A Sit Down With DJ Candyland

Unless you’re a board game fanatic or a small child, the name Candyland conjures up images of two grinning faces who, despite their initial odd-couple vibe, seemed like the perfect pair on the surface. Fun-loving party jams and searing bass tunes on steady flow, Josie Martin and Ethan Davis looked to be headed out on the first stretch of a serious tear of a career powered by a never-ending sugar high of inventive tunes. But all is not gumdrops and licorice whips in Candy Castle, as Josie Martin, the iconic afro-rocking half of the Santa Barbara duo, has decided to split with her longtime friend and production partner Ethan Davis. Confectionary humor aside, Josie Martin is now heading down Candyland’s historically colorful path solo, and she says things are about to get a bit darker as she continues her sonic experiments as Candyland by herself.


“We were both homeless at some point when we were starting up.”


Why the name Candyland?

Ethan wanted something that people could easily chant at shows and Candyland seemed like a good fit. It’s kind of a blessing and a curse now. People don’t take me as seriously, which is fine sometimes because I don’t always take myself super seriously, but I need to be taken seriously in the sense that this is my passion and my career.

What influenced Candyland to start DJing/Producing?

Being told no haha. There is a city in Santa Barbara called Isla Vista, super big college town and a dream for any up and coming DJ so we just wanted to play there, but crazy politics and we didn’t know anyone so we could never get a show, so we were like, lets make our own music and let the music get us shows.

Who gave you your first chance playing out?
Our friends from home who were the only ones who believed in us at the time. There’s this place called IV in Santa Barbara and pretty much every local DJ wants to do something there; you can only have a party or throw a show if you know someone. We didn’t really know anyone and these guys set something up for us and that was our first show.

What was the first gig you ever sold out and how did that make you feel?

Oregon; no show sold out but that one. It was crazy. I guess it kinda feels weird because you don’t think that people really care but to see that many people come out.

So where did the love for dance music come from?

I was introduced to dance music through this one kid in math class. He was the weird one in the back listening to dance music and when I asked him what it was, he told me about Basshunter and all of this experimental dance music. It was the weirdest thing that I had ever heard so I downloaded the song and played it at a party in 2009. This is when everyone was listening to hip hop music and grinding at parties. When I played Basshunter, everyone started jumping up and down. I went home after that night and got on Myspace (I might have been the last person to still have Myspace) and I found Steve Aoki and DJ AM. I started to get really into turntablism, scratching, beat juggling, and all the crazy things that DJ AM was doing.

Tell me about your new single “Bring The Rain”, out now on Spinnin’ Records.

We had the track done for a while and were in the studio with Them Lost Boys finishing it up and Lexi just walked into the studio and we needed a singer so we just got her on it and she nailed it first take.

Name one track and one artist that has shaped you as a producer and DJ.

“In the for Kill”, the Skrillex remix. It was the first dubstep song I had ever heard and I was like “I need to do this.”

You’ve had the chance to tour all over – what’s been your favorite venue/festival to perform at?

Amnesia in Ibiza. Just the whole experience, the people, the energy. It was something else.

As far as industry goes, what do you think will be the next mainstream sound?

Who knows… maybe some pop trap hybrid. Someone comes up with something every summer haha so I guess we just have to wait!

There are a lot of great artists out there. Do you find there is a lot of competition in electronic dance music?

I wouldn’t say there is “competition” in dance music. Obviously there are better producers out there and DJs that you want to be as good as, so we just work hard to be better, and up our standards constantly.

What’d your biggest piece of advice for an aspiring DJ/producer?
Keep making unique things and don’t care what anyone else says about you.

Questions? Comments? We want to know:@djfollower