Kandle Osborne still thinks Daniel Craig has a few more 007 movies in him, even though the British actor has made it clear that the next installment, No Time To Die, will be his final outing as James Bond. A devout follower of 007 films since childhood, the Canadian artist’s deep affinity for the franchise inspired her own Bond theme song, “Lock and Load.”
Enraptured in an imaginary world of espionage, the provocative and sultry “Lock & Load” was Kandle’s first offering following the summer release of her first independent EP, Stick Around and Find Out, produced by Martin “Youth” Glover (Paul McCartney, The Verve, Kate Bush), along with Warne Livesey (Midnight Oil) and Liam O’Neil (Kings of Leon).
Back home in Vancouver, Kandle is still reflecting on Bond—movies she would watch with her father, Canadian rocker Neil Osborne of 54-40 growing up—becoming an independent artist, and her upcoming album for 2021.
“I wasn’t sure what my plan was, having just freed myself of all contracts,” says Kandle. “All I knew was that I needed to keep making music.”
With most of the songs already written, Kandle enlisted British producer Michael Rendall to co-produce the album after the two met in London while she was writing and recording Stick Around and Find Out’s “Spell” with Youth. After discovering that she and Rendall were musical soulmates—and shared a deep love for Bond—the two wrote “ Lock & Load” over 15 minutes of giddy back-and-forth voice memos from their respective homes in Vancouver and London.
Rendall eventually joined Kandle in Canada to start working on the album just as the world was beginning to shut down around the pandemic. Recorded in Vancouver’s Hipposonic Studios, “Lock & Load,” along with the rest of Kandle’s album, was completed entirely under lockdown.
“By the second week there were just four of us left and we basically went into self-isolation together,” says Kandle of the recording process this year, which she also calls “magical.”
“The actual recording process had a lot of old school mentality,” she says. “We already had the orchestral parts down so all we had to capture was the band, and they really took it to the next level. A lot of first takes made this record, so you can hear that authenticity on it.”
Following up her debut EP, 2014’s In Flames and Holy Smoke in 2018, Kandle has kept her craft consistent, already excavating stories of illness, heartbreak, and sexual assault, Kandle says the new album is the most true expression of herself yet.
“Like any songwriter, over the years you just learn a lot about writing and about music from each person you work with,” says Kandle. “Each tour you pick up things and ideas and get inspired by the people around you and what you’re listening to, so I definitely feel like I’m at this stage.”
She adds, “This record is the best writing I’ve done, and the best producing I’m capable of, and that’s really exciting to me.”
As an artist living and working through the pandemic takes a certain degree of adaptation to the new environment, or temporary norm, for Kandle. “With everything being compromised now, you’ve got to do the best you can with content and visuals,” says Kandle, who pulled in director Brandon William Fletcher to create the most cinematic visuals for the “Lock & Load” video, which plays out like a short Bond film.
“It’s changing every day,” she says. “Trying to navigate this very different music industry is such a challenge, especially as an independent now. I can’t release something and then tour or stop in every city and radio station or meet with the local press. It’s about bringing people together in a creative and inspired way… at home on the laptop.”
Diverting slightly from the new album, Kandle also wrote and recorded her first holiday song this year. A more melancholy tale of loneliness, “Christmas Mourn,” written with Mother Mother founding member Debra-Jean Creelma, is also an homage to the classic, holiday standards.
“It’s timeless and kind of comically depressing,” says Kandle, who plays actual sleigh bells on the track. “It’s a very Covid Christmas. I think it captures this year, and it’s beautiful at the same time.”