Wandering in the Garden of Beasts with Candice Gordon

By Tom Taylor . August 31, 2017

The end is finally in sight for Candice Gordon’s long-awaited debut album, Garden of Beasts.

It’s been a long time coming: next Friday marks the triumphant release of Candice Gordon’s Garden of Beasts . You can see Candice perform it live, in its entirety, on Friday September 8th at Acud Macht Neu.

I’ve been keeping up with Candice for the past few years and have witnessed house shows, gigs inside smoky cargo containers and most recently a concert in front of 2,000 Midnight Oil fans in Huxleys Neue Welt. I sat down with her to hear about the album that has been in the making since she first arrived in the city.

Candice Gordon live in Urban Spree. Photo by Maren Michaelis

A Berliner of five years, Gordon drew upon the city’s chaotic history whilst writing Garden of Beasts. “I was inspired by the dark history of Berlin. It’s unavoidable living here – reminders of the gruesome and horrific potential that we as humans hold is all around you in this city. Despite having suffered so much trauma, people have a remarkable ability to regrow their spirit too. I wanted to understand that.”

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Garden of Beasts’s sound is reminiscent of Anna Calvi and Nick Cave

Candice, originally from Dublin, creates a sound best described as ‘noir pop’. There are hints of Nick Cave‘s elegant instrumentation in the music whilst her voice recalls Patti Smith or early Anna Calvi. There are also elements of post-punk in the minimal yet driving rhythm section whilst her guitar playing references Middle Eastern music and ’90s indie rock. Having previously released the Shane Macgowan-produced EP ‘Before The Sunset Ends’, Garden of Beasts is her first proper full-length.

Recording Garden of Beasts initially began two years ago in the elegant surroundings of a mansion in rural Ireland. “This place was pure magic and we were incredibly honoured to be invited to stay and record”, explains Candice. “So many legends have spent time there – I even slept in the room that was previously occupied by Grace Jones.”.

Alongside Gordon during the sessions were her bandmates A.S. Fanning on bass and Fred Sunesen on drums and percussion, who have both played with her for several years. After the initial 10 days in Ireland, the final touches were added to the album at the legendary Funkhaus in Berlin. “We experimented with several unique instruments, including a one-stringed, bell-adorned Kazakhstani instrument, as well as a variety of synthesisers to craft a rich, sonic landscape.”

Garden of Beasts is a rich sounding album which marks a departure from Gordon’s more gypsy-blues led sound.

Watch the video for the new single ‘I Belong To The Night‘ here:

“I struggled to find the right mixing engineer, which effectively kept the album in the vaults for what seemed like such a long time”, explains Gordon about the gap in time between recording and release. Ingo Krauss was finally selected in the early summer of 2016.

“I found Ingo while browsing Discogs last year. I was so excited to have found him and that he was in Berlin and I finally got a hold of him this year. He’s got such fantastic musical sensibilities and an amazing talent for finding the space in the mix for every instrument”. Krauss is the owner of Candy Bomber Studios, a Berlin studio located in the Tempelhof Airport building. Krauss has an impressive CV, having worked with artists including Berlin’s own Einstürzende Neubauten and Swans. His studio is packed with vintage American and German equipment.

See Garden of Beasts performed in its entirety on release day

Candice Gordon has assembled a big band of musicians to faithfully recreate the album live at Acud Macht Neu. Support comes from Irish singer songwriter Dave Hedderman, and Leo Kaage from the band Jawbones will be DJing at the aftershow party.

The Facebook event is here.

The album is available to buy on Friday 8th September via Gordon’s own Proper Octopus label.


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