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Bad Suns Rising: Bad Suns 

California’s Bad Suns refuse to serve the same dish twice

click to enlarge “We wanted to combine the idea of the rock minimalism of a band like The Strokes with the ambitious maximalism of a band like Depeche Mode,” Bad Suns’ Christo Bowman says.

Andi Elloway

“We wanted to combine the idea of the rock minimalism of a band like The Strokes with the ambitious maximalism of a band like Depeche Mode,” Bad Suns’ Christo Bowman says.

After the release of Bad Suns' debut album Language & Perspective, the band found itself on the road for a year and a half. Playing every night, guitarist/singer Christo Bowman, drummer Miles Morris, bassist Gavin Bennett and guitarist Ray Libby developed a stronger chemistry and over the months, began turning that bond into a creative surge, which became the songs that would form the band's second record.

"As soon as the album had about six months away from its release, I felt I could distance myself and move on and discover what the second album would be for us," Bowman says. "We'd been writing songs on the road already, but as soon as we were done we got right back into a room and started writing."

Led by singles "Cardiac Arrest" (which the band performed during its television debut on Conan) and "We Move Like The Ocean," Language & Perspective landed the Los Angeles quartet on several critics' best album lists of 2014. But that success didn't seem to put any additional pressure on Bad Suns as the band began approaching their follow up.

"I've been aware of the idea of the sophomore slump for the last 10 years," Bowman says. "We don't have that problem. We made this album basically the same way we made the first album. We prepared ourselves to be in that situation so we wouldn't be crumbling under pressure. We gave ourselves plenty of time to work and to write. It came easier to us."

The goal for Bad Suns' current tour is road testing some of the new songs, and with Tucson as the first performance, Bowman says to expect the live debut of some songs. The band has wrapped up recording for the as-yet-untitled new album, which is scheduled for a release later this year.

"When the band started coming together, I remember saying that we wanted to combine the idea of the rock minimalism of a band like The Strokes with the ambitious maximalism of a band like Depeche Mode. We wanted to see those two worlds meet," Bowman says. "Those influences and that idea still crosses over to this new album, but we don't chase a certain thing. We're never trying to write a song that sounds a certain way."

The best Bad Suns songs feel like the band is channeling the music, Bowman says, and the band has learned to trust the muse and follow wherever it leads.

"Some days I want to write a song, but it doesn't happen unless something is moving me on that particular day. Because of that, we don't get a lot of songs that sound the same," says Bowman, reflecting on the differences between Language & Perspective and the new music. "You'll be able to tell it's Bad Suns. It'll feel comfortable to fans of the previous album, but there are new places to go. We're not serving the same dish twice."

More by Eric Swedlund

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