Bad Rabbits

Hayley Kiyoko, Bearstronaut

Sun, June 28, 2015

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Cutting Room

New York, NY

Bad Rabbits
Bad Rabbits
Like some kind of sonic Pulp Fiction, Bad Rabbits fuse futuristic R&B and post-rock for a slick one-two punch.

Think Sly Stone fronting Bad Brains, and you're maybe a third of the way there. The multi-cultural Boston five-piece—Fredua "Dua" Boakye [vocals], Sheel Davé [drums], Salim Akram [guitar], Graham Masser [bass], and Santiago Araujo [guitar]—confidently struts through genres with unrestrained swagger and a whole lot of attitude. It's sexy and soulful replete with seismic falsetto about youthful love and "dirty" girls. It's bedroom music as much as it is dance floor music. It's simply American Love.

Bad Rabbits began drumming up a flurry of buzz in 2009 with their self-released EP, Stick Up Kids. Their sweaty, intense live shows solidified an impressive and devout following as they shared the stage with the likes of Wu-Tang Clan, Passion Pit, Deftones, Travie McCoy, T-Pain, GlassJaw, Common and John Legend and played the Vans Warped Tour. However, one pivotal gig with Foxy Shazam in San Francisco helped lay the preliminary groundwork for American Love in 2011.
"After we finished playing, this kid with tattoos and plugs in his ears rolled up to us," remembers Sheel. "He was pissed that he missed the show so I asked if he had a house we could play at. We grew up playing metal shows in basements, so we were down to kick it and jam. The next day, we played his kitchen. He just understood what we were doing musically, and he had all kinds of ideas. That kid was our co-producer B. Lewis."
The band flew Lewis out to Boston, and they started seriously collaborating. Over the course of 2012, they composed, recorded, and fine-tuned the songs that would eventually comprise their debut. Along the way, the group honed their style precisely.

"We wanted to bridge the gap between the two musical worlds we come from," explains Salim. "One of them is classic R&B, and the other is rock. They may seem disparate, but we tried to fuse them."

That mission is certainly accomplished on tracks like the first single and album opener, "We Can Roll". After a sultry keyboard swell, the song climaxes on an anthemic hook fortified by hulking guitars. Dua reveals, "It's like a ride or die anthem for your girlfriend or boyfriend basically. As corny as it may sound, it encompasses that feeling when you get the right person. You want the person to 'roll' anywhere and everywhere with you. It's a trap wedding song."

That theme of young love carries over to "Fall in Love", which Converse will premiere on Valentine's Day 2013. A big horn section pipes along with a swinging vocals and smooth bass. Sultry lyrics bubble up over the pulsating funk on the verse, emblematic of their grasp on 21st century R&B.

In many ways, diversity drives Bad Rabbits. The music reflects the cultural melting pot the band members embody. Sheel, Dua, and Santiago are all first-generation Americans as their parents originally hail from India, Liberia and Ghana, and Italy and Argentina respectively. As a result, the album remains all-inclusive.

"That's where the concept of American Love comes from," Sheel adds. "These diverse backgrounds forming one entity represents what America is. It reminds me of when I used to go see Deftones and GlassJaw as a kid. Their audiences weren't only into a variety of music, but they were also multi-cultural. I always thought that was so cool. We may come from different cultures, but we all bond over music."

American Love is something else that listeners worldwide can bond over. "I feel like everyone can really get to know us with this album," says Salim. "Our hope is that it will introduce new people to Bad Rabbits but also show our progression to those who have already been exposed to the band."

"We're just doing what comes naturally," Sheel concludes. "It isn't about trying to be something we're not. It's about just going with the flow ultimately. We're not forcing anything."
Sit back and fall into American Love.
Hayley Kiyoko
Music can often be more than just an escape. It can be paradise. That's precisely what it is for singer and songwriter Hayley Kiyoko. Her 2014 EP, This Side of Paradise, unlocks a brand new realm for pop music, expanding boundaries with alternative daring and electronic warmth.

