Los Angeles based rock band Badflower, compromised of members Josh Katz (vocals, guitar), Anthony Sonetti (drums), Alex Espiritu (bass) and Joey Morrow (guitar) are making waves on the rock scene. The band’s debut album OK, I’m Sick has garnered a significant amount of attention since its release in February of this year with track “Ghost” reaching #1 single on the Active Rock chart and “Heroin” reaching Top 10 on Active Rock.
The band, who have opened for heavy-hitters like Nothing More, Of Mice & Men, The Struts, and Greta Van Fleet, are now selling out venues across the US and bringing thousands upon thousands of fans to their sets at festivals like Welcome to Rockville and Epicenter Festival. Substream had the incredible opportunity to sit down with the band after their set at Welcome to Rockville to discuss the album, new music and everything in between.
SUBSTREAM: Your album OK, I’m Sick is doing really well with it debuting at #1 Alt New Artist, nominated for an iHeart Radio Award for Best New Rock/Alternative Artist, and performing on the James Corden Show. Was there a particular moment when you saw a shift happening in your career?
JOSH KATZ: Yeah, doing festivals. We have done support tours where nobody knows who we are but the first time we did a festival and we saw a huge crowd of people singing the words…
You’re putting out a new radio single for the song “Promise Me”. Can you tell me a little bit about what kind of place you were in mentally when you wrote that?
KATZ: I was sad about the fact that I’m almost thirty years old, really sad.
Well you don’t look thirty!
KATZ: I know and that makes me happy but I feel like I’ll get to a certain point where I look like I’m twenty-one until I look like I’m sixty. Overnight I’m going to wake up and I’m going to be an old man.
You have some songs that touch on a lot of deep issues like anxiety, depression, and suicide. Do you write your lyrics autobiographically or from a storyteller point of view?
KATZ: Both. The song “Ghost” was autobiographical but some of the songs on the record are fictional.
Can you say which ones were fictional?
KATZ: I don’t know if I want to say.
ANTHONY SONETTI: No, don’t give it away.
KATZ: All of it is derived from something that is real. Some of them are just embellishments of something I’ve observed in other people or things I’ve dealt with myself.
Do you guys write the music or lyrics first?
KATZ: It’s all in conjunction. We’ll get into a room together and jam. Like our song “Daddy” which is one of the darker songs on the album, that one was done with all of us in a room which is one of the few songs where the music came first and the lyrics came after. I remember going back and forth and saying “Guys, I think this is going to be a really fucked up song.”
Are there any songs that didn’t make the album that you might release later?
KATZ: Yeah. We’re being sort of pressured to start thinking about the next album already. We don’t want a lull in our career to happen where everything is hot and then we take a year off to make an album. We are having the pressure put on us now to start thinking about what the next album might sound like and there are a lot of songs that didn’t make the cut on this album that we may revisit.
I love the song “x ANA x” and especially the music video for it. In fact I will sometimes forgo listening to it on Spotify and just watch the youtube video. Did you guys have a hand in the direction of the video?
KATZ: Thank you and yes. That video was supposed to be really high budget and grander than it ended up being, but the day before shooting our budget was cut by a third. The theater that we were going to decided that we couldn’t do anything we wanted to do. We wanted to have pyrotechnics and the part where I’m swinging by the rope, we wanted that to be real, but we had to green screen it because they wouldn’t let us do any of that stuff. We ended up turning all the misfortunes of that video into a joke just like the song itself. It ended up being something special, but it’s nothing like we envisioned it being.
Speaking of music videos, you guys have ‘Big Bang Theory”s Johnny Galecki in your music video for “Heroin”. How did you guys get linked up with him? Is he a fan of the music ?
KATZ: He’s been a fan of our band for a while and then he became one of our best friends. He’s like family at this point.
What kind of music did you guys grow up on ?
KATZ: All different stuff. My dad played disco. No rock and roll in my house at all.
ALEX ESPIRITU: My mom liked rock and my dad liked R&B. I’m kind of scarred from the R&B.
JOEY MORROW: I grew up on a lot of 60’s and 70’s rock and early country.
SONETTI: Classic rock and 90’s rock.
If you could go back in time to give your past self advice, what would it be?
KATZ: “You’re killin’ it. Keep going.”
Whats one skill that you haven’t mastered that you would like to ?
KATZ: Getting out of my own way.
Beyond music what do you like to do in your spare time ?
KATZ: I like to build things, working with wood or renovating houses. We built our little tour van that we were touring in. We are very lucky to now be in a bus. We build our own sets, lights, music video sets and things like that.
SONETTI: If we aren’t on the road I just go home and hang out with my daughter.
ESPIRITU: I’m a big Nintendo fan. I play Zelda, Super Mario Odyssey, and I like the indie games too.
MORROW: When we aren’t on the road, which isn’t much, I like to go home and spend time with my family.
Speaking of being on tour, I saw on Instagram that you guys had an adorable guest pet fox on the tour bus. How did that come about?
KATZ: There was a man who was at the show who cares for abandoned animals. He’s got like a porcupine, foxes, and all kinds of stuff. Somehow he had the fox either at the show or near the show. He found Joey afterwards and said “Hey if you guys are interested, I’ve got this adorable little fox.” so he brought him on the bus and we played with him.
What’s next for Badflower?
KATZ: A lot of touring for the next year.