‘Bad Animals’ – Interview and Feature

Album artwork by Dismay Design

SEATTLE, WA – The indie rock / punk band ‘Bad Animals’ is releasing their debut full length record ‘All The Shakes’ on Tuesday, March 26th, and we couldn’t be more excited for them! In honor of their big release, Alternative Sound caught up with the band and had the chance to review their new release, and to talk with them about their new music, influences, and what it’s like to be in a Seattle rock band.

ABOUT ‘BAD ANIMALS’

Photo by Caleb Chalcraft

BIO: Musicians Wallace Brown and Cory Johnson have been playing music off and on together for almost 15 years. Their previous Seattle-based project, The Remnants, dissolved after their longtime bassist left in 2017. Now the band has reformed as Bad Animals to play their unique blend of high energy punk rock and rock & roll with the help of Eric Stallard from the prominent ska/punk group It Gets Worse on lead guitar. With the latest addition of friend and prior band mate Lucas Chalcraft on bass, Bad Animals strives to perform an electrifying, intense, and memorable live set for audiences.

Photo by Caleb Chalcraft

INTERVIEW


How long have you been playing music?

Wallace– I have been playing guitar/bass for about 15 years, which considering at my age I was a very late starter.
Eric– I started by taking piano lessons when I was 5 years old, played saxophone in band starting in middle school, and finally picked up guitar when I was in 11th grade.
Cory– Started taking piano lessons from my great grandmother at 6, alto sax in jr. high, drums at 15 and guitar/songwriting at 16.

How would you describe your sound?

Wallace– This is one of those questions that leaves me without much to say. We seem to be promoted as a “punk band” but anyone who hears our album will certainly disagree. Overall it’s just the mesh of four guys who’s playlists would look nothing alike
Eric– It’s kind of all over the place which makes things interesting for us. I think it’s punk rock at its core with a bunch of other influences mixed in. We don’t really set out to make songs in a specific genre, they just come out how they come out.
Cory– Badass

How did you decide on the name ‘Bad Animals’?

Wallace– It references our youth.

How did ‘Bad Animals’ start? Have you gone through lineup changes?

Wallace– From the day I started playing guitar Cory has always been involved in some way , our great friend Nick was also there starting at about 17 years old. Nick left our previous band and we brought in Lucas on bass and Eric on guitar.
Eric– Cory asked me to play guitar and I guess they like me because i’m still here!

Which musicians/groups inspire you the most in music? Is there a particular act that has been especially influential to you?

Wallace– I take something from every act I see.
Eric– Lately I’ve been getting a lot of inspiration from local acts as well. Question? No Answer, Sean Croizier, Tiger Rider, Burn Burn Burn, and The Kings are some of my favorites.
Cory– Been really digging The Deadset (Vancouver, Canada), Question? No Answer, Chance To Steal and Burn Burn Burn.

Not many people play in a band with members who have exactly the same musical tastes and influences. Are there ever ‘creative differences’ and if so, how do you solve them?

Wallace – Creative differences are our bread and butter. It’s never what i’d call a conflict but its what makes it hard for me to define our sound and I love that shit.
Eric– There are definitely creative differences but it brings a unique sound to the band in my opinion. The only conflicts I remember have been over which covers to play.
Cory– Absolutely but this is when conflict becomes a great thing. We talk it out and if there’s no resolution it usually doesn’t become a ‘Bad Animals’ song.

Can you describe your songwriting process?

Wallace– I write the songs at home, usually lyrics and idea for structure but nothing’s ever complete until the whole band has had input and we all pull it together as a band.
Eric– When I joined the band, about half the tracks on the album had already been written with only one guitar part in mind. I really wanted to do justice to his songs and elevate them by adding a second part without being superfluous and luckily Wally is great to bounce ideas off of. It was challenging, but I had a ton of fun working with him to come up with guitar lines that allowed us both to shine but are also integral to the music.

What is your favorite song that you’ve written? Why?

Wallace- Spitbox- because it’s weird and it slows down and it goes fast and overall just kind of a bunch of madness and I feel the whole band gets to showcase their talent prominently on that track.
Eric-
Wally writes the songs, but my favorite one to play is All The Shakes because it has a certain mood to it. You can feel the atmosphere of the room and audience change when it starts.
Cory-
Our cover of ‘New Pony’ is still one of my favorite songs to play, but ‘All The Shakes’ is my favorite and is about Wally’s late mother, who was a saint.

What does the perfect song sound like to you?

Wallace-songs that dig into the personal shit usually hold the most value to me personally
Eric-
Something dynamic, relatable, makes you think or feel something, and gets your feet moving.

Everyone knows music can be a tough industry to be a part of, from the cost, to promoting, to playing empty shows, etc. Have you ever experienced difficulties?

Wallace-nothing is guaranteed as far as how a show goes, there comes a day where music as a hobby transforms itself and has added responsibilities. You work hard, you remain professional and just continue trying to put on memorable performances regardless of turn out.
Eric-
It’s a LOT of work; more than most people on the outside realize, and there’s never enough time. So it can be pretty demoralizing when the crowd is thin, people aren’t cool, or things don’t go according to plan. I think most of us have paid our dues in other bands before so we know how to keep these things in perspective with Bad Animals being a newish band and all.

What motivates you to keep playing music, even when it’s challenging or you’re facing a lot of rejection?

Wallace- music is where all the shit goes in some weird way for me. I can write about tough stuff and in some therapeutic way deal with it. Rejection doesn’t sway me from what I love and feel I’m supposed to be doing.
Cory-
The therapy behind writing and playing music
Eric-
Masochism and self-loathing. But really, persistence is the essence of playing music. You learn that from the very first time you pick up an instrument.

