July 13, 2018 Interview – Josh Katz of Badflower
Without sincerity, art can fall short, not connect with an audience, or even worse, be perceived as false. Out of Los Angeles, California, the band Badflower are self-aware of such things and rather stay true to who they are as musicians than put on a face to sell records. An approach that draws a deeper connection between the listener and the band, Badflower has seen their efforts take them to new heights through the years.
First building a strong following via digital streaming, they then made their way touring with bands such as Pop Evil, Billy Talent, among others. Now, they are lighting up airwaves with their biggest single to date, “Ghost.” A young, talented band, they recently put the finishing touches on their debut album, and are eager to continue along the road that lays in front of them. Recently we caught up with Singer/Guitarist Josh Katz to talk the band’s philosophy to songwriting, the story behind “Ghost,” the work put into their debut record, human emotion, plus more.
CrypticRock.com – Badflower has been together a few years now, and have quickly picked up a lot of buzz supporting other acts on some big tours, as well as attaining highly charted positions with singles such as “Animal” and “Ghost.” First, tell us, what has the ride been like for you thus far?
Josh Katz – It’s been crazy! It still feels like we’re a band playing in our parents’ garage. I don’t think it’s quite hit us yet how many things we have accomplished, and how this thing is starting to get so big, it’s awesome!
CrypticRock.com – That’s great. Sometimes when you are working hard, you don’t have time to stop and reflect on things happening. The band’s growth has been on a steady upward incline and you successfully utilized the web as a platform to spread the word. Beyond that, what challenges have you faced in getting the word out about Badflower?
Josh Katz – Honestly, in the beginning, it was trying to get on tours. We had a lot of trouble getting other bands wanting to take us out, I’m not sure why that was. The internet thing was pretty easy – anyone can put music on the internet, people share it, and get streams, etc. Actually getting out in front of people on a physical level was pretty tricky, I’m glad we are over that hump now.
CrypticRock.com – You have gotten over that hump and continue to tour regularly. The band put out the Temper EP in 2016 and are set to release your debut full-length album at some point this year. What can you tell us about the forthcoming album?
Josh Katz – How I like to describe it is a lyric album. It’s obviously an awesome Rock album too with lots riffs, but it’s very heavy and serious content. There is a lot of pain, opinions, humor. It’s just a very emotional piece of work. We are very proud of it, and we can’t wait to put it out.
CrypticRock.com – That is very exciting to hear. The latest single, “Ghost,” has been getting some heavy airplay. Speaking of heavy content, this is as heavy as it gets while also being brutally honest. What led to the creation of the track?
Josh Katz – The things I talk about in the song, I was feeling toward of the last tour that we did. It was kind of just lingering, so when we finally got home, I believe it was the first song we actually wrote. I was inspired to write a song about exactly how I was feeling at the time without sugarcoating or burying the details in metaphors. I just wanted to say exactly what was in my head and sort of play out this negative fantasy. I didn’t really think about how other people would respond to it or think it would be a single, I just wanted to write it and I did. Now the radio is playing it, and it’s crazy.
CrypticRock.com – The song truly stops you in your tracks due to its honesty. Beyond the song, the music video is a tragic mini movie within itself. Did you develop the concept for the video?
Josh Katz – Yea, it was kind of a group effort by all of us. The first thing we thought was, we didn’t want to make a video that completely, accurately reflected every lyric of the song. We just didn’t want to tell that story, that story is already told in the song. We wanted to do something a little bit different, more cinematic, and special. This concept kind of came out of nowhere, and we played it out and did it.
CrypticRock.com – It’s a great music video. Would you say “Ghost” is sonically a good representation of the direction the band goes with the new album?
Josh Katz – Sort of, but not totally. We sort of go all over the place. We get back to the Blues Rock thing a little bit at times and then there is a lot of heavy sounding ’90s influenced songs. It’s kind of all over the spectrum of guitar driven music.
CrypticRock.com – Sounds compelling. Have you set a release date yet?
Josh Katz – No, not yet. Hopefully we will soon.
CrypticRock.com – All something to look forward to! You are currently out on tour doing headlining gigs across The States in between opening for The Struts. Seeing that you have earned a good deal of experience supporting other acts in recent years, what do you think are some of the most important lessons you have learned?
Josh Katz – Take advantage of every shower, that’s probably the most important thing. Take advantage of every shower, try to sleep, and touring will be a breeze.
