Candy is the solo moniker of Melbourne's Calum Newton, which started in 2015 as a bedroom project. 2018 has seen Newton turn the project into a live band. His debut album, Under The Weather, is due out on 16 November.
Around The Sound spoke to Candy from his Melbourne bedroom, which is where, it seems, he still does his best work.
Calum Newton, aka Candy, could have ended up as just a footnote in the Amyl and the Sniffers story. Having shared a house with mates who were early members of the Amyls, Newton has a production credit on the Amyls’ first two EPs, 2016’s Giddy Up and 2017's Big Attraction.
Looks like Newton’s been hooked on the bedroom mixing malarkey since that time, because that’s where he stayed after the members of Amyl and the Sniffers moved on to keep doing their own thing.
“It (upcoming album, Under The Weather) was written when I was homeless for about a month, because I was moving houses. I recorded one or two songs in my previous house and then when I got into my new house and I finally got a desk and a chair, so pretty much all the recording was done in my bedroom.”
When I got into my new house and I finally got a desk and a chair, so pretty much all the recording was done in my bedroom
Having always been curious about the moniker, ‘bedroom producer,’ I took a moment to ask Newton whether that’s a real thing or just a metaphor. Turns out it’s a bit of both.
“It (the album) was all recorded and mixed in my bedroom. But, I think it’s moved away from it being a specific bedroom thing. I think a lot of people call themselves a ‘bedroom pop act’, especially now. I think a lot of people go to studios to try to get that sound, because it’s really in vogue — that really worn, homely sounding instrumentation sound. I think it’s a known kind of genre now, which is pretty funny.
Song writers seem to come in two main types: those who like to collaborate and those who like to do it all themselves. Seems Newton’s in the latter category.
“The feeling of this whole thing being created by one person, I really love that. I think that’s why I really enjoy mixing. I mix other bands now, but I only started out because I just wanted to do it. I’m sure there are people out there who know way more than I do, but I like the idea that you can just do it and at the end of the day it’s yours, it’s your sound, it’s your thing.”
Ask Newton about what influences him while he’s alone in his bedroom and the response is more than a little bit surprising, given his musical heritage.
"I was reading up about Brian Wilson the other day and he was a DIY producer. He did all of the instrumentation, he did all of their stuff. All of the Beach Boys’ [music] was kind of him. He produced Pet Sounds, but it’s a very different statement, isn’t it? You wouldn’t call that a bedroom producer, he was in a big studio. But it’s funny how DIY is kind of making a resurgence. Having a laptop makes a huge difference. One minute you can be playing The Sims, an hour later you could be writing a song that could get a million streams, which I find mind boggling.”
One minute you can be playing The Sims, an hour later you could be writing a song that could get a million streams
Candy’s music is described as post punk with elements of krautrock. Learning about his backstory, one can’t help but be reminded of the Melbourne-based songwriter and producer, Mikey Young. Young’s career has traversed the punk/post-punk mayhem of Eddy Current Suppression Ring and the electronic/krautrock inspired Total Control, and he’s also known for his production work. Lotsa parallels there. Plenty to emulate.
It’s early days for Candy, but there’s no reason why he couldn’t become his generation’s Mikey Young, or even hit the million streams mark. There’s a lot of water yet to go under the bridge, but Candy has the pop sensibilities that will see him breaking out of the bedroom and into the mainstream some time very soon.
Candy has the pop sensibilities that will see him breaking out of the bedroom and into the mainstream some time very soon
“I love pop music. I love hooks. Anything I do, I try to put as much of that as I can in there and this album is trying to do just that.”
Have a listen to Candy’s current single,'Validation' and make up your own mind.