Interview by Danny Coleman
Shall one look up “Candiria” online, this band based out of Brooklyn, NY owns the searches. Page after page has the band, like their music; coming at you in waves.
“It’s actually a really interesting story, ” says guitarist John LaMacchia as he discussed the bands history, personnel changes, music and upcoming show this Friday January 20 at Championship Bar in Trenton, NJ. “A Candiria is supposedly a type of fish found in the Amazon River and there’s also some veiled reference or relation in the “Evil Dead” movie but honestly, the name was invented before I joined the band so I can’t honestly speak on how exactly. I do know this though, it’s definitely left open to ones interpretation (laughs).”
Formed in 1992 by vocalist Carley Coma, guitarists Chris Puma, Eric Matthews and drummer Kenneth Schalk; only Coma remains as the band’s lone original member. The band has gone through several tragedies and a revolving door of personnel changes, yet continues to pump out adrenaline flowing, jazz and rap infused metal that attracts legions of fans with each passing recording.
LaMacchia joined the band in 1997 after the departure of Puma, whom he credits with being one of the main influences on the band’s material, even now still after Puma’s death in 2009. “Even though Chris had been out of the band for quite some time, he was and still is a huge factor in our music. Losing his friendship was a huge blow to all of us; he crafted the songs. We still play the songs from the albums he was on and we still hold true to their original form, it is our way of paying tribute to him.”
“On September 9, 2002, the band was driving to Cleveland as part of a touring schedule in support of their then current record. An eighteen-wheel tractor trailer drove through the equipment trailer, until it rear-ended the back of the band’s van (where some of the band were sleeping), which then flipped over several times (ejecting Eric, John, Mike, and Ken through the windows, with Carly and the driver remaining through the whole ordeal), coming to a halt 75 foot further down the road on its roof. The accident resulted in all of the members of the band being hospitalized with critical injuries, commencing a long, painful recovery period for the band.”
The above passage is from the band’s Wikipedia page and describes the horrific traffic accident that possibly could have taken their lives. This lead to the departure of one of the members due to the injuries sustained, followed by LaMacchia for “Personal reasons,” two years later. “The crash was really a major aspect of why we disappeared,” he said pensively. “Between the injuries and the time we needed off, we lost the support of our record label which we had just been signed to. It caused a change in direction, in our thinking; it was an important moment in the history of our band. It changed our thought process; people die in car crashes and we all lived. Technically our situation was no different and we just had to heal. That was 15 years ago and honestly, it’s a distant memory. People want to talk about it with every interview that we do and it really is behind us.”
LaMacchia rejoined the band in 2006 and began to take the lead with the songwriting chores and eventually Schalk left the group as well as bassist Michael MacIvor; who later rejoined the unit. This led up to the October 2016 release of their latest disc, “While They Were Sleeping.”
“These 12 tracks,” explains LaMacchia, “These are great recordings. This was the greatest recording experience that I’ve ever had. I mean, for me personally and I’m pretty sure the others feel that way too. We had a goal in our sights and we wanted to accomplish it. We recorded it at Spaceman Studios and our producer was perfect for us and very easy to work with. When you have talented people who have mutual respect for one another and are focused on the product, that’s all you need to make a great record in my opinion and I feel that we did that with this one.”
After the completion of their latest tour; there’s no rest for the group as they are heading back out on the road and are making “Champs” one of their first stops. The quintessential metal club located in the Garden State’s capital is waiting to welcome them with open arms and the band is more than happy to oblige. “Being out on the road this last tour, it was great to meet our fans. We are gonna rock Champs hard and if Jersey brings it the way I know they will; it’s gonna be a lot of energy and a lot of fun.”
Champs is located at 931 Chambers Street in the Chambersburg section of Trenton. Show time is 6 p.m. and tickets for this all ages show are a scant $15. To discover more about Candiria, please go to their Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/candiria.
Danny Coleman (Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 10 p.m. EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.)