Saturday, March 2, 2024
Live Events

A Chat with Jared Hornbeek of The Unlikely Candidates

–by Laura Tucker

Today as I open my Mac, the calendar pops up to remind me that The Unlikely Candidates will be playing at the Old Rock House tonight. Of course, their show has since been cancelled due to the current world events.

But, bassist Jared Hornbeek was gracious enough to spend a half hour video chatting with me for this interview … (and spoiler alert, he couldn’t be nicer)

Here’s how it went…

Jared, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today.

We’re super bummed that you won’t be able to perform here in St. Louis on the 29th. Do you think you will be able to make those cancelled shows up at a later date?

We are trying to push everything to July but even then we might not be able to make that happen.I think the last date on our current calendar is the Firefly Festival in but it just got postponed as well. I am the guy to handles this stuff and I’m supposed to get on a call tomorrow. I tried to plan it out and to cancel everything for three weeks and then and re-evaluate. I have some phone calls to make but I think at this point, the tour is pretty much dead in the water.

Are you at all concerned about loosing the momentum that you have gained with the success of Novocaine?

Definitely, I mean, yeah! We were playing places like Albuquerque, which we haven’t done in six years and in going to Tucson for the first time and had more dates coming, and people are coming to shows because of Novocaine. We were seeing a lot of progression but now everything is pretty much on hold.

Congratulations on the recent success of Novocaine. Where were you when you first heard it on the radio? I was in Dallas; in the van by myself. The rest of the guys had heard it before. I was like, “my song’s on the radio!” (Pretending to yell out the window.)

That the song is getting so much attention..

Let’s just talk about that attention for a second.

  • “Novocaine” #2 on Alt Radio and climbing (amongst Billie Eilish)
  • “Novocaine” was on Vevo’s Most Watched Alternative Video list and has received over 8 million views.
  • ”Novocaine” is #7 on Shazam’s US Discovery Chart, #22 on Global Discovery Chart
  • Recently added to “Best Alternative of 2019” at Apple Music, Amazon, and Pandora
  • Syncs in Veronica Mars, Ray Donovan, Now! That’s What I Call Music, American Idol, The Four, NFL’s Super Bowl, and more
  • Bill Nye The Science Guy likes the band
  • Featured in on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The New York Times, Esquire Magazine, Nylon, Alternative Press, Baeble

Did you have a feeling that Novocaine would be the one? I did! I absolutely did. It’s crazy cause we’ve had singles in the past but nothing like this. Ever since that song came about – it was for me, a no-brainer, this it the one, this is it. The first melody is pretty much the chorus melody and it just beats into your head; before you even get to the chorus.

As the song was coming about, everything aligned for it properly, the video was awesome, the song was great, we got on the right tours, at the right time, and it’s just like everything really aligned. We’ve had songs go up the charts before and peak out around 35 but when it got into the top 20, we knew it had a chance as long as it keeps moving up.

You’re right up there with Billie Eilish.

Yeah, we were in the top five and then she just came out of nowhere. He jokingly said, “we wanted to tweet to her and just be like, Billie, can you just stop.”

You guys are killing it on YOU TUBE with “Novocaine” getting over 15 million views, 26 million worldwide streams, and Over 100K subscribers – and… Featured as Youtube’s Trending Artist on the Rise that’s incredible!

And now some of your other songs are also getting attention.

“Oh My Dear Lord” has over 14 million worldwide streams

“Your Love Could Start A War” has over 16 million worldwide streams

How much has You Tube changed the game for artists and for you guys personally?

You Tube is a big deal for us. It kind of came out of left field. We really didn’t know what to expect from it. We have used You Tube for years but never for building a fan base. It seems like it just happened overnight. All of a sudden, we were like, this video is getting a lot of plays. I guess it got put into the You Tube algorithm, so it just started rollin’. We’ve always kept up with comments on there and subscribers just started shooting up. What’s cool about it is that’s it’s a world-wide platform, It’s not just like radio in the US. We’re seeing fans from overseas and it’s all just building up for when we’re actually able to make it to get go to those places to play shows and see a turn out. Like we were actually in Hawaii and we’ve been getting radio play in Hawaii for the last six years but played our first show there and actually packed the venue out! We were so stoked.”We’re like, we can come and play in Hawaii now? We’re definitely going to be doing this at least once year.”

