Posted On 17 Mar 2017
Last month, the Fort Worth, TX alternative rock band, The Unlikely Candidates released “Bed Of Liars,” a six-song EP.
Their newest single “Ringer” is now #29 on the Mediabase Alternative Chart!
They are currently headlining their “The People’s Choice” tour making a stop at SXSW. The last time they played SXSW they were mentioned in The New York Times as one of the dozen bands to watch and Esquire Magazine in their “The SXSW 2014 Bands You Need to Hear, A-Z” piece. Vanyaland described them in a piece about their “five new favorite rock and roll bands after leaving Austin” as “…a better, cooler Kings of Leon.” Elsewhere, Perez Hilton said “This American band sounds a lot like Mumford And Sons with a bit more fun!”
The band has played Bonnaroo, Firefly, Riot Fest and have toured with St. Lucia, Nothing But Thieves, Weathers, and The Moth & The Flame. Most recently, The Unlikely Candidates were selected as part of Taco Bell’s Feed The Beat program, and their single “Ringer” has enjoyed extensive in-store play with major brands including Whole Foods and Guess Jeans stores nationwide.
Learn more about The Unlikely Candidates in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So, now that 2016 is over, what are some words you would use to describe the year for you? What were some of the highlights for the band? What are you most excited about for 2017?
We really did not know what to expect in 2016. It started off in a haze, parting ways with Atlantic Records. We were not too sure where that left us. Lucky enough we have such a great team and motivated band members. Literally days after we parted ways we were right to work on a self-release of “Your Love Could Start A War”. Over the year we took “YLCSAW” up the Billboard Alternative chart unsigned. We did not want to sign another deal with a label until we knew it felt right then Another Century Records came along and it was the right home for us.
2017 is going to be full of touring, lots and lots of touring. We have more songs ready to release already and we want to release another EP this year.
Growing up, did you all always want to be musicians? Can you recall some of your earliest musical memories?
Music was always around growing up. Personally, It was always in the back of my head that I wanted to perform. My parents were always listening to an awesome selection of music. Everything from Bob Marley to Nirvana, U2, Queen. I was always singing along in the car. As soon as I joined my first band at age 12 my life changed. From there on out there was nothing else. I was ditching middle school classes to go to rehearsals. Playing music always came before everything else in my life. By the age of 16 I dropped out of high school and started touring. At that point I had to make it work for myself.
Can you talk about how this band first came together? How did you come up with your band name? Was it difficult to settle on one name that described your music?
Cole and I started the band in a little half suburban half country town on the outskirts of Fort Worth, TX. Neither of us had ever been in a band or even written a song and we were coming into our senior year in high school. The idea and timing did not make any sense, but one drunken night we played a Box Car Racer song together at a friend’s house joking around, and for some reason I felt something click. I asked Cole if he wanted to try to write a few songs, and before we knew it we were best friends and spending four hours a day after school figuring out how to write songs. We both moved to College Station for school (Texas A&M), we dropped out and moved into a house in Fort Worth, and we wrote hundreds of songs together there.
I wish I had a more interesting story about the band name, but I made a list of about two hundred names and it was the only one that wasn’t terrible. Given that we had no idea what we were doing for many years, and our friends and families considered music a novel hobby at best and a worrying life choice at worst, The Unlikely Candidates seemed to suit us fairly well.
How do you think this band has been influenced by the city of Fort Worth? What is the music scene like there and has that been changing over the years?
Almost every song that I have written, was written in Fort Worth. The people, the imagery, and all my stories there are woven into the songs. We cut our teeth playing open mics and venues around there. Our style of music never really fit the bill of music in Fort Worth, we had to fight to make people understand us. That desire made us play harder, wilder, and more emotionally.
The music scene in Fort Worth is really cool. Most of it is folk or blues based, with some psychedelic thrown in the mix. We got to witness and appreciate the bands who helped cement that as the Fort Worth sound (Hannah Barbarians, Telegraph Canyon, Quaker City Nighthawks), and watch a whole other generation of bands come out of that who picked up and moved that sound forward (Panic Volcanic, Animal Spirit, Dead Vinyl).
You recently released your six-song EP, “Bed Of Liars.” Can you talk about what it was like putting that collection together?
Those songs came together over many years. We were with Atlantic Records and had all of these songs, but were not able to release them. So this EP is a patch work of songs from different eras. What they all have in common is that they came from a collaboration between me and my guitarist Brent. He had never produced for us and Atlantic needed songs or else our future with the company was going to be in jeopardy. We had nothing and everything to lose so, with our backs up against the wall we started writing. What came out of necessity was a whole new sound and hundreds of songs.
What was the inspiration for the songs on “Bed Of Liars”? How do you all go about constructing songs? Is it something that you do altogether as a band?
We wanted a sound that was darker and more rhythmic. Lyrically, instead of writing songs that explained more observational existential issues, I wrote songs that came from a messier more human side of myself. Less looking for truths and more sorting through emotions.
How we usually do it is, Brent will make a production using his computer and track some guitars. Then I will come in and write the melodies and then lyrics over it. Some song have come from band ideas, but mostly that’s how we do it.
Today you will also kick off your “The People’s Choice” tour in OK. Where are you guys most excited to play at? Are there a few venues that you have never played at before? What do you think are the key ingredients to making a perfect show experience?
We really have not done too much touring over the last year except for a hand full of radio festivals so we are super excited to get things rolling again. The road is our second home and It’s going to be really nice being able to go from one city to the next.
There are a lot of markets on this run that we have not been back to in years. It’s going to be really cool to be able to get back into those towns and play for these TUC deprived fans.
Our passion is translated threw our live show. We play loud and hard and always give the crowd 110%. If you have not seen us live then you have not experienced The Unlikely Candidates. Come see for yourself. We will always give you a bad ass rock show.
What musicians continue to inspire your music? Is there anyone that you would all love to work with one day?
A few careers that we follow and will mine for inspiration are Frank Oceans, Article Monkeys, The Strokes, Father John Misty, and Danger Mouse.
Would love to work with Danger Mouse and Arctic Monkey’s producer James Ford.
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you all like to unwind from it all?
We all live together. Wednesday nights are usually spaghetti nights. We basically chow down and go to our favorite bar “The Chat Room”. It’s our spot. If we are back home you can find at least 1 or 2 of us there hanging out any night of the week.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
I hope it can change the way that people see things or add some more color to their own emotions. A song like “Best Things In Life Aren’t Free” could provide you with a new lens to look at the world. A view where love is just chemicals bewitching the brain and connection is just sensation. A physical world. Songs like “Violence” and “Your Love Could Start A War,” play off the chaotic and violent imagery of our world’s current state. The sounds and words could provide catharsis or emblazon spirits.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about your music or the band?
We love our fans. We often hang out with everyone after every show. We have made a lot friends around the country with those fans who started coming to our shows. It’s one of the best things about his job. So, come out, come say what’s up and let’s hang out!