“This Time, It’s Different” The Bad Hats Crowdfunding Campaign Includes Support For Nashville’s Room In The Inn

The Bad Hats are an American contemporary folk band based in Nashville, TN that plans to redefine the folk genre for their generation. Having started the band in Evansville, IN, in 2017, the band aims to “make more people less lonely” through each and every release. The band has formed a quick growing fan base, as they continue to develop their unique sound.

What lead you to form the band?

We were very focused on having opportunities to travel to new places and share deep connections with new friends. We thought music seemed like the most feasible way to have those experiences and make a living doing it.

What is the story behind naming your band The Bad Hats?

We needed a band name and that seemed like a decent option. It wasn’t all that calculated, but I definitely feel like it describes our character now.

How hard was the transition when you moved from Evansville to Nashville?

It was interesting to say the least. We moved here on July 4th and it was very difficult to find a money order for our apartment deposit. That was our very first experience of living in Nashville. That basically describes the whole first year. We made a plethora of new friends almost immediately and each was as passionate about music as we were. It felt like being truly understood for the first time in our lives. All of the struggles of the move and the culture shock of the city were worth it.

Which American contemporary folk rock artists have most inspired your music?

Gregory Alan Isakov

Lord Huron

River Whyless


Punch Brothers

Avett Brothers

Elephant Revival

Bear’s Den

Nickel Creek

Molly Tuttle

Jason Isbell

You’ve said you want to redefine the folk genre for your generation. Which artists defined previous generations?

The list above is definitely a list of artists who have all done that. They took the expectation of a stale genre and reintroduced it using new musical techniques, philosophies, and imagery.

Read that your music helps you understand the world around you through self-exploration and improvement. Which of your songs was the most difficult to write?

All of the songs deal mostly with crossroads and decisions we have had to make both as musicians, and just generally as people. We each have different obstacles that we face with coming to terms with who we are and who we feel like we are becoming as life progresses. It’s difficult to explain the conversations that happen inside each of our minds as we fight for confidence and self-worth in a profession that involves a lot of patience and persistence.

The Deal was a challenging song for all of us, as it describes what sacrifices need to be made in order to stay focused on pursuing our dreams and trying to be honest with our relationships along the way, so as to hurt as few people as possible in that pursuit.

Are there any topics you haven’t addressed yet in song, but you really hope to?

It’s hard to know what will need to be addressed as time goes on. Most of our songs have romantic connotations, but they are actually conversations that I (Benny) have had with myself. It’s more relatable if they are staged in the form of a relationship that most people are familiar with, rather than blatantly saying that I’m speaking to myself all of the time. I’m sure as we reach new obstacles with our careers and relationships going forward, we will continue to write music that addresses those concerns and doubts.

How has your writing evolved from the “Looking for Something Better” EP to your new songs on “This Time, It’s Different”?

Everything has changed. We have gone through a bunch of auditions looking for the right members. We landed on what we wanted with the new lineup, and are super excited to see where our music will evolve to next. Ultimately, the songs have a lot more kick, and the lyrics have become more about adjusting to a changing world, rather than adjusting to a changing self.

Can you share which very special studio musicians are part of the new EP?

We brought in some excellent brass and string players here in Nashville. They are friends we had worked with on other projects and other recordings, and we were super happy to have them back as a part of this project.

Connor Naaden -> Trombone

Nick Rankin -> Trumpet

Alex Acheson -> Tuba

Cate Williams -> Violin

Philip Kelmer -> Cello

What are the backstories/inspirations for the songs on the new EP?

The Deal is about realizing the limits and sacrifices necessary to pursue a career in music without destroying relationships that are giving us the strength to continue that pursuit.

Clockwork is about realizing that your expectations for a certain result in relationships can often be quite far off from the reality. Ultimately, it is difficult to know what will happen in any situation as the people and ideals they share begin to evolve in different directions.

Strong Enough is about self-doubt and trying to keep those doubts from ruining your ability to create new connections to people. Action takes motivation, and it becomes increasingly more and more challenging to step out of our comfort zone when we chose to build walls of insecurity and doubt around ourselves to protect us from getting hurt.

What makes your sound unique in your genre?

The instrumentation alone is very unique. Very few bands use a mandocello or an electric mandolin. There are sections of much more traditionally structured folk music accented with driving pop and rock rhythms. Ultimately, the music is focused around being very emotionally driven with powerful imagery and storytelling.

Have experiences from your previous national tours influenced your new music?

Most definitely. We have written several songs on the road to explain the new experiences and challenges we have faced. Meeting new people from all different walks of life has completely changed how we apply gravity to our own struggles. It ultimately gives us a better window into the human experience from people who are outside our regular circle of influence.

Hope a new tour includes a new can opener. ;)

We bought seven. We may start selling them at our merch booth. Stay tuned!

You mention always putting the Friendship Cars hood scoop on your tour vehicles. Why is it special to the band?

Our vehicles are cheap and have taken quite a beating. We’re all basically convinced that the power of friendship is the only thing getting us from one city to the next. If the hood scoop falls off, it is likely that the bus will stop working. Also, +10 for coolness for sure.

Favorite tour stop to date?

Silent Brigade in Paducah, KY. We have literally slept on the floor of that bar after the show on multiple occasions. It’s a small town with a lot of love. They have given us everything, and we feel like we owe them the bus of ourselves each time we’re there.

Bucket list venue or festival to perform at?

Red Rocks would be pretty cool. We’re also totally down to play Glastonbury if you know their phone number. :)

Do you try to play at different venues with each new tour?

Sometimes. Touring is all about relationships. We play venues that we know will love our music and where our fans will be comfortable going. Each tour, we try to explore at least a couple of new cities and get a feel for what they would think of us and our tunes.

Can you tell new fans why you started the new fundraising campaign?

The campaign started with our ferocious passion for growth. It not only helps us put us on the next step of our careers as we continue to grow in the music industry, but also donating a portion of the proceeds so that we can further act on our mission.

The Bad Hats — This Time, It’s Different

Love how your campaign includes investing more time and money back into the Nashville community. Focusing on your mission statement “to make more people less lonely”, how do you envision this happening?

What makes live music great is that it brings people into the community they live in to participate in a common cause. Nashville is no stranger to live music attendance and we continue to travel so that we can spark attendance to local businesses and events to strengthen the bond in communities across the nation.

How did you choose to support the Room In The Inn?

We chose to give to Room In The Inn from our previous relationship with them before the campaign. The people that work there all are overwhelmingly welcoming, helpful, and kind. If you go to volunteer or play music, you will see that Room In The Inn is a place where good hearts beat together.

Your new merch will include what you describe as “quirky gear”. Are any fan suggested?

Actually yes. In our travels we make sure to interact with as many people as we can after the show. We have heard suggestion after suggestion after suggestion, and have come up with a lot of wacky ideas, but startup cost determines what’s possible. Looking forward to custom The Bad Hats hats when the day comes!

How did Hatterday start? What’s your favorite fan submitted picture to date?

Hatterday started as a suggestion to feature a variety of hats on our social media. Instead, we decided it was more fun to feature our followers wearing hats and of course we always love our pet entries.

Reflecting on the past year, what goals have you set for the band this year?

When looking back we saw our growth to be three times higher than the year before, and we want to do the same again this year! We continue to see towns, music venues, and community events grow. Music is what makes that possible.

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