Interview w/ Philly Based Pop-Punkers Bad Bye
Heading into the blustery cold of the weekend with some piping hot pop-punk for you straight out of Philadelphia called Bad Bye. These guys have been featured on the site a couple of times before with the release of their debut EP "The Worst Part Is Already Over" that has started their upward trajectory. The guys bring back the youthful spirit and enthusiasm that was omnipresent in the scene way back in the early 00's along with a strong lyrical progression and catchy as hell melodies that will get lodged inside your head for some time. Members AJ, Mike, Harrison, and Ethan were nice enough to take some time out of their busy schedules to talk about how they got started, their creative process, what it was like making their EP, and their lives away from their instruments. Here is the full transcript from our chat:
Give us your names and roles in the band?
AJ: My name is AJ, and I sing and write in the band Bad Bye.
Mike: Mike, bass player
Harrison: Harrison, guitarist
Ethan: I'm Ethan, I play guitar and sing.
How did you guys all meet and when did the group form?
AJ: We've all been friends forever, but the idea came about when my brother (Ethan) was pushing me to record something new and get back into my pop punk roots. I started compiling song ideas, a mix of new, old, really old, some-what old but kinda new, and everywhere in-between. I constantly write, but I wasn't always the best at completing things, so I dug into the archives, old choruses, melody ideas, all the bits and fragments songs are composed of, and started pulling the pieces together. I'd say everything came into fruition, at least in my mind, mid-2015.
Mike: We grew up together, met through friends at school, growing up and skateboarding
Harrison: I have been friends with AJ and Mike since high school. When I first started playing guitar they were some of the first people I ever jammed with. We played in a band in high school and jammed off and on throughout the years. Bad Bye came about as an idea from AJ and Ethan wanting to play music with friends.
Ethan: AJ's my brother and we kinda both inherited the same friends as we got older. I wanted to write and play music that I wanted to listen to, thus Bad Bye was born.
Talk about your musical influences and how they all contribute to the shape and sound of the band?
AJ: I listen to a little bit of everything, a lot a bit for that matter, but nothing stays as near and dear to my heart as the early 00's. Saves the Day, Alkaline Trio, Brand New, Get Up Kids, and just about everyone on the Drive-thru roster at the time were the soundtrack to some of the best times of my life.
Mike: New Found Glory was the first band I heard and thought to myself I need to hear more bands like this. That introduced me to bands like Sum 41, Saves the Day and Taking Back Sunday. I really loved the music and sound they had and really wanted to have that same sound when creating music.
Harrison: I had an interest in music from an early age playing in orchestra and band growing up. I started playing guitar in high school with my influences at the time coming from pop punk and alternative rock scenes. As I kept playing my influences became more broad and enjoying music from many genres. I try to incorporate different scale patterns and chord voicings to compliment the style.
Ethan: We all have similar musical tastes, at least for the most part, that influence our sound. I listen to a lot of Dangerous Summer, Saves the Day, and newer bands like Knucklepuck.
Getting started in Philly, how influential were some of the local bands that started out there, especially The Starting Line?
AJ: We had a great music scene, Harrison, Mike and I played in bands together throughout high school, and played alongside bands that would later go on to make it big, ( i.e. The Wonder Years, The Starting Line, Days Away). I'm still a huge fan and try to make it to out their shows whenever possible. The Prize Fight will always be my biggest local inspiration and they still hold it down for AJ's top 5 all time favorite albums, https://theprizefight.bandcamp.com, check it if you've never heard. Yeah man, Philly's pretty tight knit, I just hope we find a way in.
Mike: I remember how cool it was to find out Kenny formed The Starting Line was from a few towns over from us growing up. Going to see him play in small local cafes and being able to go up to him and learn about his experiences and getting advice really pushed me to think that it is possible if you work hard and stick to it, your music can get out there.
Harrison: The local music scene had a big influence early on and continues to do so. The Philly scene is very diverse, there is always new music to discover. Finding out The Starting Line was local back in the day was awesome, to see a band in the area achieving a high level of success was inspiring.
Ethan: The Starting Line is great and it's become a casual thing to run into some of the dudes in Philly, crazy to think how they big of a role they played shaping the scene.
When you guys practice and record together, how do you normally bounce musical ideas or lyrics around, is it a collective effort or is it more individually based?
AJ: Since we haven't played together for a while, I've been sending the skeletons of the songs out to the team and everyone else fleshes it out. We're just getting back into the groove and think the music will grow more collaboratively the more we play together.
