Following their successful single, “Strange Love,” the remarkable American-Indie Rock band, The Unlikely Candidates, have come out with another memorable song, “Novocaine,” along with a music video. The video has already received over 3 million views, and the track was also featured in the season 4 trailer for Hulu’s “Veronica Mars.”
“Novocaine” has the guitar, bass, and drums that come with indie-rock music, and the lyrics focus on embracing oneself and the idea that the singer will not change. “I am what I am / I know what I know / I’ll let you down if you let me too close…”
We recently had the opportunity to chat with lead singer Kyle Morris, divulging the bands history and emotional process of creating “Novocaine,” which you can listen to here.
How did the band members meet and get started?
Kyle Morris: We just kinda pieced it together over time. Me and Cole, the acoustic guitar player, we met in high school, we were always, really just music fans. Like, we’d see each other at shows and stuff and we went to the same school. And uh, we started hanging out more, and way back we went to this little high school party, and just as a joke he started playing the guitar and I started singing, doing this nasaly, joking, green day voice, for some reason— I had never sang in front of anyone before— for some reason, in that little hazy moment, I was like ‘yo, i wanna do this forever,’ which made no sense because I had never been in a band or even sang in front of people before. And kinda from that moment on, I kept asking, ‘hey do you wanna do this tomorrow?’ and basically, we never stopped— 11 years later here we are.
Looking back on it, it was coming into senior year of high school, at that point most people had been in bands for 10 years already. Or at least 5 or 6 years, and we were just like — ‘eh, we’ll figure it out.’
The other dudes, it just kinda took awhile to put the band together. Our manager hooked us up with Kevin, the drummer. We had a guitarist, he didn’t work out but he brought his best friend into the band— his best friend became our guitarist, that’s Brent. We’ve known Jared, we’d been hanging out and sleeping on his couch in California whenever we came out there. We didn’t even know how good he was, so whenever we had our bassist drop out he tried out and about 3 weeks later, we hit the road— that was about 6 years ago, 2013.
Could you tell us a little about the writing process behind the band’s’ newest release, “Novocaine”?
KM: I went up to NY to work with our producer, and me and him put it together. Like basically we had the music, mostly put together, and then I came in and started singing lyrics. I got this little production team in NY that I’ve used to write some of the songs with. Basically, I write with them and the band, and we all interchange our ideas together.
Basically we had a sketch of a melody, and I fit this whole slackery, boyfriend vibe over it, Because that’s the world I was living in at the time, and it kinda just took shape from there. It’s one of the more direct, most simplistic confessional songs I’ve had in a long time. Pretty bare-boned, which I feel like is a lot of the best rock songs around.
I think it’s like that middle ground, it’s that ‘I wish I could change, but I have not been able to.’ So it’s kind of half lament, half embracing that you can’t do it together. It’s like, ‘you tried.’ And it’s just that cycle, chewed up by it, indulgent, at the exact same time as it is wistfully wishing that it wasn’t so. It’s a mixed vibe, but it’s relatable, anyone who’s been a slacker instead of getting what they need to do, done.
How would you describe the making of the music video for “Novocaine”? Was there intentional meaning behind the glimpses into the TV?
KM: There was definitely some weird vignette stuff, it did work subliminally. Indulgent behaviors, things that people basically have a hard time giving up— their vices. It kinda adds to that indulgence— the girl who’s smoking a bunch, the girl eating the donuts, the guy getting tattooed, and the guy in all the jewelry— it’s really just an extra layer of texture on the scene, their vices. Plus it looked pretty cool, that was a big thing.
Are The Unlikely Candidates heading on tour again soon? Are you guys working on more music?
Mid-July we’ll be doing a lot of the east coast. and then in September we have a full US tour where we’re going up the Midwest, back down the east, and then through the middle of the country, all the way back over to California.
I think now we’re settling in, getting road dates and supporting the new single. We’re always working on new music, it’s imperative. As soon as you release something new, people are wanting more, and that’s just the rate of consumption right now.
I think I’ll probably be heading to New York to work with the same producers from “Novocaine,” and we’ll probably do something with them again to fit the same sound. I got a second single in the wings that I really like. The style is a little different, and it’s a lot more serious, content wise, but it’s another kind of interesting take. We just kind of have musical ADD and it’s hard to stick with one vibe.
There is a lot of talk these days about artists changing their ‘original sound’ and fans not being too happy about it. Do the Unlikely Candidates veer one way or the other?
KM: I think that a lot of time, a lot of people do want you to have one sound. Content-wise, it’s just that human beings are dynamic, I’ve always felt weird about doing one ‘type’ of song. I’ve got a lot of characters in my brain and I like to express them all, I want them all to come forward. “Novocaine” is more whimsical and straight forward, and this other one coming is more poetic, more ‘arty.’
If you like one song of ours, you can usually find 2 or 3 that are similar enough to push further into our discography. And then at that point you’re either a fan or you’re not, and you commit to the rest of the songs because you can find us in them.
My favorite bands have always been the people that just write good songs, and its more about the songs and changing up the style. I mean, love The Strokes, love Kings of Leon, love Oasis. Those are bands that stay very true to their sound, for the most part. But I also love the Beatles, and Blur. Those are bands that change their sound. It’s like having a bunch of different bands in one band.
What else can your listeners expect in 2019?
KM: Hopefully our song continuing to get out there, hopefully your favorite secret band gets heard by other people. But mostly, this year will be about touring and continuing to promote “Novocaine.” And producing some more singles.
Written by Stephanie Regan
For more of The Unlikely Candidates: http://theunlikelycandidates.com/music/