By definition, BADTALKERS is an indie band. The Los Angeles-based quartet creates melodic rock music with the standard fare — bass, drums, guitars, synth, vocals. But that’s only by definition.
Citing acts from The Smiths to NWA as influences, BADTALKERS incorporate apparent elements of hip-hop into their sound, while approaching sensitive lyrical subject matter with poise and ease. It’s kind of like if the Beastie Boys covered the Pixies.
The band’s latest single, “No Pity,” is a perfect example of all their influences at work. The song begins with a steady synth line and electronic flares reminiscent of a hip-hop track, and when the drum kicks in, it’s apparent that simple beat is going to lead the way for the rest of the song. Vocalist Richard Leon doesn’t hold anything back as he sings about the dark parts of LA in a general enough way that it could be any city.
“‘No Pity’ touches on the gun violence and drug epidemic in the United States,” drummer Christian Edusada explains. “We wanted to reflect on our daily experiences living in urban communities, as well as current events involving police brutality, protests, and acts of terrorism within the country.”
Though these domestic terrors have been put in the spotlight in recent years, witnessing gang violence and drug deals/usage is nothing new for the members of BADTALKERS. Edusada grew up in Cocoa, FL — the second most dangerous city in the state — and recalls his 8th grade classmate being shot and killed in a drive by. With the other members residing in Compton, CA, their childhoods were not much different.
“Our band is true to ourselves, it makes a statement and doesn't really fall into what most bands are doing.” says Leon. “We find most of our inspiration from everyday struggles and things that try to keep us down and we try to channel those emotions into our songs. We want to be a voice for those who have gone through the same things we do.” That honesty and self-awareness is at the core of every BADTALKERS song, and it’s one that unquestionably separates them from their indie peers.