Bad Cop founder, Adam Christopher Moult of Nashville, had a troubled youth, but music proved his salvation. The indie band formed in 2009 and released their first album, Harvest the Beast, with punk label ROIR, then changed their lineup and evolved their sound to honour a variety of influences, including psych rock, art rock, and dream pop. They performed at Starry Nights Music Festival in 2012, the NYC festival in 2012 and 2013, and SXSW in 2013. They’ve toured Argentina, India, Canada, Mexico City, and Paris. they’re now working on their second album, Hello, Mr. Sunshine, under the Frenchkiss label. Moult recently took the time to answer our questions about his background, motivations, goals, and beliefs.
Describe your musical background.
My musical background is pretty diverse. Growing up my mother showed me all the Beatles albums, so that had a huge effect on me. I’ve been playing live since I was 12, so the past 14 or 15 years this is all I’ve really been doing. Music has been my life since I can remember.
Who had the most? and best? influence on you, as a musician, a composer, and a human being?
The person who had the biggest influence on me musically was my best friend and former guitarist, Alex Hartness. That kid could play the guitar like riding a bike; everything was so easy for him. He taught me how to write and how to make something simple sound big. He definitely influenced me to work on my craft and to be willing to sit on songs until they were perfect.
Also, Brad Shultz [producer] taught me a lot about being in music. He sort of showed me how music works outside of a DIY scene. I’m extremely grateful to have been able to work with both of them in my career.
Can you tell us about your troubled adolescence and how this prompted you to make music?
Growing up with a wild childhood showed me early on that music was an escape. It was an escape from bad energy as well as an escape from a bad environment and a way out of a negative lifestyle. Music taught me how to love, relax, and have faith when I was around a lot of dark stuff. It’s my freedom.
What was the most mesmerizing musical experience of your life?
The most mesmerizing experience for me was playing on top of The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas? on mushrooms. It was one of the craziest moments of my life in general, but that really enhanced it and made me have an introspective moment in front of thousands of people. It was awesome.
How did your band get its name?
“Bad Cop” came from making a play on how in America the people who are supposed to rule and protect us are often the most corrupt. It was also a joke, showing these people that we (kids born 1989-1999) are the creation of this deceptive and outlandish culture. we’re born into this and shaped by it.
If you had to give your music a genre, what would you call it?
I would call our music “modern rock and roll.” We’ve been trying to avoid the pitfall of sounding like a Rolling Stones or Nuggets tribute band, or overtly “retro.” We’d like to think we’re the sound of modern rock and roll.
What’s the story behind your song “Dreamer Man?”
“Dreamer Man” is a tongue-in-cheek song about people coming to Nashville to “make it big” or be famous. It’s about watching people come here and leave with either dreams crushed or life-changing experiences. Being a musician here is like being an actor or actress in LA, so the song is an expression of watching these scenarios all the time.
Do you have any advice for adolescents that you wish had been given to you?
If I could give advice to the youth or myself at 18 it would be to avoid drugs and to not be scared to ask for help and be vulnerable. We live in an age where getting help is not only accepted but encouraged if you feel you need it. don’t be scared to be vulnerable, and be a real person. Seek help, seek love, and avoid escapism through drugs.
What conditions do you require in your life to go on being creative?
I used to have a “live fast” mentality and through that had a lot of experience and emotions to produce what I felt like was my best art. Growing up and being 27 now, I’ve learned to draw inspiration from watching the things around me, just being silent and listening and trying to analyze everything going on.
I’ve been able to draw inspiration from the littlest things; it doesn’t have to be so epic anymore; I don’t have to go on a wild streak to be able to make a good tune. That works for a time, but like anything, eventually the juice runs out and you either find a new path or crash. I wanted to find a new path but continue to produce work that was equally as heartfelt. So far, so good.
What do you feed your muse?
Some albums that have greatly inspired me are The White Album by the Beatles and Elliott Smith’s Either/Or. Both of these albums taught me a ton about structures and hooks? how to keep music catchy without having a specific method on every track.
Do you feel any desire to straighten out the world a little with the art you make?
I definitely feel the need to try to straighten out the world with my art, but not by imposing my beliefs. I want to show people the things I’ve done right and wrong and let it be a lesson. I hope to help people avoid bad spots and enhance all of the good ones.
If you had an artistic mission statement, what would it be?
Live of love. Anytime I’m living with love and faith in my heart things go amazingly. When I start to doubt myself and be selfish and negative, everything goes wrong. Continue to live of love, and have faith, and it will work out.
What do you think is your role in Trump’s America?
This is a tough question. I have a lot to say on this but once again It’s troubling that things are becoming like an Orwellian nightmare and there’s “group-think” and “alternative facts.” There are people waving the flag of unity who are being extremely divisive, and out of fear no one seems to notice or want to speak up; It’s creepy. It’s like an internet era witch-hunt.
To be honest, I think my job is to help people try to unite. Right now both sides have so much hate and contempt for each other; It’s so unhealthy. There’s such division and closed minds, on both sides. I guess I’d just want to encourage people to accept other people. Even if their beliefs are totally different or even offensive, remember, you can just ignore them.
No one deserves to hurt, not even people who make mistakes, because we all do. The current culture is too fixated on finding people who’ve made a mistake and just going for their throats; we have got to stop being so ruthless.
Tell us about your current and upcoming projects.
Right now we’re just focused on “Hello, Mr.Sunshine.” The album will be out this April 2017, and we’re so excited! We worked on this from 2010-2015. We were releasing multiple EP’s in this period, and we can’t wait to see the reaction to a full album.
Wanda also writes the blog The Mindful Bard:The Care and Feeding of the Creative Self.