Once upon a time in a land far, far away (Greensboro, North Carolina) five talented dudes came together to form a little thing called Failure Anthem. Sound familiar? If you’re a rock fan it should. Failure Anthem is burning up Sirius and Octane with their first single, “Paralyzed” off their soon-to-be-released album First World Problems. It’s an honest to goodness, not pulling any punches, rock album of epic proportions. I was beyond stoked to speak with Kile Odell, guitarist for Failure Anthem, and chat about their band and what the future holds.
Shockwave Magazine: I’m thrilled to talk to you, Kile. I have to admit I kind of snatched up this assignment as soon as I started getting press releases from Amy [Sciarretto, Atom Splitter PR.] I went over the moon for you guys. I think your band is amazing. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s jump right into the interview.
Kile Odell: *Laughs* Okay, awesome!
Failure Anthem is the name of your band. Tell us a little bit about how you came together.
KO: Well, I was working out of a studio and I had been playing in bands, and I just kind of stopped for awhile. I wrote a couple songs, and I was like, “You know, I kind of want to see what I can do with these.” So I hit up a friend of mine, J.D. [Eubanks] who is our vocalist, and he came up and he sang on them, and I was like, “Whoa!” We were both just kind of like, “These came out awesome!” so we hit up some friends that we had known for awhile, Wil [Andrews, rhythm guitar], Zane [Frye, drums], and Ryan [Nimmo, bass, backup vocals], and just kind of formed the band and went from there, and kept writing and that was that. It was a pretty easy thing.
When did you and J.D. actually hit the studio for the first time? You guys kind of burst onto the scene when you played Carolina Rebellion this year.
KO: Yes, we started working on material maybe a year and a half, two years ago.
KO: Yeah, you know, just demo’ing songs. We wrote so much music. I think we wrote like 35 songs or something like that. That was when it started though, around a year and a half, two years ago.
And then you guys got picked up by Razor & Tie.
KO: Yeah, yeah, last year we started — they contacted our management and that kind of got the ball rolling with that, and we signed with them — I think it was Octoberish? October or November. Something like that. The record was already done, so that made that kind of easy. You know, we were just like, “Alright, well, here it is! It’s finished!”
Let’s go do this now!
KO: Yeah, it was just kind of like “Okay, perfect timing,” you know? We had done all these songs and we kind of knew what the record would be, so it was perfect. Like I say, everything with this band has been like super easy, which has been different for all of us.
You mentioned that you were working in a studio. What was it like for you being on the other side of the board? Now you’re recording! You worked with Motionless in White and some other big names. So what was it like working on the other side, being the recording artist and not the guy behind the controls?
KO: It’s a little weird because I did this record, but I did it with my best friend Drew Fulk, and it was nice having days where I could just kind of sit back, and I didn’t really have to worry about anything. But then also the fact that I recorded and mixed most of the record, and he helped me mix also, I had to kind of keep an objective mindset with it. And I also had to make sure I wasn’t overthinking things, because that’s really easy to do when it’s your own project.
Tell me a little bit about First World Problems, your CD that’s coming out soon.
KO: Yeah, that’s — I think the release date is January 22nd, I believe.
KO: It’s a cool record. I think it’s a cool record. It’s kind of — it touches a lot of different areas. The title track being “First World Problems,” it’s kind of self-explanatory. I mean, it’s about people who complain about the most insignificant stuff these days when we have so much bigger things to worry about. The whole record is kind of personal like that. There’s a lot of, like, venting, or just personal struggles being talked about on the record. So I think it’s a record that people will be able to identify with pretty easily.
Thanks to Amy I’ve already gotten to listen it. It’s a regular rotation for me. I cannot wait for this thing to get released so that everyone can get their hands on it. I really think it’s going to be big. I love it.
KO: Well that’s awesome. Thank you!
That’s why I snatched up this interview. “Paralyzed” is your first single. It’s actually playing on Sirius and Octane now, right?
KO: Yes, that’s been pretty amazing. It’s in hyper-rotation I believe now.
It really is!
KO: Yeah, I have friends hitting me up constantly with pictures of their dashboard when it comes on. It’s pretty crazy having your music out there like that!
Yes, but that’s just — this is the first release and it’s blowing up. That’s a cool thing. Is that your favorite song off First World Problems, or do you have another one that you are kind of like, “This is my baby.”
KO: It is one of my favorite. It was actually the first song that we did as a band, so that was kind of like — when we got done with that we were like, “Oh, okay. Yes, this is pretty cool.” But my favorite song on the record is probably “I Won’t Say Goodbye.” It’s the most personal one to me. It’s about — I lost my mother when I was 15 years old, and that song is about that. It’s about what I went through with that. My mom was sick, and I had this belief in my mind that if I didn’t say goodbye to her that she couldn’t leave, that nothing could happen. It was just like that denial of, like, I had no control over what was happening.
