Candyland—a.k.a. Josie Martin and Ethan Davis—might look like an unlikely pair, but the two musicians have found harmony and a niche in the world of bass music. Spinnin and OWSLA Records have signed their tracks. They’ve won remix contests for tracks by Skrillex and Bingo Players, and they run their own label, Sweet Shop Records. And now they’ve nabbed a residency at Marquee, spinning next on February 24. Martin tells us what she really thinks of a certain children’s board game and of female DJs who don’t put the music first.
Do you two have distinct roles in the booth?
Pretty much, Ethan is more of a hype guy; I do most of the DJing, and Ethan is on the mic and hopping around and stuff. When we do live shows, Ethan drums.
How about in the studio?
Ethan is the engineer, so he does more of the hands-on stuff and I do more of the critiquing. In general, I’m more of the DJ, and he’s more of the producer.
What were your individual music backgrounds before teaming up?
We both play drums, guitar and piano. We were in a band before, a ska band. I got into DJing and my first gig was his birthday, and that’s where we met and just started playing for fun. A hobby turned into a profession.
It sounds like Knife Party might have been a big influence on your music?
Yeah, Knife Party, Skrillex—all the heavier-sounding producers influence us.
There seems to be a humorous aspect to Candyland, too, from your comical press shots to track titles such as “It’s a Shark.” Is that intentional?
Yeah, we’re always being weird—we’re a pretty weird group. What brought Ethan and I together in the first place is, we’re always being weird together. Whenever we try to do something serious, it always ends up kinda ridiculous. It’s not something we try to do, it just happens that way.
How does that translate into a more enjoyable experience for the crowd during your live shows?
We just have fun. When we’re together playing up there, we have a good time. We’ve been closing our sets with “Shout” [by the Isley Brothers]. It’s really weird, but it’s become a tradition of ours. When I was growing up, I always went to rock shows where people gave a crazy performance. I couldn’t just be pushing buttons—it wouldn’t be enough for me, and I won’t give that to someone else.
What separates your tracks from a lot of other electronic music out right now?
It’s really melodic in a way that’s not like most bass music. Usually, you listen to a dubstep song and it has that little melodic breakdown, just super-intense after the drop … everything is very similar these days. We’re the perfect mix of melodic and bass music.
Since DJing is such a male-driven industry, have you run into any particular challenges?
Honestly, no. But a female DJ who’s going to dress up like Paris Hilton is a fucking joke. And to try to prove themselves as a DJ? That’s only hurting female DJs. Have you heard of the Jane Doze? They’re female DJs who are killing it. People respect female DJs who just get up there and do the damn thing and don’t dress up like a fucking princess. Don’t make it look like an act. Do it because you love it.
What were your favorite characters in the Candyland board game?
I hate that board game so much. It’s the worst. It’s just luck, that’s all it is. It’s so frustrating. Nobody should ever play Candyland. It’s a terrible game.
What should they play instead?
They should play Clue. You’re working toward something. In Candyland you’re just flipping that damn card, and who knows where you’re going to go. In Clue, you have to be a little bit smart to win.
Originally published in Vegas Seven.