What has been your favorite part of being in this band? Are there any particular moments that you recall feeling extremely happy, proud, excited, or something along those lines?

Wallace- finishing and hearing our full length for the first time
Cory-
When I heard our song on a big local radio station
Eric-
Hearing our song on Seattle radio was a surreal moment. Recording our album in four days was so intense that it was a huge relief to be finished, but I felt very proud of all of us for completing such a huge project.

A lot of really notable acts have come out of the Seattle scene. What is it like playing in a city with such a huge music history?

Wallace- it’s great, humbling and so much new great music is happening right now
Cory-
Humbling
Eric-
Being a relative newcomer to Seattle, it’s humbling and sometimes intimidating trying to measure up to such an insane amount of creative talent in this city. There’s just so much happening all the time but it’s amazing to be a part of.

Y’all have a debut album coming out March 26th! How has the process been up to this point, from deciding you want to make a record, writing, recording, naming, getting physicals or merch, and promoting? How do you feel now that it’s being released in less than two weeks?

Cory- When it was Wally, Nick and I playing 2-3 years ago Wally had one goal, “I Just want to record something badass”. Well, we’re here and then some, it’s been stressful as hell but Eric really helped push us ahead knowing what to do and who to talk to.
Eric-
When I joined the band the plan was just to practice a few songs and play some shows for fun. Everything turned out better than we had hoped and one thing just led to another. It’s been stressful at times, the logistics have been staggering, but it’s exciting when a plan comes together and I’m really stoked for the release in spite of it all. We’ve got some of our favorite bands playing with us, all our friends will be there, and people will finally get to hear what we’ve been working on!
Wallace-
Eric handles the merch/sales side of our band and we wouldn’t be anywhere near here without him. For me it’s been a blur. It feels like we’ve always been doing this.

You recently released a music video for ‘Alone and Wasted’. What was it like getting to film for your original song? How is the creative process for planning and shooting a music video different than writing and recording a record? Is it similar at all?

Eric- There wasn’t really a plan at all. Someone recommended to us a guy named Bo Olthoff who does really amazing photography and video production work. He and his brother Kyle met us at our practice space and we just spontaneously filmed it over the course of a couple of hours that evening. They were total professionals and it turned out great!  It’s definitely a lower stress situation than the recording studio since we were in their hands. I always feel awkward and silly in front of a camera, but it was a good time.

Which do you prefer: studio or stage? Why?

Cory- Stage. Cooler shit happens on stage.
Eric-
Stage. I’m awful at recording.
Wallace-
Stage. Better drinks.

Are there any gearheads in the band? If so, can you tell us about your choice gear setup?

Eric- Wally is without a doubt the gearhead of the band. Wallace-ME. I’m a bit of a psycho when it comes to gear. My set up changes almost weekly.

Besides this new record, what else does ‘Bad Animals’ have coming up? Any plans for some big shows, touring, or new merch?

Eric- We do want to go on tour this year and we’re going to start working on that after the album release. Just more shows in general outside of Seattle/ Tacoma as well.

If you could give one awesome piece of advice to musicians or music-lovers just starting out, what would you say?

Cory- Record your ideas when you don’t have an instrument around, even when you do, record everything. Embrace failure, be patient with yourself and allow constructive criticism. There’s A LOT of beauty to be had in the monotonous hard work when no one is listening.
Eric-
Always strive to improve but don’t forget to have fun. Believe in what you’re doing and people will be drawn to you. And whatever you do, don’t start a ska band!
Wallace-
in life you always gotta answer to somebody and that sucks but it’s life. Your music is yours you can do whatever the fuck you want and that in itself is amazing.

What is the number 1 reason why everyone should check out your band?
Eric-
If you don’t, we will find you.

NEW MUSIC

Official Music Video for ‘Alone and Wasted’ by All The Shakes
Directed by Bo and Kyle Olthoff


REVIEW – ‘All The Shakes’ by Bad Animals

The forthcoming debut album ‘All The Shakes’ by Seattle band ‘Bad Animals’ is the perfect record for anyone who likes punk rock and still remembers (and jams to) the rock & roll of the 80’s.

The 11-track full length is ripe with pristine drumming, catchy riffs, and sing-able, dance-able choruses. They do a great job of keeping each song true to themselves without feeling worn out or repetitive, and cover a range of topics in their lyrics, from loss to lust. Although the band is relatively new to the scene, the seasoned musicians who make up the lineup are proving with this upbeat and LOUD release that they’re here to stay.

The 45-second intro song ‘Remnants’ starts off with a heavy drum/guitar rhythm, crashing the album into existence. Then, ‘Spitbox’, a high-energy, emotionally-charged song, and next up, ‘Every Breath’, which is my personal favorite, starts out with a powerful opening riff and ends up as a slightly melancholic -though still high energy- rock song.

The title track ‘All The Shakes’ is an uptempo, boppy song with a dark side. The backing vocals stand out especially well in this track, and the sadness of the lyrics and melody are almost tangible. Later on, towards the end of the record, ‘Everything’s Yesterday’ features quick guitar work and real punk-ethos, down to the last down-beat. This track is definitely a head-banger, and the last gigantic loud song on the record, as the final song on the track list, ‘Wishing Well’ is a softer, somber song with gentler instrumentals and vocals. ‘I don’t got no one to tell / who would hear me drowning in this wishing well?’ lead vocalist Wallace Brown sings, a stark difference from the other, more aggressive lyrics featured on this record.

Overall, ‘All The Shakes’ is a great listen for anyone who is a fan of good and pure rock & roll, or those interested in local up-and-comers in the PNW scene. I would definitely keep an eye open on March 26th for this record to be released and head over to the band’s socials to keep track of what they have coming up!

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