Mike: AJ is really the mastermind behind this EP. He is extremely musically and artistically talented and I consider myself lucky to be able to jam with him and throw some ideas back and forth on the bass.
Harrison: The tracks so far have all been ideas AJ has been working on. Some ideas are fresh and some are ideas he had years ago. When I get a recording I learn all the chord progressions for each section then try to work on leads on my own or work off of an idea AJ may already have.
Ethan: AJ will send through a rough idea and we all just build upon that.
Let's go behind the recording of "The Worst Part Is Already Over" and what the experience was like for each of you?
AJ: So Kory Gable, the dude who recorded our EP, is a good friend of mine, he recorded my last band, https://vacations.bandcamp.com/album/make-up-your-mind-ep, and we've been tight ever since. It was great, for me to have written these handful of songs in a relatively small amount a time, shittaly (spelling?) demo'd them out in garageband, hand them off to my best friends and see them come to life, doesn't get much better than that.
Mike: I had a great experience, we drove out to Lancaster, PA to the recording studio and stayed out there for a couple of days. The recording process was fun, we laughed, drank some beers, came up with some ideas on the spot and just all in all really had a fun time recording the EP.
Harrison: recording the EP was awesome spending time with my good friends laying down the songs we have been working on was really fulfilling. When we played together in the early days recording was not as convenient, so it is good to have high quality recordings of what we are doing now.
Ethan: Recording was great, as a first time for me it's really rad to see your hard work really come to life.
What is your favorite track off the new effort that you're most proud of?
AJ: Numb, which we still refer to as Knots (tentative titles never die). I originally wrote 7 songs when we came up with this whole band idea and I ordered them as they would play onto an album, the EP is those first 3 songs. Lyrically numb feels the most real to me personally, it talks about an inner-struggle with anxiety.
Mike: My favorite track we have actually isn't on the EP, that's why I am excited to play more shows so everyone can experience what we really have to offer. If I had to pick a favorite track though it would be "Numb".
Harrison: Numb would be my favorite track as well. When we began working on this track it started to feel like we were all contributing musically and not just a backing band for AJ's songs.
Ethan: It's hard to pick favorites only putting out such a small dosage, but I will say, the best is yet to come.
What is your pick for the best place to get a cheese steak in Philly and what are some fun things you like to do in your down time?
AJ: I'm vegan, but heck my cheesesteak is just as valid as everyone else's, I'm gonna go Govinda's "chicken" cheesesteak, on a habanero wrap, not a traditional Philly cheesesteak by any means, but it's damn good. Aside from music I'm a graphic designer by trade.
Mike: Best place hands down is Geno's, if you are here visiting Philly I would tell anybody to go there. Fun things I like to do is go hiking, travel, and we all like to play Heroes of the Storm.
Harrison: Haven't had a cheesesteak in years since adopting the vegan lifestyle, but back in college Jim's on South St was my go to spot.
Ethan: It's a tough one, but I'm going Dalessandro’s. As far as fun, I like to travel. Did someone say tour?
Lastly, where do you see yourselves moving forward?
AJ: I haven't stopped writing, so aside from the mentioned 7 songs, I have a handful of others in the works. We're just have starting to play out, so that is exciting. Once it gets too cold to play out we'll record some new jams, and next summer... gonna be a blast!
Mike: Finish writing about 7-10 and get back in the studio to record a whole album, I think that would be a great experience. Also, really start playing a lot of shows.
Harrison: We are playing together regularly and working on new material, so I am looking forward to playing live shows and getting in more studio time.
Ethan: We have new songs that I'd love to share, whether that means getting on the road or back into the studio I'm all for it!
Thanks once again to AJ, Mike, Harrison, and Ethan for taking the time to do this interview. Philly always has a spot in my heart for obvious reasons as the musical love of my life Kenny Vasoli resides there, but the main reason why I love the city so much is the similarities between them and here in Boston, plus how down to earth they are and how they reciprocate that love, just like the guys did a couple of months ago when they sent me this heartfelt note along w/ their CD & some pins:
These guys forever have a spot on my heart and I'm forever grateful for all the musical gifts that they've given me, and am anxiously waiting for their arrival to the Boston area sometime in the new year! For more on Bad Bye, please 'Like' them on Facebook at this link here and check out their EP "The Worst Part Is Already Over", now available on Bandcamp conveniently located over here.