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Rochester's Bad Bloom: If the shoegaze fits…

Bad Bloom
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Bad Bloom

Led by bassist-vocalist Kate Rogers and guitarist Jay Trovato, Rochester band Bad Bloom has developed a powerful, complex sound characterized by evocative vocals, intriguing lyrics, and chiming, droning guitars.

Rogers, a native of Pittsburgh, and Trovato, who grew up outside Syracuse (they’re married to each other), founded Bad Bloom in 2019 while they were living in Brooklyn.

“We were both in different bands at the time, but then I got a call that mine was breaking up,” Rogers remembered. “I freaked out to Jay – I couldn’t deal with the drama and breakups anymore.’ And Jay said, ‘We’re starting a band together.’ That turned out to be a great solution because we were already living together and doing everything together.”

They launched Bad Bloom, coming up with the band name together. “We already had ‘Bad,’ so we kept fooling around with that word,” Trovato said. “One day we were out having coffee, and we saw someone in a Nirvana t-shirt go by, and it had ‘Bloom’ on it. We thought that was a great word and a great reference for this band. It was also alliterative with ‘Bad,” so thought we could use them together. We ran the name by everyone, and it just sounded good.”

The band laid down a few songs in the studio and played a few shows. But then the pandemic hit, and everything shut down, so they decided to move to Rochester.

“A couple of our friends from Rochester, who had been living in New York City when we were, had moved back there recently and were singing its praises,” Trovato said. “A lot of cool things were happening there, and it also was within driving distance to both of our families, so it seemed like a good idea. We decided to give it a go and if it didn’t work out, we could go somewhere else. But we’ve loved it here, and decided to buy a house, so we’re here for a while.”

The band’s sound draws from a variety of influences, with Trovato’s layered, textured guitar parts creating a dense sonic backdrop for Rogers’ lyrics.

“When we were in the studio, I told the engineer, ‘I've been playing fast my whole life and now I want to slow it down and be able to put those textures in and to play simpler parts that sound more complicated and layer things, which you're not allowed to do in punk rock,” Trovato said

“I've always been fascinated with guitar effects, but I'd played in punk rock bands and was lucky if I could use a delay pedal from time to time,” he added. “So when we started this band, I knew I wanted it to be heavily effects driven. In the beginning, there might have been more grunge in our sound, but I was also experimenting with shoegaze techniques, and we kind of dribbled those in there. But we really view ourselves as a pop band that has influences from shoegaze and grunge and goth.”

“I have traditionally liked shoegaze bands, but that's not really my wheelhouse as far as writing songs,” Rogers added. “I like a lot of dream pop and indie rock bands – some more poppier things – so you'll hear those non-traditional shoegaze influences coming from me. I think it makes a good marriage of those sounds.”

“Growing up, I had a lot of choir and classical and vocal training, so I always hear these elaborate harmonies in my head,” Rogers added. “And when I write on the bass, I always start there and then I harmonize with my voice like they’re dueling in a way.”

As for Bad Bloom’s lyrics, “We like to write about the end of the world,” Rogers said. “We’re not writing about love for another person – like, I don’t feel that inspiration coming from this band. But I write a lot about the way I feel about the current state of the world and there's a lot of sorrow in that.

“But there's also a lot of optimism in songs like ‘Tokyo,’ where you can envision looking out your window at a place that is magical to you, and then the optimism that comes with that. That's kind of where my lyrics come from. It's just being in the world and interpreting a lot of the emotions that come with the observations.”

Since 2019, Bad Bloom has released several singles along with the 2021 EP “Leave”; the band is currently recording new material. “We’re aiming for a full-length album,” Trovato said. “We’re finishing up recording three songs that we’ve been playing out live, and then we have another five or six that just need to be fine-tuned a little bit. So we have lots of new material ready to go.”

Upcoming Shows

May 13, Sacred Root Kava Lounge & Tea Bar, Ithaca

June 1, The Bug Jar, Rochester

June 2, No Fun, Troy

June 3, Brooklyn Music Kitchen, Brooklyn

June 4, State Park, Boston

July 1, The Bug Jar, Rochester

July 8, Mohawk Place, Buffalo

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Jim Catalano covers the Finger Lakes music scene for WITH (90.1 FM in Ithaca, WITHradio.org) and its affiliates.