Bad Design

Bad Design - January 2012

Bad Design Session
Violitionist Sessions

Session Date: January 7, 2012
Posting Date: January 30, 2012
Artist Hometown: Denton, TX
Links:, Tumblr, Facebook
Recorded by: Michael Briggs

Knockout Rose
The Whale
The Librarian
ONE: Could you tell us about the concept behind your new album, and the writing process that created it?
Clint Sawyer: We have a really open writing style. Someone will bring something to the table, and it kind of puts itself together.
Steven Altuna: Yeah, I don’t know if it’s planned that people bring anything to the table…
John Paul Hossley: It usually starts from a jam…
John Gillespie: I usually bring the table.
Steven: Whatever sticks, everybody agrees on it, and then we kind of imagine it as a soundtrack to something, and then, as we play, and the jibber-jabber that I’m singing…something will stick out and start to make sense, and that’s usually based on the theme of what we think the soundtrack is, and then all of the lyrics and everything get worked out over several sessions—
Clint: You’re pretty on-the-spot with the lyrics, man. You pull them down pretty good.
JP: Yeah, lyrics come out of Steve pretty easily.
John: On this record, I think eight of the songs were written before I…
Steven: Yeah, you’re probably right. We wanted to get into the studio as quick as we could with John, and that’s why we recorded an EP before this. I think those were the only three or four songs that we knew as a four-piece.
TWO: What are your artistic backgrounds, and what role do art and design play in the band?
John: None.
Steven: It’s all made up. No…I graduated with a degree in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of California in Orange County. I’ve done a lot of art before that of all different types. I’m artistically ADD, I guess. I just have to be doing everything, all of the time. Design is just a part of it. JP does architecture as well…
JP: I have a master’s in architecture, so I guess that plays into it in the idea of looking at something from a design point of view, you know? We like to step back and look at it as a whole. In architecture, you have to step back and look at the entire building to make sure that it makes sense. That’s our perspective.
Steven: We do the same thing with songs, really. We step back and critique whether it’s “us” enough to do it, even though a lot of our stuff sounds really different.
MB: Where does the name of the band come from? Is that related?
JP: Right, yeah.
Steven: At first I thought it was like, a boy band, you know? Like, “Hey, I’m Steve, and we’re Bad Design!” because when I think of the word ‘bad,’ I think of something that Nickelodian would use as the name for one of their boy bands.
JP: Part of it… I got laid off from my job as an architect at that point, and it was like, “Well, I guess I’m a bad architect, or a bad designer, because I’m not good at it.” We were throwing around several names. We threw around fifty or sixty names.
Steven: It took us four months to do it, but I think that we all stuck on that one because we all kind of deal with it on a regular basis. Clint’s an electrician, and he’s having to fix shit all the time because of that, and John comes in now, and most of the stuff that he’s doing in his day-to-day life has to do with results of that, probably.
John: Badly designed elevators.
Steve: Maybe this is badly designed and we just don’t know it.
Clint: I take it as a pun. You can apply it to anything. It was always a pun to me, bad design…just human nature in general. We’re flawed, but still amazing, right?
THREE: Since you have been rehearsing at Rubber Gloves, what is the craziest thing that you’ve seen happen there?
JP: What’s the name of the leader singer from Mastodon? That guy was playing a show there one night, and he had two bands that he was touring with. I think Pinebox Serenade opened up. One of his bands was a country band, and one of them was an avant garde type of band. He was on acid that night, and he was drunk and high, and ended up getting into a fight with Tyler. Tyler jumped on stage and tried to grab the singer’s jacket, and the guy was like, “This is my stage! Nobody gets on here but me!” and tackles Tyler, puts a hit of acid in Tyler’s mouth, and forces his mouth closed. He wouldn’t let him spit it out.
MB: On stage?
JP: This was right in front of the stage. Hardly anybody was there—There were maybe twenty people there to see this. Then, Tyler is all freaked out by it.
John: Yeah, I wonder why.
JP: So, later on in the show, he was on stage again, I think with his second band now, and Tyler’s little brother is watching the show, and the guy gets off stage and is playing his guitar real obnoxiously, and Tyler’s little brother runs up and jumps up on his back. The guy picks him up and throws him into the ground, on the concrete floor, and I was just like, “What is going on!?” And I said, “Brian!”—Brian Denny had booked the show. I said, “Brian, what is up with this guy?” and he said, “I don’t know, man. It’s just a weird night, I guess.” That’s probably the weirdest experience I’ve ever had at Rubber Gloves.
Clint: That’s pretty crazy.
John: Uh…I got drunk there once.
JP: I think that the greatest thing is just practicing, then you can get drunk, and then go upstairs and have your own party room.
– Interview by Michael Briggs/Transcription by Dale Jones