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Meet the Band: Candy Bars

Published October 19, 2006

Members: Daniel Martinez, vocals, guitars and keyboards; Melissa Castellano, cello; and Ryan Hastings, drums.

Formed: 2003 in Tampa by Martinez after he moved from Dade County.

Surprises inside: Music teacher Castellano, religious scholar Hastings and philosophy grad Martinez specialize in melodic, slow- to mid-tempo tunes with acoustic and electronic layers. Martinez's raspy, demented-child vocals stir it up. His lyrics verge on poetic.

CD: On Cutting Ti-gers in Half and Understanding Narravation on New Granada Records.

Dissecting language: "We were in the midst of finishing the record," Martinez says, "and as we were writing the chorus, we wrote about tigers - we were reading a lot of author Jorge Luis Borges; he always talks about tigers. I guess in order to fit it in the song I had to cut the word "ti-gers" in half, phonetically speaking."

The songwriting process: "It's unbelievably collective," Martinez says. "Ryan contributes as much as I do. Some of it goes off on tangents."

Castellano: "I play the cello. I like my role. I've been playing music since I could stand up. . . . I hear chord changes. It doesn't matter to me what people are saying."

Hastings: "The writing is the real meat of the songs, so I think we all just try to play what matches well. A lot of the time it means when recording I may just hit a cymbal or a tom, and that's it. It can be an exercise in restraint, but never the cause of frustration."

Sweetly perverse: "There's a line (in The Birthday Song) about apartments smelling like peppermint, and it's a really filthy line," Martinez says. "Apparently, the big giveaway about somebody dying in a retirement home (according to Hastings' experience) was this sort of peppermint stench that would happen inside of the room where somebody died."

Do Candy Bars eat chocolate?

Castellano: "I love chocolate cheesecake."

Hastings: "I get Snickers every now and then when I miss lunch."

Martinez: "I love the s--- out of chocolate!"

CHECK 'EM OUT: 7 to 11 p.m. Friday at Revolution & Renewal: A Contemporary View of Ybor City, with the Beauvilles, Worldwide Zoo and DJ Franco Silva. 1818 E Ninth Ave., Ybor City. The outdoor event features artwork by David Audet, Alyssa Davie, Guillermo Portieles, Dustin Kocinsky and many others. Beer and wine will be for sale. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. (813) 247-6323.

[Last modified October 18, 2006, 10:48:06]

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