Get to know Tal a bit better in our newest Center Stage Q&A:
Can you describe your sound in one ramble-on sentence?
Imagine a unicorn eating fluffy white clouds made out of cotton candy. If that image could be a sound- that's Explosive Ear Candy's sound.
What's your earliest music-related memory growing up?
I remember sitting on a bus on the way to who knows where. Probably a class trip to some educational destination. I was in elementary school. A friend asked if I knew the band Queen and gave me his Walkman so I could check them out. I listened to Bohemian Rhapsody. Those incredible sounds flooded my ears and I was absolutely floored. I don't even remember listening to music before that moment. When I think back, that was probably the moment where I fell head over heels in love with music and the one that ultimately led me to create music.
If you were to cover another band/artist's album, which would you pick and why?
I'd never cover another band/artist's album. Nothing can usually beat the original anyway and it's sad to say, but too often covers are just a way to profit from someone else's creativity. Don't get me wrong- some covers are epic, but so many times they're done for the main purpose of giving fans a sure thing. Something familiar that the artist knows will be received well and help sell the other material. So personally I prefer to follow the words of the wise old man who said: 'you do you' and only record my own songs.
Do you write/compose your own songs? Briefly describe your songwriting process.
No, I have a robot that does it for me. But seriously- yes, I write and compose Explosive Ear Candy's songs. I usually start with a melodic idea that buzzes in my brain. I grab my trusted guitar and explore where that buzz leads. Lyrics usually start to form around that initial idea and then I continue to work on the melody and lyrics so they would complement each other, building the song piece by piece, until I feel all the pieces fit together perfectly. A song usually takes a few days to complete, but there are songs that proved more stubborn and took months until they felt just right. I should have just used the songwriting robot and spared myself the effort.
What was the highlight for you in 2017? Either personally or for your music career?
There were dozens of licenses for Explosive Ear Candy's songs that were used in different projects throughout 2017. Most notable was a license by the Korean branch of the magazine Elle. That was really cool though they didn't send me any fashion swag which was somewhat disappointing. Another highlight was a promotional video for an Italian website. In the video 18 Italian moms are dancing with their babies in a street mob to the sound of Explosive Ear Candy's song 'New Life' from the SUGARUSH EP. That song was also used recently to promote an Augmented Reality app so that was definitely a major highlight too.
What have you been working on recently? Can you give us a hint for whats to come in 2018?
A batch of new songs was recorded in September 2017. 'Christmas All The Time' was the first release from that batch- a fun little holiday treat. Other new songs will be released during 2018 in a new EP currently titled 'Chronicles of a Blue Heart'. The amount of unrecorded songs that are waiting for their day in the sun could probably fill 10 albums. The plan is to record more songs in late 2018 and hopefully release a full length album in 2019.
What do you like more: Performing live or recording in the studio?
Definitely recording in the studio. I'm not a kind of person who loves being in the spotlight. I'm more inclined to be the guy behind the stage who operates the spotlight.
What are some artists/bands that you're into at the moment? Or any particular song you find yourself listening to over and over?
One singer-songwriter that I've been into for a long time is Chris Merritt. He writes complex out of the box music and has blown my mind to smithereens many many times. He lyrics are extremely personal but at the same time also deal a lot with science, evolution, religion and everything in between. That might sound boring but he's witty as hell and the music is always interesting to my ears. Some of his songs are melancholy and deep while others are pure fun. If I had to recommend just one song as an introduction to his music it's without a doubt 'Sarah and the Fabric of Reality'. That's the first song I heard by him and it made me a fan so hopefully it'll make more people take interest in his music. Look it up on YouTube.
Any embarrassing on stage moments you'd like to share? C’mon, don’t be shy.
Thanks for helping me relive the horror. I was once "forced" by the lead singer of a band I was in to sing backup vocals while playing the acoustic guitar. I tried to object but the song required it so I went along with it reluctantly. The sound at that show was awful to begin with. My guitar was out of tune. I'm not a good singer. I'm not great at doing two things at once. And to top it all off- a string snapped in the middle of the song. Let's just say the people who attended that show are probably suffering from PTSD to this day. If there's a hell- the performance from that night is surely its soundtrack playing in a loop.
What's one thing people should know about you?
Explosive Ear Candy's music is almost always fun, catchy and (here comes the dreaded word I hate most) commercial. I love writing this type of music, but I also write more artistic and introspective music and have released it under a different project called 'The Quiet Revolution'. In case anyone wants to check it out (after checking out Explosive Ear Candy of course!)- go to your nearest YouTube and look for the music video of a song called 'Parallel Me' as an introduction. The Quiet Revolution released one album titled 'The Unheard' and I hope to release more songs in that vein in the future. For now I'm focusing on Explosive Ear Candy but The Quiet Revolution is always in the back of my mind and I've accumulated a lot of material for that purpose. Someday... Someday...
What do you enjoy doing outside of music? Does your hobby rejuvenate your creativity?
I've been into words ever since I learned my ABZs (my version of the ABCs). I love twisting them around and discovering new and interesting ways to shape and mold them so they can express a feeling or capture a moment. This passion has led me to creative outlets such as writing short stories, screenwriting, copywriting and domaining. The latter two occupy me quite a lot in recent years and they serve both as a hobby and a source of income that helps finance my musical escapades. Trying to find names or slogans for companies and constantly analyzing existing brands/domains on a linguistic level has definitely been helpful in being able to craft better lyrics that have a natural flow and "sit" well on melodies. At least I hope that's the case.
What do you like the most about Radio Airplay?
Radio Airplay allows artists to target listeners based on well known artists they're already listening to. That's a great way to find fans who actually dig what you're doing. Also, consider this: I'm not a paying member but was still able to submit 'Christmas All The Time' to the holiday contest (for free!) and get this feature as a result. Though Radio Airplay naturally isn't a non profit organization, I think that demonstrates that they're in it for the right reasons- advancing music and helping indie artists get heard.