Treefort Fest 2018
March 21-25 in Boise, Idaho
Q&A with with Emilee Gomske of Teenage Candy
By Gary Horn
Teenage Candy is an alternative rock band from Boise that makes music for every emotional, teen-punk, Twitter-pated loser out there. Their songs are filled with angst, classic rock power chords, and shoegaze-like vocals, which somehow turns out to sound like a cross between Angel Olsen and Beach House…. which puts them square in the middle of NadaMucho.com’s wheelhouse.
I chatted with one-half of Teenage Candy, Emilee Gomske, this week during Treefort Fest.
NadaMucho.com: How did Teenage Candy come about?
EG: It was kind of a long journey. I wrote these songs over a long period of time. I was working on my own projects when I met Nick [Archibald] at college here in Boise. He’s older than me so I didn’t approach him for a while, but when I finally proposed making a band, he was interested enough to start working together. Even then, it took almost a year to decide on a project and then three more months to put it in to action.
NM: What bands did you listen to growing up? What bands do you listen to now?
EG: My dad worked at a radio station that played 60s and 70s rock. I’d go in to the station with him and listen to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the like. Everything from that era is burned into me. I never listened to anything current until I was a teenager.
Now I listen to lot of other things. Currently I’m into R&B, hip hop and jazz. Two years ago I was listening to a lot of punk rock and wanted to be in an all-girl punk rock band. If we had more time I could lay out all of the bands I’ve been listening to but that’d be a long list. (Laughter)
NM: The music and lyrics are laden with emotion. Where do you go for inspiration?
EG: Oh, man. I’m very connected with music at an emotional level and hold lyrics close to my heart. I tend to dive deeply into musicians and what they’re saying. For example, I was attached to Billy Joel for a long time. He just has such great lyrics. Clever and smart. I studied him into my teen years, until I became an adult and wanted to listen to as much different music as possible. I started drifting through record stores and thrift stores to buy cassettes of anything that looked interesting. All genres. I pulled a lot from rock, alt rock, classic rock, jazz and others. I also look to poetry and there’s a lot to learn from rap music, too. But spoken word is where it comes from. When I write, it comes from poetry and then I put music to it. I write what I know and I try to say every word the exact way it happened. I don’t try to make any metaphors or try to make it rhyme. It comes easily and naturally when I do it a lot.
NM: How would you describe the perfect Teenage Candy fan?
EG: I haven’t given that much thought. I love all of my listeners and people who are interested in our music and really engaged. I love it when someone comes up to me after a show and says “I love that one part when you said ‘xyz’…” in my lyrics. I don’t have ‘dancy’ music so I feel like people connect more with the storytelling. I’m not sure what to say as far as what characteristics they’d have, but it’s mostly young people and in their teen years who are going through heartbreak and the teen experience.
NM: What should your audiences expect of your live shows?
EG: They can expect a whole lot of fun. We put it all out there and leave it all out there. We don’t get together very often because my drummer, Nick, is in five bands at Treefort this year and then he’s going on tour right after that. We’ve only played probably six times in the past year so when we play, we like to really give it to the audience. Let them feel what we’re feeling.
Emilee Gomske: Lyrics; Vocals; Guitar
Nick Archibald: Producer; Drums; Guitar; Bass; Piano