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Makin Waves with Candy Cavity: 'Brought Back to Life'


By Bob Makin

originally published: 02/13/2024

Makin Waves with Candy Cavity:

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Jersey Shore-based Candy Cavity will have released an acoustic remake of its 2021 single, “Secret Lover,” featuring founding singer-songwriter-guitarist Candace Schur, pictured, longtime lead guitarist Steven Markow, and new rhythm section Jenny “Cat” Ketrow on bass and Cathy Berg on drums.  ALL PHOTOS BY JULIANNE MARKOW

Candy Cavity and their front woman Candace Schur are survivors.

They would be a much bigger and better-known band if not for a continually changing lineup that recently solidified with the addition of Black Light Medusa band mates Jenny “Cat” Ketrow on bass and Cathy Berg on drums. They join longtime lead guitarist Steve Markow on what will be a healthy spring and summer of shows, as well as a new single, an acoustic remake of Candy Cavity’s 2021 tune “Secret Lover.”

The single drops on Black Light Medusa’s own label, Moon Cat Party Records, which also recently released the funny BLM song “Boob Sweat,” featuring layers of harmonies sung by Candace and recorded by Julianne Markow, Candy Cavity’s producer-engineer-photographer (and Steve’s wife). Both bands will share bills on April 6 at Mill Hill Basement, Trenton, and May 24 at Crossroads in Garwood in addition to several other upcoming shows each act will play.

I spoke with Candace about all the great stuff she, her band and the Markows have going on. Enjoy the following interview with the February Makin Waves Artist of the Month.



 
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What is the difference between the ’Secret Lover’ you’re releasing on Valentine’s Day and the one from October 2021?

This version of ‘Secret Lover’ is acoustic. We rarely play unplugged with the band, but I do write all my songs on an acoustic guitar before I present them to the full band. This is the first song after Steve joined the band that we collaborated on.

It’s going to be a very different release for us. It’s very pretty, raw and honest. This version also features Candy Cavity’s new band members: Jennifer Ketrow and Cathy Berg.

When we recorded ‘Secret Lover’ back in 2021, it was only our second single release since building a home studio in Julianne and Steve’s old house. With the pandemic, Julianne, Steve and I had much more time on our hands. I’ve always had a hard time with recording and getting my songs to the point where I’m happy to release them. We’ve scrapped a lot of recordings since. But to be sure, we were still learning the old version, which was also recorded by Julianne. Steve played all the music, and I sang and laid down all the harmonies as well. We did this because we were constantly rotating members for a long time.

With the new version, Steve layered his guitar parts with all three of our acoustic guitars: my Guild and Taylor and his Hummingbird. I then laid down my vocal line, and instead of singing my own harmonies, I sent the recording to Cathy and Jenny. I was like, ‘Hey guys, this is what we’ve got. We have six days to finish this and release it by Valentine’s Day. I gave them no direction, and I absolutely loved what they added to it. I knew I would. They are amazingly talented multi-instrumentalists.

Jenny and Cathy got together and laid their tracks on their own.

Jenny also records and has her own indie label, Moon Cat Party Records. Candy Cavity just recently joined the label. The five of us are a great team, and I’m looking forward to many more releases with our new lineup. Moving forward, I want our recording to reflect the sound and energy we play at live shows. Jenny mixed and mastered this song.



 
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Will you be dropping a video for the new version of ‘Secret Lover’?

Yes. Most likely won’t be ready by Feb. 14, but we are working on it.

 

Is ‘Secret Lover’ a real person? If so, who are they?

Oh yes. He is very real, and it turned into a big mess. He was an old band member. I started Candy Cavity with him. This all went down pre=pandemic.

This song comes across as very light-hearted and fun, but the reality is that sex complicates things. I thought I was being up front and honest. How could anything go wrong? I’m different now. I used to be impulsive and reckless. I never meant any harm. Feelings were hurt either way. I can see it a lot clearer now looking back.

Do you still live with your guitarist Steve Markow and photographer-engineer Julianne Markow?

Yes. A few years back, we all decided to sell our places and move into a bigger house together. With all the moving chaos, we put a lot of recordings on the backburner. When I tried to finish them, my heart wasn’t in it. Cathy and Jenny were the missing pieces.

 



 
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Did you grow up with Steve in Jackson?

We both grew up in Jackson and lived here our whole lives. I met Steve not knowing we went to the same school. When I was 13, I started taking lessons at Music Zone. He worked at the desk and taught guitar lessons. I thought he was a full-grown man. He looked 22, but we are only two years apart in age. I took vocal lessons from two different teachers there and then continued guitar lessons with the same teacher until about 26 or 27. We had the same guitar teacher. Steve later worked with him when he opened his own business. I saw Steve once a week for over 13 years barely talking to him. He even taught me a few lessons when my teacher had to reschedule.

 

Did you meet Julianne through him?

The first time we met was at my current boss Mandy’s wedding. I played acoustic guitar with my friend Billy for the ceremony. Julianne and Steve shot the wedding. We sat at the same table for dinner, said hello, but that was that.