That kind of gave me the feeling that now we have fans from YouTube all over the world and now we can probably go tour Germany and people will come out. We can probably go anywhere and people will come out.

How do you come up with the ideas for the videos?

Kyle likes to get very hands on with videos. And for Novocaine, we kind of threw out an idea. We knew we wanted it to have bright colors and we wanted to to look good and have a performance but not much storyline. The director took over from there. (Novocaine was directed by Mattias Russo-Larsson) and produced by Lewis Attallah.

The videos mostly come about through the label sending over a handful of ideas and concepts, and we go through them until we find one we like. It’s such a risk though. We have a budget for it but we’re picking someone and putting trust in them. Our first video for Follow My Feet went completely to shit. The budget was like $25,000 and it ended up not getting finished. We were all hoisted in the air with cables to appear to be floating but on the last day, before Cole got his turn, they were like, we’re out of time so just jump on this trampoline.

I know it was your early work but Follow My Feet has some good music on it.

Yeah, honestly, I love that EP. Actually, when we signed on with Atlantic to do that EP, it was supposed to be a full-length album but there are songs that never got released. I wasn’t in the band yet but that list of songs are what introduced me to the band and made me a fan. I remember listening to them and I loved them. I told the guys that I wanted to tour manage them but then they needed a bassist and I was like, I have a van and a trailer, and a bass.

So you have toured with Fall Out Boy…

We have. It was a random, last minute thing. We got a phone call that they needed a replacement band. They said, can you drive to St. Louis in a day? And we played the Pageant but the one we are still in awe of is that we got to play the Ryman in Nashville with them. It was awesome that we got to fucking open that show at the Ryman.

Who would your dream tour be with?

For me, I think my dream tour would be with U2 – I’m a big U2 fan and my parents are big U2 fans. It was one of my first concerts. It’s like, over the years, you watch U2 go on tour and bring these awesome bands with them. That’s how I judge whether you’ve made it or not, if U2 is taking you on tour, you’ve made it.  It seems like the track for anyone who tours with U2, becomes something way bigger after that.

You have over 27K followers on Instagram –

Does it ever blow your minds; the idea that you can be so close to your fans?

We’ve just started doing the live stream on Wednesday’s (Streaming at 3PM CST every Wednesday on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. ) I’m actually in Wisconsin right now so I am watching them and making comments and interacting with people, but yeah, it’s crazy that we have a platform where we can connect. We get messages everyday and we answer all of them. Whether it’s a like or a comment, we open everything and respond. I like when someone is like “hey, I’m just learning to play bass” and I’ll reach out to them and video chat with them.

I remember growing up and listening to some of my favorite bands and trying to reach out to the artist and not being able to connect with them. The only way to actually meet was seeing them in person. So for me, that’s just one thing I can do to make some kid’s day or something.

So Forth Worth is home , is that where the band is now? Sheltering in Place? I have been living in Wisconsin so I flew up here and then rest of the band went to Dallas.

Are you glad to be home for a little while?

Yeah, I mean, really, “it is kind of nice to be home for a little while.” The last show we did, we thought, it could be worse. We’ve been touring for the last year and it sucks that can’t continue on and finish the tour but it is kind of relief to spend some time at home. And now, it’s looking like we’re going to be spending a lot of time at home.

The song Celebrate is really beautiful by the way. I have to say, when the show was cancelled here, I actually thought about you guys getting to go home and celebrate the success you are finally getting to enjoy with your families.

Honestly, that’s my favorite song to play live. Kevin turns the light on his phone and gets the crowd going. The song just has a lot of feeling.Its’ good.

So, I have to ask… what’s up with the pizza? Were you all pizza delivery guys or something? (See pizza merch)

For a long time, we just wanted a pizza concept, I don’t know. Our tour manager Evan came up with it. My cousin is a tattoo artist and I’m like Andy, draw this for me. That’s how I know if it will be a good design. If he’s down to draw it, it will be a good design. He recently drew a hot dog eating an ice-cream cone that may be a new shirt idea. We then had a pretty intense pizza discussion, names were dropped. Uh um… Imo’s. We will have to send them some love, St. Louis style when they come back to town.

It was a real pleasure to talk to Jared and we can’t wait to see them. On behalf of Midwest Rewind…. Thank you for helping to Flatten the hump – JUST BREATHE and we will all get through this.

 

 

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