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March 15, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Pounding bass beats. Rough, bouncy synth rhythms. An occasional guitar breakdown. Lyrics about sex and partying. A series of melodic screams and growls. One of the oddest combinations of genres, a patchwork of screamo, pop and electronica, somehow seems to come together perfectly, creating Breathe Carolina.
The band, formed by Kyle Even and David Schmitt in Denver, Colo., exploded onto the dance scene with its current radio hit “Blackout” and is featured in this month’s issue of Alternative Press. Breathe Carolina will be playing at The Blue Note in support of its Blackout Forever tour with the Ready Set on March 21.
WHERE: The Blue Note
WHEN: Wednesday, 6 p.m.
COST: $16 in advance, $18 day of show
Breathe Carolina’s fused sound has evolved since the band formed in 2007 due to their growth as musicians and their transition from laptop to studio.
Schmitt remembers sitting down at his computer and messing with GarageBand and being surprised with what he created. After Schmitt and Even quit their former bands, they began experimenting. “I used to play guitar in a band, so making music electronically was a new thing for me,” Schmitt says. “We needed something new, something completely different than what we were both used to.”
Their experimentation resulted in Gossip EP. Shortly after, they released their first album, It’s Classy, Not Classic.
The band’s progression is evident. Its first album is dance-centric with a noticeable screamo factor that emits enjoyable simplicity. As the experimentation changed from laptop to studio, its sound evolved yet again. The band followed up with Hello Fascination in 2009, which blends heavy rock with danceable beats and darker lyrics.
But it’s the band’s latest effort, Hell Is What You Make It and subsequent single, “Blackout,” that made them listener-friendly for a more pop-centric, mainstream crowd.
The band assembled a list of 35 “Blackout Tips” on its Facebook fan page to go along with the successful song. Take for example No. 29: Sometimes, last night’s mistakes make the best memories.
“[‘Blackout’] was the first song we wrote for this record,” Schmitt says. “It was the easiest song to make, and I think that’s why it is so successful.” Everything that happens in the song has happened to Schmitt and Even.
The absence of screamo on the duo’s latest creation is obvious though traces linger. Schmitt says that it was the natural thing to do. “Kyle started singing, and he has a very unique voice. We wanted to push that on this record. It was one of those things … where it was really necessary.” After the album’s success, Breathe Carolina left its label for the music behemoth, Columbia Records, last December.
Kelsey Hearst, an MU student and fan of the band, fell in love with “Diamonds,” from It’s Classy, Not Classic. Hearst describes the song’s lyrics as eerie and able to express so much in so few words.
Hearst classifies the band’s style as electronic pop. “The way they combine [the instruments] creates a new sort of edgy music that’s different from the regular run-of-the-mill pop music,” she says.
Unafraid to experiment with challenging their musical abilities, Even and Schmitt continue to breathe new life into today’s pop/dance scene with their innovative style and sound.