Face Candy

It's a bittersweet couple of days here on PensEyeView as we feature rhyme masters Face Candy - a crew that will exist forever in the eyes of so many fans, but may never be seen by readers just learning about the group today. You see, Face Candy consist of two vocalists: Micheal “Eyedea” Larsen and Kristoff Krane, as well as musicians Casey O’Brien (bass) and JT Bates (drums). Tragically, Eyedea passed away last October. And while Face Candy may cease to perform under the moniker, you can be sure Krane, O'Brien and Bates will continue to use the name as a means of representing who they are - amazing freestyle vocalists focused on pure expression and entertainment.
Luckily for us, Eyedea was a big art of the latest record from Face Candy, a collection titled "Waste Age Teen Land" - you gotta check it out. It's full of the sort of rap/jazz fusion the group has become so well known for. Honestly, Krane's description of their live show may best showcase what to expect from "Waste Age Teen Land": "Expect everything from standard drum and bass with intricate rhyme schemes, to pyschedelic/ambient noise and harmonious-chant singing, to hard-core jamming with screaming. Mike and I would always do our best to challenge one another's perspective and play different characters." Get into it - it's great stuff. The group will still be supporting the album, so keep an eye on the Face Candy calendar. There's a lot more to get into, so keep reading for all the answers to the XXQ's. 

XXQs: Face Candy - Interview by: Kristoff Krane
PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?
Rap/Jazz Fusion. We stick out because of our intention and group mentality, which is striving to be in-the-moment and create something new, cathartic and therapeutic each time we play. Our live performances are very participatory based for ourselves and the audience.
PEV: What kind of music where the members of the band into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?
I can't speak for everyone else in the band, but I do know that no one listened to one specific genre of music by any means. I know that Casey and Jt were both influenced by their fathers, who are sustaining Jazz musicians to date. I also know that Micheal was into heavy metal and grunge rock when he was a youngster. I am by far the least musically cultured component of the group; I was into Boyz 2 Men and Coolio as a lad. I don't recall my first concert.
PEV: Tell us about your time trying to break into it?
Well before Face Candy released the first album we had to play some shows to gather the material for it, so we went on a 3 week tour. On the tour we were still working on tightening up some loose ends (really listening to one another, finding the right space, coming up with theatrical tricks to engage ourselves and the audience). It wasn't until after this tour (which included getting a lot of blunt objects thrown at us and die hard Eyedea fans yelling " Battle me") that Mike and I really discussed the therapeutic aspect of the project and our intention of really making sure that if we were rapping that it was meaningful and on-point (which didn't always happen). And of course, bc Jt and Casey and true Jazz musicians to the bone, they were aligned with the therapeutic aspect the entire time.  
PEV: What can fans expect from a live Face Candy show?
Everything from standard Drum and Bass with intricate rhyme schemes, to pyschedelic/ambient noise and harmonious-chant singing, to hard-core jamming with screaming. Mike and I would always do our best to challenge one another's perspective and play different characters. For example, we may make a rap between a pharmaceutical rep and a someone who has a disease and each play a side that states it's argument (of course with the objective of calling out the big Pharm companies).
PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?
Assessing the audience and their vibe and assimilating to the energy of the others in the band at that exact time.
PEV: Tell us the story behind the name of the band, Face Candy.
We thought it was fitting...nothing more to it than that.
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the members of Face Candy?
None of us we every really close friends until Micheal Larsen hand picked us out of the community and brought us together; he was special like that. 
PEV: Tell us about your latest release, “Waste Age Teenland”. What can fans expect from this?
I'll leave you with a review by Seez Mics of Educated Consumers: "Waste Age Teen Land": entirely improvisational humor, freestyle raps, grooving bass lines, insane drum patterns, funky beat boxing, and stories about being turtles. I like turtles."
PEV: Waste Age marks the final record Eyedea was able to completely finish before his tragic passing in October of 2010. How has this affected the band and the impact of this album on you?
As a band we're not sure if we'll continue playing as "Face Candy", but we do know that we'll continue playing together. It's affected us all on so many levels, it's really hard to express. I think if anything it reminded us all of what it means to be human and what sort of responsibilities we have as artists when it comes to really impacting people and not just hooking them in with some formulated plan full of gimmicks and fake facades (which is a very apparent trait in a lot of todays mainstream and underground artists." I also believe that we will continue to use this band as a means to working with other freestyle vocalists and musicians, who share similar perspectives/approach as us, in hopes of providing an environment conducive to true in-the-moment expression and entertainment.
PEV: With all your traveling is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?
I'd like to play in New Zealand and Australia. I think Face Candy would be accepted as much, if not more, in countries outside of the US, because of the all-embracing nature and experimental sound.
PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?
I am so so grateful for everyone who is and has been part of my life and journey thus far.  My family is overly supportive of my career, as are my friends. I am constantly validated as an artist and person by those around me and even more importantly, I am challenged by those in my life when I am caught drifting off the path I wish to wonder on. Not to mention I have the sweetest and most caring and supportive wife in the world, who is always pushing me, reminding me to slow down, helping me to live a more balanced life and even assisting me with song writing and career choices. I also have a new kick-ass manager and close friend (Brady O'Rourke) who has done wonders for the presence of Kristoff Krane in the world...I am mega grateful for him. He has a beautiful brain and a gigantic heart. 
PEV: What can we find each of you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?
Micheal: You can find him by shutting your eyes when you all alone and hearing a voice in your head that says " You can do it, keep going, you are beautiful, I am here for you, I believe in you"
JT: He doesn't have spare time as far as I'm concerned. You can find him by checking out more than 1 local show a week and I guarantee you that he'll be there playing the drums with other amazing people, who in the audience supporting his friends and community.
Casey: You can find him at the gym staying fit, or in some empty room in a house practicing an instrument, or with his face burried in a book learning something, or at a local show making people laugh.
Me: You can find me working part time at Youthlink (shelter for Homeless Youth), preparing for the release of my new record that will be released next spring called, "Fanfaronade", attempting tantic breathing exercises, or at The Mall of America spending all the money I have on new clothes, trinkets and poisonous food (take it or leave it).
PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration? Why?
I would love to collab with these people: Beck, The Flaming Lips, Why?, Kimya Dawson and Dosh.
PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
Hell yes:  Kimya Dawson, Oliver Hart, Eyedea and Abilities, Micheal Larsen, Carbon Carousel, Daniel Johnston, Buck 65, Freestyle Fellowship, Why?, Mikah Nine, Aceyalone, Neutral Milk Hotel, Elliot Smith, Ceschi Ramos, The Flaming Lips, Beck, Kill The Vultures, Regina Spektor, El P, Sadistik, Bob Dylan, Sector 7G, Guitar Party, Dosh, No Bird Sing, Sage Francis, Andre 3000, Outkast, Face Candy, Abzorbr, Guante, Zach HB, Irenic, Educated Consumers
PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think each of you would be your career?
Casey would be a bouncer at a night club. Jt would be the captain of a cruise ship.  I would be the pastor of one of those cultish Evangelical churches in the suburbs.  Mikey would be the first president of the US to actually bring real change.
PEV: So, what is next for Face Candy?

We're hoping that Rhymesayers will help support the record by allowing us to open up on some of their upcoming Atmosphere tours, but who knows what'll happen. I know that we'll for sure play locally with other like-minded vocalists and musicians.

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