Backed by life experience and a devotion to creative storytelling, artist and producer Bad Bubble has released a series of uniquely compelling audio projects, the latest of which is the wonderful album Underscore.
We were blessed with the opportunity to interview the musician behind the work, to find out more about his inspiration, his style, and his plans for the future. Here’s how it went.
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Hey – thanks so much for the interview, and huge congrats for the new album. To introduce things, where are you based right now, and how long have you been making music?
Thank you for having me… I live a very secluded life alone in a small town a couple of hours south of Chicago. However I do go into the city when I can.
I love Chicago. I feel at home there. I’ve played in punk bands in the past but I’ve never went at it like this. I’ve been active a little over a year, but have been making music since I was around five or six.
Tell us about the project Underscore – what does the title represent, and what does this collection mean for you as an artist?
Underscore is my daughter’s mother. We lost her before she was able to breathe on her own. Since then, life took us on separate paths. It was then I realized I was very much in love with her.
The best way to explain it is, have you ever given a quick hug to someone wearing cologne or perfume? Hours later you still detect the scent? It’s like that except the hours were years. Many, many years.
We corresponded by email. She had an underscore in her email address. So every time I saw that underscore in my inbox, I would get excited. That is where I got the name from.
I am telling a very big story. The story of our daughter. The only way to tell this story is to tell anyone who will listen exactly how she came to be. This story is being told in 160 songs, 8 albums, 8 EP’s, and roughly 50 singles. I gave myself 2 years to tell this story. It is my life’s work. I’ve invested everything I have, financially and emotionally to tell this story. All the songs are finished. I’m combing through now making any adjustments necessary.
I’m trying to give our daughter’s life a purpose. And give mine something that resembles meaning. I’ve found myself alone and have been alone for many, many years. But she’s never left my side. I want people to know who she is and she exists in my heart.. By doing this, I’m starting to exist again.
Why did you choose to begin with an orchestral, organic instrumental track, which differs so distinctly from the majority of what follows?
Each album begins with an instrumental. Each instrumental is directly taken from a melody from the previous album. For the Underscore’s instrumental, A Tide, the melody was taken from a song from the previous album. I’ll let the listener find which one it was.
In case you find yourself wondering, Velvet Off, the instrumental from album one, Future 9 derived it’s melody from a track off of album 8. So the snake ate its tail. These instrumentals act as not only an introduction to what you are about to hear, but a tie to the past. Each song from Bad Bubble is connected. From song 1, to song 160.
Which song from the album would you recommend to new listeners first, and why?
Honestly, that would depend. If you have never heard Bad Bubble, I would start with Jupiter. Check out the remix, honestly. A good friend, Static Autumn Sunset, did an outstanding job with it. He’s one of the first artists I met when I began. @AutumnStatic on Twitter. He honored the story with his beautiful rendition. You can easily find it on any platform Bad Bubble is on.
If you are already tuned in and have heard before, just begin at track 1, A Tide. I know albums are not the “in thing” at the moment, which is why I would like people to more think of Bad Bubble as a set of books. It’s all one story…
“I have always been ambitious, but my goals have changed. Right now, my allegiance is to the story. I have to get this right.”
How will these songs translate to the live scene, is it just you and the laptop, or will there be a band / unplugged aspects, something unexpected?
I’m working with a few people at the moment to see if this is even possible. But I don’t know exactly what is in the future. Every story has an end. I’m in talks with a few trusted people about this. I haven’t made a decision as of yet.
As for the laptop, surprisingly, I do not use software. All instruments are played in full on actual hardware. I used a 24 channel, old school mixing board by TASCAM. My synths are all keyboards. I would have done the drums on an acoustic set but I don’t think my neighbor would have tolerated that. He’s retired and a nice guy. No sense inflicting that on him in his retirement years.
For your previous album, Future 9, the set-up proved similar, and The Eggs Part 1 obviously introduces that pair of songs – do the two albums have other threads to one another, or is there a heavy difference in what each one underlines?
There are actually 4. The Eggs 1-4. Part two would not have worked on album 2, as it is a more slow dreary song. In addition, Underscore hadn’t been introduced yet, which is who The Eggs Pt 2 discusses from her point of view. The Eggs part 3 is on album 4. And The Eggs pt 4 is on album 5.
