Candlebox, Kevin Martin Interview – New Album Was ‘Inspired by the Society We’ve Become’


Candlebox press photo with the band standing in front of a silver background.

Candlebox – Story by Anne Erickson, photo by Jay Westcott

Candlebox vocalist Kevin Martin discusses the band’s new album, “Wolves,” in this featured interview

Candlebox broke out in the early 1990s in Seattle, and decades later, they’re still releasing new music and experimenting with their sound. The band is coming up on the release of its seventh studio album, “Wolves,” out Sept. 17, and the record features an ambitious blend of alternative rock, featuring deep themes about life and society amid catchy guitar hooks and upbeat rhythms.

Candlebox frontman Kevin Martin spoke with Audio Ink Radio/Publications about “Wolves,” the experience of making a record in 2021 verses when Candlebox started out in the 1990s and what it’s like touring amid the ongoing pandemic. Read the full interview below.

Congratulations on your new album with Candlebox, “Wolves.” What does “Wolves” stand for when it comes to the theme of the record?

It was inspired by the society we’ve become. I feel there are a lot of lone wolves out there in the world that feel betrayed or hurt or lost. The interesting thing about wolves is that when they’re in a pack and working together, they’re a beautiful and generous species, but when they’re lost, they become very aggressive and angry and have to be careful. That’s the content behind the title. Over the past 30 years of my life, I’ve seen this world change a lot, but I’ve never seen what were seeing right now. It’s very strange to me.

Did you record “Wolves” during the pandemic or before?

We recorded this in August of 2019, so before. I did vocals in January in 2020, and it was mixed in February and ready to go. So, I’ve been sitting on this record two years now, and it’s crazy to sit on an album that long, but I wasn’t going to release it without having the opportunity to tour on it.

What’s it like touring out there right now? It’s exciting to see shows back, but each day, it seems another band has to cancel or postpone dates due to someone getting sick.

It’s strange. We just did a few shows a couple of weeks ago, and the vibe is odd. You’re playing to two-thirds capacity venues based on regulations in each state. You see some audience members with masks on, and you see some without them. There’s still that negative thing that gets thrown at our tour crew every single day about we should be taking our masks off, “You, don’t need a mask in here.” That sort of stuff. So, it’s odd. It’s unfortunate, too.

We’re being so strict about what we’re doing as a band. We’re not doing any VIP meet-and-greets or in-studio session and not going out anywhere after shows or on days off. We’re just trying to keep as tight a ship as we can to try to avoid it. I know at some point, one of us is going to get sick, because even though we’re all vaccinated, we’re in the heat of it. But, to pull up to a venue with gloves and masks and to play a show knowing the possibly someone in the audience is going to get sick or die from COVID-19 is…why am I doing this? I don’t know! (Laughs).

Candlebox, “All Downhill from Here” (2021)

Tell me the story behind the album’s lead single, “All Downhill from Here.”

It’s an autobiographical track that I wrote with Christopher Thorne of Blind Melon, talking about our life and careers and things we accomplished and losses. I was telling him the story that when I turned 40 and was getting my physical, my doctor said, “It’s all downhill from here, and this is what to expect.” I was taken aback by that from a doctor! I was telling Christopher that, and he laughed and said maybe that’s the name of the song!

What’s it like making an album in 2021 verses when Candlebox started out in the 1990s? It’s obviously grossly different.

It’s a lot different in the sense of the ease of making an album now. We can write songs and send them back and forth on Dropbox and start recording and have a song finished in a day. When we first started, we had to go into a studio and record on two-inch tape do pre-production and have the approval of the label. It’s an entirely different world now. It’s so easy. I guess that’s why we’re seeing so much music. It’s available to everybody.

Find upcoming tour dates for Candlebox and the band’s new album, “Wolves,” on Candlebox’s official website.

Anne Erickson
Latest posts by Anne Erickson (see all)
Posted by Anne Erickson | Alternative, Features, Interviews, Music, Rock