by: Haley Miller
Editor’s Note: Passing Through is a new feature on artists who have already played in Lubbock, but that we were still able to interview. It’s similar to New Slanged, but just posted after they’ve played.
It was immediately apparent that Seth Candan had his mind in the right place when entering Lubbock, Texas when he greeted me with a giant smile and extended handshake followed by a beer offer. His forward approach and outgoing personality reflected his performance that night on stage. Though I wasn’t able to watch a performance with his entire band, the talent Seth brought to the stage at Blue Light was one that didn’t necessarily need the help of a whole crew to exemplify the feel of his music.
Candan thoroughly cares about the band members he was gracious to find in when he graduated high school in ’06 and then moved to College Station, Texas where he went to school and played at local bars around the area. He recorded an album and tested the waters of country music without a band for a while. Though he is a mastermind in songwriting, guitar, and an extraordinary harmonica player, he realized how important it was to make that connection in order to book gigs and go somewhere with music.
Once Candan and his band formed in 2010, they found relatively quick success after combining their talents, creating enjoyable music, and started making friends in the industry which led them to recording an album with notable producer, Mike McClure. Having someone like McClure, who has mentored and produced artists such as Cross Canadian Ragweed, Stoney LaRue, and Johnny Cooper, is an accomplishment–whether it’s in the industry or personally. Throughout our interview and the whole night, Candan remained vocal about how grateful he is for the people and musicians that have helped him throughout the years, helping guide him to where he is today.
Judging by the triumph Candan holds– if you have talent and the right people see or hear that in you, it’s almost no doubt you’ll receive recognition. He describes the Texas Country Music scene as a big family that are in this just to help each other out and make good music. He name dropped countless industry friends, and the phrase “I just love these guys” was repeated throughout the night, referring to his buddies Eric Middleton of Midnight River Chior and singer-songwriter Brian Keane, who were the other two musicians playing on the 8 Days of Mayhem Tour.
Candan seems to have a full appreciation for everybody in his life and where it is headed right now. He’s an artist who displays enough knowledge, talent, and enjoyment for music. I don’t expect to see him disappear anywhere anytime soon unless he’s secluding himself in the studio recording another album with Smith Entertainment, which is set to be released August 7th.
I spoke with Candan before the show and got an insight of all-things-Seth.
New Slang: So tell me about this 8 Days of Mayhem Tour and what sparked the idea?
Seth Candan: Well it was originally supposed to be me and Cody Cannon from Whiskey Myers–those are my boys I love those guys. They were talking about doing a hold my baby and watch this tour–kinda like hold my beer and watch this. We planned this out for February and it got pushed back to April but Cody had to pull out because Whiskey Myers had events they just couldn’t turn down, so I went to Brian. I’ve been a big fan of his for a while. I wanted to go to eight universities with this Mayhem Tour and cause mayhem. I mean, hello it’s acoustic.
NS: Well of course. Where else are you going to find better mayhem than college towns?
SC: Exactly. You hear it and wonder how it’s going to be mayhem with just acoustic guitars, but it’s been great so far we’ve enjoyed it.
NS: Going back to your band, you moved to College Station from New Braunfels and just found them, right?
SC: I’m originally from Houston. Between Houston and Galveston, In ’06 after high school, I moved to College Station to go to school at Blinn and play in bars around town and from there I found my band in 2010.
NS: Did you find them or did you guys just come together?
SC: I knew Jordan. He was a buddy of ours in College Station and he played guitar so he picked bass up easily, but my friends from home worked with Brandon and he knew Eric and Rob- and Rob plays guitar. Then after that, we got together in the same year. Everyone helped us out and Cross Canadian Ragweed got us together with Mike McClure who produced us for barely nothing. Once we finished recording, we had a few singles out and it was really fast-paced from there.
NS: So did it just all happen that you guys were in that point in your lives where you could drop what was going on and take on a music career? I just know how grueling the hours can be in the studio and what a process that is so it’s convenient you were all able to do it at once.
SC: Like Brian [Keane] said, everyone in the industry is just extremely helpful and we’re able to do those.
NS: Now I was looking at your Twitter…
SC: Oh Hell, what did I say now [laughs]?
NS: Well, I related to you because I myself, am obsessed with weather. I noticed where you Tweeted to storm chasers that you always wanted to be a storm chaser, but it reminded me of “Texas Tornado.”
SC: Okay wait, I called those tornadoes! I knew they were coming. I wanted to be up close with them.
NS: It got me thinking of “Texas Tornado” and Tracy Lawrence, who was big back in the day, and just wondering who your influences included.
SC: Creedence, Little Feet, Grand Funk Railroad, Muddy Waters–but those were from my parents of course. I love Willie [Nelson], Waylon [Jennings], all the way up to modern stuff, even rap. I listen to everything.
NS: Do your inspirations or influences differ when writing strictly for melodies, or strictly for lyrics?
SC: Well I always start with acoustic, and start with melodies first, and once I’m done with that, I always try to write off the back.
NS: If you want to go back to your first album, what do you think the main difference was? This past one in 2010 had such a rising success. Do you think you just rushed the first one or what?
SC: [Laughs] We were just talking about that in the van. [We were] listening to our old CDs on the way up here and it’s a long drive–a lot of not so great songs.
NS: Are there times you listen to the songs and just want to put your palm in your face and kinda think “what was I thinking?!”
(Eric Middleton in the background): ABSOLUTELY!
SC: For sure, but you know, those songs are just what fit for me at the time, age, and place I was at.
NS: How old were you?
SC: 16? 17? …everything just happened really quick after recording the album in 2010.
NS: What was it really that got you to embark heavily on this career; was it the actual scene of College Station?
SC: To be honest, I just wrote songs. I was in college just playing around town in different bars, had a CD out, but I didn’t know where I was going. I know I did want to play music, [but] I just didn’t know what was going to happen. At the time, I still wanted to go to school full time, but when I found out [Mike] McClure was going to cut the record for nearly nothing, I couldn’t turn it down. It was a true gift. I’m so thankful. Ever since then, he’s really taken me in… he’s just phenomenal. Cody Canada and those guys–I grew up listening to Ragweed, but them picking in and after that. Everyone just helps you out. I’m from the Houston area, so when it comes to East Texas, people like Whiskey Myers will help us out and we’re always helping them.
NS: Anything else you want to mention before we close out?
SC: Yes. We’re going to have another 8 Days of Mayhem Tour in the fall!
NS: How are y’all going to manage that with putting another record out around that time?
SC: Well, we travel with our bands on the weekend and during the week try to play as much as we can, so the 8 Days of Mayhem only comes to cities during the weekday, Monday through Thursday. We all head back to home base on the weekend, and leave with our band, come back, and head out on the road during the week again for this tour.
NS: Wow. So y’all are constantly busy staying involved with music as much as you possibly can be–that’s just awesome.