In 2014, Forever Came Calling was a pop-punk force to be reckoned with. After releasing their sophomore album What Matters Most – their highly anticipated follow-up to 2012′s smash debut, Contender – the Pure Noise Records act were slowly but surely making their ascent up the pop-punk hierarchy.
Fast-forward one year later and things suddenly came to a screeching halt as vocalist/guitarist Joe Candelaria was hit with a huge life-changing event.
“Pretty much, life happened,” he says with a sarcastic laugh. “My mom suffered a TBI which is a Traumatic Brain Injury. She had a big accident in November of 2015 so I just kind of went home for a little while to help out with family and try and take care of everything on that end that I could.”
Obviously struggling with the news of his mother’s accident and trying to balance his ongoing band life, Candelaria eventually made the tough decision to put Forever Came Calling on hold for the time being.
“My mom and dad have helped out so much with this band what kind of son would I be to be like, ‘Alright, well got to do this shit. See you later,’” he explains. “I think some people do that, but it’s just not the kind of person I am. It’s not how I was raised, you know?”
So now, two-plus years after his mom’s accident and nearly four years since the release of What Matters Most, Forever Came Calling is ready to get back into the thick of things via their new five-track EP Retro Future which the band is self-releasing March 23rd.
“Right now, I have butterflies,” says Candelaria as he talks about his band’s upcoming release and headlining tour. “I’m definitely nervous about it but we’re all super excited. There’s a new energy. There’s an excitement about things and everyone’s thankful we’re getting to do this and excited for the future.”
To read more about what’s been going on with Forever Came Calling and check out their sensational new single “Wish” which we’re premiering today, be sure to see below. To pre-order the band’s new EP, head here.
So last time I caught up with you guys was 2016 at our SXSW pop-punk showcase with you, State Champs, Neck Deep, Real Friends, Waterparks, and others. What’s been going on since?
Joe Candelaria : [laughs] Pretty much, life happened – for lack of a better term. I had a couple things happen with my family back home. My mom suffered a TBI which is a Traumatic Brain Injury. She had a big accident in November of 2015 so I just kind of went home for a little while to help out with family and try and take care of everything on that end that I could. We had been touring for so long at that point – not so long, but we tour full-time when we’re in the swing of it – so I felt like I needed to be home with my family to try and figure out what the best plan of action was for my mom.
Wow, that’s heavy. I’m so sorry to hear that. Crazy enough, I’ve actually been going through something extremely similar with my family as well. It’s kind of wild this interview brought us together to talk about it.
Yeah! Well, I’m sorry you’re going through it too. It’s a tough hand, you know. Thankfully I have such a good father who really stepped up [when things happened]. But yeah, it’s one of those things where I tell people [about the injury] and it doesn’t really encompass what it means because I don’t think a lot of people really understand what a TBI is or how it affects so many different things. So you just have to have this stock answer [to explain it to people] but it doesn’t really encompass how crazy it kind of gets. Things do get better but it’s also definitely a lifestyle change. It’s one of those things where you hear “accident” and you just think something happened and things [eventually] get better. Things have gotten better but it’s not better the way I think most people think. There are definitely huge improvements but life is vastly different from what it was before.
Yeah, I feel you there man. I know how tough it can be. Best wishes to your mom and your family. Now let’s go ahead and switch gears to something a little more on the positive side?
After a couple years off, Forever Came Calling is back at it. How do you feel getting back on that horse and starting things up again?
I think there was a lot of trepidation going into the studio. It’s one of those things when you’re on the bike and you’re pedaling and you’re moving, you’re just kind of taking hits and you’re going for it, you know? You don’t really feel what happened on that ride - on that adventure - until you stop moving. So we stopped and you know, I think for me especially — there wasn’t really ever a question of like “Oh, what’s the band going to do?” cause the band was still a band’s and it was just…
On pause for a while?
Yeah! I mean, my mom and dad have helped out so much with this band what kind of son would I be to be like, “Alright, well got to do this shit. See you later.” I think some people do that, but it’s just not the kind of person I am. It’s not how I was raised, you know?
