By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
For the first time in forever, it seems, Breathe Carolina bandmates Kyle Evans and David Schmitt have a day off. And they're determined to enjoy it, so they've headed to Delaware's Dewey Beach for an afternoon of Jet Skiing, little knowing that their joyful excursion is about to go terribly awry.
"I've ridden a few times before, but this is David's first time riding a Jet Ski," Evans says by phone a few minutes after returning to dry land; Schmitt is still on the water. When asked if there've been any injuries thus far, Evans laughs. "Not yet," he says. "Just mobbin' it hard. It's fun."
For him, anyway. A few minutes later, Evans is in mid-anecdote when a commotion sounds in the background. Suddenly, he declares, "Oh, my God! What happened, brother?"
The next voice belongs to Schmitt. "I fell off it, and I fell into the water, and the Jet Ski smacked me in the fucking face," he mutters.
"David! Oh, my God!" Evans says, before offering up a description of his bandmate's wound: "David's head is bleeding like crazy! Right after you asked me about getting hurt Jet Skiing. God, Dave!"
Over the next few minutes, Evans vacillates between amusement at the absurdity of the situation ("Dude, where's the camera at?") and concern for his friend ("Damn, dude. I'm sorry, brother"). Schmitt subsequently departs to clean himself up, only to return a few minutes later needing the phone.
"I don't feel bad," he insists. "I'm gonna be fine, but [the band's bus driver and management] want me to check it out."
As for Evans, he switches phones and stays behind after being reassured that the trip to the urgent-care clinic is merely precautionary—which it turns out to be when Schmitt is given a clean bill of health.
The interview, like the band's touring schedule, must go on. Besides, Evans is accustomed to unexpected developments. After all, Breathe Carolina's career to date has been a series of them.
After meeting in high school at a battle of the bands competition, Schmitt and Evans, who'd each entered the contest with different acts, became fans of each other's work. Before long, they were friends, and eventually, they decided to share a house. Soon, they were making music together, and quickly enough, Evans got confirmation that their product wasn't all bad: A group of friends came over, looking to hear the duo's new music—and ended up cheering for more upon first listen. Inspired, the duo started posting songs on MySpace, and the online response mirrored the one they'd received in person.
The buzz attracted a sizable throng to Breathe Carolina's first gig, and when attendance escalated with each appearance, the two began to realize they had the potential to reach beyond their hometown suburban Denver crowds. Rise Records realized it too, offering the band a platform for its debut record. The resulting release, 2008's It's Classy, Not Classic, featured a slew of other tracks that stood out from the standard-issue, guitar-driven pop-punk that continues to clog the marketplace, but not in a way that put off fans of the genre.
This balancing act struck a chord with the folks at Fearless Records, who quickly snapped up the duo for a slot on the mega-selling Punk Goes Pop Volume 2 compilation and, this past August, for a Fearless Records debut called Hello Fascination. Evans describes the new disc as "way more eclectic, way more broad" than Classic. "Our horizons are way more spread out, our influences are way bigger," he says, adding that some cuts go in a darker direction and others exhibit "more of a Daft Punk feel."
Going too far along such routes could potentially alienate the very demographic that's put Breathe Carolina on the map, but Evans isn't concerned. As he puts it, "doing something different is nothing to be afraid of."
Unless you're talking about Jet Skiing.