Underneath the sun-soaked palm trees and amongst the bustling streets of city folk, Bad Suns was born. Perhaps you’ve heard their sweet hooks played on your favorite radio stations, or maybe you’ve passed a stranger on the street humming the ever-so-catchy melodies in “Cardiac Arrest.” Regardless, you’ll know a Bad Suns song when you hear one. Often sourcing ‘70s and ‘80s icons such as The Clash and Elvis Costello as inspirations, their influence is clear with their celestial synths and modern-day take on minimalist rock.
In 2012, Christo Bowman, Miles Morris, Gavin Bennett, and Ray Libby came together as young post-high school lads, making music with incredibly catchy hooks and memorable melodies, in no way expecting the instant success. But after the release of their debut full-length album, Language & Perspective, they started opening for names such as The Neighbourhood and Halsey. With the help of their chart-topping singles like “Cardiac Arrest” (yes, it’s still stuck in my head and I’m not sorry about it) and “Salt,” they climbed their way out of the dense jungle of L.A. musicians and found a comfortable place in the longing and curious eyes of MTV, NYLON, Teen Vogue, and Billboard (and rightfully so).
Now, with the release of their sophomore album, Disappear Here, Bad Suns has hit the road once again on their headlining tour. I got a chance to chat with Christo Bowman before they grace the Emerald City with their show at Neumos. Take a peek.
AJ: Christo, thank you so much for chatting with us! Your Disappear Here Tour 2016 is selling out so quickly! What does it feel like to have so much anticipation for your live performances, especially in support of your sophomore release?
CB: It’s really exciting to us that people are eager enough to see our band that they plan their night in advance. The audience’s energy has been amazing every night so far. It’s wild to already have people singing the brand new songs as loud as the older ones.
AJ: I’m sure you folks have so much going on, especially with the recent release of your album. If each of you could only choose one song to describe your life’s state at this very moment, what song would you choose?
CB: “Flight of the Bumblebee”
AJ: You folks have been making music together since 2012, and since then, you’ve already gained so much success—from touring with The Neighborhood to selling out multiple shows on your own headlining tour. Looking back to when it all began, what piece of advice would you give to your pre-Bad-Suns selves?
CB: Look, the music thing is fine. It’s all about pyramid schemes. Vemma, Verve, get involved.
AJ: I heard that you folks stumbled upon the phrase “Bad Sun” on the back of a CD and that’s kind of how your name has come to be. Could you possibly share with us a few of the other alternative names you were initially looking into?
CB: You may as well ask me to do jumping jacks, in a onesie of Olaf the snowman, in the middle of a high school graduation.
AJ: It was recently Ray’s, Gavin’s, and Miles’ birthdays—happy belated birthday to all of you! When you’re on the road and there are special occasions such as these, do you folks ever have any traditions, or are there ways you like to commemorate special days at your shows?
CB: I sang Gavin happy birthday onstage at Austin City Limits and the whole crowd joined in. That was a nice moment.
AJ: While you’re on tour traveling and moving from place to place, what are some things you folks like to do when you’re not sound checking or playing at shows?
CB: Wearing zoot suits and smoking cigars at the dirty bull.
AJ: So let’s talk about Disappear Here. Christo, I read that writing Disappear Here was a very cathartic process for you. Because this album has been somewhat of a healing process for you, what would you say to others out there who are listening to your music and are maybe feeling or experiencing similar things to what you wrote about?
CB: I hope people find something in the songs, whatever that may be. It can be a bit surprising when somebody explains to me what a song has done for them. I’m often rendered speechless; it can catch you off guard if your head is busy worrying about something else. It puts things into a perspective in a warm sort of way. I suppose, to those people, I would say “thank you.”
AJ: If you could describe Disappear Here to our KXSU readers in 5 words, what would they be?
CB: Well, it’s not THAT bad.
AJ: You folks have played at quite a few festivals, Austin City Limits being the most recent. If you could come up with your own music festival lineup, who would be some of your must-have artists on the list?
CB: Alien Ant Farm, The Chainsmokers, PSY headlining.
AJ: We’re so excited to see you perform at Neumos tomorrow! Is there anything you folks want to see or do while you’re in Seattle?
CB: I’m hoping to hit the Unicorn or Shorty’s after the show. There are so many great places to play pinball in Seattle. I think the venue has a PAC-MAN machine in the dressing room as well. I’m already looking forward to this day.
Catch Bad Suns with COIN on Monday, October 24 at Neumos. Doors open at 8 p.m. Click here to for tickets and more information.
APRIL JINGCO | Long Live PAC-MAN | KXSU Digital Media Director