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Breathe Carolina's fan response left band breathless

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By Rege Behe
Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009
 

A year ago, Kyle Even and David Schmitt of the Denver-based band Breathe Carolina, were stoked that songs on their MySpace page had reached 10,000 plays.

Now, they are stunned at what has transpired on the Web site. The song "The Birds and the Bees" has 3.6 millions plays, "Gossip" has 2.6 million plays, and three more songs have broken the million mark.

"A year ago, when we were getting 10,000 (plays), we were ecstatic," Even says. "I went there last night, and there's no way that that's real."

The Take Action Tour, featuring Breathe Carolina, Cute Is What We Aim For and other bands, stops Friday at Diesel, South Side.

Breathe Carolina's success is due to a layered sound that combines the elements of Nine Inch Nails with emotive, pop-oriented vocals.

"I think it's just something different," Even says of the music.

Even and Schmitt started by recording on a software program called GarageBand and playing tapes of their songs for friends at parties. They progressed to the point where Even decided to give up a good job at a photography company, resulting in a pay cut and long hours in a Chevy van with the eight members of Breathe Carolina's entourage. Live shows are fleshed out with backing musicians, and Even says one of the most gratifying things is being able to have friends along on tour.

Even and Schmitt are the attractions and studies in contrast. Schmitt's vocals are worthy of inclusion in a boy band; Even's voice varies, backing up Schmitt then occasionally unfurling as a growl.

"A lot is just changing from me singing to me screaming," he says, noting that he's never had to adjust because of raw or damaged vocal chords. "I think after screaming for six years, I've learned how to do it right. When I scream, I kind of think of it as singing, but just vibrating your vocal chords. Instead of stressing your voice, it's kind of natural.

"At live shows, I'll just stop and smile and scream as if I have no emotions, just because it's fun that way."

The only downside of an increasing fan base is a concurrent increase in messages sent to the MySpace page. Even and Schmitt used to try to answer every e-mail; that's impossible now, although the pair try to interact with fans at every show.

"We still try to connect with people," Even says. "It's just on a different level now."

Additional Information:

Take Action Tour

Featuring: Breathe Carolina, Cute Is What We Aim For, Meg & Dia, Every Avenue, Anarbor

When: 6 p.m. Friday

Admission: $16; $19 day of show

Where: Diesel, South Side

Details: 412-431-4800, www.dieselpgh.com

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