Lifestyle

Boys Like (Candy) Girls

We sat down with the boys (who like girls, boys, and all other genders) and got to know them better.
photos by Mimi Tiu


We met the boys of Boys Like Girls a day after their first mall show (in ATC). They were super nice and showed no star complex at all! Some Candy editors were lucky enough to watch them live! Mimi mentioned during our interview with them that we loved their cover of Frou Frou's "Let Go," so Martin said they'd include it in their set for the next two shows. Mimi took note of the set list at their last show in Glorietta:

  1. "Hero/Heroine"
  2. "Five Minutes to Midnight"
  3. "Dance Hall Drug"
  4. "Learning to Fall"
  5. "Heels Over Head"
  6. "Broken Man"
  7. "Let Go"
  8. "Thunder"
  9. "The Great Escape"

Candymag.com: What is your song process like?
Martin Johnson, vocals and guitar: It's all kind of different. Usually it's definitely music first. As far as song process goes for writing, it can be anything with us. You know, from songs done on an acoustic guitar and then we arrange it full band. Or we start with a little riff on the guitar, do that, and do the lyrics later. I feel that it's important that music and melody are done first, because if a song can stand alone and make you feel something when it's just a vocal melody, then you know the lyric is not the only thing grabbing the audience.

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Candymag.com: What made you decide to do an acoustic version of "Let Go?"
Martin: We love that song from Garden State. It was a great movie and I started listening to it all the time. No one would ever expect an acoustic version of that song because it was so electronic and it's a female vocal. Me and Paul spent a while arranging it. When I hear that song, it's kind of one of those songs that you wish you wrote yourself because it makes you feel something good.

Candymag.com: Has any other band done a cover of one of your songs?
John Keefe, drums: You can go on YouTube, you can find a lot!

Candymag.com: Do you have a favorite?
Martin: I love going on to YouTube and watching younger bands in talent shows.
Bryan Donahue, bass: There's a piano one that's amazing.
Paul DiGiovanni, lead guitar: My personal favorite one is this kid from Hawaii who did "Hero/Heroine" with a ukelele. It was really cool.

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Candymag.com: What makes Boys Like Girls click?
Martin: The different personalities. Everybody takes inspiration from different things. It took a long time for all of us. We're brothers.

Candymag.com: Were you fond of making mixtapes when you were younger?
John: They were really fun to make. And CDs came out and it was way better! You didn't have to press forward.
Paul: My first car definitely didn't have a CD player so I make a tape and listen to it in the car.
Bryan: Or tape it off the radio.
Paul: Yeah, it was always half volume and really static-y.
Martin: I was first generation of internet hackers. I had a little cable that was run from my Napster and I'd play it and it would go into my little tape recorder.

Candymag.com: Which artists are staples in your mixes?
Martin: 90s stuff like Nirvana, REM.
John: Seal?

Candymag.com: Any guilty pleasure songs or artists that people would be surprised to know?
Martin: I listen to everything from rap to musical theater. I used to do theater when I was in high school.

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About the author
Macy Alcaraz
Former Editor in Chief, candymag.com
When she's not busy online, she's in the kitchen on a mission to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
VIEW OTHER ARTICLES FROM Macy

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Winning Heart

The journey of how I won people’s hearts by having a winning heart

Whatever happens tonight, I am a winner. That was the last line I delivered in front of the roaring crowd. My knees were trembling and my smile was shaking. I wanted to radiate confidence but I knew inside me were whirling storms of uncertainty. I wasn’t sure how to carry on for the rest of the night, it was only the first hour and my soul was already exhausted. I stood in front of an unfamiliar sea of people, I felt uncomfortable as they fixed their glances on me. The stage was bright and flashy as my co-contestants glazed the platform with outstanding physique and beauty. I couldn’t look straight at them because every time I did, a bucketful of insecurity was being poured on me. The whole pageant took about a few hours but it felt like eternity to me. I repeatedly asked myself questions every single time I stood on that platform. My vision was impaired by the blinding spotlights and all I could hear were the deafening roar of the audience combined with the booming music of the event. My head was filled with questions like “why are you here?”, “Will you be okay?” What will others think of you?” “What if you fail?”. Every step was heavier as I continued to overthink.

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For a moment on stage, I felt like I was floating. I was staring blankly at the end of the gymnasium. I was awakened by the loud cheer from the front row, I fixed my glance and saw large letters A-B-Y. it was like a snap to reality, I realized that’s my name. This time I could hear the synchronized cheers of people screaming my name. I smiled, walked away from the spotlight as I whispered to myself “let’s do this”. As the curtains opened, I walked towards the stage I felt lighter and different from the person a while ago. Walking was much easier and my knees weren’t trembling any longer. I stood at the edge of the stage, wandered my glance, and smiled genuinely. Flashing those pearly whites took barrels of longtime stored courage from within me. I marveled at how I could see the rainbow in the lights, the spotlights weren’t blinding anymore.

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My feet started stomping to the music every time I pose and my hips would flawlessly sway to the music. The roar of the audience was overwhelming no more, it was like whispers lost in the beat of the music. I knew as I stood there, all I needed to do was smile and be myself. My name was called accompanied by the thunderous applause and booming cheers of the crowd. I stood there alongside with other contestants. I was holding a bouquet and a trophy. I could feel the heavy crown on top of my head. However, the trophy beside me was much bigger, the lady beside me wore an even flashier crown, it was the crown of the titleholder. That night I landed the first runner-up spot. My head was filled with “what ifs”. What if I did just a little better, what if I exerted more effort and so on.

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As I stepped down on stage, several people rushed to me. They were jumping, screaming and clapping. It was so chaotic that it took me a millennium to recognize them, it was my family. They were hugging me from all directions. When I saw their smiles I knew I did great. I realized that was what I meant when I said “whatever happens tonight I am a winner”. Their presence, genuine smiles, and warm hugs meant more than the trophy and sash that night. For them, I was a star who shined through the darkness of the night. Before leaving the venue, a hand tapped me from behind “Congrats,” she whispered I turned to see her, and to my surprise she was a schoolmate who used to tease me because of my chubby physique.

I smiled as I expressed my gratitude towards her. As I walked away, I realized that I accomplished something legendary that night. I was able to showcase that pageants are not only for thin-looking, tall people. I managed to snatch everyone’s attention with this average height and chubby body. That night started with so much uncertainty and insecurity. As I stared at my reflection, I looked exhausted but I was wearing a different smile. A smile of victory and bravery. A smile that defeated the stereotypes and stigma about people like me. That night ended with a realization that maybe winning isn’t always about winning the crown, it’s about winning people’s hearts and having a winning heart.

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