badflower blackbear issue 397
[Covers by: Badflower/Travis Shinn, blackbear/Logan Rice]

Over the last several years, music genres have become more and more muddied by artist experimentation, fusing sounds on the opposite end of the spectrum and releasing collabs that span across the board. Gone are the days of searching for music based on its classification: pop punk, hip-hop, emo, rock. It hardly matters anymore. Instead, music lovers and artists alike are working to connect on a deeper level, regardless of how it would be classified on a playlist.

While music continues to shift and change, Badflower and blackbear are at the forefront of the evolution of its future. Maintaining roots in alternative while also allowing elements of pop, hip-hop and more to act prominently in their sound, Badflower and blackbear are forging the next generation of music listeners.

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Making his Alternative Press cover debut, photographed by Logan Rice, to coincide with an all-new interview with Karl Smith for issue 397, blackbear offers insight into his forthcoming EP, misery lake, dropping Aug. 13.

misery lake is all about isolation and cutting everyone off and struggling to see the light in the room,” blackbear says. “It’s my favorite EP I’ve done besides drink bleach. I just can’t wait for the world to hear it.

“It really is just about the place I was in 2020,” he continues. “Sometimes I was happy and sassy, and sometimes [I was] proud, and sometimes I just couldn’t get out of bed for days. ‘alone in a room full of people’ is the first song for a reason!”

blackbear also released the track and video for “@ my worst,” which will appear on the six-track EP. You can watch the video below.

Additionally, Badflower are also making their Alternative Press cover debut, shot by Travis Shinn. In their cover interview, vocalist Josh Katz spoke with Joe Smith-Engelhardt about the raw efforts the group made to create their upcoming sophomore release, THIS IS HOW THE WORLD ENDS, dropping Sept. 24.

“If something wasn’t perfect but we felt that we were all smiling or crying or excited or whatever, let’s not mess with that,” Katz says. “Let’s leave it exactly as it is, but we couldn’t do that on the first album, though. I think we were just a bit too insecure. There’s something that came with having some success from the first album that made us feel this new level of confidence to do stuff like that.

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“There’s a song called ‘Only Love’ that I wasn’t finished writing all the lyrics for, and I was recording it in pieces,” Katz continues. “I was writing a bit and then singing it and mostly leaving the first takes because I was so in the moment and emotional. There was a moment toward the end where I didn’t have the lyrics finished. I just had the start of them, and I was like, ‘I’m going to put down this beginning just so I can hear that, and maybe I’ll be able to write the rest.’ I ended up pretty much finishing the song on the fly, and you can hear me specifically stumbling over certain words because I was just finding the words in the moment. When I hear it back, it makes me chuckle because I wrote it right then and there, and I left it and I never touched it. That was a moment that I’ll never forget. That’s a moment that you couldn’t plan, and I don’t know if it’ll ever happen again, but it’s very cool.”

The group also released their latest single and video for “Don’t Hate Me,” which you can watch below.

While piecing together Alternative Press issue 397, we focused our attention on highlighting artists who are also abolishing genre and creating music on their own terms. On the verge of his debut album, BLK ODYSSY is redefining both his sound and himself on BLK VINTAGE. Alternative Press also spoke with UPSAHL about her forthcoming album, CHVRCHES on working with the Cure’s Robert Smith and the release of Screen Violence and more. Across each page, it’s clear that these artists are shaping the future of alternative and eliminating the barriers that defined them before.

You can order Alternative Press issue 397 featuring blackbear’s solo cover and Badflower’s cover here or below.