally released, the samples had to be cut, the artwork changed, and a song removed. So, we are doing a super limited 5-year anniversary edition strictly pressed to vinyl and cassette!
Q: Have you guys had any plans on releasing a live stream show for your fans and what is your view on these as we all know touring is off limits at the moment?
Grip: We’ve kicked the idea around but with everyone living in a different state at the moment it’s hard to pull off with all the restrictions.
Joey: The live music world is on a hard pause, for how long no one has a real answer. A live stream? Hmmm you’ll have to wait and see.
Dreamer: We are still considering that for something in the future.
Q: In the past have you guys auctioned off your older masks or stage clothing for fans? Any funny stories about that?
Grip: Yep, I have sold off all my old stage gear and masks. It doesn’t mean a whole lot to me to keep it on a shelf in my bedroom, I would rather use the money from that to move the band forward. Also, there are fans out there who cherish it way more than I do, and it means a lot to me they are able to own a piece of something they are so passionate about! Funny stories? I sold 20 of my bloody BUWB era V-Necks to one person in bulk for super cheap haha!
Joey: My buddy Austin has bought every Aunt Donna mask I have ever worn. It’s amazing he now owns more OG masks then I currently own haha. Also, Gavin & Johnny have this amazing place called the KC Kave. Look it up. I can’t even begin to describe it.
Dreamer: Someone owns Grippo’s stockings. Lol.
Q: If you could sum up 2020 in one sentence what would it be?
Grip: Do I really even need to shower?
Joey: “FUCK THIS SHIT” – Super Humman.
Q: What is the biggest misconception people have about the band KISSING CANDICE?
Grip: That because we wear masks, we are like every other band with masks. We are different. Or we do it because we think a gimmick will help sell it. It’s a way of conveying emotion.
Dreamer: We aren’t Slipknot or Mushroomhead.
Q: What is the best way right now fans and music lovers can support your band?
Grip: STREAM ‘TAPEWORM’ ON SPOTIFY ALL DAY! Also, join us on Community where you can directly text with the band and we do a ton of free giveaways. The first 2 texts are automated sign up texts but from then out it’s all us! You can get in on that by just shooting a text to,
or going to
Also! You can pick up the limited edition 5-year anniversary of BUWB here!
Joey: www.kissingcandice.com/ – music , Merch and more!
Dreamer: Buy merch, buy music, anything that links back to us.
Q: Empower another artist and tell us why they inspire you?
Grip: Trent Reznor. I don’t think he needs empowerment because he just got inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. However, his inspiration on me has been enormous since I was a child. He is so progressive with how the industry works and is insanely creative. Definitely my musical idol…also he brought us Marilyn Manson…and then a feud with Marilyn Manson!
Joey: Honestly Post Malone. He started out at the bottom. Everyone gave him shit, talked shit, looked down on him. He never gave up and didn’t let anything stand in his way. Now he is one of the biggest names in music.
Dreamer: Scythe Gang 666, because Zabb is the softest in the game.
CONNECT WITH THE BAND:
‘Tapeworm’ (Official Music Video)
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Stephanie Stevens and East Coast Romper, and has been released to Ever Metal on this basis. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.