Despite long odds facing the band due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dust Bowl Faeries managed to team up with collaborator Lisa Thomas for a new video for “Candy Store.” The song is the last track on their upcoming album The Plague Garden, which will be released on November 20. It’s a modern take on a classic Yiddish folk ballad, telling the tale of building tenants – including a candy shop owner, sex worker in a brothel, prsioner in a jail and a resident at a madhouse – facing long odds who just decide to burn it all down. Today we’re premiering the new video, which features the members of the band taking on the various characters sung about in “Candy Store.”
The song was taught to lead singer and Faerie Queen Ryder Cooley by her grandmother. The song centers around a wife that’s asked for advice on what to do about the family’s struggling candy shop. Her solution? Burn it all down. The video takes a fairly literal approach to aligning with the song’s lyrics, showing scenes at a candy shop, brothel, jailhouse and asylum. Cooley is joined by fellow Faeries Jon B. Woodin (Rocket Faerie) on guitar and castenettes, Rubi LaRue (Feisty Faerie) on lapsteel, Liz LoGiudice (River Faerie) on bass and Andrew Stein (Time Faerie) on percussion.
“The visuals for ‘Candy Store’ have been vividly in my imagination from the first time I ever saw Ryder Cooley and the Dust Bowl Faeries perform the song live and I’d honestly been longing to film this video for three+ years,” said producer and director Lisa Thomas. “That said, when we finally went into production on Candy Store we were in the middle of a pandemic and the small town of Catskill, NY where we filmed the video like the rest of the world had many stores closed up; one such store was the former Mayflower confectionery which was in business from 1933-1990. The location which was empty with a “for rent” sign in the window in many ways called out to me to restore it for the shoot so along with the help of our amazing Production Designer, Jesika Farkas, we brought back all the former details of the one time candy shoppe down to the original candy cases, fixtures and lights. The space transformed into a Candy Store in a matter of days so much so that the locals of Catskill kept stopping in to try to buy candy. The challenge of the video always from a directing standpoint was to make it seem like the store was actually slowly catching on fire as the song progressed. We were able to achieve a really great look for this by working with two fire effects specialists and Thin Edge Films long time editor, Fabrizio Fama’.
“We were in the midst of a brutal heat wave in mid July when out of the blue, film faerie Lisa M. Thomas said ‘lets make the “Candy Store” video!'” said lead singer Ryder Cooley. “Businesses were just starting to open after months of being boarded up, and people were crawling out of their COVID bomb shelters for socially distanced activities. I had finally cut my losses and made peace with the current situation – all shows, productions and social functions were cancelled until further notice. The thought of rallying the band for a video seemed unfathomable. I could hardly stand all of the logistics and complications. I tried to convince Lisa to postpone the shoot, or at least simplify the script, but once she gets her mind set there is no stopping her, not even a world pandemic!”
“It was the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement when we started pre-production for the video and we wanted to show our solidarity, so we decided to do a role reversal in the jailhouse scene and have the jail warden be African American and the prisoner be a white man,” said Cooley. “We also wanted to queer up the narrative and bend gender clichés a bit, so in the brothel scene one of the window dancers is a non-binary/gender obscure performer. The video takes place in the tenements of the depression era where a failing candy shop is rented out as a brothel, then becomes a jailhouse of the mind, and a nightmare madhouse. When the shop goes up in flames the band plays on. The final scene offers a surreal vision of euphoria and bliss as the two main characters celebrate their freedom.”
The video is set in Catskill, NY on the town’s Main Street, where set designer Jesika Farkas restored a historic candy shop to its original state. On the wall of the shop are photos of Ryder’s ancestors.
“The ‘Candy Store’ video is much more than a music video,” said Cooley. “In fact, we are calling it a music novella since it is over eight minutes long. It was no small miracle that producer/director Lisa M. Thomas was able to get a film crew together and COVID tested, with so many safety protocols to adhere to. The moral of the story of the making of the ‘Candy Store’ video, for me, has been about letting go. When you let go of something, sometimes it comes back, and ‘Candy Store’ came back like a gift from the faerie gods! I can’t thank Lisa enough for making this video, against all odds, she is my heroine.”
The Plague Garden track list
2. “Dust Bowl Caravan”
3. “Vampire Tango”
5. “Serpentine Samba”
6. “Cyanide Hotel”
9. “Forest of Breath”
10. “Pandemic Tango”
11. “Candy Store”