Interview: The Unlikely Candidates
Thu, 26 Sep 2013 15:49:10
The Unlikely Candidates definitely prove to be leaders in their own right on their new EP, Follow My Feet. It's an immediately memorable collection from one of rock's most thrilling young bands. So, ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief spoke to Kyle of The Unlikely Candidates about the EP and so much more in this exclusive interview.
Did you approach Follow My Feet with one vision or vibe in mind?
I don't know how cohesive of a vision it was. I didn't have any distinct idea of what we were doing. I just wanted to write some great songs that had that old folk-y feel but that new guitar sound we've been doing lately. There's a general theme running through the EP that's pretty song. Lyrically, that's how I tie a lot of myself together. Sonically, I think it holds together pretty well. We're bringing that mix of old and new back together. It's that nostalgic old school rock 'n' roll and folk that Cole and I have really taken an influence from over the past ten years. We're bringing in new elements with spacier guitars so it's a little more despondent, airy, and atmospheric. Then, you've got these really down-to-earth and sentimental acoustic guitars we put into the songs. Sonically, I feel like that was the general theme of these tracks. The lyrics are what I put my main focus on. It's about coming to terms with what it's like to be an adult. You just happen to leave behind the innocence of youth. It's more chaos when the adult atmosphere comes into play. Lyrically, that was the primary theme of this album.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the songs?
Absolutely, my favorite musicians are usually lyrically-based. If I'm not telling a good story and sharing something poetic and personal to myself, that's where it comes from. A lot of these are stories about me coming to terms with what it's like to be an adult. It's figuring out a lot of the idealism, imagination, innocence and creativity you took for granted in youth almost doesn't carry through. All of these institutions are built on strong foundations because you need strong foundations when you're growing up. When you get out into the world, you realize you make all of the rules. Right and wrong, good and bad, and what you do in your life are all up to you. You basically decide where you go from then on. There's a bit of an untethered feel to the album. I think a lot of people can identify with that gray area.
What's the story behind "Trampoline"?
That was probably the funniest song on the album. It started off as a joke. It was like a songwriting exercise we had. Cole and I were listening to that song "Rope" by Foo Fighters and thought, "Wouldn't it be funny if we looked at a bunch of inanimate objects around the room and wrote a song about one of them?" I was looking at the salt shaker, and it didn't do anything for me [Laughs]. I looked out the window at this trampoline I've had for my entire life, and I was like, "Tram-po-line!" He said, "Oh shit, that's kind of good" [Laughs]. I centered the trampoline around a primary metaphor for the song. It's like the linchpin of youth. There are all of these experiences that float around this inanimate object in the backyard. It feels light and breezy at the beginning. The middle verse is about losing the girl. The third verse is the jadedness of adulthood and how you want to be free, but it's very hard to hold on to that anti-gravity feel forever. You have to come down at some point.
What would be the cinematic equivalent of the EP?
Wow, that's a great question! I've got a line from The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in "Trampoline". That wouldn't be a terrible movie to pick [Laughs]. I saw this movie called Empire of the Sun with Christian Bale. He was really young in it. It's a great movie. It's like a coming-of-age story about this kid in WWII who accidentally gets left in China by his parents after China was invaded. It's his struggle to survive, and he becomes an Oliver Twist type of character. That might work too.
Have you heard The Unlikely Candidates?