Kandia – A Fresh Start

Sunday, 30th January 2022

Having a past that dates back to 2007, the husband and wife combination of Nya Cruz and André Da Cruz of Kandia have provided a unique musical landscape that merged together grooves with more ethereal and modern metal.  Quaternary is their latest album, following some tough points for the band, but it is also poised to introduce them to a larger audience due to partnering with Frontiers Music for its release.  We chatted with Nya about the band’s sound and evolution, their goals, collaborating with Jorgen Munkeby, and some other details about the new album.

Dead Rhetoric: Quaternary is your third album.  Was there anything special to you about the recording of it?

Nya Cruz: Definitely.  When we started writing the album, it was the middle of the pandemic.  I already had some idea of what I wanted it to be, but with the pandemic, it became important to write about these things like depression, anxiety, the climate, and the changing of relationships between people, and between people and the environment.  That’s basically the concept the album, and one of the reasons why the album is called Quaternary.  It’s about humans, how they relate to each other and how our position on Earth damages and influences the evolution of the planet.

Dead Rhetoric: How do you describe the sound of Kandia – it doesn’t just fit into one nice category?

Cruz: Yeah [laughs].  That’s actually the hardest question that people give me.  It’s really hard for us to, because we are different in each album.  I usually say that we are modern rock/metal, because I can’t fit us into a general category like “metal” or “heavy metal.”

Dead Rhetoric: What do you feel is important about the balance of heavy and melody in the music?

Cruz: The groove is very important, because when we write the music we are thinking about playing it live.  We try to include a very groovy part in the middle of the song, because we only have one guitar player and we don’t use guitar solos much.  So we use breakdowns so that people can jump and headbang and really get into it.  But we have to balance that with the melodic part, because that’s also an important part of the band.  We also have electronics and those things – piano is very important.  We always try to get the heavy and melodic and fuse it.  We can have different moments live – we think about that a lot when we write music.

Dead Rhetoric: Could you discuss the collaboration with Jorgen Munkeby (Shining) on “Murderers?”

Cruz: We have always wanted to have a saxophone solo in the band.  It never happened but we have that part in the middle of “Murderers” and we didn’t want to put a guitar solo in.  We thought it would be great if we could get Jorgen to do a solo, so we talked to him.  He was super humble and wanted to do it from the start.  It was totally great – he really understood the idea of the song.  that was it – we talked to him and he was like, “Yeah, let’s do it!”

Dead Rhetoric: The band has been around for over 14 years at this point.  What are you most proud of accomplishing with Kandia?

Cruz: There’s a very special moment that we will always remember – we played two concerts with Within Temptation.  They were so great and so humble and they talked/shared experiences with us.  We also won a 2013 worldwide contest online too.

Dead Rhetoric: With that period of time, what can you say about how the band’s sound has changed in that span?

Cruz: It’s changed a lot, but we have always kept the identity.  My vocals are the same [laughs].  So the identity is there, but we have changed.  I had a tumor on my thyroid that caused me to have surgery and we had to stop playing for while and I needed to recover.  We also stopped when I became a mom.  It was not a very easy pregnancy and birht, and I had depression, so we also stopped there for a bit.  The band was influenced by experiences and life as we have gone on as a band, that’s also a reason why we have changed over time.  We have gotten more mature.

Dead Rhetoric: What has been a challenge in getting the band a wider audience over the years?

Cruz: I would say the country we live in.  It’s hard to export music from Portugal to the world.  So I guess that’s our biggest challenge [laughs].  It’s hard to go and play abroad.  We have tried, and it’s very expensive.  So the geography isn’t helping.  We also stopped for a while, and now in the digital era you can get lost in this ocean of bands.  We are starting from zero, so the challenge is that we aren’t coming from a good area, and the digital era isn’t helping us either.

Dead Rhetoric: To that point, what do you feel that Kandia has that is unique that you can offer?

Cruz: I think it’s the fusion of styles and maybe the vocal approach.  Though I was thinking about Lzzy Hale, as she has a raspy voice like me.  But the fusion of genres – having the melodic and the heavy, and the electronics and a large spectrum of things in our songs.

Dead Rhetoric: Being now signed with Frontiers, is that a step in the right direction, as far as engagement?

Cruz: Definitely, and we can already see it with engagement on our videos.  We had a lot more views than when we were doing it independently.  It’s not going to be easy because you get bombarded with things online, but we can now reach more people.

Dead Rhetoric: The band is you and your husband.  What makes that a unique dynamic with the two of  you?

Cruz: We were best friends before we married, and we had a project before Kandia that we left because we had the same way of doing things and a similar mindset.  We work very well together, not just in music because we also have a company together.  It’s something I can’t really explain – we just do.  We are different in some ways, so we get that balance.  He is a big perfectionist, not that I am not, but he takes it to extremes [laughs].  I try to balance it.  We create that balance because we are different too.

Dead Rhetoric: What would you like to see in the future of metal?

Cruz: I would wish we would have a period similar to when nu metal showed up.  In the ’90s metal was huge, and then grunge came in and it dissipated.  Then nu metal came and all of these kids got into metal and nu metal took them down roads to listen to older bands.  My hope is for something like that now.  We need the kids to listen to rock and metal and the older bands.

Dead Rhetoric: What goals do you have for Kandia be?

Cruz: To play live [laughs].  First and foremost, that COVID goes away fast, as that is what is keeping us from doing the normal thing.  We like playing live more than the writing, and the studio can be kind of boring for me.  I know that the record will succeed, but it won’t be an explosion because we are starting over at zero after being away for a bit.  But I hope that we can get out there and play, and then in a few years we will have a new record and hopefully it can take us to the next level.  Playing live is what I and the band really wish for and want to do.

Dead Rhetoric: For now, what are your immediate plans for 2022?

Cruz: We have a couple of gigs.  We have the release for the record, and then a few festivals here in Portugal but nothing is settled.  That’s basically it.  We are trying to up a few shows outside of Portugal but it’s a bit difficult due to traveling between countries.  We are seeing how things evolve with COVID.

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