Best Ex, formerly known as Candy Hearts, is an American pop rock band from New Jersey and New York, formed in 2009. Back from their hiatus, they released a single in September titled “Bad Love” and debuted a music video for it on December 15th. Girls Behind the Rock Show sat down with lead vocalist Mariel Loveland to talk equality, touring, shooting music videos and the future of Best Ex.
GBTRS: What does representation and equality in the music industry mean to you?
Mariel: I mean, I think it’s the most important stuff. Like my dad sent me this list of the top 50 pop punk albums of the decade and it included three women out of 50. That is gutting to see, because it really makes people think that they can’t do it. It’s so often men who are the ones who are champions, especially in the rock scene. It seems like the worst out of all of them. I feel like rock is the worst.
I totally agree with you on that! Hardcore is probably I think near the top of rock.
Yeah, probably. Metal is pretty really bad too.
How has being a woman in the music industry changed your perspective on the industry?
Honestly, it’s made me kind of hate it. I can’t count on one hand that out of all of the tours I’ve been on, something bad has happened to me because I was a woman. Like – something bad always happens and when it’s someone who’s on a tour with you, it’s like, what are you supposed to do if they’re the opening act? How much can you complain?
I remember even when I was on Warped Tour and the stuff that came out about me later, that was when I was finally like “I’m done. I have to talk about it.” While I was on Warped Tour, my team was making me feel like a major inconvenience; like I should have never said anything to people who were in charge even though I was being threatened. That is really the attitude of everyone. It’s like, “shut up and take what we give you and don’t cause any problems.”
I am so sorry that you had to go through that.
Yeah, it’s awful.
How was the writing process for this new era been like, especially with the release of “Bad Love?”
I wrote these songs over the course of two years because I started right when my last one came out, and I’m really happy with that. I wrote the same way I write everything: playing guitar, taking a shower or a walk or a drive, and coming up with a melody I’ll save for later. When I copy the lyrical idea, I’ll sit down and I’ll try and bring them all together.
A lot of the themes in the next music I’m releasing definitely have to do with my perspective on being a woman in the industry, because it has been just so difficult. It’s one of the reasons why I haven’t been on tour very much or played very much in the last two years, and that’s something that’s affecting me a lot. So, I’ve definitely written about that quite a bit, and also romantic relationships and stuff. So, yeah, I mean the writing process is the same as usual. I always love working with just one producer – I have these ideas and go in and kind of hash out the music together. Andy, who worked with me on this, did an amazing job. I couldn’t imagine a person doing better.
On Twitter, you said that you had snuck into some places in London to film the music video for “Bad Love.” What was that like?
You know, it’s funny because I feel like a lot – actually, 100% of our music videos except for, I think the first one we ever did – we snuck into places we weren’t allowed to film. I remember when we did “I Miss You.” We were in. L.A. shooting our music video and we had no permit whatsoever. We were recording an album at the time and we just were like, “we’ll film and just hope we don’t get kicked out.” We ended up filming in front of the Walk of Fame and all these tourist spots that you’re definitely, definitely, definitely not supposed to film at.
As far as London goes, I mean, the place that we filmed at is some company that makes neon signs. It has this amazing showroom and you’re allowed to take photos and videos on your phone but you’re definitely not allowed to bring in a real camera or shoot extensive things there, so we kind of took our iPhone, and I had the music hidden in an earbud that you can’t see in the footage. I just did it very covertly, not around anyone who was working. That part is [shot] on an iPhone but I think it looks fine. I mean, Selena Gomez just did her [music] video on an iPhone. [laughs]
I watched the video for Bad Love and I don’t think you could tell it was shot on an iPhone, so you did good with shooting.
I’m so stoked, because I feel like it captures the whole feeling of the song. It’s really cold but sparkly when you’re in a relationship that’s bad.
Are there any artists that you have been listening to lately or that you want to give a shout out to?
I have been listening to The Menzingers‘ newest record about a year late, but I’ve been listening to that nonstop and I absolutely love it. The thing with The Menzingers is that all of their albums sound like The Menzingers. You know exactly what you’re gonna get. I feel the same way about The Weakerthans, where it’s like, they created a perfect song, and they just kept creating that perfect song over and over again. I feel like The Menzingers are exactly the same and out of those two bands, I just think that no one can copy lyrics those two bands. They have the best lyrics out of anybody I’ve ever listened to and any band I will ever listen to. I just love them.
What genre are they?
Alternative Punk. I’m really into the opposite of what I’ve been listening to lately.
What are you usually into?
Mostly pop like Taylor Swift, The 1975. I really like Better Living Community Center especially because Conor Oberst has been one my favorite musicians since I was a little kid.
What is next for Best Ex?
Well, we’re releasing an EP, and I definitely have more than one of those up my sleeve, especially because I’ve been working for a long time and haven’t released any of the music that I’ve been working on. We’re working on planning some shows right now, but we’re kind of trying to figure out exactly when that EP is being released; actually, we’re filming a music video, and I’m going to have to wake up at 3:00 in the morning to do it. We’re sneaking into places hoping we don’t get murdered running around New York at 3:00 in the morning, but you know! [laughs]