CrypticRock.com – Good advice, especially since you are a high energy live band – you need to replenish and refresh. It is said an artist has their entire life to write their debut album. Would you say now that the album is complete it is direction yourself and the band were aiming for?
Josh Katz – Oh yea, 100%. It’s exactly what we needed to make. It’s the perfect representation of who we are as people and where we’re at in our lives now.
CrypticRock.com – That is good. You say it is lyrical heavy, and “Ghost” proves that. Without giving too much away, what are some topics touched on the album?
Josh Katz – “Ghost” isn’t the only song that touches on self-harm and such, that’s a heavy topic on the album. There is also domestic violence in there, we touched on that before on the Temper EP. There is a lot of anxiety and panic disorder, it’s very much about human conditions and emotions. It’s very detailed of all those things that one might go through in their life. It’s also very current, we set out to make an album that belongs in this generation for this generation. Right now there are a lot of new bands out that sound like they might as well been placed in the ’70s or the ’80s, it doesn’t really sound relative. We didn’t want to do that, so we didn’t. When you hear the album, you will understand what I mean by that. I don’t want to give too much away.
CrypticRock.com – Understood, you want to keep a sense of anticipation. Even with “Ghost,” you can already hear a sense of maturity from the Temper EP.
Josh Katz – Totally. Well, there is some immaturity on the new album too, purposefully. We preserve that youthful humor vibe. It’s all over the place. Honestly, it’s the most bipolar thing we’ve ever created.
CrypticRock.com – That’s ok though. Not all emotions are the same. That’s what being human is all about – if we always felt the same, what would be the point? It’s refreshing to hear music being made with such honest feelings. Especially now in a time with social media where people seem to have become very disconnected.
Josh Katz – I agree. I think social media is a beautiful thing, but it also does a lot of harm. I can’t say that I know that for sure, but that’s just my observation as of now. It’s very disconnected, it forces people to be disconnected and to show a version of themselves that isn’t the accurate version of themselves. That’s not a good thing.
CrypticRock.com – Right, and it also creates this yearning of wanting to be liked by hundreds, thousands, possibly millions of people that you have never met or will ever meet. This is an observation of us on a personal level, not on the utilization of social media for spreading the message of music or connecting with listeners. As individuals, we are looking for a social acceptance from so many people, and that’s not healthy as well.
Josh Katz – It’s an odd thing that happened really fast in society. It’s the norm now with everybody, and it wasn’t that way however many years ago.
CrypticRock.com – There is a bright side though, many people are becoming conscious of the behavior and changing it. Many people are starting to unplug and live in real time.
Josh Katz – It’s totally true. You know what, the next generation coming up might treat social media very differently. It will become like an old fad, it will be, “That’s what the old people did, they cared about being on Instagram all the time, etc.” The new generation may not give a shit, they will be onto something else. It could change, who knows.
CrypticRock.com – Exactly right, things do change. As far as Badflower’s sound, it is diverse. What would you say are some of your personal musical influences?
Josh Katz – I just like anything with good lyrics, I like storytelling. I don’t find that too often in Rock music, so I tend to listen to more downtempo or even folky music – bands like Dawes and Bright Eyes.
CrypticRock.com – Understood. Older Hip Hop music told a great story, too.
Josh Katz – Oh yea! I love older Hip Hop. It’s just a trend with new music in general saying, “Let’s make a song as vague as possible so everybody can relate to it a little bit. Hopefully we can be super successful and buy a house.” That’s not our philosophy with what we do. We try and make our music specific, detailed, and not vague. I don’t really care if it affects everybody in the country or world. I’m totally satisfied if only a tiny percentage of people get it, as long as they get it in the right way.
CrypticRock.com – That’s the right attitude to have. It goes back to, “We can’t all be accepted by everyone.” If your not true to yourself, what you believe in, and your vision, then what’s the point?
Josh Katz – Yes, then it’s not art. If it’s not honest, it’s not art, it’s a product pandering to people.
CrypticRock.com – Absolutely. Since you are out on tour now, and the album is coming soon, there is a lot to look forward to. It will be fun to see where it all goes. Last question. CrypticRock also covers Horror and Sci-Fi films. If you are a fan of either genre, what are some of your favorites?
Josh Katz – The Loved Ones (2009) was an excellent Horror movie. Remember The Abyss (1989)? That’s one of my favorite movies of all-time, I love that. I saw War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) and loved it, it was excellent. I love that entire remade series. I liked the first one they did best, Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), it was great.
Feature photo slide credit: Lova Nymanson