An Interview With The Indie Duo, BAD LANDS on Their Unique Sound and Their Wild Champagne Filled Video For “Shot Gun”
Posted On 07 Apr 2015
Tag: #loveheroes, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Bad Lands, Badlands, Banks, Berlin, Cardiff, Chevy Knights, Chinawoman, Courtney, Crime Novela, Frank Ocean, Grimes, He Met Her, Hollywood, J. Lo, Jenna Arnold, Johnny, Kate, Kurt, Lana Del Rey, Liverpool, Love Heroes, Metronomy, Mowgli, My Chemical Romance, Never Land, Puffy, Rocky, Shotgun, Temples, Terrence Malick, The Doors, White House Down
Bad Lands first created a ground swell of fan adoration and media attention with their debut release “Crime Novela” (under the name He Met Her), which generated provocative videos and memorable appearances in New York, London, Berlin and Los Angeles. Their hit song “Chevy Knights” (for Mickey + Mallory) was prominently featured in the 2013 blockbuster movie White House Down, prior to the release of their single, “Love Heroes.”
Learn more about what they are up to these days and how Rocky and Mowgli first met in the following interview:
Can you remember when you guys first became a duo? How did it all come together? Where did your name come from?
In 2010 we met at a restaurant where I (Rocky) worked. Mowgli would come in all the time & while his friends had cigarettes he would chat with me about music and movies and art and basically anything & we found that we had a lot in common. He asked me if i could sing & I said “sure” (haha) so we met up in Mowgli’s home studio in Hollywood & started doing covers. After a while, a friend of ours told us he had a great space in Berlin & we decided to get out of LA & spent 6 cold, dark, awesome & adventurous months there creating and forming something that would eventually evolve into the stuff you hear today.
Our name came from the 1973 Terrence Malick film “Badlands”. It is so beautifully shot & inspirationally moves us visually & musically so we decided to adapt the name for the band. Plus having a name with the word bad in it, gave us a good vibe, since things that are bad can be good too.
You recently released an EP called Love Heroes that pays homage to iconic couples, including Puffy+ J-Lo, Kurt + Courtney, Johnny + Kate. Can you tell me about putting this collection together? What made you decide to make the songs be about these couples in particular?
We have always been into the iconic couple on the run. We are interested in particular to people who do what they feel and want even if society looks down on it. There is power behind a couple that will do anything for each other and we are enamored with the notion. We started posting infamous couples like this on our instagram, mostly as a themed series last year & that’s when we came up with the hashtag #loveheroes. After we were almost done with the EP it was obvious that should be the name of the album, since it symbolized those wild and adventurous couples. We chose the specific couples after the songs because these were some of our favorites and we felt that each couple respectively related to each song.
I just watched your video for “Shotgun”. Can you talk about the making of that very visual and artistic video?
It was such a fun afternoon, our friend Jenna Arnold was able to get a hold of a phantom camera which shoots 1200 frames per second. We noticed that there are all these really beautiful and cool videos but so many edits and cuts that take away from the coherence of the whole idea. We wanted to take one scene of us leaving our shotgun wedding and stretch it over a whole video intercut with projected scenes of car chases over us singing the song. So we invited a bunch of friends over with everything they owned that was white and bought a shit ton of champagne and basically had a party and filmed it. At the end we added some goosebumps-esque blood dripping to give it that kitchy natural born killers vibe.
More times than not, influences tend to bleed through. What bands have consistently inspired you guys?
We are so all over the board with styles & it shows in our music. We often have issues assigning a genre to our stuff, since there are influences from hip hop, electronic, alternative & even classical. We love Metronomy, Lana Del Rey, Temples, Chinawoman, The Doors, Frank Ocean & etc etc etc.
What do you guys feel is the group’s biggest accomplishment to date and what do you have your eyes set on next?
Our most exciting thing was a tour we had in the UK for 6 weeks in 2012. It was so much fun going all over the country playing to fun crowds of people who were interested in not only our music but getting to know us as well! We would meet people and they would show us their city & it was on to the next. The best was a festival we did in Cardiff, people were happy and dancing in the sun, & we got to wear sunglasses.
We are working on a new mix tape with a bunch of friends and some people we have worked with over the years. We would also love to jump on a tour with someone like Grimes or Banks to get playing for bigger audiences.
What has been the most surprising thing about the music industry?
We are really excited about global reception, we always feel like LA is our home and it is fun to realize that we can broaden our horizons and find fans all over the world. We really love traveling and discovering new people, places, music, art and anything that interests us & it is so great to expand. It feels like LA is a bubble we can pop and escape now and that is so exciting and adventurous.
How has touring been going? What have the crowds been like? Any favorite crowds or venues yet?
Honestly, we love playing for the east coast and European audiences. They dance and they get wild. There was one show that we did in Liverpool where the greenroom was actually the strip club next door. I was getting make-up tips from the girls in the bathroom & Mowgli was happily being served on old couches. It was such a grungy and cool start to the show, we were definitely feeling nirvana that night.
We have started lately trying to get culty on stage. In NEVER LAND we do this kind of spell on stage, we will both get on our knees and try to set a voodoo-esque vibe. It is a lot of fun trying to get the audience involved with how we feel when we perform these songs, so we try to incorporate something more to our performance add depth.
Can you recall an interesting or funny experience that you have had (on-stage, in studio, etc)?
When we were first in Berlin making music, we had this little studio in west Berlin. we smuggled an edible cheesecake from LA and ate slivers of it and got weird. We decided it was a good idea to leave our photo booth camera on a record the whole process. We have recently found the hard drives and we could not stop laughing. We have everything from us zoned out on one drum beat for 2 hours and us chatting about how the chip game in Berlin was nothing compared to LA, to us dancing and karaoking My Chemical Romance songs, to half an hour laugh attacks. It’s prime video.
We want them to feel free. To vibe out & let go, to have fun and be open to adventure. Generally imagine driving and cruising and bopping your head with the windows open and no destination but fun on the horizon.