Bad Rabbits Talk "American Love"
Wed, 20 Mar 2013 10:11:01
Marvin Gaye Photos
Bad Rabbits are the musical revolution that the world's been waiting on.
The Boston quintet treads a fine line between sexy R&B swag, rock 'n' roll soul, and alternative metal crunch. It's a delicate balance unlike anything currently out there or preceding the group. In a day and age where everybody is derivative of something else, Bad Rabbits stand alone. That's why they could very well change the game for good when their new album American Love drops on May 14.
While gearing up to hit the road with Kendrick Lamar and Steve Aoki, bassist Graham Masser spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino about American Love and so much more in this exclusive interview.
What's the vibe like when you guys are recording?
We definitely have a couple of different ways in which we write. For American Love, we wrote with a producer B. Lewis. He lived in Oakland so he'd send us some ideas. We'd write a track over it or record ideas and send them back. We'd collaborate that way. It was a little different for us. The best way we worked was to be in a room together. That's the most direct. Usually, it'll just start with someone having an idea. We'll be messing around, and I'll have a bass idea or "Dua" will have a vocal melody or Sheel will have a drum part. It stems from there. It's an organic process. It comes from that one little idea. Someone hears it and says, "Oh, that's cool!" Then, they add something to it. It forms from the bottom like that into a song.
You can hear all of those nuances when you listen to American Love on headphones.
B. Lewis added another element to the album. That's why we brought him on. He had his own unique style, and it fit really well with us. Between the five of us and him, everyone is very passionate about the songwriting and recording processes. To me, that's where everything stems from in terms of the band, the brand, and the business. We want to make those recordings as good as possible. We have so many ideas we tend to throw at the songs. We just have to chip away at them to make them more cohesive.
What's the story behind "Royal Flush"?
It's a little different from the rest of the stuff on there. It started with a demo B. Lewis sent us. Immediately, everyone really liked it. The vocal melodies are really striking. It's a unique song. It showcases a little bit of the hardcore rock elements of our band. It brings a little bit of the live element to the record. Everyone really liked it. We worked hard on honing in on those melodies and making it a captivating song. We worked on the ending to make it very powerful and epic. It's like "Can't Back Down" off of our Stick Up Kids EP. It had that ending with a triumphant feel. Once we had it done, we were like, "This sounds like the end to an album".
How did "Sayonara" come together?
It was a similar process. A lot of tracks stemmed from our ideas. To me, that one was the best example of the fusion of R&B and rock. It starts with this epic post-rock ambient intro. Then, it breaks into the verse which is a more smoothed-out R&B sound. It really captures the duality of our music.
How important is that heavy element to the music?
It's not something we contrived like, "We don't want to be just an R&B band so let's put a breakdown here". It's not like that. Personally, I grew up listening to a lot of punk rock in middle school and high school. My first band was a punk band. I went to a lot of those shows. That dynamic of a live show having a very aggressive influence in the music was something I've been listening to for a long time. At the same time, my parents raised me on Sly & the Family Stone, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson. I listened to a lot of Motown and soul at home. When I was hanging out with my friends in eighth and ninth grade, we started a punk band, and we went to shows at The Wetlands and Coney Island High. It's a natural thing for us. Sheel, Salim, and Dua really came from hardcore roots. They played in hardcore, metal, and rock bands. That's part of them. We all had similar suburban upbringings playing in garage bands with our friends. A lot of that carries over. My parents played a lot of Motown and soul. Dua grew up singing in the church. His parents played gospel for him. We all had a lot of those dual influences.
What heavy bands did you guys bond over?
I always listened to bands like Rancid, NOFX, and Less Than Jake—a little bit more on the punk tip. Dua, Salim, and Sheel love Deftones and GlassJaw. Those were big ones. Then, there's Pantera. Bad Brains is a band we all listened to.
What song speaks to you the most right now?
I really like "We Can Roll". It's a cohesive fusion of rock and R&B. The melodies are rooted in R&B, but you can hear the crunchy guitars and heavy drums over them. It's the most unique, to me.
If you were to compare American Love to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
We've always seen ourselves as the party band in PCU. Our goal has always been to be P-Funk in the new PCU [Laughs]. That still holds true for American Love. It's still a party record, but it's got the love story where the kid meets the girl. It's a party record, it's a love record, and it's a fun record.
Check out "Fall In Love":
Karmaloop’s Verge Campus Tour Powered by emuze Dates:
*with Kendrick Lamar, Steve Aoki and 5 & A Dime
April 9, 2013 Orlando, FL @ UCF Arena, University of Central Florida
April 11, 2013 Columbus, OH @ Newport Music Hall, Ohio State University
April 12, 2013 Rochester Hills, MI @ Meadow Brook Music Festival, Oakland University
April 13, 2013 Athens, OH @ University of Ohio
April 14, 2013 Buffalo, NY @ Baird Point, University of Buffalo
April 17, 2013 St Louis, MO @ Chaifetz Arena, St Louis University
April 18, 2013 Kent, OH @ MAC Center, Kent State University
April 19, 2013 Storrs, CT @ Gampel Pavilion, University of Connecticut
April 21, 2013 Lowell, MA @ Tsongas Arena, U Mass Lowell
April 24, 2013 Durham, NC @ Duke University
April 25, 2013 Williamsburg, VA @ Kaplan Arena, William & Mary
April 26, 2013 New Britain, CT @ Kaiser Gymnasium, Central CT State
April 27, 2013 Cortland, NY @ SUNY Cortland
For more info, visit www.badrabbits.com.