Home Rock music Interview: Samm Stangeland, founder of Rock & Roll Candle Co.

Interview: Samm Stangeland, founder of Rock & Roll Candle Co.


Samm Stangeland officially launched Rock & Roll Candle Co. a few years ago before being absorbed by her jobs in the music industry as local production for Live Nation LA, Road Manager and production coordinator for Lady Gaga and logistics for Nona Entertainment. When all three jobs were put on hiatus as a result of the pandemic in 2020, his focus was then redirected to growing his candle business. In this interview, Stangeland tells us what an absolute blessing it has been to have something to pour his energy into and to share his love of music and candles with everyone.

Jason: Can you start by telling us how you got involved in the music industry?

Samm Stangeland: Would like to! I was in my early twenties, fresh out of college, and living the SoCal lifestyle of hanging out at the beach during the day and queuing at night. It was fun, but after a few years I felt like my life was going nowhere. Simultaneously, I was looking for a new job and my friend, who had been on the production side of the Live Nation SoCal concerts, asked me if I was interested in being a runner – basically a go-for for the tours that happen That day. I hesitantly agreed and by the end of that season I had a more stable role with Live Nation. One thing leading to another, here we are 12 years later. Since then, I’ve worked with almost every A-level band and many more, and I’m extremely grateful to them. Looking back, my life would have been so different if I hadn’t accepted that gig. Amazing how one decision can absolutely change your life.

Jason: You’ve been in music for a long time, how has social media changed the game, positively and negatively?

Samm Stangeland: Ah, so much to say about it. The positive means would be that you can now find artists much more easily and understand their worlds with a click. I think it’s really great, especially for identifying and appreciating artists. The negative mannerisms, well, I think everyone feels the need to be on social media at a gig, and that takes away from the overall experience, for the performer as well. And that gives access to almost everyone, which saturates the industry, but that’s the world we live in today.

Jason: What were you doing before founding Rock & Roll Candle Co.?

Samm Stangeland: Produced concerts in Los Angeles and SoCal for the past 12 years. In fact, I continue to do so in addition to running Rock & Roll Candle Co. I’m glad I still have the chance to stay active in the industry, and the goal is to combine the two careers.

Jason: What made you want to go in this direction? What is the process?

Samm Stangeland: I always wanted to be in the music industry, I had no idea how I was going to achieve it since I didn’t go to school for it and I didn’t even really know what I was wanted to do. I was really lucky that life guided me into this position. I mean, every day I went to work, I got to see a concert. There are so many jobs in the music industry and somehow I’ve navigated to help put on some of the biggest shows in the world with all kinds of artists, in the one of the main markets in the world. I pinch myself again.

Image courtesy of Samm Stangeland

Jason: What were the challenges you faced while creating your product?

Samm Stangeland: Well, I had never started a candle business or any kind of business, so that was a challenge, haha! But I really believed in the product and the vision. I think the biggest hurdles were the packaging, the hot scent, and the marketing. Are still. I want them to be perfect, to look perfect, to smell perfect, to be marketed and visible to everyone, so it’s a constant challenge, but a great challenge, and I enjoy the trip.

Jason: What characteristics are important to being a successful small business owner?

Samm Stangeland: Ambition is number one. Without it, I can’t even imagine attempting to run your own business. In addition, great organizational skills, courage, self-esteem and tenacity. Being a small business owner is not an easy task, it takes a heavy mental and physical toll, but the reward is so great. I get so excited every time I make a sale – that something that was just an idea is now a tangible product that someone wants to buy. How cool is that?! (Pinch me again!)

Jason: Do you have to get permission from a rocker before creating a candle based on one of their songs?

Samm Stangeland: I do not. I don’t actually use the band name, and that’s a different intellectual property. Also, they usually don’t own the name of the song, but I always have to check the trademarks.

Jason: A rock star thanked or complimented you for a candle you created in their honor?

Samm Stangeland: Not yet, but that’s the goal, and to eventually collaborate with artists.

Jason: What are your favorite Rock & Roll Candle Co. fragrances?

Samm Stangeland: I love brown sugar! It’s so universal, and it was the original song that gave me the idea to connect scents and songs and create candles. But to be honest, I love them all.

Jason: What are your goals for the future?

Samm Stangeland: Expansion is my number one goal. Get these indoor candles anywhere in the world – museums, shops, restaurants, record stores, hotels…everywhere. In addition to developing the brand and launching new fragrances in different genres of music. And second, to find a recycling program and a charity arm for fire victims. You want to be as environmentally friendly as possible and give back. The world can be a tough place, especially now, and my goal is to always do my best to do my part.

Jason: Do you have anything else to say?

Samm Stangeland: Just that I really appreciate the opportunity to share my story and my company with your audience. Life can be so wild, and I’m so grateful for the magic in it all.

For more information about Samm and its candles, visit Candle Rock & Roll Co. and follow Samm on Instagram @sammstangeland