Interview: BAD SUNS
(from left to right: Skyler, Gavin, Miles, and Chris)
For about a week and a half I’ve been struggling to retrieve damaged audio from the video interview I’d conducted with SoCal-based group BAD SUNS. Although the tape, when played back on the camera itself, carries the audio with apparently no issues, I had no luck transferring it into my editing software on any attempt. This is is the first video interview where something went awry in the technical sense, and I’m still pretty miffed about only being able to deliver my conversation with the rockin’ bunch to you all through text.
Nevertheless, the show they put on -and meeting the band beforehand- were both great experiences, and I highly recommend all in the area to check these guys out! Not only do they put on a really fun live show, but they’re talented well beyond their years, so don’t let their age play any part in prejudging them. One of their next gigs is on October 28th at L.A.’s iconic venue The Whisky, alongside BLOWING UP THE MOON and another wave-making young band called JETSTREAM.
BAD SUNS are: Drummer Miles Kottak, guitarist Skyler Leon, vocalist/guitarist Chris Bowman, and bassist/vocalist Gavin Bennett.
Leja: So you guys are from Woodland Hills. And this is your first time playing the Viper Room?
Chris: This is our second 21+ show. We’ve played On the Rocks at the Roxy a few months ago, and that was really cool. Yeah, sounds great in there, we’re all excited. Sound check sounded awesome.
Leja (to Miles): So I saw on your Facebook that you got a new tattoo? Could you explain what it signifies?
(Skyler grins and runs up to Miles, forcing his shirt sleeve up with a laugh.)
Miles: It’s about… Satan! (he laughs and pulls his sleeve up further, moving closer to the camera and displaying a clock face with Roman Numerals, with inset and surrounding layers of modern, Arabic numerals) Nah, haha. I don’t really want to go into it because it’s really hard to explain, but it means a lot to me.
Skyler: It’s… it’s cute.
Leja: Oh, I’m sorry! So what age did you guys start playing music? And what were some of your early favorites that inspired you to?
Chris: Well, we’ve been playing individually for years. I mean, I seriously started playing music when I was about nine, and all of us have been for a long time. We started playing together, though, about three years ago now. We (he motions to Skyler) kinda had our own little band going, and we sorta decided we needed to branch out a little bit. And we ended up looking for a bass player and a drummer (he motions to Chris, and then to Miles). The three of us met in school and we met [Miles] through another band that I was playing with for a little while. We’ve been playing together for… uh, it’s been about two and a half years. And we just changed our name to BAD SUNS, a little under six months [ago] I think. And it’s been going really well so far.
Leja: And then, you guys just shot a music video for your song “Not Quite Myself?”
Chris: Yeah, well, we’ve been filming for quite a while. We started filming September 5th, I think it was, and we’d kinda go in and look at the video. We had [as] our director Trent Siggard, who does all our stuff with pictures. He’s great. We’d take the shots or whatever and we’d go in and do rough cuts, and say, “Well this is missing; we can make this a little bit better.” And he’s a really good friend of ours and he does everything with us, pretty much, for free. We’re kind of his guinea pigs, so we have the benefit of kinda being able to go in and redo things if we need to. So it’s a really cool relationship we have, so I think the video’s gonna end up looking really good. And we should have everything all done this week.”
Leja: So is there a concept behind the video you’re working on?
Chris: A very loose concept. I wouldn’t say “concept” as much as just a series of events stringing together. But it looks cool. We’re happy with it. (the other guys nod in agreement)
Leja: So are you guys working on an album still, or do you have one out already?
Skyler: We’re working on it.
Chris: We’re working on just piecing songs together. We’ve been recording songs in various studios, and we’ve had a lot of great [working] opportunities. The plan is, sort of, to get an EP together pretty soon, but for now we’re just sort of honing in on our sound and writing, and getting dialed in.
Leja: Hopefully this isn’t an uncomfortable question for you, Miles, but since drumming obviously runs in your family (with Tommy Lee being your uncle, your dad James Kottak being drummer of SCORPIONS, and your mom Athena Lee also being the drummer of KRUNK), did they impart any good advice on you about what to expect in this business, or have any of them kinda “mentored” you?
Miles: Well, not really lessons. I’m kinda self-taught. Good advice, I get it all the time from my dad. I’ve kinda been around the scene, so I kinda know what to expect already. So that’s cool…
Leja: Have you guys played with any of the other bands on tonight’s lineup at all?
Chris: No, all new bands we’ll be playing with. But I’ve check ’em out, but they’re cool and we’re excited to see what they sound like live.
Leja: Any other announcements you want to make to the people out there viewing this? And where can people check you out and, eventually, get your stuff online?
Skyler: (starts to give a link but then isn’t sure it’s right)
Chris: (interrupts) NOPE, NOPE! (laughs) I’ll take care of it.
Skyler: (laughs) Okay, okay dude go for it.
Chris: Hit us up at facebook.com/badsuns, twitter.com/thebadsuns … Um… I guess that’s it! Then there’s youtube.com/badsunsvideo. We put up new updates all the time, and the band’s constantly growing, so… we’re all really excited, and it’s going well!