“We were gonna be on tour at the beginning of June with our friends Martha, from England. Obviously, that’s not the case any longer,” says drummer and singer Daoud Tyler-Ameen of pop-rock group Bad Moves.
Like most bands all over the world, their music careers and goals for 2020 have drastically changed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bands looking to reschedule their tours in the fall have encountered what can only be described as a clusterfuck, as many venues are already booked up due to other artists rescheduling their tours. And, unfortunately, many clubs have an uncertain future.
“Booking at venues right now, some of them are like, ‘Sure, we’ll put you on our calendar’ and some of them are like, ‘We don’t know if we’ll exist in October.’ It’s definitely a different experience,” says Bad Moves guitarist and singer David Combs.
Everyone is finding ways to adapt to this new world, including Bad Moves. For example, in the music video for their single “End of Time,” from the album Untenable, which is out July 3 on Don Giovanni Records, the band members used Zoom-style calls to record the video while social distancing. It certainly wasn’t ideal—as guitarist and singer Katie Park notes, shooting music videos in person is usually a fun experience.
“I feel like when we shoot music videos in person, it is usually a pretty busy atmosphere, and that is kind of a fun way to hang out together,” they say.
However, in taking the social distancing approach to the “End of Time” video, the end result is both creative and relatable.
Relatability is something Bad Moves do very well. In contrast to many rock groups that have a designated lead singer, Bad Moves’ approach to songwriting doesn’t single out one specific voice.
“It’s easier for people to relate to the music because there’s so many different voices that it isn’t as clear,” bassist and singer Emma Cleveland says. “One benefit of this is that maybe that person is more like you in some way.”
Tyler-Ameen explains that this was intentional in the formation of the band:
“Part of the founding ethos was, is there a way that we can approach putting a band together that does not center any person or any voice? And if we try to build that into the songwriting and the arrangements, will we discover something a little bit different that comes out in the art?”
Bands like Bad Moves are refreshing because they’re using their talents to make a positive influence in their community. The band members volunteer at Girls Rock and other youth rock camps to give young people the tools to express themselves and share their stories through music. When the band appeared as animated versions of themselves on the Cartoon Network show Craig of the Creek, they were able to extend that impact to a broader audience.
“The story of that episode, it wasn’t that [the kids] meet some cool grown-up rock stars and just geek out about how cool they are,” Tyler-Ameen explains. “It’s that the grown-ups recognize and welcome the kids’ curiosity, and they don’t talk down to them. It’s about the kids’ characters coming to realize that their own lives are interesting enough to make art about, which is awesome. It’s not the sort of thing that you count on when you do a project like that, but it’s so rad that that’s the idea they had.”
The show did a great job of capturing the love and care that Bad Moves puts into their community, and much like their involvement in rock camps, the band’s appearance on the show encouraged many young people to get involved in the DIY scene.
“I think the impact of it is kind of long-lasting,” Cleveland explains. “Because we still get Instagram DM’s from kid’s telling us, ‘You inspired us to start a band!’ That is the actual gift that keeps on giving. It’s very cute and a lovely side effect.”