Monday, June 6, 2011


Being honourably mentioned in the same sentence with "electro-rap," "pop," "Gwen Stefani," "Robyn," and "Outkast," Tasha Schumann and Icon The Anomali a.k.a. Candy Coated Killahz prove that candy isn't always so simple and sweet. In fact, ever since the band's 2007 birth, some of their ear candy has tasted quite bitter and sticky. Not that their music is bitter or sticky, but the subject matter can be: Candy Coated Killahz' debut hit "Playboy," a tale about the modern day Casanova, made a splash with not only their album It Factor and label HotSteam Records, but with Tyler Perry's blockbuster film I Can Do Bad All By Myself and many North American television series. Their latest track "Neon Black" - a song that allegedly "explores the darker, glitchier, and most epic regions of pop music" - has been nominated for the MuchMusic Video Awards' "Post Production of the Year," running against music videos from other Canadian icons like K'Naan, Danny Fernandes, and Belly. Here, Tasha answers some of my most random and exciting questions.

V.B. So, how did you come up with the name ("Candy Coated Killahz")? Would you say you seem sweet at first but once someone tries to bite into you and get a real taste, you can be quite bitter?

T.S. The name was a lyric from the first song we ever wrote together. In the track, we were using the phrase to describe ourselves. We didn’t even know each other very well yet, but it seemed like we were so similar, and that phrase really summed us up as people and artists. We’re misfits - fun-loving but dark at the same time, just like our music.

V.B. What's your fave candy?

T.S. (Laughs). Is it weird that we don’t even really eat candy? Icon eats cookies like they’re going outta style, but that’s about it.

V.B. Being a guy/girl duo, what gender issues come out to play? Is it hard staying friends with the opposite sex? Do you guys give each other love advice?

T.S. I don’t think we even really see each other as the opposite sex anymore. By large, we’re not interested in typical gender roles anyways. I mean, we have a female executive producer who holds her own in a room full of guys, and we feel comfortable talking or writing about basically any subject together. Along with our DJ and writing partner Danthrax, we all just like to work on music and hang out. When we get together and really lose ourselves in what we love doing, gender plays no role.

V.B. You've worked with a ton of mainstream artists, including Pitbull and TPain. Who has inspired you the most in real life, and why?

T.S. Anyone who does something well and strives for perfection is inspiring, and everyone we’ve performed with or worked with excels at something different. But I think we haven't met the people who inspire us most as artists yet. That short list would definitely include Michael Jackson, Christopher Nolan, Cee-Lo Green, and Outkast.

V.B. Apparently, at one of your warehouse shows, the police became involved and escorted out fans due to noise complaints. Please paint us a picture of your typical and/or most untamed performance(s).

T.S. Our live shows are sweaty, and there’s lots of dancing (laughs). They’re like big parties where everyone gets involved. It’s not about us so much as it’s about people coming together and just having fun. At one show, we were performing a cover of “I Like To Move It” and thought it would be a good idea to invite a few people on stage to dance with us. (Laughs). That totally backfired. Basically, the ENTIRE crowd tried to get on stage with us - to the point where we couldn’t even see each other anymore! The DJ gear was getting bumped, and people were going nuts. It became so awesome that we just went with it, and as soon as the song was over, it took us a good 5 mins to get everyone off the stage!

V.B. Every artist or band has a unique characteristic that separates them from the competition, a characteristic that is often deemed abnormal or inappropriate. What would you say made you rebellious in your music and/or non-music life?

T.S. For us, I think it’s a juxtaposition of opposites. We are kind of dark, morbid people. But, we also love party music at the same time and live on that line between the two worlds, whether they'd be in music, fashion, movies, or everyday life. As soon as people think they have us figured out, we flip the script and never get comfy in any one genre, style, or place. We’re cultural nomads.

V.B. Tasha, considering the rarity of female producers in this industry, do you ever feel subjected to some bias or prejudice with your professional colleagues or clients?

T.S. I think people don’t believe that I’m actually the the Wizard of Oz, they wanna know whose really behind the curtain tweaking the nobs. But I think when people meet me, they realize pretty quickly that I’m always wearing the pants (laughs). And at that point, what I do in the studio is compelling enough, so people don’t care if I’m a girl, guy, or whatever. They just want to work together.

V.B. You guys have an iPhone game set to be released this year. Please tell me more about this.

T.S. We wanted a game that our fans would actually have fun playing and would be cool even to people who’d never heard of us before. So we came up with a concept that’s pretty universal, but also showcases our music and the cities we love. It’s a huge undertaking for us, because we’re 100% involved in everything. For the iPhone game, Icon is the lead visual artist working with the programmers to make sure the game is what we want it to be.

V.B. Your first single was titled "Playboy." Who do you believe is the best Playboy, and why?

T.S. Playboys are pretty douchey (laughs)! Hugh Hefner’s probably the best at it, but I don’t think any of us would aspire to be like that. The irony is that Icon is so NOT a Playboy, but it’s fun for us to experiment with different personalities when we’re writing songs, just to get out of our own head space and jump into someone else’s life for a bit.

V.B. Any last words? What's next?

T.S. There’s so much on the way! We’re filming the video for our next single “Light Up This City” in a few days, making our Red Carpet debut at the 2011 MuchMusic Video Awards (MMVAs – watch us live in the US on Fuse TV and in Canada on MuchMusic!). Our album comes out on July 5; we’re also working on a mixtape we’d like to put out online by the end of the summer. So we’ve kind of hit the ground running this year - and have no plans of slowing down!

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