Singled Out: Beware Of Darkness's Bloodlines
Beware Of Darkness just released their new single "Bloodlines" and to celebrate we asked Kyle Nicolaides to tell us about the track. Here is the story:
"Bloodlines" started with a 2017 session. It was a disaster.
The energy with the some of people involved was poisonous. A member had a near breakdown in the studio, and it was the one of the most uncomfortable studio experiences and worst sessions I've ever been in. It seemed like no one wanted to be there, and there was a toxic-ness in the air that just sucked the life and fun out of everything. When the day wrapped, the engineer told me he's never had a session like that in his 20 years of working with bands.
We somehow managed to cut a demo of the song, with its heart and soul intact, but looking back I think this session was the first sign that things were cracking, and then would eventually implode.
The next couple months were hell.
It felt impossible to keep a band together, I'd been through 3 drummers 2 bassists in a span of a few months, my depression, and anxiety, and anger were daily occurrences that were spiraling out of control and slowly killing me.
It felt like I was trying to keep a bomb from going off, every single day, and every single moment.
We did a lackluster tour with hired guns, and when that finished, I hit a bottom.
I felt voiceless, I didn't know who I was, I didn't know what I cared about or what I truly wanted in life, and I just remember asking, why is all of this so hard?
I'm not enjoying any of this, and I am miserable.
I dealt with more insane band member drama, and thought, I'm done, I'm over this, I'm getting absolutely nothing out of this anymore and was dedicating my entire life and wound up being taken advantage of by people I was helping.
I didn't know what to do next but small voice inside of me, almost a whisper said, go home, back to Santa Barbara, work on yourself, and do the heartwork.
Looking back, I think I had to learn who I was outside of Beware of Darkness, because up until that point, all I'd done was devote myself to it, putting off personal plans and desires because of it and I never really did anything for myself.
So that's what I did.
I wrote and recorded daily, invested in a home studio, learned music production.
Yoga was the one thing that made me feel better when I was in those dark places, so I did a 200 yoga teacher training.
I just worked on me. I attempted to build myself up in a way where I was genuinely happy with who I was, while nurturing qualities and traits no one could take away from me.
It wasn't until this year, 2019 I realized the magnitude of the depression I had.
I got sober in January, and then was cracked wide open by the universe. She held me up to the sky and broke me open like a hot steaming lobster, and that's when the healing began.
A Depression, reaching back to the initial "Bloodline" demo session, and all the way back to when was 18, a ten year span, a dead decade, of normalizing suicidal thoughts daily, being in physical pain all the time, having blow out panic attacks that felt like I was locked in the overhead compartment of a airplane as it was crashing. I couldn't think clearly, was in a continual brain fog, I'd sleep 10 hours and wake up every day feeling like a truck hit me.
And I called that life.
I finally was able to get help for that, via therapy, anti-depressants, and ancient plant medicine, and this year has been entirely devoted to mental health.
What does any of this have to do with "Bloodlines?"
Songs and their writing and recording processes are mysterious because they take you on journeys. Some you write, and don't know what they're about, and two years later it hits you, almost like a fortune, or a prophecy.
That's what happened with "Bloodlines."
At the time of the demo, the song didn't mean much to me, and I wasn't really sure why I wrote it, and now 2 years later, after all the healing and re-recording, it became an anthem for me and a celebration of life.
"Bloodlines" is a song about sticking together; whether that's with a loved one, a family member a friend, or hell, even yourself.
The song became especially personal for me when I realized with help from my therapist, that no matter how bad the depression got, no matter how many times the thoughts came telling me I didn't deserve to live, I never gave up myself, and I never gave up on music. This is what "Bloodlines" is about. Never giving up on someone no matter what they're going through.
Even if I wasn't touring or putting our music, I was still showing up every day, with my sadness and wonky faulty brain, slugging and sloshing through, trying to make music and I think that's something I can be proud of no matter what; not giving up on yourself. So that's what this song is for me.
"Bloodlines" was my first session out of depression.
Before I started healing, Braden our A&R and label president had an idea to re-cut "Bloodlines" and bring in Mark from the Killers to play bass on it.
I was so depressed, I kept saying no, no. no, kept pushing it back, because when you're depressed it's hard to find reasons to stay alive, how will you make an exception to book a recording session for yourself? You don't think anything will work out, so why bother booking a session. When you don't think you deserve your next breathe, how do you think you deserve a career in music, or to even allow yourself an hour, or a day to create? It got so bad I couldn't leave my house. I'd have friends in town touring and I just couldn't get out to see them.
The rock Braden is, he kept bringing up the idea of cutting the song and this year, when I got healthy, I agreed, and the universe could not have been more rewarding with the synchronicity for the session.
Jeff from the Smashing Pumpkins happened to randomly be in town, who'd actually toured with Mark in the Smashing Pumpkins for a while. Braden brought drummer Jon Safley in, who was phenomenal. The timing of it was celestial.
It was my first session not burdened by depression. It was so wonderful to be able to solely focus on my music, and not the demons in my head. I could listen to a guitar part just for sake of a guitar part, without having a breakdown of "Am I good enough? Will this ever be good enough, should I just kill myself?" I felt "back in the playing field of humanity," like I could care about human things again, like music, friends, and not count and justify reasons why I should be alive. To simply just be in the studio and experience the intrinsic joy of making music was a newfound gift. I could be present and actually enjoy the day as it unfolded, and I think when you watch video of the session, you can feel the lightness and buoyancy to it. It was fun.
Also, to be surrounded by members of some of the biggest rock bands in the world, who had no ego, no drama, no agenda, who actually cared and wanted to be there, was so nourishing and refreshing.
What a complete 180 turn from the initial demo session.
I respect and hold with reverence the journey and arc of a song, and am always humbled by the power of music and where it can take us.
So just listen to the voices that whisper to you and allow yourself to be swept away by the music, it may get dark, it may be wonderful, but whatever you do you're on your path.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more right here!
Singled Out: Beware Of Darkness's Bloodlines