Before Bad Suns came to be, vocalist Christo Bowman played together with drummer Miles Morris and bassist Gavin Bennett under a different band name when Bowman had a life-changing realization.
A time period he describes as a “breakthrough,” opposed to a “breakdown,” when he realized the music they were making just wasn’t fun anymore.
“I think rejection in any way can be cause for a breakdown,” Bowman said. “But, the way we turned it into a breakthrough was we realized…no matter what happens, there’s going to be someone who doesn’t like it.”
In this case, Bowman was referring to rejection by someone whose opinion the band highly respected. However, the group was able to turn what seemed like a bad situation into something much more positive.
“I think it almost just pushed us to continue with that attitude further and write the best songs that we’re happy with,” Bowman said. “So, at the end of the day, we know as long as we’re really happy with the music we’re making, that feeling itself is so rewarding. It’s working out in a win-win sort of way, and we never compromised our ideals.”
After a transition and reflection period of sorts, the band picked up guitarist Ray Libby, who meshed well with the already established trio, and decided on a name that suited the now quartet, and thus, the indie-rock group called Bad Suns was born. Now, the Los Angeles-based band is “working harder than ever and [are] happier than ever.”
“It was taking our time,” Bowman said. “Never rushing anything. Never putting anything out that we didn’t really believe in. Just taking our time to figure out what it was that we wanted to do and what it was that we liked. Figure out what kind of music it was that we naturally wrote without just trying to rip someone off and finding our own voice in the midst of all this. And that’s the most important thing a band can do.”
Bad Suns is currently on tour with The 1975, who are also on the bill for Hangout Fest. They released their first EP “Transpose” in January 2014. For anyone who has never listened to Bad Suns before, Bowman suggests taking a listen to their first single “Cardiac Arrest.”
“If you listen to that song and like it, I’m sure (hopefully) you’ll enjoy the rest,” Bowman said. “What we wanted to achieve with the EP was have each of those four songs be a gateway, so if anyone heard one of those songs first, I think we would be happy about that and feel confident they would want to come back. That would be the overall goal.”
Though the band is still quite young, with ages ranging from 19 to 22 and having yet to headline a show of their own, Bowman sounds far beyond his years when he talks about wanting to make music that actually makes listeners “feel” something.
“I think the music that has always stuck out to me and impacted me and the whole band is the music that has caused us to feel,” he said. “If any band can create something or achieve that, that’s pretty special. We can only go off on our own tastes and our own opinions, but that’s kind of the goal for this band is to make music that actually captures somebody and makes them feel a certain way that maybe a different band didn’t make them feel.”
Bad Suns debut full-length album “Language and Perspective” is slated to release on June 20, 2014 and is now available for preorder via iTunes.
As far as venturing to the South goes, Bowman and the rest of Bad Suns are pretty excited and want festivalgoers to “expect a lot of fun” during their live performance.
“We’ve never played Alabama before,” he said. “This will be our first time, so we’re really excited. We’ve heard great things about Hangout Fest, and honestly, we can’t wait.”
Date: Friday, May 16, 5:30 to 6:15 p.m.
Stage: Red Bull Sound Select Stage