The Deli Philly's Featured Artist(s) Poll Winner: Camp Candle

By: Alexis V.

May 23, 2016

After originally backing another artist in 2012, Camp Candle, the psych-pop combination of Nu-Ra and Hetepsa, knew that they would "need to make music together! As a duo!" Drawing inspiration from all that surrounds them, with specific nods to Michael Jackson and the music genres of shoegaze, dream pop, post-punk and new wave, the band is steadily finding its voice and sculpting its own sound one single at a time. Hopefully, someday, Nu-Ra's plan to perform in every major venue in Philly will come true, and before that happens, you can get the inside scoop about Camp Candle, our most recent Deli Philly Featured Artist(s) Poll Winner below.


The Deli: How did you start making music? 

Nu-Ra: I started making music in the summer of ’05. My mom bought me a little drum thing and a keyboard. I wanted to be like the next Kanye West, hah. 


Hetepsa: I've been writing really terrible songs since middle school. I began to put guitar chords to them in high school, around ’03/’04, and somehow, they became even more terrible, so I gave up guitar for a while. I kept writing, and eventually picked the guitar back up; it was in college that I finally wrote a song that I thought was any good. Nu Ra and I started making music together for another artist back in 2012, and have been experimenting since then. We finally found where we fit together as Camp Candle within the past 2 years. 


TD: Where did the band name Camp Candle come from? 


Nu-Ra: I’ll start by saying this: We both enjoyed playing music, and one day something clicked. We were like “We need to make music together! As a duo!” I recall sitting in my attic throwing names around and somehow landing on Camp Candle. That stuck for us.


Hetepsa: Camp Candle is a vehicle for us to grow, and the meaning behind the name, like us, is constantly evolving. I don't want to die without making a difference in the world, and I'm realizing that even a small contribution can bring about great change. You can light numerous candles with a single flame, and those lit candles can light others. The capacity to light up the world is infinite. 


TD: What are your biggest musical influences?


Hetepsa: Personally, I take away or leave something from everything I hear; I'm influenced by it all.  


Nu-Ra: My biggest influence musically would probably be Michael Jackson. My mother grew up admiring the Jackson family, and it rubbed off on me. You literally can ask me anything about Michael Jackson, and I already have the answer. Besides MJ, I’ve developed a taste for shoegaze, dream pop, post-punk, and new wave over the years. Those genres just take me to another dimension. Imagine driving long distances while you’re drifting away to the Chameleons, riding the bus playing Head Over Heels by the Cocteau Twins, or drifting into REM state sleep, while Beach House is softly playing. Lovely. :)


TD: What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?


Nu-Ra: I’m currently listening to the new Chairlift record (which Caroline signed, so I’m hyped). For the past year, I’ve been playing a record by this band called Ashrae Fax. They’re a dream-pop band from North Carolina, and they’re amazing. 


Hetepsa: 2016 has blessed me with Niki & the Dove's new album (FINALLY), a new record from Daughter, and of course, Lemonade. They've all been on repeat, but for some reason, I can't stop listening to the Doolittle album from the Pixies. The weather is starting to get really nice, so I know I'll have Bombay Bicycle Club's So Long, See You Tomorrow record on repeat soon. I'm still anxiously waiting on new music from HAIM; they're trying to kill me. 


TD: What’s the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?


Hetepsa: My first concert was Brandy's Never Say Never world tour back in the 90's; I was 8. The first album I bought with my own money was a used copy of Mariah Carey's Daydream


Nu-Ra: My first concert was Live 8. We waited for six hours with 2,000,000 other people for the show to start. I almost passed out because it was so hot. Luckily, we were able to get through the barricade because one of my friends knew a guy working the event (that’s always a plus). The first album that I ever bought (with my own money) was Korn’s Life Is Peachy. That album changed my life, hah.


TD: What do you love about Philly?


Nu-Ra: I love the fact that there is never a dull moment within this city. There is always something going on - good or bad. The diversity within each neighborhood is also one of my favorite characteristics. There are also many good vegan spots here (because we’re both vegan) like the Nile Cafe on Germantown Ave. ;)


Hetepsa: Wawa. 


TD: What do you hate about Philly?


Nu-Ra: I actually don’t hate anything about this city. Hate is such a strong word to describe something, hah. I will say this: I’m not too fond of rush hour traffic, or the rude people in Wal-Mart. 


Hetepsa: Not enough Wawas. 


TD: What are your plans for 2016?


Hetepsa: SHOWS!!! I want to play out more! We played our first Camp Candle show back in April at Kung Fu Necktie, and it was INSANE. I want that feeling again. Also, we're working on finishing a bunch of songs so we can get this music out here to y’all. 


Nu-Ra: My plans are to play every major venue within this city. Get Camp Candle known in the circle of the “tastemakers”. We have something to say. I think we have something special because there isn’t anything like what we’re doing in this city. We both plan to finish this first project, with all the songs we recorded from last year! 


TD: What was your most memorable live show?


Hetepsa: Ahhhh…there are so many. Top 3? HAIM. I was on the front gate screaming because they absolutely killed it, and I got to meet them after the show; they're just awesome. Of Monsters and Men, I've seen them 6 times because I'm obsessed. I can't even really describe the feeling I get when I'm at their shows; it's almost spiritual. They’re my favorite band in the world. Alabama Shakes, man - Brittany Howard is Superwoman. 


Nu-Ra: My most memorable show is when Alaina of Tennis gave Hetepsa and I some of the percussion instruments. We played along with them, and it was awesome! Or…maybe the time I gave Merrill of Tune-Yards my green glasses? That was so dope. There’s a picture on the internet with her wearing them. I don’t know? There are too many memorable shows to name, haha.


TD: What’s your favorite thing to get at the deli?


Nu-Ra: Currently, my favorite is a Kombucha tea and a Vegan hoagie from Palm Tree. I can’t go wrong with those two. :) 


Hetepsa: If we hit up the Palm Tree, I'll grab a vegan chicken cheesesteak hoagie and the purple bag of Doritos.