Hermosa Beach-based Tomorrows Bad Seeds is on hiatis. Original members Moi J. Quinn (lead vocals), Matthew McEwan (guitar/keyboards), and Sean Chapman (guitar) have a new focus: LIFE.
"Tomorrows Bad Seeds is not broken up," Chapman explained during a recent phone interview. "LIFE is the product of the growth."
Although the undertones of beachy, California reggae/punk/ska/surf-rock synonymous with TBS are still present in LIFE's debut single, "R U D W N ?", Chapman makes one thing clear: he does not want LIFE to be labeled a reggae-rock band. LIFE has a 'global' sound, he explains. Maybe Chapman shares our belief that Southern California is the center of the universe?
LIFE charges ahead where The Dirty Heads were afraid to go (or recently abandoned). LIFE's debut EP creates an energetic, larger-than… LIFE sound that usurps their peers and recent predecessors by incorporating a wider range of sounds. One thing making all of the difference: Moi's vocals which channel the aggression of the punk scene, yet carry the smoothness of Bruno Mars.
You can join LIFE at their debut EP release party and performance at The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, tonight, June 18, 2014.
We spoke with guitarist Sean Chapman to discuss their fresh start and the amount of trust bestowed on TBS's loyal fan base, acquired from nearly 10 years of touring, to ride this new wave of LIFE.
OC Weekly (Jena Ardell): Abandoning nearly 82,000 fans who follow Tomorrows Bad Seeds' Twitter account to start a new, unknown band who now has 250 Twitter followers: how did you justify the risk of losing such a large social media fan base?
Guitarist, Sean Chapman: We're very confident in this project. The risk is just a part of the experience. I think a lot of bands can become diluted by worrying about success and forgetting about the music. It is hard to digest that a band would just start a fresh, new thing from scratch. I actually hope it inspires musicians to remember that you always have to keep growing. We're changing and growing up and we've evolved, so I think that risk is good. Without risk, there wouldn't be a lot of things in music that inspires us. So we're OK with the risk and embarking on the journey to make really good music that could potentially make us a really big band who pushes the envelope instead of sits in the comfort zone–that's what our goal is.
What distinguishes LIFE from Tomorrows Bad Seeds?
The sound right now is a mature transition into more of a global sound, rather than a specific genre. It's still evolving into the sound of LIFE, but it contains a lot more musical entity and we really got to pull from influences that we've always been into. Just like everybody in music, you learn how to [improve], and LIFE is a product of that.
Is it difficult as a band with a reggae sound to avoid being pigeon-holed into the 'reggae-rock band from Southern California' category?
LIFE is not that sound at all. We have reggae influence, but we're not reggae rock. [Our genre] is not specific; it's not the base of sound that Tomorrow's Bad Seeds was.
I think people like good music. If they like it for the music, than great. If they're listening to music for a genre, it is who we are: it's honest. It's as fresh as it can get. i think our [previous] fans will understand the sound of this first EP and the transition and the growth. It's up to them whether it sells or not.
L.A. is its own weird kind of zone; it's home to a lot of great musicians and art. We come from very ethnic backgrounds and we have a lot of different influences from Southern California bands… Motown, Detroit is a big influence of our sound. I feel like the identity of L.A. bands have been lost. L.A. bands have become more indie. And what happened to the punk, punk-rock, funk and even the pop culture coming out of L.A.? No, I don't think it will be hard for us to get out of CA.
What was holding you back, preventing Tomorrows Bad Seed from transitioning into this sound?
It wasn't based off the fact that we didn't think TBS couldn't evolve into this, but we kind of felt like it would be really cool to shock people a little bit and have a fresh new–like completely new–thing: different name, sound, imagery, artistry, that would spark interest in something different. Once you've claimed a spot in your world nowadays as a musician, you need to be multi-faceted and you have to know how to do a lot of things. We produce our own music; we do a lot of songwriting; we're just constantly working together and making music. We wanted to see what it would be like if we did something completely new and have fun with it and see what the audience would think. You never know what is going to happen with a piece of art or a piece of music or a band. You just have to be honest with yourself and this is an honest way for us to grow.
Do you prefer working as a trio?
Working as a trio is a lot easier for us just because we're really connected to each other, both musically and personally. We had been working as a trio for most of our career, when it comes to songwriting, and [the three of us] have been friends for a long time.
What are LIFE's summer plans?
We're going to release the EP and this year is really just based on awareness and letting people know this band exists. We're going to do some touring, play some shows, do some radio tours along the west coast and Midwest.
All that hard work pays off, not just in gaining fans, but in gaining experience in music and gaining the trust of the audience that you're going to put your heart in whatever it is you do, and I think that we've do shown our stripes in that way. Y'know and you can't please everybody, but I think–generally–this new project will hit people in a different way than our previous band did and this first EP is the perfect transition of what we came from and who we are becoming. And the second EP and album will really solidify: this is LIFE. We've all been working our butts off and we're really, really excited.
Any surprises for the release party?
We're really excited to perform at the Roxy. We have some cool packaging that we'll be announcing for some limited giveaways. We'll be performing songs that will not released [yet], which I think is kind of cool because it's such a fresh, new thing.
When making this EP, we wrote about 20 or more songs and demoed them, so we have a lot of songs that are just sitting in the vault. We want to take it easy and release this first EP, and then we might release a second EP, and then album will be underway. We're really just having a lot of fun with it and constantly writing, and building, and working with a lot of cool people who have been interested in working with us musically, like drummers who want to continue to work on our future projects. It's a fun situation. We're really lucky.
Below make sure to check out the Hurley sponsored exclusive video for OC Weekly of LIFE performing the title track from their upcoming EP 'R U D W N ?' on Break Wall in Redondo Beach.
For more info on LIFE, visit their official site: http://www.lifemusic.com/