Formed in 2008, The Unlikely Candidates have an unlikely origin story. As two members of the humble, southern-mannered five-piece tell me on a recent phone call, they probably wouldn’t be a band at all if it wasn’t for one chance encounter.
It all started when guitarist Cole Male and lead singer Kyle Morris randomly met at a party as seniors in high school. Soon enough, Male had a guitar in his hands and Morris was belting out Blink-182. “For some reason, singing with him in front of a few friends just felt amazing,” Morris says.
With not much else going on in their lives at the time, the duo says they planned to simply “figure out” music. While their classmates were preparing for college and the rest of their lives, they were starting out from square one. “Our families were massively surprised. They thought there were a lot more productive things we could be doing with our lives,” Morris says with a laugh.
Luckily, as their friendship evolved, so did their music. Despite some opposition from their small Friday Night Lights-esque town, Morris and Male formed the band, adding three more members and creating a musical bubble for themselves. “If I hadn’t met Cole and played guitar with him that night, I don’t know if I would have ever done music,” Morris admits. “I always loved music but I had no idea I could sing. If I had never done it that night, I could be a completely different person.”
That self-reflective attitude shines through in the band’s most recent EP, Danger to Myself. “It’s about self-destruction and introspection to that notion,” Morris says. Following the release of the EP the band quickly put out another single, “Oh My Dear Lord” and included it on a deluxe version of the EP. Morris tells me that the song is meant to serve as a mission statement for the EP. “I had been in that same pattern of wildness and abandon in general. That moment was a reflection on that way of life,” Morris says of the song. “Not sure if I’ve outgrown the reckless behavior just yet but it’s more about harnessing it into being something more beneficial.”
From mock-singing Blink-182 at a high school party to having Dirty Heads contribute to their song “Celebrate,” The Unlikely Candidates have taken notes from a spectrum of musical acts throughout their evolution. “You have to take full advantage of all the musicality out there, in order to make the best sounds,” Male says of the band’s influences. “I think our sound has an old-fashioned classic rock vibrato but through an alternative lens,” he adds. “Sonically and energy-wise, we’re like AWOLNATION, if AWOLNATION had come from Texas.”
With their alt-rock lens front and center on new music, these Texas rockers are gearing up to release their debut full-length album by the end of this year.
Photo credit: Sydney Angel Photography