Listen to Blackout
It's no easy thing to carve a true niche in the current musical climate. With attention spans shorter than ever, the demand for a constant “something new” is a pressure that makes many acts crumble before they fulfill their potential. But for Breathe Carolina, setting the pace is something that comes as second nature, and no more so than on new album Hell Is What You Make It. Forget thinking outside the box – in this band's world, there was no box to begin with. This is a new era, and for this genre-busting Denver, Colorado duo, it's time to play.
Starting out in a bedroom in the suburbs of the Mile High City, David Schmitt and Kyle Even started playing music as a means of escape. As one of the first bands to start making waves via social networks, they experienced first-hand what it felt like to seemingly gain an overnight following. What began as something they did for fun, quickly struck a resonance with people they had never met. And after they hit the road, to discover the thousands of “friends” they gained online were real fans, singing along to the tracks they wrote in the confines of their homes, was a humbling experience. “It was the best adventure I'd ever had!” notes singer/screamer Kyle Even. “To find people who knew who we were so far away from home was a crazy experience! We were so happy that people knew our songs and could relate to us. We still keep in touch with a lot of those people from our first shows out of state.”
Following a highly-anticipated SXSW showcase, labels clamored to sign this explosive young band that saw no limits on their musical possibilities. Their Rise Records debut album It's Classy, Not Classic set the tone for the next year of hard touring, before they truly came into their own on Fearless Records-released sophomore full-length Hello Fascination. A step to a brave next level, the album entered the Billboard Top 200 at #43, and went on to sell over 60,000 copies in the U.S. alone – no mean feat
for a band in a scene offering only a chosen few a glimpse of mainstream success. Their juxtaposition of hardcore guts and pop glory found a happy niche between both rock and pop fans, the album's title track landing placements on the promos for NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, 30 Rock and Monday Night Football, MTV's The Hills and The City. The mainstream was starting to listen.
Superimposing gutteral screams against a backdrop of house-infused electronica and hip hop influences, it’s true to say Breathe Carolina’s Hell Is What You Make It is anything but typical. While the duo has toured relentlessly with some of the strongest acts and events in the rock scene – Mayday Parade, Chiodos, two full summers on Vans Warped Tour, appearances at SXSW, Soundwave (Australia), Slam Dunk (UK) and Bamboozle Festivals – it’s their ever-growing curiosity to play with
sounds outside of the usual genre limitations that makes the duo something truly special. “For the last two records we really didn't know what direction we were headed, we played with sounds and ideas - we just wrote songs we liked,” notes Even. “Hell had the same writing process, but we had more minds in the circle and we knew what we'd done before. We know ourselves more and knew what and how to write BC songs - they are our songs, and we just tried to do just that - create songs
as Breathe Carolina.”
Hell Is What You Make It's central theme is about making the best of any bad situation, and finding the fun in the bleak times. Euphoric, pulsating 80s electro- influenced “Blackout” was last summer’s anthem – going Top 20 on the Top 40 chart and becoming certified platinum. The hit single, along with its’ bleary-eyed partner-in-party “Last Night (Vegas),” sees the band stay true to their roots of bringing the good times. Tracks like “Sweat It Out” and “Waiting” ooze with delicious temptation and tales of hedonistic encounters in dark rooms. But while Hell Is What You Make It is most definitely a feel-good record, there is also an essence of heartfelt melancholy that connects the full-length from intro to closing track.
The album is not without its’ serious side. As Even explains, “the intro and the last track, ‘Lauren’s Song,’ join this album from start to finish, in tribute to her,” referring to a close friend and confidant Lauren Freeman who was killed at the age of 21 on November 9, 2010 in a hit and run accident in
Los Angeles. A supporter since their beginning, Even says, “with ‘Lauren’s Song,’ it was important for us to write a track that she would be proud of, so we wrote a toast to her. This record wouldn't be what it is without Lauren.” Her untimely passing was the most sobering time of their career. Even continues, “Lauren Freeman was more than a friend - she was a sister to us and gave us motivation to succeed.” The duo credit the addition of their touring band mates in helping them grow further and have
incorporated them into the writing and recording process, embracing the full family unit as a full band both on and off stage. “Having the full band in the studio meant there were constant ideas and conversation about the songs we were writing,” Even adds. “We didn’t sit still really, or get writer’s
block – it was nice having everyone together, everyone crafting the next phase of Breathe Carolina. It was a moment of peace between us all where we united our ideas in sound! We are closer because of it.”
In the fall of 2011, “Blackout” steadily invaded the Top 40 airwaves, and took Breathe Carolina to new heights, including scoring them a performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, securing an “On The Verge”
feature in USA Today, and had the NY Times naming Hell Is What You Make It, “one of the best pure pop albums of the year.” The combined success of Hell Is What You Make It and “Blackout,” rewarded them the attention of Columbia Records. In December of 2011, Breathe Carolina signed their first major label deal with Columbia. They rounded out the year with a series of arena radio shows alongside their Top 40 peers Selena Gomez, Cobra Starship and Gym Class Heroes. As 2012 began Even said, “we’re excited to take this album on the road, and see the tracks come to life in a live setting. Hopefully the album will inspire our fans and gain new audiences for us to party with. All of our personal Hells reside from what we’ve done – focus your energy on what you will do, rather than dwell on the past, and how you can change your hell from dark to light. That’s the whole meaning of this record. We can’t wait for what’s next!”
Early 2012 saw the band enter the studio to write and record some new songs including their latest single “Hit and Run” which is shaping up to be the summer anthem of 2012 as it works it’s way up the Top 40 chart. This song, in addition to “Bang It Out” (another new song) will appear on a digital deluxe version of the album that’s due out on July 3rd on iTunes and all DSPs. In addition, Breathe Carolina completed a full US co-headlining tour with The Ready Set and they’re currently one of the headlining acts on this summer’s Vans Warped Tour, where they’re playing alongside fellow Warped Tour veterans All Time Low, Rise Against, Yellowcard, Taking Back Sunday and others.