Christo Bowman of Bad Suns on the Meaning of "Indie" and Why He'll Never Leave LA
Los Angeles' Bad Suns formed in 2012 and have quickly made commercial inroads via a couple of nice EPs produced by Eric Palmquist. Blending post punk influences from the late 80's with a modern indie sensibility, the band is capable of channeling both The Clash and The Cure.
From his home in Los Angeles and in anticipation of Thursday night's show with Royal Bangs, frontman Christo Bowman spoke with DC9 about why he would never live anywhere else but Los Angeles.
The band formed in 2012. How did you guys meet?
Three of us have been playing in bands together since Junior High School. We all met by playing music in other bands. We became involved in a big community of musicians. We just one day started jamming with one another and it sounded good. We decided to form a band.
Los Angeles is a very competitive scene. Have you thought about relocating?
Definitely not, I think that, for us, being in Los Angeles is great because you have all this stuff happening around you. It keeps you from being out of the loop. It works to our advantage. It helps us have access to a lot of bands and venues. We go to a lot of shows.
What was the first show you ever saw?
That was about ten years ago. It was Blink 182 and No Doubt. Our guitar player, Ray Libby, his first show was Weird Al Yankovic. That always makes me laugh.
A lot of the press write ups talk about you being influenced by post punk of the late '80s. Is that a little overstated?
I think I would say that is overstated. We all listen to a lot of different kinds of music and I don't see us limited to any one genre. I think our music is a blend of different ingredients from a lot of music that inspires us. We like certain things mixed together.
Are you comfortable being called an Indie band?
Sure, we are on an independent record label. What does that term mean? It's kind of a loaded term, I suppose. I don't let things like that really bother me. The only way we try and portray ourselves is by making music that we like. People will call us whatever they want to, but that doesn't affect us.
How does the band's songwriting process work?
It's different with every song. Everyone definitely has input during the process. I will come up with the chords and the basic song idea and we will all work out the prospective parts. It is different with each song and I think that helps us keep it fresh. There is not one set formula and it never gets tiring or boring. It's always exciting when a new song comes around.
You have an interesting singing style. Who are some of your singing inspirations?
I don't if I have vocal influences. It's kind of one of those things where you open your mouth and it comes out the way it is going to come out. I have more influences in terms of playing guitar.
How did the band end up with producer Eric Palmquist, who has worked with The Mars Volta, Wavves and Trash Talk?
We met him; we were pointed in his direction by our attorney. It's one of the advantages of living in Los Angeles. You have so many different relationships. Our whole team was put together with these relationships. Eric heard our old demo before we even had Ray in the band. Eric came across those and he heard some potential. We've established a really honest relationship with him. It's really exciting to be in the studio with him.
Will he produce the debut full length?
Yes, we are currently recording it. We were supposed to be in the studio today, but Eric is feeling under the weather.
You guys are a relatively new band. How long should a band pay its dues before finding major success?
I can answer that question by speaking from personal experience. I started writing songs at such an early age. It's been ten years now. There's always been that driving force. You have so much embarrassing time to get out of the way before you can figure out what it is you're supposed to be making. Looking back, there is a lot of stuff that I am glad that I've moved past it. You put in as much time until you feel like you've made what you wanted to make. I feel it's different for everybody. We being friends for so long before we even played together, it's totally worked in our favor. I have definitely learned so much. Being such a young band, you are susceptible to so many things. We have big aspirations and we definitely love what we do. We will see what happens and see how people react to our music.
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