Bleachers - Masthead Banner

Introducing: Bad Mustache + his debut 'My Scummy American Summer' EP.

Introducing: Bad Mustache + his debut 'My Scummy American Summer' EP.

"Nobody knows I'm way too fucked up to feel like I've always got something to prove," proclaims Jesse Klapheke (a.k.a. Bad Mustache) on his debut EP, 'My Scummy American Summer'. Inspired by the likes of John Mayer, Frank Ocean and Roy Blair, the Kentucky born and raised artist dropped his debut EP earlier this year.

Of the rather apt EP name, Klapheke divulges his process behind the title: "When the music was being tossed around in group chats with managers and other people, the word that popped up a lot was 'scummy'. Like 'this really gives me a scummy vibe' and to me it makes a lot of sense like it’s rough around the edges, it’s kind of annoying, it just kind of fits the sound. Plus with my name being Bad Mustache, like 'scummy' and 'bad' give a kind of cohesiveness to me. I knew 'scummy' had to be in there and then I was thinking of things outside of music that hold that kind of place in my head and one big thing that came to mind was the 'American Pie' movies. They tug on a feeling of shitty youth for me, plus they have crazy good soundtracks, so I was like, boom, another piece of the puzzle! Another big part of it was the fact that all of this was being finalised in the summer of 2020, which was absolutely insane in the U.S. for a lot of reasons - COVID, police killing people left and right, followed by protests against rasicm across the country, there was so, so much happening, and Louisville (where I live) was kind of on a stage for a lot of it. In Louisville, Kentucky, Breonna Taylor was killed by police in her home in March of 2020 and David McAtee was killed by police in June of 2020. Two fucking tragic events that shook the city and the country. My music doesn’t touch on it but it just felt right to pay homage to a really intense, dynamic point in time for myself and a lot of other people."

On the Apple alarm being featured in 'Tryhard', he says: "It is the worst sound in the world. I used to have a Galaxy and its alarm was so nice; just eased you into waking up. But yeah, it just went off while I was recording that vocal take and I thought it was too funny not to keep. There’s stuff like that throughout the project like low talking at the end of a take or the sound of a spacebar clicking – that’s in every song I think, I like to think of it as my tag."

With the closer of the EP, 'KUDZU', being a stand-out track, Klapheke explains the inspiration behind it: "So that obviously came about through heartbreak. Just a situationship thing that went a certain way. I definitely romanticised and exaggerated parts but it’s all from a real experience which is important to me with songs like this. The title comes from a time when I was in Tennessee with this person and we were driving back to Kentucky and we were at a stop sign and the hill on the side of the road was just covered with this vine, ivy-looking plant, and I didn’t know what it was. I commented on it and they told me it was kudzu which is an invasive species to America - specifically, the southeastern U.S. has a lot of it. It’s really beautiful when it gets a hold of a hill or an abandoned shed and just swallows it. I just thought it was poetic lol."

Upcoming goals/plans/pipe dreams were also discussed when asked what's next for him: "I’m super excited about the music I’ve been making which is nice. I sat on most of 'My Scummy American Summer' for well over a year so I’m really looking to work and get music out a lot quicker in the near future. Should have some stuff out by the end of the summer. I’ve got so many people I want to meet and work with it’s hard to be excited about specific things, but I’ve been getting a band together and am so excited to start playing live shows again. Louisville has such a good scene with so many good bands and artists and I really want to be a bigger part of that. Also really excited to start working with a producer so I can take my sound to the next level, it will be nice to have someone else’s input and sonic ideas to bounce off of me and vice versa. And of course being covered by blogs and magazines like y’all is very very cool and I can’t wait for more of it."

Check out a live performance of 'My Scummy American Summer' below...

Loading...
Load next

COUP DE MAIN’S TRUE JAMS PLAYLIST

Open in new window
Open in new window