Question. Why did you decide to name the band 'Bad Business'?
Bad Business: The name Bad Business came out of a comedy web series I made with my old stoner rock band when I was living in Washington, DC. (If you're interested in this relic, you can find it here.) The premise was a bunch of failed musicians trying to act like "businessmen" in order to become famous. We wore three piece suits and ran phony board meetings, and engaged in general silliness. I started writing in the Yacht Rock genre around this time, and felt the aesthetic we created from the web series matched this new music really well, as the new music is fun, light-hearted, and radio-friendly (well, radio-friendly for 1982, but still...).
Q. What made you want to get into music?
BB: I didn't want to work in an office, but after one too many nights on the road sleeping in a van with 5 other guys, I stopped wanting to tour and now work in an office. If you're thinking to yourself "Alex, your childhood self would be so disappointed in you," you'd be correct.
Q. How did the band get started?
BB: I started Bad Business the first day I moved to New York City on New Years Day 2017. I had written a few of the songs from the record already and was thinking of releasing them under "Alex Vans" (my solo project), but I really wanted start a real band that has a recognizable sound. I met with Jay, and old friend that I met in DC at a tiki bar on Houston St in the East Village that night. He's the bass player in the band now. With the level of nervousness I imagine it takes to propose marriage, I asked Jay if he would join my Yacht Rock band. He said yes. Then several months later, we added Floris on keys. The rest is obscure history.
Q. How often are you going into the studio to create new music?
BB: I spend a lot more time demo-ing at home before we go into the studio. The band likes to have the arrangement 90% done before we go in the studio, so we can focus our time there on replicating that smooth late 70s analog sound.
Q. What is your creative process like?
BB: Every day after work right before sunset, I go over to Red Hook, Brooklyn and walk out onto the pier at Louis Valentino park. I stare at the ships sailing around the harbor. As soon as I start to ideate a melody, song title, or lyric, I immediately run home to make myself a Mai Tai, then I call the band to tell them my idea. They then tell me its no good, then offer to come over and make it better. What comes out of that process is always an entirely different song. But its important to trust the process.
Q. How would you describe your music to someone who had never heard it?
BB: Its the soundtrack in your mind when your sitting at your desk at work, day dreaming of being on the bow of a boat sailing into Sausalito. Most people give me a blank stare when I say that, so at that point I'm usually like "You know, like Steely Dan, but if they had a WAY smaller recording budget.
Q. How did the creation of "Day Job Guys" come about?
BB: Jay and I were sitting in my apartment one night talking about how we never slept because there was no time to after working pretty demanding jobs and then pushing the music thing really hard in the evening. The song is an ode to every artist without a trust fund or a record label parent who grind every single day to keep the fire and the dream alive.
Q. I'm a big fan of the title track, big summer vibes, what was the recording process of that song like?
BB: We work with two producers on everything. Abe Seiferth and Greg Teves. Both are incredible producers and arrangers. The band usually gets the vibe and the arrangement down to the point where is feels almost done. But then the delta between that and "ready for others to hear" is infinite. They help us close that gap with getting just the right type of smooth sounds, which makes recording this and the other songs we did on the record a really fun process.
Q. Which is your favourite song on the EP?
BB: Keep me in Your Heart. It shows the world that I'm a sentimental fool.
Q. How long was the recording process for it?
BB: 10x longer than I thought.
Q. What does the future hold for 'Bad Business'?
BB: Hopefully we make enough money to buy everyone in the band a boat. I think that would take a billion or so Spotify streams.