Since their formation, The Unlikely Candidates have worked hard from the ground up to make a name for themselves, and with a dedicated fanbase and streaming numbers growing every day, it’s safe to say that they’ve succeeded. With thousands of miles logged touring, multiple EPs and countless singles under their belts, a full-length album was clearly the next step and long overdue for the band, and with the long-awaited Panther Island out now, they’ve proven that it was well worth waiting for.
The band, who is currently out on the road in support of the album, wrote Panther Island in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which found them writing on zoom, recording music on phones and even setting up makeshift studios at home. With the album out now, we caught up with vocalist Kyle Morris to talk about the unique writing process, their exciting year so far and of course, plans for the future. Read more and listen to Panther Island now below.
Prelude Press: You guys are in the midst of an exciting year full of tour dates and the release of your debut full-length album, Panther Island! What has been the highlight of 2022 so far?
Kyle Morris [co-founder/vocalist]: Definitely getting to put out our first LP. We have been building up to this moment for the last nine years. It’s exciting to finally have it out there.
Now that it has been out for over a month and you’ve had the chance to play it live, what are some of your favorite things about Panther Island?
I really love how diverse the album is, especially to play live. On a disco-esque track like “Gemini” we can get the crowd dancing and then have them head banging when we play “In My Room.” It’s really fun to see people respond to the different sounds and the energy each song gives off.
I understand that the album had a really unique writing and recording process, which included recording on your phones. What was the most exciting part of working on the album?
We recorded during the pandemic so we had to do a lot of writing over Zoom with our producer. It was definitely challenging losing that live, in the room element, but it worked out pretty well. The most exciting part of working on the album was being able to experiment with different sounds and styles. We had time because of the shut down so we used that to our advantage and really explored some new stuff sonically.
Did you learn anything new about yourselves when working on Panther Island?
We definitely learned that we could be resourceful if we need to. Writing over Zoom, sending files to one another, building a makeshift recording booth in my closet. We knew we had to make it work and we did. I also began to use my apartment as the background for some of the songs. Learning to make that small world interesting was a challenge I found I could succeed at.
When you first set out to write the album, did you have any major goals in mind? Was there anything you knew you wanted to write about or anything you wanted to try?
We really just wanted to write stuff we thought would be interesting to us. We haven’t gotten a chance to indulge in b sides because we have never made a full record at once. We didn’t limit ourselves to any style, so we were able to write freely and enjoy the process more. I think that’s all we wanted to begin with.
How do you feel you’ve grown with the release of Panther Island?
I think these songs have opened more pathways for us to tread down in the future. Each song is a world in and of itself, so exploring those worlds leads to new ones. It has broadened our scope sonically and definitely made us more dynamic as artists.
You’ve also been celebrating the album with a handful of tour dates – what has been the highlight of these shows?
We are playing a lot of places we never have before, so that is always exciting. We played a small mountain town called Harlowton in Montana. There are only 900 people who live there and almost all of them came out. It was a special event for them and that made it one for us, as well. That was definitely a highlight of this run.
What can fans expect from an upcoming show?
We will have our particular brand of dramatics and energy as usual, but the new songs open up the vibe for different kinds of expression. So you will see us bring the new tracks to life and bring new types of performances out of us.
Do you have any other big plans for 2022?
We hope to keep touring and set up a few runs overseas. Other than that, we are putting out a video for new single “How I Am.”
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Just to check out our socials and keep any eye out for us coming to town!