"No one wanted us": Genre-hoppers Bad Sign on being metal misfits

A press shot of Bad Sign
Bad Sign: in it for the long haul

Croydon three-piece Bad Sign are outsiders and proud of it. Since forming in 2012 the band have gigged and recorded relentlessly, self-releasing their 2014 Destroy EP and landing high-profile support slots with the likes of While She Sleeps, Skindred and, most recently, Black Peaks and Heck – all while being rejected by metal labels and managements who didn’t know how to market them.

“Musically we’re quite different to what’s happening now, so we did it on our own for ages because no one really wanted us,” laughs vocalist and bassist Joe Appleford. The band have now signed to progressive London label Basick Records, home to an eclectic roster including Aliases, Skyharbor and Devil Sold His Soul. On the surface, it seems a strangely metallic home for Bad Sign’s adrenaline-fuelled, precise, and well-crafted rock with impassioned arena-sized choruses and colossal riffs in the vein of Biffy Clyro and Pearl Jam.

“I’m a big fan of catchy choruses, even drawing influence from pop music sometimes,” reveals Joe. “Melody is way more important than trying to be the heaviest band in the world. I would rather be known as that band with the songs you can identify. We love big riffs, we all love metal, but at the same time we love chords and big choruses so we try to blend all of those elements.”

It’s this blend of aggression and melody that’s been winning over fans of all tribes for years and landing Bad Sign on a variety of surprising lineups including Hit The Deck festival, hardcore bills and perhaps most unexpectedly, Techfest.

“Obviously, musically we’re not up there with the likes of Monuments and Tesseract – they’re like elite musicians and we’re just three blokes playing songs!” says Joe. “That show was one of the only times I’ve felt nervous, but we managed to hold the crowd and it was such a positive reaction.”

Bad Sign are the kind of band that could be put on any bill and they’ll be able to conquer the room, but what’s really going to propel them to success is their long-term vision and unshakeable sense of knowing exactly who they are. “Some bands are just about ‘getting signed’,” says Joe. “It’s not about developing a strong body of work or becoming a band that has longevity. We want to develop ourselves to be a band that’s still here in 20 years’ time. We look up to bands who went out there and grafted. That was always our plan. A lot of bands already have a preconception of who they want to be rather than being themselves. We’re not trying to be another other band, we’re trying to be Bad Sign.”