Interview: Dominick Fox of Bad Luck.

Bad Luck

Recently I had the chance to catch up with the frontman of NY-based pop-punk band Bad Luck. As Dominick Fox and I chatted about the upcoming new music from his band, it became apparent that his confidence level in what his band is cooking up could take a lot of people by surprise. We discussed everything that went into the recording of the band’s last album, Summer of Pain, their difficulties with touring in a pandemic, as well as what the future holds for the direction of the band’s music.

Alright, thank you so much for your time today, Dominick, and congrats on the recent success of your last record called Summer of Pain. So first of all, where did the album title come from, and can you describe the process for creating this record?

Sure, it was actually the name of a song that didn’t make the record. But we really liked the name. And then it ended up coming out in the summer, and it was still very much, even though we don’t want it to be tied to the pandemic, or tied to it entirely, it came out kind of in the midst of it. So we felt like between the content of some of the more heartbreaking songs unrelated to the timing, and then the timing of the release, we felt like it kind of just generally applied. And as far as the second part of your question, it was not too different from the way we generally do things. I do a lot of the majority of the songwriting, and then bring the guys in, and we kind of whittle it down. I have the bulk amount of songs, and we kind of all decide what makes more sense than not. And then if they have things to contribute, and if we need to rearrange things, we do that, but a lot of the time, we might just add to what I already have laid out, and then go forward from there. I was really set on a 10-track album, and then we originally wanted 13 or so, but we finalized on 12 <songs>. Then we tracked it in Cleveland, and then we had it mixed by Jim Wirt.

Awesome! Summer of Pain is a great listen from start to finish. And now that the album has been out for nearly a year, what have you noticed from the fan reactions, both online and as well as when you guys were touring, to the new material?

Last year up until now, we’ve done quite a bit of tours compared to some bands, I want to say most, but we’ve been on like three-ish, or more tours. Since that time, it’s been a pleasant surprise. I was only surprised in the sense of it’s new stuff. You don’t expect anyone to learn the words or care about more than a few <songs>. And especially based on this most recent tour, which was really long and went to most places, I gotta say it’s been really nice that people seem to grab on to the songs, despite some of them not being lead singles. Which in retrospect, they probably should have been! Some of the songs that matter most to me on the record kids seem to have grabbed on to, and those are the songs we’ve decided to include in the set. And yeah, between Denver and Southern California and then Texas, it’s surprisingly still very nice. People were singing like five or six tracks off of the new one. So yeah, that reaction has been nice. And then we’ve definitely got more recognition on this record, including this interview right here. We just got way more press for it. We just kind of learned how to release a record more properly compared to previous releases.

Are there any lessons learned over the years about the best ways to approach either touring or the promotion cycle of a record that you took into this one?

We cared the most we ever have about the <cover> art and things like that. And we’ll only care more going forward. We’re slow learners, unfortunately, but just things I think we already knew, but we didn’t know how to know, if that makes sense? Like we’ve seen other bands do these things and we’ve aspired to do them too. But when it’s kind of on you to do it, sometimes it just takes…this was our second full length record, and for us it took the second time around to be a little better than the first time, and I can guarantee you the next time will be even better as well as far as the thought process involved in the rollout of music videos.

Yeah, that makes sense. Do you have a favorite song on the latest record? And has that changed at all after playing a lot of this live recently?

I have a few. I really liked “ROY.” My overall favorite song is stuck between “Gwendolyn,” and “Favorite Smile.” Those are both tracks that we should have made singles and we’re still going to put work into them as far as potential videos. But, I think both those songs will hold up for a long time for us. Even though we lead with “ROY,” and we never regretted doing so, we kind of felt at the time, “Favorite Smile” would have been a better lead single. But playing live, I just love playing “ROY”. It’s the epitome of what I think our band should sound like in terms of heavy, punchy, catchy, and then kind of weird. It’s not a song I ever took for granted. I always liked it from the second I wrote it. But as soon as we started playing it live and worked it into the set, it was another one that was like, just so clearly a single and important. 

That’s cool. A lot of the new album focuses on real world struggles that everybody goes through like heartbreak, personal growth, and yet there’s a heavy sense of optimism still in each song. So what was your frame of mind when creating the songs that would eventually become Summer of Pain?

