The Refrain Interview: BAD YEAR

Rooted in Midwest punk rock, Bad Year formed in 2019 and calls Milwaukee home. Inspired by heartbreak, angst, and self-reformation, Bad Year injects the scene with anthemic chorus hooks and brutal optimism. In the spirit of promoting positive aspects of empathy and mental health, their cathartic melodies are known for freely inspiring listeners with a sense of mutual understanding and hope. The group put a fresh, more decorated feel on musical incarnations and lived experiences of the past.

We had the chance to ask Bad Year a couple questions. Check it out below.

Refrain Music Blog: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. You have a new EP out now. What’s it called? 

Joey of Bad Year: Thanks for having us. Yea, we just released Faded Memories 12/16/22.

RMB: Is this your first album?

Joey of Bad Year: This is our third EP that we have released since forming in 2019. But, it’s our first release on Punkerton Records. This EP differs from our first EP “Handshakes” and our following Acoustic EP “A Moment In Time” in a lot of ways. Faded Memories shows a more instrumentally technical side of Bad Year while telling an evolutionary story of some of life’s darkest moments that made us into who we are today. 

RMB: What’s the story on how it was recorded?

Mike of Bad Year: That’s a very interesting question.  The story of how FM was recorded could be a Real Life Thriller itself.  Basically, it’s two years of work that came out of a pandemic that set limits and constraints we were forced to work within. It was a long tedious process, I think the drums were tracked in a total of three different locations.  I sacrificed my apartment and neighbors to track vocals in my closet.  And our guy Mr. Nick Rad put it all together.

RMB: Do you have a favorite song on the album? Tell us about it?

Joey of Bad Year: Killing Me is my favorite. No matter what your musical preferences are, Killing Me is just a simply structured song that is catchy, melodic and culminates impending power, energy, feel, and emotion that I think a lot of people enjoy and identify with. 

RMB: Are there any overarching themes on the album?

Mike of Bad Year: Without a doubt there is. I’ll stay mum on that for now, but I will say,  FM was written for the listener to pull what they can from it.  Hopefully you can tell us what it means to you!

RMB: Who are some of your biggest musical influences? 

Joey of Bad Year: My drum instructor John Ruka and Jim “V” Van Duesen, who taught me everything about music, drums and how to play not only in a band but WITH a band. 

Mike of Bad Year: I think BDYR pulls a lot of influence from Midwest Rooted Punk, The Lawrence Arms, Alkaline Trio types, but can grasp at those Canadians, The Flatliners and Sum 41(Yeah I said it). You know, shit that makes you feel something bigger.

RMB: What’s the one thing you are most proud of in your career so far?

Joey of Bad Year: Most of all, I am proud of how our songs have turned out and how they have impacted not only ourselves but our fans. Our songs mean a lot to us and seeing that they also positively impact listeners means the world. The quality of our songs have been brought to light through sweat and tears along with the help from the amazingly talented team that we work with. 

RMB: If you had to pitch your music to a potential fan in less than 10 seconds, what would you say? 

Joey of Bad Year: We’re a winding road of ups, downs and everything in between; in this wild wild world you’re not alone. Here’s a song that will rock your socks off.

RMB: What’s one piece of advice you’ve gotten that you think everyone needs to hear or that has meant the most to you? 

Joey of Bad Year: One of the best compliments we have received as a band from a fan, “You guys fuck”.

RMB: If you could go back in time, what’s a piece of advice you would give to a younger you?

Joey of Bad Year: Don’t give up. Don’t change a thing. You are capable of your dreams. Live fearlessly; like there is no tomorrow and it’s your last day. Follow in the footsteps of your influences and utilize the people who inspire you and enjoy the time spent with loved ones while you can before our time is up. Finally, make sure you won’t regret a thing as if this is your last day on earth. 

RMB:  What’s coming up next for your musical project?

Joey of Bad Year: Our next release will consist of a few tunes we have recently debuted at our live shows. We have also composed even darker and faster tracks that have never been heard before and have been exciting to compile as a group.

Mike of Bad Year: Clearly I second what Joey said. We are also excited to expand our reach with playing more shows farther away than we have played before.  To the horizon and beyond.

RMB: When are you going to have some vinyl available?

Mike of Bad Year: We will probably have a couple special vinyl options later in the year, so stay tuned.

RMB: How do you spend your time preparing for a show?

Mike of Bad Year: We typically like to check-in to our hotel room as early as possible.  I take a nap.  Joey hits the hot tub asap, Alex repeatedly, in quick succession, jumps in the pool, doing an arms crossed backsplash type thing to make his own wave pool he never had as a kid.  Jake wanders the halls sipping on the finest whiskey his money can buy. Then, we all rendezvous for a group hot tubbing about 34 min before the bus call to the venue to talk about what 3% means to us.

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