Josh Katz was trying to figure out some things about himself for years—why he distanced himself from people, and why familial interactions were always so awkward. The only way to articulate it was through music and “Family”—off of Badflower’s upcoming This Is How The World Ends (Big Machine/John Varvatos Records), out Sept. 24—a confrontation of all the intricacies of ties from the past and in the present.
Videos by American Songwriter
“I’m an extremely empathetic person, but I only show that side of myself to strangers because actual vulnerability is too vulnerable,” shares Katz. “That insecurity is turning me into a selfish, lonely person that I don’t want to be. It’s a lot easier to play the victim and blame other people [or] stress, childhood trauma, rather than just admit I’m responsible for it. I’m the one that owes the apologies.”
Extrapolating on faults and confusions, Katz moves stirringly into This home of mine / I see it in my dreams / Where everyone looks happy / And everyone still likes me… What happened to this family. The first song written for the album, Katz says “Family” was written in real time.
“The feelings and realizations I had were brought on while the song was being written,” he says. “I wasn’t really telling a story, I was kind of finding the story and learning about myself.”
Katz admits that sometimes he has to begin writing something before he knows how he feels about it. “It’s a way to organize my thoughts and emotions,” he says. “This one was especially confronting and honestly life changing. I cried the entire time—ugly cried.”
Writing their 2019 debut OK, I’m Sick, was less intense, emotionally, from what the band—Katz, along with guitarist Joey Morrow, bassist Alex Espiritu and drummer Anthony Sonetti—is working on now. This time around, Badflower self-recorded and produced the entire album, so when Katz was inspired to sing, in the moment, he did, and that was the final take.
“It allowed us to follow our intuition in ways we’ve never been able to,” says Katz. “We’re also just a lot more confident now. I don’t think we could’ve made OK, I’m Sick like this.”
A more introspective track, “Family” is one of the more personal songs on This Is How the World Ends, while others come from a different perspective.
“I often write from the perspective of worst types of people because on some level I see myself in that person,” shares Katz. “I think about the type of person I could’ve been, under different circumstances, and for me, recognizing my potential to be worse allows me to be better, and it’s also just fascinating to write about.”
Katz adds, “I hope the song helps someone else with similar issues on either end, as a way to start the conversation or even just inspire people to be a little more mindful of the people we love and who love us, especially now in these insanely divided times, we could all use a reminder. Families and friendships are so important.”