Interview: The Unlikely Candidates

The Unlikely Candidates Interview - 2/27/20 (Tucson, AZ)

On Thurday, February 27th, Galaxy Magazine got to sit down with The Unlikely Candidates before their show in Tucson, AZ at 191 Toole.

Brynn: You guys have been a band for a while now and have played countless shows and tours, is there something about The Novocaine Tour you’re on right now that feels different from all the others?

Kyle: Yeah! It’s got like three times the dates basically packed into the same amount of time. So, on a normal tour you’ll hit either mostly the major cities and a couple of the smaller cities, but this tour we’re hitting the major cities, the smaller cities, and the even smaller cities. Usually, through Arizona, we’d just come to Phoenix. But this time we’re hitting Tucson, Phoenix, and Flagstaff. Just a lot more of the stat, which is kind of cool to see the state.

Brynn: Yeah, people don’t usually get to come to Tucson, or try to!

Jared: Yeah, it’s been a long time since I’ve been here.

Kyle: We’ve never played here in seven years.

Jared: There used to be a venue here called The Clubhouse? I used to play that a lot with my old band.

Kyle: It’s long gone now.

Brynn: What’s your favorite thing about touring, and what are you most excited to do or see this tour?

Kyle: Probably just playing the actual show. Everything else about touring is kind of gritty and boring. Sitting around a lot.

Brynn: Sometimes you get naps!

Kyle: Sometimes if you’re lucky you get to sneak in naps. That is true, I get a lot of naps in the time that I’m not on stage. But I’d say probably just the show. It’s cool going to eat at random places. I went to this ice cream place called Screaming Cow?

Jared: Yeah, I think I saw that over there.

Kyle: That can’t be what it’s called, it definitely can’t be called “Screaming Cow.”

Jared: “AHHHH!” Like screaming goats.

Kyle: Yeah something screaming but I got a honeycomb ice cream which was just honey mixed with ice and it was the best ice cream I’ve ever had. So yeah, Screaming Cow.

Jared: I think that’s what it’s called. I don’t know.

Kyle: Is it? It was a picture of a cow and it said screaming above it so, going with that.

Brynn: Do you have a favorite tour memory, whether from this tour or any of your others since you’ve just begun this one?

Kyle: We actually do have ones from this tour.

Jared: Our van broke down on the way out of Fort Worth.

Kyle: An hour outside of home.

Jared: We switched out our van with Cole’s dad’s truck, which is what we’re currently in. The transmission went out in the van, so we left the van in Fort Worth and at some point in the next week we should be meeting back up to get the van somewhere, or we’re driving back to Fort Worth. I don’t know yet.

Kyle: We ran out of gas, or diesel rather, in the middle of the desert. Apparently if you run out of gas in a diesel engine it takes like, three plus hours to get started again even after you put gas in it.

Jared: I think this is the actual first day of the tour that feels like tour. It’s nice, everything’s been going smooth today.

Kyle: ‘Cause everything else has been terrible. So yeah, those are some bad memories.

Jared: Good start to the tour!

Brynn: I wasn’t expecting that!

Jared: Did you say good memories or bad memories?

Brynn: Just memories! I was expecting you guys to have to tell me old ones because I thought nothing would’ve happened yet.

Jared: We’ll remember and look back on that for the rest of the tour I’m sure. We’ll be like, “Hey it could be worse, remember the first part of the tour?”

Brynn: Yeah hopefully it looks up from here!

Brynn: Your breakout hit “Novocaine” has seen great success including being #4 on Alt Radio, was the positive reaction to that song related to you taking a different approach when writing and releasing it?

Kyle: Maybe yeah, I think with this song in particular, it was more of an honest approach to songwriting. Just talked about where I was with my life at that time in a very honest, direct way. I think that resonated with people because most people have probably been slackers in at least one point in their life or the other. I think that honesty and directness came across really well.

Brynn: What’s your regular songwriting process?

Kyle: Usually, we’ll start with music. Then once you get a good vibe musically, I’ll just kind of start freestyling melodies and words over it. Then once I get either a phrase, or a melodic rhythm or melody that fits, I just find something I can anchor the song around and I work out from there.

Brynn: I haven’t heard it that way a lot actually.

