The future looks bright for Bad Seed Rising. On May 5, the Baltimore-based band, whose four members are all teenagers, will release “A Placed Called Home,” its second EP for Roadrunners Records. Despite their youth, the album displays a mature sound—thick, heavy, full of attitude and personality. Three days before the release, Bad Seed Rising will play (for the fourth time) the M3 Rock Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, an event that draws fans from far and wide. A full summer of touring is on the horizon after that. Prior to a recent show supporting another Baltimore band, Charm City Devils, Live Metal’s Greg Maki sat down with vocalist Francheska Pastor, 17, and bassist Louey Peraza, 16, to discuss the new album, touring and more.
LIVE METAL: Your new EP comes out next month, “A Place Called Home,” which I think is kind of interesting, with the one before it called “Charm City.” Is where you come from important to you?
FRANCHESKA PASTOR: Well, for the first one, we weren’t really sure what we wanted to do. It was just a bunch of different kind of songs put together. Normally, albums, to me, they have to tell a story, kind of—not necessarily a concept album where it all flows together. It’s supposed to have a theme, sort of. And “A Place Called Home” is kind of more finding out who I am inside, and the music, as well—who we are together, other than having people tell us what we are. So “Charm City,” we were like, “We’re from Baltimore, so ‘Charm City’s’ good.” “A Place Called Home” is from the song “Mess.” The original line is, “Deep inside this hole is a place called home.”
It’s a lot heavier and more aggressive than the other one.
LOUEY PERAZA: Yeah, definitely.
Did you get angrier in the past year?
FRANCHESKA: No, we wanted to be a lot more aggressive than we were. We wanted to be heavier. We had a couple songs that we wanted to put on “Charm City,” but we ended up having all pretty much poppier songs. This one, we were like, “OK, you know what, we’re not gonna do anything that we don’t want to do. We’re gonna do everything that we want to do.” So we just did all these heavy songs. I mean, they’re not extremely heavy, but they’re what we want.
LOUEY: I also kind of feel like this newer record is kind of more of—not a truer representation, but it’s a very good representation of where we are in our lives at the moment. Being teenagers, obviously you have things that will piss you off or frustrate you, like anything else. But then you’re also experiencing things for the first time. You’re in this weird developmental period of your life, and I think that with that comes a little bit of anger and frustration. And I think some of those songs really helped bring that out and kind of helped us express those confused, frustrated ideas.
Where did you record this, and who did you work with?
FRANCHESKA: We worked with Drew Fulk with this in North Carolina.
LOUEY: Yeah, he just did the new Motionless in White record.
What was it like working with him?
FRANCHESKA: Yeah. It was awesome. I was kind of an eye-opener, ‘cause the last album we worked with a lot of different songwriters, and it was kind of constricting and a little suffocating for me, because we didn’t really have a say in what we wanted. This one, were just like, “This is kind of the sound we want,” and he was cool with it. Whatever we had, he would make it like 10 times better.
LOUEY: It felt very natural, not forced.
What kind of release is this getting? Are there going to be physical copies?
FRANCHESKA: Yeah, if you come to a concert or if you buy it on our website, it’ll be physical. But for the most part right now, it’s gonna be all iTunes. I don’t think it’ll be in Walmart or anything like that. (laughs)
As music fans, how do you get your music?
LOUEY: It depends, really, on what it is. I, personally, listen to a lot of classic stuff, like classic rock ‘n’ roll and stuff. So I’ll go back and find vinyls and stuff, and purchase stuff that way. Then I’ll go through and get it online so I can have it on my phone. That’s kind of how I purchase music. I think that’s the way a lot of people buy music now—online, because it’s so convenient.
FRANCHESKA: For me, though, I don’t try to find music, ‘cause I feel like I’m being surrounded by music so much it gives me a headache. For the most part, music finds me. I don’t know. I don’t force it. People will play me music, and if I don’t like it, I won’t listen to it. But if I like it, I’ll get into it. The thing is, for me, I’m a binge listener. It’s kind of like a Spotify/Pandora thing. If you want to discover more music, go to Pandora. But if you want to listen to one single artist, go to Spotify, and you can just listen to one artist over and over again.
Along those lines, when you were younger, how did music find you originally?
LOUEY: Parents. My dad was in a band with our drummer’s dad, so music and the whole live performance thing has kind of been up front and in my face since I can remember. A lot of music I heard was kind of through the grapevine from parents and stuff.