Yes, there are heavy differences. The Eggs Pt 1 represents change and rebirth. Becoming someone better. Becoming someone who would never tolerate what has been tolerated. The Eggs Pt 2 is realizing after a change, a personal journey of self improvement, one can realize, it didn’t matter.
Sometimes a person can become anything they want. To improve oneself beyond recognition, and spend years doing so. Even to the shock of the very people who provoke such change. But it will not be enough for them.
Thank you for asking. That was a very good question. I hope I was able to provide clarity.
What’s your go-to software or instrument when writing new music?
Let’s see….Of course the above mentioned TASCAM. But I owe a debt of gratitude to Korg for their Wavestate. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to feel the keys. It is a magnanimous weapon. It can do anything you can possibly imagine. It does have a lengthy learning curve, but once you get your bearing, it is incredible.
But I also love pen and paper. I’ve written poetry my whole life. I love poetry. I absolutely love it. Being able to write something during the day, and in a few hours, see it come to life is absolutely incredible.
Which artists have been the most impactful in shaping your style and intentions as a creative?
Until recently, I never listened to much music. I know it’s not your typical answer from an artist. But I just didn’t. However, I have become friends with some of the best musicians in the world. I say that with confidence.
There are just too many to start listing out. And if I try, knowing my luck, I’ll leave someone out and I’ll feel horrible about it. Needless to say, they all know who they are. If they’ve helped me in any way, whether it be to figure out how to convert a file, choose the appropriate artwork, sharing each others reels as stories on Instagram, assemble an EPK’s, reputable/legitimate promotion outlets, or on a day to day basis of just good conversation, they all are fully aware. So these people have helped shape this project.
As far as style, honestly, I don’t know. I admire anyone with work ethic. I’ve always admired prolific artists. If you get burned out, they always have that extra you can snack on until the next release. That said, to show that level of enjoyment of what you do speaks volumes. The style I play, electronic/indie/new wave…again, I don’t really have anyone to point to and would be dishonest if I did so…
As for the intentions, that is another good question. For me, it has never changed since I launched in January, 2022. Sure there are the little things which change along the way. But my intentions have always remained and are one of the few things in my life I can rely on. I guess life’s tragedies shaped my intentions…Yeah. I’d say that is an honest answer.
What’s your plan of action as a musician in the coming months – do you have a big ambition, and a clear pathway towards it, or do you just create music for the love of it and roll with the punches?
I have always been ambitious. But my goals have changed. Right now, my allegiance is to the story. I have to get this right. So far, so good. But that takes priority over everything. But I still go at it every single day like a madman. I always look for promotion opportunities. To scream my head off, waving my arms in the air to get people’s attention.
I do believe in my work. But you have to be realistic in this business. The odds are so impossibly stacked against everyone. So you have to introduce yourself to an alternative ambition. That doesn’t mean give up or go at it relaxed. Quite the opposite. Go at it harder. But luckily, I have this story to tell.
In about 4 weeks, I’ll have badbubble.com up and running. This will house my daughter’s music. I’ve made arrangements for this to be funded and protected for long after I am gone. For as long as I can keep it online. I have some family who I’ve entrusted this to. My daughter’s story and my heart will be there after the story is over. Then, I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do. But this will be accomplished and I will be able to give her this gift.
If good luck strikes, and I will do everything in my power to harness it, I’m ready. If not, my daughter and I have a place in this world and our lives have meaning.
Is there anything else we should know?
Underscore’s Accord, my fourth album, is being slow dripped one song at a time, beginning mid March, usually with a video I post on YouTube and premier on Instagram every week for 11 weeks. Then I’ll round them up, release them as an album.
Then it’s on to the next EP. Wash, rinse, repeat, until the story is over. No rest in between. I can’t. It would take me years to tell this story. As is, it’s 2 years which is already a long time. Also, if you hear me and you listen to my work, you have my gratitude and I will remember it and appreciate it for the rest of my life.
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Check out all things Bad Bubble here or follow them on Instagram.