Kyle: That’s how we do it, I’d say 80% of the time.

Brynn: Usually, I know people write lyrics first a lot.

Kyle: That’s tough to do because sometimes it’s hard to fit lyrics to melodies. So I usually try and do melody to lyrics. But you can do either, it just depends.

Brynn: When you were writing “Novocaine,” did you have a feeling that it was going to blow up as much as it has, or were you totally surprised by how extremely well it’s done?

Kyle: No. I mean, I knew that it was good. But we’ve written a lot of good songs over our career that haven’t had this amount of success. I think I definitely knew that it was really good, but you just never really know. A lot of things come down to luck and timing.

Brynn: So, you think there were other songs that you’ve written that you think you would’ve liked to be more popular than “Novocaine?”

Kyle: That’s a good question. You know, yes and no. I think every song that you put out that you really believe in at that time you want to be massive. Whether I hope that it would’ve been bigger that “Novocaine” I don’t really know. I think “Novocaine” really shows off a lot of the skills that it took us a long time to develop. So “Novocaine” is almost a summation of all those songs. So yeah, I’m glad that “Novocaine” got there. It would’ve been cool if the other ones did too.

Brynn: Yeah but there’s always more.

Kyle: Yeah. That’s a good question!

Brynn: Thank you! Are there any up and coming new bands that you’re super into?

Jared: A lot of the bands on The Novocaine Tour, we’re pretty stoked to have them out. Swimming With Bears, The Orphan The Poet, Castlecomer, Rh2, and Zero 9:36 is really awesome. He’s got a really cool thing going on.

Kyle: Just really, it was nice being able to headline a tour because you get to pick essentially who’s coming out with you. So really, we just kind of picked our road playlist, and then got to tour with them.

Brynn: Are a lot of them from Texas too?

Kyle: Swimming With Bears is! They’re from Austin, but just them. Everybody else is from all over. Philly, California, Australia for Castlecomers, Ohio. Think that’s it. That’s everybody.

Brynn: Your music has been featured in some pretty impressive shows including the Super Bowl, what’s it like hearing the art you created being streamed to such a massive platform?

Kyle: I didn’t get to hear it, and no one took a video of it that I know of, the Super Bowl one unfortunately. So that sucks, but, it’s pretty dope. Last year at the semi-finals of the NFL, the conference championships, our song got played and it got put behind this really dramatic moment that was huge in this one game. That was pretty cool to see, I had a bunch of people calling from that. It’s surreal just seeing. We were on that Veronica Mars trailer, we were on the Ray Donovan trailer, it’s just weird.

Jared: You’re like, “Would ya look at that!”

Kyle: You’re like, “Look at all these famous people moving around to my songs!” It seems fake. Surreal.

Brynn: You’re from Texas, what is something about being from there that has shaped you as a band?

Kyle: Probably the lack of other bands like us. I think if we were around a lot of other bands that were like us, we probably would’ve sounded more like other people. Or fallen into certain types of songwriting, but because our area didn’t have any bands like us, we really got to exist in a bubble that we got to create ourselves, which was kind of cool.

Brynn: So, there wasn’t a big music scene where you grew up?

Kyle: Not for our type of music, no.

Brynn: What was usually played there?

Kyle: There was a lot of country. There was a lot of country, there was a lot of blues and folk music. For a little while there was some Warped Tour type stuff, there was some Warped Tour stuff for sure, like metal, hardcore, and all that. We never really fit into any of those categories.

Brynn: Was it harder to find venues that would let you guys play too then?

Kyle: Oh yeah. Yeah. Definitely in some parts. We would have to end up at the same type of venue over and over. When me and Cole were in college station there weren't any rock venues. There were only country venues. There was only one venue that was the town over that played our type of music. There were just a bunch of drunk hipsters there, and maybe like ten of them. So we were basically just playing to this one very small group of people every time we were playing.

Brynn: Then I think it’s really interesting that you guys are finally getting to play a bunch of shows. Even if they’re all compacted.

Kyle: It is crazy. To be able to play in this many cities and have people come out is cool in itself.

Brynn: Is there anything else you want to include?

Kyle: I guess just check out our song “Novocaine,” and if you see that we’re in town, come out to The Novocaine Tour.