The Collaborative presents “Traumantic,” the newest music video from Troy grunge band Candy Ambulance ahead of their upcoming album of the same name. Filmed by Troy’s Chromoscope Pictures (who are responsible for a few of the band’s previous video releases and no stranger to their more daring creative ideas), the dizzying 4-minute piece captures the band and their friends in a characteristically raucous card game. There are laughs, tackles, hugs, beer is drunk from a wrung out T-shirt, and ultimately the band is left at the table, alone. Check it out for yourself below, along with a short Q&A with the band about their upcoming release:
Troy’s Candy Ambulance on recording with The Replacements’ Tommy Stinson and using their new album to work through trauma: A Q&A with the band by Angie Sheil
This past winter I found myself immersed in the incandescent whirlwind that is Tommy Stinson (The Replacements, Guns N’ Roses), one of the many well known musicians to make their home in Hudson. With the city’s proximity to the Capital Region it wouldn’t be out of the question to suspect that the rock n’ roll icon had ties in the north. Yet, the hearty upstate trio Candy Ambulance would never, in their wildest dreams, imagine that one of those connections would become tethered to them. We recently spoke on recording their full-length studio album with Stinson, and creating a space where trauma can evolve into art. Traumantic hits the airwaves Sept. 13.
Angie Sheil: How did you meet Stinson?
Caitlin Barker: We have a mutual friend who lives in Hudson. He sent our music to Tommy and a couple weeks later I got a phone call.
AS: How did it feel to get that call?
CB: Well at first Tommy said he’d call me after work. But it got to be late, around 11 o’clock…and by this time I was a little drunk so I just figured he was blowing us off. When he called I was super nervous, but Tommy quickly put me at ease. I immediately felt comfortable talking to him.
AS: Where is this album taking your audience?
CB: It’s an analysis. All the songs were written while I was going through therapy, so it touches on mental illness. We’re in a time where it’s acceptable to work on your mental health. We can see the differences with people from a time where that wasn’t ok…like my parents. I’ve been looking at them and seeing how they dealt with things…mistakes they made. That put me in a place where I had to dig in and look at myself.
AS: What trauma is your audience going to be learning about you from this record?
CB: Sexual abuse and an abusive relationship I had later on in adulthood.
AS: You’ve said before there’s a little bit of nervousness around this release because it’s the first time you’re more ‘no holds barred’ with your family in an art form. Tell me about that.
CB:I was stressed out because I was asking myself, ‘Do I want to be mysterious? Do I want to lie?’ But part of my personality that I like, is that I am vulnerable. I like being honest and I want that in my songwriting. This topic is just more scary, but that’s the way it is and I’ve got to embrace it.
AS: With Caitlin coming from a background that deals with so much trauma, how are you all able to maintain a healthy support system that’s conducive to creating art?
Jesse Bolduc: I first just try to be there for her in my personal life. Concerning the band, this album is a really good opportunity for her, and for all of us, to really work through all the trauma that she’s endured throughout her growing life.
Jon Cantiello: It comes down to, when you take the band out of the picture, we’re three people who have been able to maintain really close friendships for so long. Pushing work aside, you have to be there for your friend. It’s a matter of understanding that there might not have been people…who were close enough to her to have those conversations. Being there is easy, although they’re difficult things to imagine and listen to. Now the music has taken a wild turn for the better.
AS: How has the recording process been here in Hudson?
CB: People our age, bands now, we’re not trashing hotel rooms and doing cocaine all week. That era of rock n’ roll is gone. Tommy’s perspective, he’s had this crazy life. He left 10th grade to join The Replacements. His life has been so rock n’ roll. And here we come all polished having practiced at home with a metronome. And this mad man is like ‘fucking play!’ That’s Tommy’s experience and spirit and that’s music to him.
JB: He’s got very good input on getting tones and guitar techniques, all sorts of cool stuff that we wouldn’t have considered before. The sound here is live. It’s roomy, it’s great. And there’s no right way to do anything. Tommy is [from] a different generation, so that brings different things to the table.
JC: This is the first time this process has been this raw. He took all of Caitlin’s pedals away. Got rid of the click. He’d say ‘play loud!’ It’s exposing. It’s not something we’ve been used to in the past. We were getting to know Tommy, getting to know ourselves in this environment. And now, last night we did some great work. We’re getting great takes.
CB: I’ve now wholly embraced every idea Tommy has had, because he’s right. I may be nervous but I’m starting to realize we’re good enough. We belong here. We’re going through a growth spurt.
AS: When did the trajectory of the band become clear with the making of Traumantic?
CB: It’s been a while now. The record is a lot about how I feel as a woman and the way I relate to the world. This record is me fighting my own self-doubt, asking myself, ‘Do people like my band because of me, because I’m a girl? Am I a good player?’ I want to have the attitude of ‘Fuck that’ I have two people who sit with me and teach me—they’ve been playing a lot longer than I have—and help me reach that attitude. This album is an example of two men supporting a woman in becoming something that she wants to be. This album is an example of where our band is going, emotionally.
JB: It is, we are about always keeping an open mind and being supportive.
JC:There’s a tangible shift in society. No matter what you do with your time or your life as a man, it’s about listening to women. Right now.
Angela Sheil is a freelance writer and filmmaker living in Troy. [Editors Note: Sheil is a close personal friend of the band.]