From the stage of the Highline Ballroom in New York, Kyle Even places his fist over his heart and taps gently. With a sincere expression on his face, he mouths the words “Thank you so much,” to the crowd of fans waving their arms in front of him. Kyle has every reason to be grateful. In the two years since his band Breathe Carolina posted its first tune on Myspace, these same fans have taken Kyle out of his basement to number 9 on the Billboard electronic/dance chart.
With a desire to expand the scope of their music with their second album, Dave and Kyle took advantage of top-notch producers Matt Squire (3OH!3, All Time Low, The Maine) and Mike Green (Paramore, The Matches, The Higher) to produce a more fully fleshed out sound for Hello Fascination. Dave recalls that the pair walked into the studio on the first day of recording with one idea in mind: “We know what our style is, we know what we want to do. Let’s just kinda go crazy.”
Now that the album is finished, Kyle sees it as more than a dance-oriented cd. More than just a cd for times when a listener is in one certain mood. “There’s a song for every emotion on it. I just want them to feel something.” Clearly the band’s resident philosopher, Kyle says of Hello Fascination, “It was what it was meant to be.”
While most of the tracks on Hello Fascination are electronic-centric, with the help of their friends guitarists Dave Strauchman of Every Avenue and Austin Carlile from Of Mice and Men, they were able to record tracks like “Tripped and Fell in Portland,” which begins with a hardcore riff listeners are more likely to associate with a band like A Day to Remember. Dave says of the song, “We wanted to throw something new onto the plate. We wanted to show people that we can be diverse.”
By now most fans know the legendary story of how Dave and Kyle, from their homes in suburban Denver, recorded several songs on Garageband, posted them on myspace, and through a combination of networking and word of mouth, managed to attract roughly nine million hits to their Myspace page.
But how did they get together in the first place and how did they create their unusual sound? Shotmonster.com spoke with Dave and Kyle at a recent date on the DanceRawrDance 3 tour (in support of Family Force 5), and got the answers to these and many more questions.
Did you have any musical training? Piano lessons, guitar lessons?
Dave: When I was in 7th grade, my dad bought me a bass guitar. From there I went to guitar, then drums, then piano, then electronic music.
Kyle: I’ve been singing in choirs since elementary school.
You guys apparently met when you were in other bands:
Kyle: Both of our bands were playing battle of the bands in Denver. I had heard their band and I went up and introduced myself. They came and watched us play.
What happened to those bands?
Dave: In my band, one after another, everyone just quit.
Kyle: Natural order of things, it just doesn’t work out.
How did you arrive at your unique sound?
Dave: It’s just a mix of all of our different influences. I was in punk bands to start out with; I was in two pop punk bands, then I was in a metal band. I think it was everything that we both loved kind of mixed together. We wanted it to be poppy and catchy but we also wanted it to be kinda dark and have some heavier parts.
What do each of you do in the band?
Dave: I sing and make the beats. Kyle writes the lyrics with me and screams and helps in the production of the music. We both can play a lot of different instruments.
It’s Classy, Not Classic was released in Sept. 2008, and Hello Fascination less than a year later. How did you manage to turn the second album out so fast?
Dave: It’s Classy, Not Classic had five old songs on it [from the ep] and five new songs. And we’re like, we’ve had these songs for so long, we need to put out something fast. We were home for two months and wrote a lot, then we were on the Take Action Tour, wrote a bunch on the tour, then after that we recorded.
Why did you have two producers on Hello Fascination?
Dave: We just wanted to get a variety, because they’re both so different. Matt specialized in melodies and harmonies. He was really funny. Mike was just really musical. They’re both awesome at every aspect [of production].
Why did you thank Jeffree Starr in the liner notes of your cd?
Kyle: He’s actually on a song with us that’s not on the record. It’s gonna be released in Japan. He’s been our friend for a long time.
Describe one tattoo that you have that’s really special to you.
Dave: (points to tattoo on his right arm with an under-the-sea theme) When I was in school, I was always fascinated by underwater stuff. I wanted to do something that was totally different.
Kyle: My first tattoo is on my stomach. It’s four birds. It represents my brother, me, my mom and my dad. That one’s my favorite. It means the most to me.
What were you doing three years ago before Breathe Carolina took off?
Kyle: We were sitting without jobs, barely working.
Dave: Yeah, no money, we didn’t want to work. We were just over working jobs. If this didn’t work out, we would still be hanging out.
Kyle: I feel this was meant to be for us.
You can see the Breathe Carolina galleries here.