By Steve Roby //
Bad Suns, an indie four-piece from Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, opened for Fitz and the Tantrums on April 3rd at the Fox Theater Oakland, describing the performance as “the biggest theater we’ve ever played.”
Showbams spoke with Christo Bowman (vocals), Gavin Bennett (bass), Ray Libby (guitar) and Miles Morris (drums) before the show about how the band formed, its musical influences, songwriting and touring on the strength of its debut, four-song EP Transpose.
Showbams: How did you guys meet, and how did the band form?
Bowman: It’s a terribly long and boring story, but essentially we met the way bands meet in Southern California, in the San Fernando Valley. We went to school together and eventually got together after a couple of years of doing our own thing. We’ve been doing Bad Suns since January of 2012, and it’s been great.
Showbams: Christo, can you tell me about your father’s record collection and the influence it had on you?
Bowman: I grew up with my parents playing world music, it wasn’t rock ‘n’ roll at all, but at a certain age, when I developed an interest in the guitar, my dad started to pull out records that he was listening to when he was a little bit younger. Elvis Costello, The Clash, The Police — that’s when I started to get excited about music and began playing it.
Showbams: Any particular Elvis Costello album?
Bowman: I’d have to say This Year’s Model.
Showbams: Describe the band’s songwriting process.
Bowman: It’s fun because it varies. Some of the songs that will be on the album we’re working on right now can be a bunch of pieces of songs that came together and ended up as one song. An example of that would be “Cardiac Arrest”. We constantly change it up and are excited about it. I feel like the quality never changes. We always work on a song until it feels like it’s a Bad Suns song that we’re proud of.
Showbams: Why did you chose to release an EP, comprised of only four songs, and what is like touring behind such a limited amount of material?
Bowman: It’s the business these days. EPs are good way to get yourselves heard first. It’s better then releasing a 15-track album for a group that no one has heard of. It’s a good way for people to start talking about the band and get ready for the full-length album.
Libby: I think an EP is a good way to get some type of interest in the group, and that’s how it works now.
Showbams: How did your EP Transpose come together?
Bennett: We originally recorded five songs in the summer of 2012 and then went back again and did five more the next summer, then picked the four we liked the best to represent the band. It’s a long process. We’ve been working with the same producer since this band started and came up with the Transpose EP.
Bowman: We did this all without a manager, record company or any of that sort of stuff. So between the four of us and our producer, we developed those four songs and then did the second half. I think you’d have a hard time figuring out what was written first. I like that aspect of it.
Showbams: What’s next for the band as far as a release?
Bowman: We’re working on the album right now. We were in the studio yesterday and then drove up here to The Fox. We’re driving back tomorrow, and it’s another day in the studio. Hopefully it will be out in the summer.
Showbams: Can you tell us the title?
Bowman: I feel like if I did, I might get in trouble (laughs).
Showbams: How is the tour going?
Morris: We just got back from South by Southwest a few weeks ago, and this is our first one-off show since then. We have another show at the Hollywood Palladium on Saturday with Fitz and the Tantrums. On April 16th, we leave to go out on the road with The 1975 for two months.
Bowman: This is our warm-up show. It’s the biggest theater we’ve ever played.
Hear the full interview with Bad Suns here and catch them perform live April 8th on “Conan”.