I think when we were starting things back up and going into the studio, I especially had a lot of trepidation because you’re jumping back into something and it’s kind of scary. But there were a lot of moments in the studio where it was very serendipitous and just very life-affirming. Like, this is the path I’m supposed to be on right now and this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. So you get moments like that where you’re clear and you’re focused and you’re just like, “Yeah, this is how it’s supposed to be happening.”
How closely did you pay attention to the music scene while you were away dealing with life?
Pretty closely, man. I think once you’re in it, it’s hard to look away. I definitely set my ear to the ground and saw what’s going on. It’s just one of those things when you’re a part of this scene or of this kind of music, you’re always kind of paying attention.
When you were writing your new EP Retro Future, since it’s been four years since you’ve released new music, did any thoughts about where the scene is headed go through your mind?
Probably for worst, not for better. I don’t think I ever really pay attention to what’s going on around us in that regard because when I’m writing songs if the music doesn’t make me feel something or pull something out of me then I don’t see a point to it. So the thing that definitely changed sonically with us is that I think the band was finally a lot more comfortable taking risks. I think the band, in general, got back in touch with what it meant to be an artist. You know, it’s about taking risks and about being excited about what you’re doing. I think with everything that happened with me personally and I think with everything that happened with the band, we were very out of touch with the parts that we love. So I think this was a big regrouping and now we are definitely back in tune with the adventure, with the trying new things, with sonically just owning our own sound. With this EP we especially tried to delve into different layers that might not be apparent on other records.
Speaking of trying new things, your song “Wish” (which we’re premiering today) is definitely something new for you guys. What went into writing that song?
“Wish” I definitely think is probably our biggest departure to date. A lot of Jimmy Eat World. I think that’s where I could always envision the band heading, like that direction. Some of my favorite bands are Jimmy Eat World and Taking Back Sunday and oddly enough one of my all-time favorite records is The Body by Cindy Lauper. It’s acoustic and slowed-down renditions of her classics. And I think that’s kind of where – I wouldn’t say that the band is going to turn into some weird shoegaze thing – but I think those elements have always been a part of our band and we’re just a lot more comfortable in our skin to explore those. That’s kind of what came about. There was just this riff that Tom, our guitar player, wrote and I really liked the harmonics on it and we just went from there. We just full on delved into approaching it from different views.
There was this point where the chorus was going to be the bridge at the end. You know, there’s all kinds of different things. We really just kind of tried to see where that song could go and expanded it in every direction and finally settled on what we thought was the best version of it.
So you guys are getting ready to tour and about to drop Retro Future. What do you envision the rest of 2018 being like?
Right now, we have this tour coming up and then we have a couple things that we can’t talk about in the summer that we’re super excited about. Mainly, it’s just about trying to get a good support spot on a fall tour. Then start writing another LP. It’s time to get back in that arena and you know get back in the studio, start doing demos and figuring out what the next chapter of the band looks like. I think this tour will determine a lot of what comes next.
Do you think you’ll try to approach any labels for a new full-length?
Yeah, so self-releasing was a conscious decision. We had some offers and we weren’t really happy with what we got. That’s not a dig to anyone or anything like that. The offers that came in weren’t that appealing to the band. And you have to remember this was all happening while stuff’s going on at home so the idea of self-releasing got brought up. Once we figured out like okay we’ve got enough songs for an EP it was like, “Yo, that gets me excited about the band. That makes me remember why we got into this.” So it’s been a really cool, really fulfilling experience but it’s also been a really laboring task. So I think with the LP we definitely want to get some help on it because I don’t think we fully understood what we were doing self-releasing [laughs]. We were just like, “Yeah, that’ll be easy. Throw it up on Bandcamp, who gives a fuck?” We tried to handle this release as if a label was doing it so that took a lot — just different shit you don’t want to think about when you’re writing songs like registering ISRC codes and shit like that. It’s like, “Oh man, I hate all those parts of the music industry.”
Gotcha! Well it sounds like exciting stuff is in store for you guys! Is there anything we missed?
Just pre-order our record and come out to a show. We’re super stoked!