FRANCHESKA: Sixth grade was like when I started listening to rock music. Before that, I just listened to whatever was on the radio, like pop music. I remember listening to like “Lizzie McGuire”—you know that movie? (laughs) And then, I remember, we had just moved into a new house, and I walked in the basement and my dad was watching a Green Day concert. I think it was the “American Idiot” tour. So I got into that. Just watching a live concert and seeing Billie’s persona onstage and the way that the crowd reacted, it was just amazing. I was captivated. I was like, “I want to do that. I want to be him.” So I went through a really hard Green Day phase. I was like, “Yo, I’m fucking Billie Joe Armstrong right now”—just trying to copy everything. I was a super mega fan. (laughs) And then after that, I started growing into other genres. I would go more to classic rock, and then I went to post-hardcore, and I did pop-punk. Now, I’m just mainly whatever’s good is good for me.
You guys got together at the Let There Be Rock School. Did you know each other before that?
FRANCHESKA: Nope, I did not.
LOUEY: Like I said, my dad and Aiden (Marceron)’s, our drummer’s dad were in a band together, so I’ve known Aiden, literally, since he was born. That’s kind of how we met, though, was through the rock school. Aiden and (guitarist) Mason (Gainer) had been playing together before we had all gotten togethe
Were you in other bands before this?
FRANCHESKA: I’ve been in like six bands before this, so I’ve played with a lot of people. Before this, I was serious about being in a band, but I never found anyone else who was serious. So I was just like, if it happens, it happens. Then Scott, Aiden’s dad, came up to me, and he’s like, “Hey, do you want to be part of this outside group? It’s really cool. They want to do original stuff.” I was just like, “Yeah, I’m down.” So I came up for the first rehearsal, and it was pretty cool. I just stuck with them, and yeah, now we’re here. (laughs)
Have your parents been supportive of this the whole way?
FRANCHESKA: Yeah. Always giving advice.
LOUEY: Driving us to rehearsal. That one’s a big one.
As the band has taken off a little bit and you’ve done some tours and played some big shows, how have your friends reacted to this?
FRANCHESKA: Outside of the band, I’ve got a couple of close friends. They’re very supportive, and if I get big news, they’re as equally excited as I am for it. I don’t know. I do have those friends that they’re not super close and they just ask me questions about music life, and I’m like, “I don’t want to talk about music life. Let’s talk about real world right now.” I feel like being a musician is kind of like not reality. Does that make sense to you? I don’t know. It is reality to me, but it’s kind of like also a dream and surreal. I’m living a dream. In sixth grade, I wanted to do this.
Yeah, I’m sure walking out onstage in front of a crowd is not like everyday life.
What is that like when you walk out?
LOUEY: It’s a mixture of emotions, really. We’ve been doing it for a while, so it’s kind of like second nature to us. But there are definitely shows we’ll get up on stage and I’m shaking, just kind of nervous, that feeling in the pit of your stomach, like, “Holy shit, there’s a bunch of people out there, and I have to go stand up and play in front of them.” But then you hit the first note, and it’s all over.
FRANCHESKA: Exactly. For me, the only times I ever get nervous is if my friends are there, ‘cause I really want to impress them. But when I’m on stage, it’s like a stress reliever. I feel so comfortable when I’m on stage. I feel like this is where I can really let myself go and be who I really am. Freedom of expression—you can’t express yourself in the real world like normal. You can’t just go batshit crazy in the middle of the road, you’re just chillin’ with friends or whatever. (laughs) You can’t do that. Sometimes, like today, I’ve been having a really rough day, and I’m really grateful that I can play a show tonight and really express who I am.
LOUEY: A physical release of whatever emotions are pent up inside you, or at least it is to me. Anger, frustration, stress, joy—it all comes out.
Is it different when you play a show here in Baltimore as opposed to somewhere else?
LOUEY: It’s a varied feeling. Playing in Baltimore is cool ‘cause it’s home base. These are people we’ve seen, hopefully, a couple of times. But then I think it’s really fun when you go other places and it’s kind of your mission to try and win over the crowd. It’s a challenge, and I like it.
FRANCHESKA: Every show, there’s different people that come out every night, especially in Baltimore. Sometimes, I’m like, “I can’t ask if you guys bought my record, because I know all of you have our record. I’ve seen all of you before.” (laughs) What Louey said—I do love going out to new places and meeting new people, not just because we have to win over fans—that’s my goal, too—but I also just love meeting new people and seeing places and just adventuring. I love going to places where people don’t know my name.
