Bad Wave’s Tucker Tota is rather modest when it comes to considering the Los Angeles band’s appeal, a common attitude new bands have towards their success. When asked to describe the duo, his three-word response: “Greatest. Ever. Maybe?” is cheeky, certainly, but also indicative of the confidence he and Patrick Hart are afraid to possess.
The self-confessed tech junkies describe themselves as: “Run of the mill nerdy guys pretending to be musicians.” They’re hoping to use 2017 as a fresh start to their music: “We’re ready to take Bad Wave to a new level and try some new stuff, we started out last year in a really specific genre and now we’re just whatever we want to be.” The pair have recently released two new singles called ‘Time to Get Lost’ and ‘1955’ that both occupy a very different style to their previous efforts.
They offer something for both fans of Vampire Weekend and Joy Division, their sound is a fine line between vivacious indie-pop and gloomy synth-pop, a genre developed from the 1980s. Members Tucker Tota and Patrick Hart take influence from the ‘80s/’90s eras not only in their music but also in their aesthetic, from their single artwork: “Our inspirations come from a comic book or a painting that we like.” To their music videos, that are entirely directed and created by the song writing half of the band, Tucker Tota, who even admitted to tossing up between being a musician or film director during college.
Bad Wave, which coincidentally comes from the Chilean phrase meaning “bad vibes” did possess quite a cynical attitude towards their talent. Tota declared that calling music their career is a “push” after predicting no one would turn up to a UK show if they journeyed over here. So when did the cock-sure persona of the ’80s bands, like Pet Shop Boys and Spandau Ballet end and this doubtful, almost bitter attitude begin that a number of bands seem to have today? Many contemporary bands idolise these kinds of artists but are too afraid to compete against them and would rather just admire them from afar instead of getting stuck in and saying: “We’re the greatest ever, definitely.”
Or is it just that our generation has more to be cynical about? When asked about their motive for their lyrical choices, in specific their new very politically motivated track ‘Time to Get Lost’, Hart explained the catalyst for the song creation: “It’s like my political frustration, if people can relate to it that’s cool but I don’t think I aim to make a political anthem. I think a song about Donald Trump and a song about falling in love can be equally as powerful, it’s just about sharing human experience.
Bad Wave may not follow in the footsteps of classic stars in the way they carry themselves but admire them whilst still being cautious of being “too weird”. They are very aware of taking inspiration but dulling it down to appeal to people today: “We definitely listen to a wide pallet of stuff, our sound is cool cos it’s hip and happening right now but it’s not what we want to stay as, we want to experiment, it’s always about a balance of not being too weird but still pushing and challenging listeners and ourselves, which I do think comes from people from the past.” Synth-pop arose from the duller, ominous sounds and transformed into more exciting, fresh synth-pop. It was a time for experimentation in music through elements such as futuristic sounds that were probably considered “weird” at first but people had the guts to try it out.
The pair are rather dissimilar, Tota’s taste favours the singer-songwriter style whilst Hart’s is on the: “weird production side”. The duo believes this contrasting combination is what makes them appeal to a contemporary audience.
Bad Wave have many things left to prove if they want to continue to grow. What they retain in talent and flair, they lack in confidence. The music industry is highly competitive, but as artists you can’t be so open to rolling over to make space for your competitors whilst knocking yourself off the shelf in the process. Bad Wave, you suspect, haven’t yet found that conviction that will keeping them afloat rather than sinking in this competitive music industry.