The alternative music landscape in 2014 will be covered with new bands. 2013 had plenty of new bands arriving onto the mainstream music scene, but the best performers seemed to be established acts or imports by way of the UK or Australia, that of course with a big exception for Dan Reynolds and Imagine Dragons, who had another monster year. My personal prediction with 2014 is that bands from the U.S. will be the ones making all of the moves and the breakout act of 2014 will be a band from Los Angeles, Bad Suns.
Bad Suns already has a big single to their name in the form of “Cardiac Arrest.” The song was picked up first by L.A. rock radio giants KROQ during their local content where it became a fan favorite. After that, other stations started to pick up the track including Sirius/XM's Alt Nation. Months later, Bad Suns is signed to Vagrant Records, iTunes is behind them in full-force, and the band is considered to be a buzz band on the verge of much more. This would be remarkable for a band much older, but more so when you consider that the members of Bad Suns are all between 18 and 19 years old. So what’s it like to be that young and have so much in front of you? What does it feel like to be in a buzz band when you’re not that far removed away from being in high school?
“Honestly, I don’t really know what it’s like,” said the very genuine frontman of Bad Suns, Chris Bowman. “We’ve all been playing each other and we’ve all known each other for so long, that it doesn’t really feel like anything. Our progression has been steady so we’ve been able to keep our heads. It’s cool when we hear that a radio station adds our song or when someone says they like it. It’s fresh and exciting and it’s new for us. None of us have ever experienced anything like this before. We’ve all played in bands but we’ve never had a reaction like this. We’ve never had people really pay attention. This has been something new for us. The thing that we’re happy about is that we feel like we’re making something that’s worth talking about and worth listening to. It pushes us to work harder to keep making more music that people want to listen to. When it feels this good, you don’t want it to slip away,” added Bowman.
Bowman and co. have an extremely positive view of music and of the world. The way things are working out and their personalities suggest that their view on life and their love of creating music won’t change. Case and point, look at the band’s label Vagrant and the band establishing that particular partnership when everyone was calling all at once.
“When you go from completely unknown to all of a sudden there are people knocking the door down, it’s different,” said Bowman. “But we didn’t want to be jaded at all. When someone says, ‘hey, I like your music, let’s meet.’ I think you have to turn around and say, ‘that’s awesome, let’s do it.’ There's always something to learn. We wanted to meet with everybody. We didn’t want to make any dumb, rash decisions. We wanted to try and be as smart as possible about everything we did because being such a young band you’re susceptible to being taken advantage of and making wrong decisions.
“We had different managers and record labels contacting us. It was surreal. That was a point where it was very hectic. It went from zero to what felt like 100. With all of these people reaching out, we started booking shows in L.A. to meet with them. Vagrant was one of the labels that had contacted us pretty early on and we met with them a few times. They always felt like the best fit. They understood what we wanted to do and we were able to form a great relationship.”
There aren’t that many bands out there who would go through the same process and find a good way to make a decision like Bowman and Bad Suns did. And it’s not the first time they’ve done it either; before producer Eric Palmquist was working with bands like Wavves and Trash Talk, he had met Bad Suns. They established a relationship and eventually decided to work together. In two different sessions, the result of the pairing brought about Bad Suns’ Transpose EP. The EP was recorded in two different sessions months apart, but it sounds like each song was recorded one after the other. That comes from live tracking and then polishing, and the result is an EP that has Bad Suns becoming one of the most promising acts of 2014. Talking with Bowman, you get that if it happens then it will have happened because a group of five guys who are all relatively young are acting beyond their years, if it doesn't then they'll be plotting their next step towards whatever it is that they see fit.