You’ve played a lot of shows with some well-known bands. When you’re watching these other bands, are you really watching them, watching what they do and learning from them?
LOUEY: If I like them, yeah. (laughs) That’s kind of not really that true. We did a tour with Pop Evil, and I remember the first night we played, I was watching their bass player ‘cause he had some cool stage moves that I thought were really interesting and some things that I might want to cop and try for myself. Personally, I do that kind of stuff all the time. I’ll watch everybody but pick off different people and kind of dissect what it is that they’re doing and see if there’s anything I can take from it, try and put to better myself.
FRANCHESKA: Yeah, same for me. I try to just do my own thing. When it comes down to being on stage, I totally forget about, “ I should do this move.” It’s in the feeling, it’s in the moment. I don’t over think anything when I’m onstage. What Louey said, though—I’ll watch people sometimes, and I’ll take in what I want to take from it. Mainly, it’s kind of how they sing. I don’t really take stage moves. I’ll notice a way someone hits a note, and I’m just like, “Oh, I should do it like that.”
I noticed on the new EP, you seem to kind of stretch yourself vocally a little more. Was that on purpose?
FRANCHESKA: I wanted to do a lot more different things, honestly. I did want that. That was the goal. But then in the moment of writing the songs, writing the melodies, how I do everything, it just kind of happened. I never really thought it over. Sometimes, Drew would just be like, “Can you hit it like this? Can you hit it with more rasp? Can you soften it up?” And I’ll do that, but mainly, it’s just kind of in the moment.
Obviously, you’re still young, but do you have any long-term goals?
FRANCHESKA: Yeah. I’m planning on staying with this band for a long, long, long, long time. We’ve been together almost four years now. It’ll be four in May. M3 was the first show we played, and we got together a week before.
LOUEY: Yeah, that was definitely very cutthroat, but we got it done.
FRANCHESKA: It was pretty stellar.
LOUEY: A lot of pressure.
You’re playing that again this year.
FRANCHESKA: Yeah. I’m excited. For some reason, every show (at M3), I feel like I’ve played kind of bad. I love playing that show, but I feel like maybe it’s just a lot of pressure being in Merriweather—‘cause Merriweather’s huge. The first two shows, I got sick right before it. I got strep the first show, and then the second show, I was sick, too. The third show, I was just really stressed, I guess. I was totally out of it. So hopefully, I’m gonna make this show really, really good. (laughs)
LOUEY: I’ll never forget last year at M3, we were getting ready to hit the stage and this guy came over to me and handed me a pick. As I looked at it, he started talking—he was Mike Anthony’s guitar tech for Van Halen—and he’s like, “Here, I want you to have this, man.” And he gives me this pick, and I’m just like, “Oh, this is cool.” As it turned out, I didn’t have any with me. So the one pick I have is Mike Anthony’s pick, and I played the whole show without dropping that pick because I wanted to take it home.
What would you say have been the highlights so far?
LOUEY: Signing when I was 13. I think that was a big highlight. Our first tour with Daughtry, Three Doors Down and Halestorm was really cool, especially ‘cause it was a high-profile tour. It was the real, real deal.
FRANCHESKA: We kind of expected that our first tour we’d just be going out with God knows who, going to some bars, I guess. But no, it was Daughtry, Three Doors Down and Halestorm. It was funny, ‘cause I remember a week before I got the call saying we were gonna go on tour, I discovered who Halestorm was. I listened to “I Miss the Misery.” I’m always very late when it comes to music, because I don’t search for music, music comes to me. I was just like, “Dude, this song is so dope. This is so awesome. She’s a female singer. The video’s awesome. The song is great, the way she hits the notes.” I was binge listening to it for the following week, and then, a week later, I get a call saying we’re gonna go on tour with Daughtry, Three Doors Down and Halestorm. I’m like, “These dudes right here?! I just got into them! That’s so dope!” (laughs)
So what are the plans for the summer?
FRANCHESKA: Tour. Tour as much as possible. That’s what I want to do. I want to do it all year long.
What’s your favorite part of touring?
FRANCHESKA: Playing. Playing and meeting new people after the show. Just sharing my experiences with other people. What I want to do is, every tour I want to go out there and have as much fun as possible and make memories with as many people. Not even for press or publicity. I want people to be like, “Oh yeah, I had so much fun with Francheska from Bad Seed Rising.” I want to be like, “Yeah, that guy was cool,” or “This venue’s great.” I just want to have as much fun as possible, really.