The dance floor gets wild with Breathe Carolina’s fourth full-length album, Savages [Fearless Records]. The band taps into the same unbridled energy that’s turned millions of listeners into followers, but it’s even more frenetic this time around. Get ready for a frenzy from Savages.
Since first bursting on to the scene with 2008’s It’s Classy, Not Classic, the outfit has struck an inimitable alchemy between electronic music and rock. It’s that delicate balance, which consistently vaulted them ahead of the proverbial curve and into a lane of their own. That hybrid also transformed the group into a cross-genre sensation as they unleashed their acclaimed sophomore set Hello Fascination. You could easily hear their platinum-selling 2011 breakout single “Blackout” from Hell Is What You Make It piping through the hottest night spot or lighting up packed fields at Warped Tour. However, these electro-rock mavericks boldly step into fresh territory yet again on their 2014 outing.
“It’s a natural progression,” declares singer David Schmitt. “In the past year-and-a-half, I’ve probably written more than ninety songs. The reason I did that was to find the sound I was most passionate about. I grew up listening to electronic music, and I wanted to embrace that influence wholeheartedly this time around. This isn’t a new band, but it is a new sound.”
Finding that “sound” certainly wasn’t easy. Breathe Carolina briefly signed to Columbia Records in 2012 and released the single “Hit and Run”, but countless studio sessions didn’t yield what Schmitt searched for in terms of a cohesive musical vision. A year later, lifelong friend and original member Kyle Even announced his departure from the band to focus on his family, altering the dynamic drastically. Still, Schmitt bounced back. Parting ways with Columbia and re-signing with “our original home” Fearless Records, the frontman regrouped with longtime members Tommy Cooperman [guitar], Eric Armenta [drums], and Luis Bonet [keyboards, programming] and hunkered down in the studio with a singular goal.
“We’re a lot more focused now,” he affirms. “We just want to write great music. These guys have been playing with me since our first tour. Everything happened for a reason, and I don’t think we’d have the songs we have now otherwise.”
Speaking of those songs, the title track swings from wild synths into a robust refrain that’s hypnotically heavy. It serves as something of a call-to-arms for both Breathe Carolina and their fans, uniting them both.
“It’s about doing what you believe in and not caring who’s in your way,” reveals Schmitt. “You’re going to do whatever it takes to get what you want. That’s my idea of Savages. You do what you have to reach your goals and make it where you want to be. It’s that feeling like, ‘Now you’re one of us’. Be a savage. Get whatever you want out of life. It’s okay to go crazy and wild out.”
The group doesn’t lose sight of its roots at the same time. On the piercing “Sellouts”, Danny Worsnop of Asking Alexandria and Harlot delivers a vicious roar over neck-snapping guitar and skittering electronics. This one-two punch hits immediately upon impact with Worsnop’s signature scream bleeding into Schmitt’s croon.
“We wanted to include a heavy song,” he goes on. “We all grew up in metal bands, and that does filter in to what we do. Danny and I have been friends for a long time, and the night I called him, he came into the studio and did his thing. It discusses kids and the way they perceive bands and how that’s often skewed.”
On the other end of the spectrum, platinum-selling pop sensation Karmin lends a super sexy vocal cameo to the propulsive “Bang It Out”. It’s instantly irresistible and tailor made to make bodies groove. In addition, Breathe Carolina also attracted the talents of Issues singer Tyler Carter for the down-tempo poetry of “Chasing Hearts”. Building from a lush piano melody into a steamy verse, the song’s one to fall in love with.
Ultimately, Schmitt and Co. tap into deeper emotions than ever before as well. Not only does the album run a sonic gamut between genres, but it spans an entire spectrum of feelings too. “There’s a lot of real shit on this record,” the singer says. “I didn’t sugarcoat anything or try to say it uniquely. I wrote the exact words down that were coming out of my head. It’s a different side of us.”
Simultaneously, it speaks directly to the millions of fans who have supported them for the past six years. “I want people to walk away saying, ’That’s them, but dammit, that’s fucking new Breathe Carolina’,” he concludes. “I want them to come away feeling good. It’s high energy, but it’s deeper. I hope everybody wants to hear it again and again.”