Perhaps The Unlikely Candidates named themselves after the lack of faith in their success. “We came up with a list of 400 potential names and The Unlikely Candidates was one of the only ones that wasn’t terrible. I think Dark Horse was second. It did end up suiting us pretty well, though. Neither Cole nor I had any idea what we were doing when we started this – we’d never been in a band or really even played music when we decided to go down this path. We were pretty bad at first and none of our friends or family thought it was going to go very far, so I guess The Unlikely Candidates suits us pretty well. We’ve also always been a bit off-center and seen as outliers in the blues and country dominated Texas music scene,” admits lead singer and co-founder Kyle Morris. The journey may have been long, but they eventually prove everyone wrong by releasing their debut LP, Panther Island. The moment symbolizes a revitalization and a culmination of nearly a decade of hard work. “It’s a big moment for any band, but given the fact that we have been trying to put out a record for the last nine years, it’s an even bigger deal. We’ve been bouncing around labels and releasing EPs for the past decade. It’s amazing to add a bunch of songs to our body of work for people to get into. It definitely re-energizes us and hopefully our fans as well.”
Panther Island was conceived during the most unconventional of times.”It was written entirely during the pandemic. I wrote about what everyone was going through at the time, so, thematically, some of it reflects the chaos happening on the streets of America and the loneliness we all felt watching the pandemic unfold from our phone screens at home. There are also plenty of fun slacker anthems, introspective songs, and songs about love and loss. Sound wise it is just as diverse – we have the funky disco vibe of ‘Gemini,’ a Weezery grungy track like ‘In My Room,’ and a moody Kid Cudi inspired song in ‘How I Am.’ It’s a buffet of concept and sound.” Implementing Zoom into the writing process proved to be difficult. “It was challenging. You lose that energy of being in the room with someone, but not having to go anywhere and just being able to wake up and work with our producer across the country was convenient. Also, if a lot of people are singing and trying to get ideas going at the same time, it just gets very chaotic, so that is definitely a downside.” Kyle had to get innovative and even recorded “High Low” in his closet. “I would usually go to our producer’s studio and cut the vocals, but that was not an option. So I had to buy a good dynamic microphone and stack my closet full of things to deaden the sound so it would come out radio ready.”
He is immensely proud of their tenacity as a band. “We have gone through so many different phases and I still feel like we are discovering new sounds and ways to write all the time. The scope of what we have done has grown and we’ve matured writing wise, which has added a lot of diversity to our sound. We have toured across the country a hundred times and played to thousands. It’s been a wild ride and continues to be.” The Unlikely Candidates will be hitting the road again soon.“Definitely playing all the new songs and watching people see them live for the first time. It’s such a fresh experience and we have been waiting for this a long time. It’s going to be fun and we hope to see you out there!” If you’re lucky, they’ll be in a city near you!
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The Unlikely Candidates Showcase Their Determination in Debut LP, “Panther Island.” Photo Credit: Zach Burns.