Even though we had quite a few ups and downs with the releases, it’s only our second record. And a lot of the first record, I was way younger, and I’m proud of it. But I think I was a little overly pessimistic. And even though that is kind of my natural way of expressing myself, especially in music, I just felt it was like my job for myself, and especially for whether it’s the few or many people that relate to our band, or feel like they can grow or learn with our lyrics or whatever. I just feel like it’s important to emphasize that. Not even that things aren’t so bad, because sometimes things are really bad. But just like that, you have to only hope that it will be good, it’ll get better, and that there are other aspects and dynamics of life and life experiences that can help redeem or at least help you get through things that are not so good. So yeah, I really appreciate you noticing that because, it was intentional as far as just not being overly depressive, as I can tend to, unfortunately, be sometimes. 

Yeah, and the past two and a half years have obviously been tough for a lot of people with the pandemic going on. So what was your band’s overall reaction to everything that took place over that time period?

A multitude of things. I’d say the most positive thing, not selfishly, but it wasn’t positive for us as we were able to take a step back and make some personal things work as far as our  living spaces, because we were all pretty committed the year before to essentially living nowhere. We had a pretty full year of touring ahead of us, which again, is a shame that we didn’t get to fully live it out. But getting some stability, that’s sort of the word I was looking for, was the benefit. But outside of that, man, I mean, to be blunt about it, it sucked. We were in the middle of a tour, a really good tour for us. We were out with Microwave, A Will Away, and Weakened Friends, and we were in Lincoln, Nebraska. And it was the first show out of the week. We had a good random string of shows where there was a big theater, and there was nobody there. And we’ve been hearing about this thing <COVID> for a few days. But we’re like, I guess just ignorant enough to think like, we’ll get through it. It was the beginning of what would come to only be more strict, yet understandable rules and regulations. So we didn’t blame anybody. And it wasn’t really about any of the individual bands. It was just…it was a reality check. We had heard about it four days before. And then in Lincoln, Nebraska, we looked out into the lack of the crowd, and we’re like, damn.

Yeah, and there were a lot of unknowns. I remember during that time period of thinking how easily it can be spread? Is it safe to go to concerts? And things like that. But anyways, what have you guys been working on since the last album’s release? 

We’re definitely working on the best stuff we’ve ever had. We just want to make our future lane as broad and lengthy as possible. And we’re very proud of Summer of Pain. We think especially, I liked your phrasing from earlier, I think it’s a complete record from front to back. But, I know we can do better, and I know we will. And yeah, we’re just working hard on pushing ourselves creatively to be the best version of ourselves we’ve ever been. So yes, we’re working on new music now. Hopefully we get some of it up this year, but we’ll see.

Awesome. So I think you’re wearing a Rangers jersey. Am I right? I believe you guys are from New York…

Yeah, they play in 30 minutes!

Awesome, I won’t hold you up too much. I just have one more question for you, what are some artists and bands you admire in today’s scene, and are there any attributes you bring into your sound into Bad Luck.?

Sure, on the last record, easier to say than not. With the new one, I only will hold off <for now> in the sense that I want to surprise people with what we’re heading towards. But the last record, for more modern bands, we like a lot heavier stuff than I think we let show, and maybe we’re going to do that with some of the next record again, without ruining anything. But we like this band called The Bronx, a lot. We love PUP.  And I love that last Every Time I Die record, that’s just newer music that we all agreed upon. That was really cool, dynamic, and great. I’ve been listening to a lot of Faith No More, Mike Patton is the man and all my favorite singer’s favorite singer so I’m trying to learn from that. But yeah, on the last record, some older stuff because I tend to listen to, and I think they’re making a comeback too, I like Midtown a lot. I like that they’re pop punk, but I also liked that they did some straight up rock and roll stuff. And for newer stuff, we all like the Turnstile record and we liked listening to that No Pressure record that just came out. I enjoy it, and in a respectful way, I hadn’t given much attention to the band prior to that. I listened to it actually just a few days ago, and I think it’s very, very good.

Sweet! Any last words for your fans about why they should check you guys out or come to the next tour?

We’re just gonna try to keep doing what we do better and better, and bigger and bigger. And we’re certainly working on the best music we’ve ever made. And I really look forward to getting it out to people as soon as we can. So hopefully everyone will be there for the ride!

Cool, good luck to your Rangers tonight! 

Thank you, bro. And thank you for your time, and being so kind. I really appreciate it.

Sure thing! Take care.