Unlike Vanessa Carlton’s famous expression of love or those two Scottish twins proclaiming they’d march the same distance, “1000 Miles” refers not to a linear journey but to an escape from one. “1000 Miles was a feeling I had, a need of evasion”—explains Maxime, singer and drummer of Candy Robbers. “It was a feeling that I wanted to see more of the world around me…that I was maybe stuck here and wanted to explore, to take a trip.”

As Maxime closes his eyes in the beginning of the video, he embarks on a mental journey. The clear, clean vocals mixed with gentle guitar sounds reveal a successful escape. He leaves the tedious, constraining office life to find himself in a free, imaginative mental space. For just a few minutes, he exists in this quasi-magical world, a world where a clock can turn into a steering wheel, where a desk can turn into a car, and where Axel, the other half of the duo, can justify wearing sunglasses indoors.

But the song “1000 Miles” gives only a small taste of Candy Robbers. The duo accurately describes their music as “melancholic” but also as “colorful” and “eclectic.” Other songs include elements of jazz, soul music, guitar solos the duo credits to Axel’s love of Guitar Heroes. “Sorry” begins and ends with a similar sparseness to “1000 Miles” but includes discordant guitar sounds which give way to a classic rock guitar solo.  “Waiting for the Sun” is upbeat and instrumentally active the whole song, but we journey back and forth between distorted and clean guitar sounds and from slow chords to fast guitar solos. And the duo uses a completely different drum sound and guitar sound in “Oscillations,” an indie pop song that somehow manages to contain elements of R&B.

Trips seem to be a running theme on this EP. And Axel will soon be taking a physical trip, quite longer than one thousand miles, away from our city to work full-time with Maxine on this project in Belgium. It’ll be sad to see him leave, but he assures us he’ll be back. Read on to hear more from the creative minds behind the new duo. And check out Candy Robbers’ new EP, which you can download on iTunes here. But when you listen to it—to echo the words of Axel before he sent me the EP—“please use good speakers.”

 

Nitesh: What’s the story behind the name “Candy Robbers”?

Axel: Max’s dad was hanging out with his friend and his toddler-esque daughter. She had candy in her hand which she was about to eat, and as a joke, Max’s dad took the candy away from her. Pretty cruel, right? Well, she burst out accusing Max’s dad (Bernard) of being a “voleur de bonbons” or in other words, “Candy Robber.” From what we know, the small child got her candy back [laughs]. We rolled with it for a while and it stuck.

Nitesh: You mentioned the music video for 1000 Miles was selected to enter a competition. Which competition was this?

Axel: CLIP that BEAT is a music video festival that recognizes the work of music video producers/directors. So Tristan Galand, the mastermind and director of our video, submitted the 1000 Miles video to CLIP that BEAT. Our video was among the 14 selected to be broadcasted at the festival this past November.

Nitesh: [To Max] When talking about 1000 Miles, you mentioned the feeling of wanting to take escape or take a trip. Have you ever gone on a spontaneous trip like that, or pursued that feeling?

Max: I had the occasion of making some trips outside of my country to just meet people but I think it’s more of a mental trip… a personal evasion. It came from the walls that you put yourself in.

Axel: Yeah Max, I was telling him about “Oscillations” and the trip, your personal trips. [laughs]

Max: I like to write about spiritual things. I like to experiment with escaping reality. And yeah, “Oscillations,”—it’s about different means by which you can escape. Music, drugs, sex, whatever. It’s a mix of all those things. What did Axel say about that song?

Nitesh: He gave a more descriptive image of listening to a vinyl player while high and the feeling being similar to an intimate experience with woman.

Max: Yeah totally. We had this idea of something oscillating in mind and I thought about a vinyl disk turning and also the fact that when you are on drugs, you’re feeling—

Axel: You’re head’s spinning, you’re feeling a little dizzy, you know? For that song, I came up with the chords, and the way I played them—I was using volume swells— created sort of this oscillation effect.

Max: And when I listen to music and I am really into it, especially when I am under the influence, for me, it comes close to a sexual experience. So the whole song’s a metaphor. Basically that was the idea of the tune.

Nitesh: What song on the EP for you is the most meaningful to me, or speaks to you the most?

Axel: I’d say “You Heal Me” is most meaningful to me because it brings me back to when Max and I met up in London in the summer of 2012 after a long break from our project. We spent several days playing and developing new songs together, and we felt that there was a lot of creativity in the air. This was a pivotal moment in our musical journey together because not only was the Candy Robbers project rekindled, but it was then and there that we decided that we would start recording our debut record within the following six months. And the rest, as you know, is history. Max: All the lyrics I wrote, they were really meaningful for me at the moment. Every time I wrote lyrics, I needed to write them. You know what I mean? It was because there was something on my mind, I was stuck, and it helped me to just open the gates, to understand myself, to understand what I needed to do. I wrote “Sorry,” for example, when my grandmother died and it was very meaningful to me because I never had the chance to really say what I wanted to say and somehow it just came on the white page. That being said, people who have listened to the song and who shared with me their interpretation of the lyrics offer very different takes on the song’s meaning. I love the fact that you never own the meaning of a song, that everyone can relate to words but not for the same reasons.

Nitesh: What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever witnessed?

Max: It was probably last year when I was WOOFing in Southern Spain just next to the desert of Almeria. Me and my friends walked to the top of a nearby hill and I saw the whole desert in front of me. I was kind of lost suddenly. Something changed in me at that moment. I still can’t define it. It really took my breath away.

Axel: I like watching the sun rise when I have the opportunity. One sunset I remember well was during my visit to the Florida Keys. I was with my father on a small beach in Marathon, FL and no one else besides us was there. Imagine that you’re observing a canvas: the sky in front of us was divided straight down the middle. The left side of this canvas was marked by dark light and black, threatening clouds, whereas the right side was only partially cloudy and notably brighter. The evolution of colors, bursts of orange and pink light, and shapes as the sun was steadily rising behind these cloud formations, which were also changing, from moment to moment was absolutely jaw-dropping. About half-way through the spectacle, rain started pouring hard on shallow and calm ocean water right in front of us. It was surreal.

Nitesh: Last question. What’s one thing most people would never expect about you?

Max: My face when I am shaved.

Axel: My face when I haven’t shaved.

 

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