Bad Suns are brave, calling their new album ‘Apocalypse Whenever’ in the middle of what could quite easily be sold as the precursor to something far more imminent. We got vocalist Christo Bowman to run us through what we need to know.
This album began with a mood board.
I had a clear idea in my head of how I wanted this album to sound, and the best way to communicate that, in the beginning, was through visuals. We love to communicate musical ideas in abstract ways, especially when we’re in the studio. Sometimes a song needs to sound like you’re speeding through a tunnel at midnight as it’s pouring rain outside, and sometimes it needs to feel like you’re lying by a pool in Los Angeles overlooking the city. It’s a very cinematic album.
The album title predates the band.
In the summer of 2005, I made a comedic “short film” about the end of the world. My friend’s dad suggested we call it ‘Apocalypse Whenever’, as a wink and a nod to Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece. Fast forward to January 2021. The working title for this album was ‘A Moment Of Reflection’. It rolls off the tongue and sounds quite elegant, but I was starting to have my doubts. It wasn’t as bold a title as the album we were making. I was taking a shower one morning, before heading to the studio, and this memory zapped into my head as if from nowhere. I just thought to myself, ‘Apocalypse Whenever’, and started laughing.
Some of these songs were written over video chat.
It was a weird year, etc. Our creative juices were overflowing in the spring of 2020, and being inactive wasn’t an option. We decided to step outside of our comfort zone and write some songs together over video chat. We live in the future now, why not? Sometimes, those sessions would be disastrous. But we struck gold with ‘Heaven Is A Place In My Head’ and ‘Life Was Easier When I Only Cared About Me’ – both quite long titles. The juice is always worth the squeeze.
Hiking and surfing helped me through the writing process.
When I’m feeling inspired, I’m prepared to sit in the same space for days on end and create. On the flip side, when I’m forced to sit in the same space for days on end, the creativity is hard to access. If I’m ever at a standstill, I know it’s time to go outside. There are quite a few lyrics on this album that came to me right before diving beneath a massive incoming wave on my surfboard. I was struggling with lyrics for one of our songs, and then one day, while hiking through the sequoias in July 2020, the words to ‘Summer Lightning’ hit me like exactly that.
‘Baby Blue Shades’ was the song that got the ball rolling.
Though it wasn’t the first song written for the album, the arrival of that song was the moment when everything clicked. It was the evening of Halloween 2019, and I was at home alone, feeling a bit dejected and lost. We all have those Halloweens… right? After hours of punching underwater, an exciting musical idea finally arrived, and once we all played it together, we knew it was time to get in the studio and release that song as soon as possible… Even if it predated the album, it would appear on by more than a year.
Taken from the February issue of Upset. Bad Suns’ album ‘Apocalypse Whenever’ is out 28th January.