I'm going to call it right now: Bad Rabbits' first headlining tour is going to result in the greatest number of bodily injuries their fans will ever see. Why? Because at a Rabbits gig people can't help but rush the stage, climb up over the monitors jungle-gym-style, and catch frontman Dua Boakye off guard for an awkward fist bump before proceeding to gleefully hurl themselves atop a dancing sea of drunk people who can barely remember their own names let alone the proper protocol for catching a crowd surfer. That's how things went at the tour's kickoff show in Brooklyn last week, much to the band's delight. And Bad Rabbits show no signs of slowing down as they charge full speed ahead toward the drop of new LP American Love on May 14 (less than two weeks before they rep their hometown at the Boston Calling Music Festival on City Hall Plaza May 25).
Their trademark high-octane vocal blasts and dangerously catchy hooks won't be absent on American Love, but Bad Rabbits are embracing more of a "post-R&B feel" this time around, according to lead guitarist Salim Akram. "We Can Roll" and "Fall In Love," American Love's first two singles, are less about the poppy vibes of Bad Rabbits' past and more the soulful-croon-meets-synth-rock sensibility that Akram talks about. The day after the Brooklyn gig, we got into the logistics of taking American Love out for a test drive on this tour, as well as what goes into planning their bigger and better live show and whether or not Boakye will be swan-diving from the mic in the middle of their set like the rest of the crazies in the room.
How's your first headlining tour feel so far?
Boakye: It's been amazing. I love all the epic stagedive fails. [Laughs.] I'm looking forward to debuting the songs and seeing the reaction from people, because a lot of people have been waiting for us to put this out.
Akram: Surprisingly, we haven't toured in about a year and a half. We've been home doing one-offs and college shows and corporate shows and polishing off the record. Now, we're getting back into touring this year.
What's been the biggest challenge you've faced readying for the road this time around?
Sheel Davé [drums]: We're working out some of the kinks in the new songs, but they're starting to sound awesome.
Akram: Yeah, we're just figuring out how to play it live and relearning all the parts. There could be a song that you think will translate well live and it actually doesn't. So it's either we don't play it live or rearrange how we perform it so it'll actually sound good. As of recently, we've been playing with an extended band, so for us it's more full. I think now we're just trying to spice it up. There were 10 people onstage with us last night.
Davé: I think having a lot of members onstage changes the sound of it too. So it's definitely going to be a little bit of a learning curve, learning songs with more than just the five of us.
What's going to be the biggest surprise for Bad Rabbits fans?