Interview: Bad Suns

Interview by Bennett Young

March 5th, 2017 @ the Rave/Eagles Club

Bad Suns, an alternative rock band from Los Angeles, will be performing at the Rave in March on their 'Heartbreaker' North American headline tour in celebration of their latest album 'Disappear Here', released on September 16th of 2016. The band experienced praise for their first album 'Language and Perspective', and has been touring in support of acts like Halsey and the 1975. 

Photo by Marisa Shirar

Christo Bowman / Vocals, Guitar 

How did Bad Suns start?

We started in the San Fernando Valley, just outside of Los Angeles and all of us have been heavily interested in music for a very long time. We all kind of went to schools in the same areas, and having things like MySpace and Facebook at the time you're able to connect. We all kind of found ourselves going to the same music clubs and that's where we met. 

After years of playing music around one another, we all got together into one band. We had all been in many bands for years, but something just felt a bit different when the four of us got in a room and played together.

What were some of your musical influences?

We were really influenced by the spirit of the bands that had come though the 80's. Bands like the Police, the Clash and the Cure. There was just something really invigorating about the music at that time. It wasn't entirely about how the music sounded, but everything that went into it and the process. I think the artists in that era were just really inspiring. 

You guys have experienced a lot of positive feedback in the last few years. What is it like gaining so much popularity so quickly?

It was really bizarre because that's what a lot of people are trying for where with us, like I said, it was just our high school band. We had been playing in garages and putting out songs and demos for years. It just so happened that one day people paid attention to the song that we put out this time around. When our song started climbing the radio charts I just thought it was ridiculous. It's hard to even register. Being able to go out on tour and sell out venues across the country, it's just a really amazing thing.

Is it crazy for your to play sold out and arena shows?

Yeah, it's pretty crazy. Its kind of hard to process. It doesn't really process as reality for a while, but you kind of wake up in the middle of it. It's weird. 

You've played on tour with the 1975, and I can see how your music works well in support of each other. Did the 1975 have an influence on your latest album 'Disappear here'?

No, not at all. Our bands came out at a similar time, and we have a lot of similar interests in music, but it's almost kind of like they're our big brothers. We like their music, and we appreciate their music, but it certainly doesn't influence us. 

What is your favorite song from 'Disappear Here'?

It's constantly changing. You have to listen to it so many times during production that I haven't listened to it in the past couple months. I really like the song 'Outskirts of Paradise'.

How do you think the writing and production of 'Disappear Here' is different from your first album 'Language and Perspective'?

It was different in the sense that a lot of the songs were written with purpose. On the first record, a lot of songs were written without the knowledge that any of them would see the light of day. This time around, we knew that that wasn't the case and that some people were going to listen to this album. We need that pressure just to push us in order to go beyond what we think is good. We're not just going to put something out that we don't think is great.

I'm sure anyone would tell you that, but same goes for us.  

Why did you decide on 'Disappear Here' as the title of the album? What does it mean to you?

During the time we were recording the album, I was rereading a book by Bret Easton Ellis called Less Than Zero - just a book that I really liked that I was reading again in passing time. There's a billboard that appears in the narrative and it says 'disappear here', and after the third or fourth time that phrase appeared, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It sounded like the most perfect top to an album.

That was essentially what we wanted to do was to create something where you could just isolate yourself and put on headphones and 'disappear'.

The album art has blue sheets with a laying arm. Whats going on there? 

Well really what happened was, we couldn't come up with an album cover. We had a few options and we didn't like any of them and then this image was presented to us. Immediately there were things about it that we liked. I remember listening to the record and looking at this picture and feeling like "Oh OK, wow," this sort of feels right. For us it's really important that the cover art and the music work with each other. We've learned not to run away from peculiarity. 

Have you guys ever played Milwaukee before?

Yeah, we've played the Rave once or twice. We've never headlined in Milwaukee though, so we,re really excited. The crowd has always been great. We played Summerfest in 2014, and we had a great time.