[Interview] The Unlikely Candidates Prevail Through Broken Collarbones and Relationships
I spotted The Unlikely Candidates outside Vinyl as I walked down 17th Street towards the venue last Friday evening. It was hard to miss Kyle’s cheetah print jacket and Brent’s hat was a dead giveaway. Or maybe it was just all the skinny white dudes with long hair smoking cigarettes in leather jackets and thrift store blazers that gave them up. Who knows? But it was them. “Just a bunch of dudes hanging out,” as I would learn from Kyle by the end of the night. From there we headed downstairs to the artist lounge where it began with a bottle of whiskey and a friend named Joe.
Band: No burn.
You spoil us oh Joe!
What kind of whiskey do you guys drink?
You like Bulleit?
Band: Bulleit oohh. [laughter]
Bulleit’s the shit!
Brent: I think I was underage the last time you brought that out.
How’s the tour going?
Kyle: It’s going great. I’m excited about Atlanta.
How do you like Atlanta?
Cole: He’s from Atlanta.
Kyle: Yeah. My family has been living in Acworth for about 120 years. It’s right up the road. My whole family is moving to Acworth to turn the land that they have been living in for like 120 years into a wedding pavilion.
Band: Gotta get that plug in there.
Get married here now.
Cheap weddings .com
Are any of you guys married?
Band: Fuck no!
We’re married to each other.
Later that evening I met Grandma Carol, Kyle's grandma. In her bright red blazer, beer in her hand, and a smile stretching ear to ear, she proceeded to tell me how she flew on her plane to come watch her grandson. "Have you seen them before?" she asked. I told her it was my first time and asked if she lived in Acworth. "We're moving back here from Fort Worth to Acworth to turn my property into a wedding space." We exchanged a few more words and she gleefully danced her way towards the stage from the bar where we had been standing. Kyle seemed like a special guy. If he could make grandma radiate so bright, no wonder he had been proposed to earlier that day at their acoustic set with Rock 105.7.
Kyle: She gave me the ring. I was like oh God is this a real wedding ring? It looks just like a real one. Ah that’s hilarious and then after the song I went to give it back and she was like keep it. What!? It’s not real. I was like oh, ok. She was like I really want to marry you. Oh... So, that was cool. It hasn't happened before.
Does it fit?
Kyle: It does, but if it went all the way past the knuckle, I’m scared.
Band: It’s like a pinky ring
Rock that pinky ring.
Kyle: Apparently, she wears it to fend off creepy dudes at bars and the grocery store. She just gave me her defense ring.
Tell me about Bed of Liars.
Kyle: It’s the messiness of the relationships. I tend to write about the messiness of the relationships on one level and then I’ll try and pepper in a whole other meaning layer underneath. “Violence” is about police brutality. It’s like the push and pull of an abusive relationship between a man and a woman, but really it’s between the public and the police. “Love Can Start A War” is a similar theme. “Ringer” is about how the American dream meshes with capitalism. The push-pull between ambition and love. The “Ringer” is very much like lady Scarface type character and between a guy who is looking for his piece of the American dream, but he really just represents an ideal.
It’s all very much this pretentious idea that I’ve peppered in underneath it because they are really about relationships on the outside too and I want for people to get whatever meanings they want out of them. It’s a lot about relationships and about how messy and interesting they can be.
Talking from experience.
Kyle: Yeah, everyone’s had those messy relationships. Things that are probably not healthy, but you indulge in them either because you enjoy the excitement or the drama of it. Or you haven't worked out your own personal things which is why you find those types of relationships. There were probably a lot of those types of relationships while I was writing.
The youngest song on that album is a year old. Some of those songs are three and a half years old. We were on Atlantic for three years and were not able to put out anything. So, this is finally us able to release some of that material.
What do you mean you guys weren’t able to release anything?
Kyle: We released a single through Atlantic and basically how it goes is that you just write until you find a single that they want to release. If they don't find another single that they want then you don’t get another EP. It took us almost three years to get them to commit to a new single which was "Ringer” and then things still didn’t end up working out and we had to leave the label. But they let us leave with everything. So, at least it was a clean break. Talk about tumultuous relationships right there.
Cole: The whole record is about Atlantic Records.
Brent: You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone.
Isn't that how the story goes? Do we value relationships more when they are not longer present? It was clear that the band felt as though more was gained in ending relationships both personal and in business if they hold you back. It seems as though the break from Atlantic and from one bandmates ex couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. With several years in the making, Bed Of Liars had finally arrived. Coming off their hit "Love Can Start A War" the band prepared to create an ambitious music video for their current song “Ringer.” A concept conceived by Kyle took “Ringer” on a global journey where his ideas would be shot by other people in their country. The end product would then be edited and pieced together by Kyle and director Adam VillaSenor.
Cole: You spent four months on that video.
