Breathe Carolina's Kyle Even Talks The Ups and Downs of Blending Dance Music with Metal
Denver's Breathe Carolina is definitely a love 'em or hate 'em type of band. Blending pop friendly electronica, dance beats and screamo metal, the duo of Kyle Even and David Schmitt makes music that practically defines the phrase "acquired taste."
Yet in spite of some backlash from critics, Breathe Carolina has become quite successful with its peculiar combination of genres; the band's recently released third effort, Hell is What You Make It, has done well on both the dance and rock charts. Speaking from a tour stop in Boise, Idaho and in anticipation of the band's Friday night performance at The Door, half of the Breathe Carolina duo, Kyle Even, was kind enough to speak to DC9 about his band's unusual sound and the band's excitement at headlining the Scream it Like You Mean It tour.
Check out our Q&A after the jump.
Is the band excited to be headlining the Scream It Like You Mean It Tour?Oh, man. It's so nice not to have to answer to anyone. We've been working so hard for years. We know the routines of a big tour like this one. People will be there to see us. It won't be like beginning our set so early that the crowds are all looking down. It's nice to hang out for most of the show, hang out with the kids.
Your style is quite different from most of the bands on the bill. Does that worry you?
The line-up is great. Chiodos and I See Stars are both incredible. Chiodos is a band that I have always looked up to. We are excited to be on tour with them. I'm sure each band will have the kids out. I think fans are open-minded enough to enjoy all the bands.
Why didn't the band do Warped Tour this year?
Hey, you've got to be invited! But we already did it two years in a row in 2009 and 2010. And I think we were kind of excited to try something else. We wanted to get out on our own and see what happens. If we would have gotten the offer, I'm sure we would have done Warped for three years in a row. But I sure don't miss sitting in that heat every day. It's always a hundred degrees, and you're loading in and loading out. It gets to you after a while, that is for sure. The guys at the merchandise tables have it the worst.
You guys have recorded using just your computers at home and also in the studio. Are there pros and cons to each process?
There are, but it's just like doing it yourself or having someone there to kind of guide the controls. What was nice about the studio was getting to sit back and get a bird's eye view of everything, to watch a song get assembled. All the details become a lot faster to lay out. You can flush out the ideas more in the studio. Being a full-time touring band, it is so nice to be able to record and then have someone else finish things up.
Since you are a duo in the studio and a five-piece on the road, does it ever get frustrating or difficult to teach each person his/her respective parts?
On this record, we actually had the whole band there recording with us. In the past, that has not been the case. But now, the band knows all the songs long before we got to touring.
Your sound is unabashedly dance-oriented. Do you think dance music gets a bad rap?
I think some people think it's not what it really is. A dance track can be more in-depth and not just some "Put your hands up!" kind of song. I think our songs have a good feeling to them and they make people want to move, but we're talking about serious things. A song like "Blackout" is about blacking out in a club, but we are talking about things that could really happen in that situation -- sometimes dangerous things. A song like "Sweat it Out" is about not caring what you look like. A radio dance song is not what dance music is all of the time.
Do you think people may miss the song's message because they are dancing?
That's not a bad thing! It's fun having two different worlds within a track. You can have the beat speaking to people who just want to move and then the words that speak to someone, and it's mission accomplished. Getting people into the song, either way, is a good thing.
The band's sound has been labeled electronic rock, electro-pop, electronica and crunkcore. Do you prefer any of these?
It doesn't really matter. People can label us anything they want. I think it should be song by song. One song could be from a totally different genre than the next one. I don't think we belong in any genre.
Do you want to throw as many styles of music into your sound as you can?
I don't think it's intentional. I think it is just kind of what happens. We like a lot of styles of music. Why not do as many things that you like to do? That's kind of the whole idea. We write about different things that we enjoy and it comes out like it comes out.
At what point in the band's career did you consider it a success?
When we first started, people would download a song from our site maybe 20 times a day. Then, a year later, it was a thousand downloads a day. We were freaked out. We figured we had stumbled across something that people liked. We've only been a band for four years, although the time on the road makes us feel like we're already old men.
Breathe Carolina performs with Chiodos, I See Stars, The Color Morale, Mod Sun, The Air I Breathe and Alexa Reigns on Friday, July 29, at The Door.