In 2018, I decided to give online dating a shot. We matched. I picked her up for our first date at the old house she and Steve lived in. Steve was chillin’ on the couch playing guitar. Then we went out to Asbury Park. After we went back to my condo and talked all night, and I played her almost every song I’ve ever written. I’ve never met anyone as supportive and inspiring as her in my entire life. She’s also extremely smart, caring, talented and beautiful inside and out. We’ve been together ever since.

 

What do you love most about Julianne and Steve and why?

We love each other. Through the good and bad. We create together. We support each other. It all happened very naturally. We share so many interests and have endless plans for the future. I love our home and the way we live.

How and why did Julianne being married to Steven, friends with you, and photographer of the band inspire her to build a home studio?

Julianne loves our music. She hears the songs more than anyone else, and she knows the kind of sound we are going for. She’s been at every show since we’ve met.

 

Does Julianne record anybody else in her home studio?

No, just us. Recording can be very time consuming. I appreciate her taking the time for us. On top of being a busy wedding photographer, she also does a lot of commission work.

Makin Waves with Candy Cavity:

Candy Cavity have gigs coming April 6 at Mill Hill Basement, Trenton; May 18 at Mother Pugs, Staten Island, and May 24 and July 13 at Crossroads, Garwood.

 

Who else is in Candy Cavity now, when and how did they join the band, and what do they bring to the band that wasn’t there before?

You may recognize them from their all-female power-rock trio Black Light Medusa. The timeliness is blurry when we all met. I used to hang at the Brighton Bar a lot. I’m friends with Joy Vay, who used to bartend there. She fronts a few projects, but I think Tight Lipped led me to Black Light Medusa. Kat Scardaville is the drummer of Tight Lipped, Black Light Medusa, and fronts Who Killed Marilyn? and a few more. She has filled in for Candy Cavity shows in the past. Black Light Medusa played our CD release party at the Brighton Bar. We’ve kept in touch ever since.

Over the summer, I was in the position where I needed a bass player and drummer. I put the word out when my bass player moved away and Jenny replied to my story on Instagram. She suggested someone else. I said, ‘Yeah, I guess I could reach out to them, but I was really hoping you would want to do it.’ She said, ‘I was hoping you would ask!’

With Jenny on board, I was feeling good, reached out to my drummer at the time and how great it will be to finally have some backup vocals. He never responded. It was for the best.



 
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Soon after, I got some show offers for Wonder Bar and House of Independents that I did not want to pass up. I think Kat was busy and Jenny told me Cathy also plays drums. We pulled it all together in just a few rehearsals. They brought me back to life.

We have so much fun. We got close really fast. We have so much in common.

I go to see their other bands play out every chance I get. It was like striking gold with those two.

 

When and how will you follow up ‘Secret Lover’?

There is actually another song I wrote about my ‘Secret Lover.’ It’s not as sweet and pretty-sounding. We will record that one eventually, but there’s a few more that need to be released first. We have started booking shows already for the spring.

 

In addition to Candy Cavity, you perform with Black Light Medusa. Did you join that band?

I’m not an actual member of Black Light Medusa. I love what they do, but they don’t need me. They are a power-rock trio, and they kick ass! Recently, they released a new song called ‘Boob Sweat,’ and they asked me to lay down some backup vocals. Julianne and I went nuts adding layers of harmonies and even got our cats in the vocal booth too. I figured Jenny would cut out anything she didn’t need. If I’m at a Black Light Medusa show, they always call me up for that song.

 

When and where will you be performing?

With Candy Cavity, May 18, Mother Pugs, Staten Island, and July 13, Crossroads, Garwood. With Black Light Medusa, March 29, Pino’s, Highland Park, and May 11, Skylands Church, Mansfield. With both, April 6, Mill Hill Basement, Trenton, and May 24, Crossroads.

 

When not busy with music, you are a sought-after hair stylist and beauty consultant. How long have you been doing that and what do you love most about it?

I’m a hair stylist at Salon 202 in Howell. I specialize in cuts and color. I’ve been a stylist for 16 years. I love what I do. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else besides my far-fetched dream of touring the world. I cut everyone’s hair in the band. It’s a perk of being in Candy Cavity.

My favorite part of being a stylist is making people feel good. My clients are always happy to see me, and I look forward to seeing them and catching up with what’s happening in their lives.

If you want an appointment, the salon is open Tuesday through Sunday. Call for an appointment or consultation.

Makin Waves with Candy Cavity:

Candy Cavity front woman Candance Schur also will perform with Black Light Medusa on March 29 at Pino’s, Highland Park; April 6, Mill Hill Basement, Trenton; May 11, Skylands Church, Mansfield, and May 24, Crossroads, Garwood. Candy Cavity will share the bills at Mill Hill and Crossroads.

 

I have compared you to Marilyn Monroe, so I was very happy to see that you have a print of her in your home. How and why has Marilyn inspired and influenced you?



 
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She had beauty that was timeless. She didn’t have to try to be sexy. She just oozed sex appeal in a way that turned heads. Even though she is long gone, she has inspired many musicians I love, such as Deborah Harry and Gwen Stefani.

Bob Makin has produced Makin Waves since 1988. Follow Makin Waves on Facebook and contact Bob at makinwaves64@yahoo.com.


 

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