She explains it best though, "This Side of Paradise is this safe zone. It's a place to dream and fantasize and make yourself feel fulfilled."

In many ways, Hayley has been working towards this solo release since growing up in Los Angeles. At five-years-old, she started pounding away at a drum kit that her dad bought. In junior high school, she eventually picked up guitar and bass, learning how to record on a four-track simultaneously. After a stint in popular girl group The Stunners, she immersed herself in cultivating a musical statement of her own, drawing from a range of influences including everything from Metric to Sia.
"I wanted to challenge what pop already is," she declares. "There are electronic elements in what I do, but it's organic and live at the same time. I aimed to find a happy medium."

In order to build that middle ground, Hayley enlisted the talents of UK producer and songwriter James Flannigan with whom she collaborated on 2013 fan favorite "Rich Youth". She flew Flannigan out to Los Angeles, and they built a makeshift studio in her parents' garage. They literally ate, breathed, and slept music while making the EP for two weeks. Moreover, Hayley wrote or co-wrote the bulk of the five-song collection herself.

Among those tracks, "Given It All" tempers airy and elegant production with an unshakable and anthemic hook, showcasing her vocal prowess. "That one is about being in a relationship and giving everything to someone," she explains. "It's got this big, powerful, and positive sound, but the lyrics tell a different story. You're really giving so much energy to the other person that you feel drained to the point where you can't give anymore. I love juxtaposing those two feelings though within the sound."

Meanwhile, "Feeding a Fire" couples a stirring beat with breathy delivery and another scorching refrain. "It's pretty self-explanatory," she goes on. "After a relationship ends, you can end up getting stuck in a certain limbo. You've got to move on, or you start feeding this fire with your ex that will eventually burn out. I think a lot of people have been in that position."
The EP's title comes from the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic of the same name. While writing music, Hayley noticed the book on a shelf and immediately felt inspired. "I loved the whole notion it implied," she adds. "It's my point-of-view though on what paradise can be."

Outside of that world, Hayley remains an in-demand actress. She's starred in everything from ABC Family's The Fosters to The CW's The Vampire Diaries, and she'll also star in both Jem and the Holograms and the highly anticipated Insidious 3. However, her musical journey has only just begun.
"I always hope I'm relatable in whatever I do," she leaves off. "Everybody should feel like they're in my world when they're listening to the music. I want them to play the EP over and over again and feel great."
Dance is a loose term, but it's also an inevitable directive. Whether on stage or on record, Boston electronic-pop quartet, Bearstronaut, has made a name in their hometown for sparking instant dance parties. Despite their rather frigid-weather Northeast origins, Bearstronaut has been dubbed "tank-top pop" due to their warm, tropical synth-pop sound.

Their growing reputation has been staked on two distinct entities: their energetic, engaging live performances, and their uber-polished, glossy home recordings. After self releasing an EP in 2009, Bearstronaut inspired the creation of one of Boston's most in-demand record labels, Vanya Records. Vanya founder Michael Marotta (the pill, WFNX) stated that he launched Vanya "just to hear Bearstronaut's 'Moniker' on vinyl" - the way the band's signature, post-disco epic was meant to be heard. After releasing the "Moniker" 7-inch in September 2011, Bearstronaut teamed up with Vanya again in November of 2012 for their home recorded EP titled, Paradice.

Bearstronaut has garnered several nominations from media and other music organizations ("Best Electronic Act," 2012 Boston Music Awards; "Best Electronic Act" and "Song of the Year," 2011 Boston Phoenix Best Music Poll; 2011 CMJ "Top Bands To See"; "Best New Act," 2010 Boston Phoenix BMP). They have also shared the stage with such acts as Passion Pit, fun., A-Trak, Bad Rabbits, St. Lucia, Surfer Blood, Araab Muzik, Body Language, Japandroids, Dragonette, Holy Fuck, and Divine Fits.
Venue Information:
The Cutting Room
44 E. 32nd St.
New York, NY, 10016