I’m at a loss for words. Wow.
KO: Yes, that song is extremely personal. And that’s probably my favorite one on the record.
I’ve listened to it, like I said, over and over. I feel like you guys are no holds barred. You just put it all out there.
KO: Yeah. You have to be. I feel like you have to be. You have to kind of let yourself be vulnerable, or to let people see what you’re really all about.
That’s what I am feeling. I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing you because you haven’t made it to Florida yet. I know you guys played Vamp’d last night which is one of my favorite venues, and you’re touring with Like A Storm [LAS] on their Didgeridoo Destruction Tour. How are you finding the road? The fans? The guys in LAS?
KO: It’s been great. It’s been really good. The show last night was awesome. There were a lot of people, a lot of friends there and whatnot. It was very fun. The bands have been great too. Everybody is very friendly and accommodating and I feel like there’s no weirdness on the tour. Everyone is on the same page. The crowds have been awesome. I think it’s been a pretty perfect tour, honestly.
The LAS guys are fun. I’ve gotten to sit down and talk with them and they’re just real people, just laid back and super cool.
KO: Oh absolutely. They’re super awesome, yeah.
So what are your plans after this tour then? Do you guys have some tour dates set up after this one runs out? I notice you guys kind of finish up around the 19th of December.
KO: Yeah, somewhere around there. I think that they’re still adding a date here and there.
KO: We’re off for the holidays and then we’re starting right back into it either mid-January or the beginning of February. We don’t have anything that we can really talk about yet, but we do have stuff that’s coming up.
Are you coming to Florida?
KO: I mean, I would hope so. I love Florida. I hope we get there. We’ve got to be coming down there.
That’s what I’m thinking. That’s exactly what I’m thinking. I’m going to start bugging because I would love to see you guys come down here.
KO: That’s so close to us too. I don’t see why we wouldn’t.
Yeah, right! You’re from Greensboro. You guys are all North Carolina based, right?
KO: Yeah, we should definitely be coming to Florida. Absolutely.
So you guys have played the small clubs and now you’re playing bigger venues. Do you have a preference?
KO: You know, there’s something about a smaller venue that’s packed out where everyone is right up against the stage that is a little more intimate and is fun. But I just love playing, so you know, either-or, give them to me. I’m stoked to play.
For sure! How did you guys come up with the name Failure Anthem?
KO: That was a weird one. We had a bunch that we were tossing around and I said that one, one day, and that just seemed to be the one that it was like, everyone was into immediately. It has this underdog theme to it, which is like an anthem to people who don’t feel like they can beat the odds but they can, you know? It’s like, you have those people in life that no one thinks that they’re capable of doing things, and then — you know, we want to be the people who say, “Yeah, you can do it. You’re not stuck. You can do whatever you want to do.”
So couple that with the raw honesty in your lyrics — what do you guys hope to accomplish with your music and your message in the coming year?
KO: I mean, if we can inspire anyone, or make anyone smile or laugh at a show, just anything like that, anything positive. We’re just trying to have a positive impact on people in general.
Do you have a favorite story from the tour so far? Fan interaction? Something weird or funny that happened, on the road or on stage?
KO: I don’t know that we’ve gotten anything like really crazy yet. Our other guitarist, Will Andrews, is an odd ball and he’s hilarious. He does some ridiculous things sometimes that crack us up. Like, he likes to dance and act ridiculous sometimes at shows or after shows. But really, we haven’t — nothing too crazy yet has happened. We’re a pretty tame band.
Maybe you need to Vine or do a YouTube channel of the dancing. I think that we would love to see that.
KO: Yeah, I think that we have a clip of him shaking his booty on Facebook or something, but we should start keeping a log of the ridiculous stuff that he does every night.
You do! You need an on-the-road blog of Will’s ridiculousness.
KO: Yeah, I think that’s a good idea. I think we will start doing that!
Please do! And then we’ll make sure we publish them!
KO: *Laughs* Okay, perfect.
Sweet! I super appreciate you taking time for me. I know you guys are getting ready to take the stage tonight in San Diego. I wish you all the best of luck. I wish I was there, but that’s the wrong coast. But I figure if these boys from Greensboro can get to California then they can get to Florida, so I’ll see you soon!
KO: Oh yeah definitely. We’ll be out there.
Awesome. Kile, thank you so much! I look forward to your release and to seeing you live soon. Y’all have fun and take care!
KO: Awesome, thank you!
Catch Failure Anthem on tour before the year is over, and follow them on their website, or on Facebook. Watch the video for “Paralyzed” on YouTube. I promise you’ll thank me and thank the stars for bringing these guys into your ear holes and hearts.