Kyle: Like two and half months. I had to do pretty much everything. If I didn’t do it, the whole concept was going to fall apart. We told everyone that this concept was awesome. Let’s do this Fiverr thing. It almost fell apart so many times. I’ve committed to this. I have to make this work. And I did. I spent hours speaking to these people across the world. Seventeen hours a day. I had to be in pretty close contact with these people as they are doing the ideas. Some of them are very foreign and do not speak English very well. Communication was key in order to make sure I got the shots right. But it was incredible working with all of these people from all around the world. Their different personalities and humors and just getting them to do all these stupid and bizarre ideas that are totally not in what they advertised doing on these sites. Like I need to find somebody to cut out a picture of Jared with photo paper and hold it in front of the Taj Mahal. I’m hitting up anyone from India or from that area to do it. Some of them are like I'm a computer programmer. I'll help you get your social networking up. No, I'm not interested in that. I need you to hold a tiny picture of my bandmate in front of the Taj Mahal. They're like cool. Send me the money and I'll do it.
These shots include cake eating, drinking beans, running up walls and break dancing from all over the world. But the most touching videos came from Venezuela. It was an eye-opening moment for the band when they realized that this project was more than just making another music video for people in this country. It was about survival for them.
“It was an interesting thing,” said Kyle. “There’s a dictatorship in Venezuela. The people there can’t even get basic food.”
One of the videos from Venezuela features a couple food fighting in the street. This was a service the couple had advertised on Fiverr, but not one that could be taken lightly. It wasn’t until after the submission that the band found out about the hardships going on in the country and offered to send them more money.
Kyle: There is some great stuff. You see them in their video and it's amazing. They are girlfriend and boyfriend and they look like they are having a lot of fun doing it. There is a lot of heart and humanity. It’s all people. It’s people that I’ve spent a long time talking to and troubleshooting these weird ideas. It’s one of the cooler things that I have ever done even though it was one of the most labor intensive. So, I hope that people see it and dig it.
Favorite childhood memories. I know you've got'em.
Jared/Kevin: What about the time you guys went shot for shot and the next morning you guys woke up covered in blue paint?
Cole: I woke up in jail. I was not covered in blue paint.
Kyle: I woke up with a broken collar bone and covered head to toe in blue paint.
[outburst of laughter]
Cole: I woke up in jail!
Cole: I didn’t have any hospital bills.
Kyle: His is better for sure. I had a massively broken collar bone. That shit sucked. What happened was…
How old were you?
Kyle/Cole: Well, it wasn’t that long ago. Was it like 21? 23? It was like six years ago.
Kyle: We bought one of those big bottles of Sailor Jerry’s that was like this big (shows me how big with his hands) and we were like, “Let’s have a shot off.” Because it was a Wednesday and we had nothing to do. And we’re just going shot for shot. And we took a break at seven shots and went and got KFC and then we came back and we both blacked out. I don’t remember anything after KFC.
Cole: I don’t either.
Kyle: I woke up the next day in a house that was across town and I tried to get up and there was a searing pain where my collar bone had split in half. I was covered in blue paint. I was like WTF!? I was with my friends and I guess they picked me up and they told me what happened. Me and Cole were going shot for shot. We had done eighteen shots a piece and we were fighting over the last shot and that’s how the fight began. There was one shot left and we were fighting to see who was gonna get it. We just started fighting. Cole is going crazy in the other room. I stepped on this acrylic paint thing and it got this blue paint all over the floor. I was like, "If the floor is gonna be blue than I’m gonna be blue!"
Kyle: And then I just covered myself in this paint. Cole got pissed off or something and flipped over my dad’s table. This glass table that we had forever that was like $900
And this was all in the house?
Kyle: This was all in the house. I run out and want Cole to apologize. Why did you do that? I was sad.
Cole: Covered in blue paint.
Kyle: Cole comes back in and attacks me. Falls on top of me and the weight of Cole snaps my collarbone in half. I was scratching him as he was on top of me. So, he's got scratches all over his face the next day. And then Cole runs off into the night and is not seen again until...
Jared: Until morning by his mom driving down the highway.
Kyle: Cole wakes up jail and doesn’t know what happened.
Cole: I thought we went into a bar and got into a bar fight or something like that.
Kyle: Cole’s walking home on the highway and his mom is driving to work and sees him.
Cole: The next morning after I got released.
Kyle: And calls him like what the fuck!?
Cole: I was like, "I’ll talk to you later?"
Kyle: I was in a sling and on pain pills for a month and a half. We had a real talk after that. I’m not sure much was resolved.
Band: We cannot do that again.
It was my shot.
(They all laugh)
Round two. Let’s go bitch!
So, What did you get arrested for?
Cole: I don’t know. I didn’t even really care. I was like they let me go!
Photos by Sidney Spear for Bullet Music