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Bad Cop/Bad Cop are breaking society's mold

“Do I want to settle down and be the woman society decides for me or am I going to go out and howl at the fucking moon?”

Cathartic, aggressive, vulnerable, pensive – these are just a few ways to describe Warriors, the powerful second album from California all-girl punk-rockers Bad Cop/Bad Cop. After a rollercoaster couple of years that saw the band questioning everything they knew, the new album has an immense thematic input and even greater emotive output.

An album isn’t just about listening to notes, it’s about the journey, the message. Not only are Bad Cop/Bad Cop devoted to making an impact with their political beliefs but Warriors marks an adventure for the foursome, personally and musically, and it’s not often you’ll hear an album that shares so much raw humanity – creating such a soundtrack for so heavy a heart is, as singer Stacey Dee says, the most natural medicine in the world.

“When I pick up my guitar and start playing something, I immediately hear a vocal melody that then leads to what kind of lyrics need to be on it,” she says. “I start to sing something and the tone of it dictates what it should be about.”

After the tumultuous experiences Bad Cop/Bad Cop have gone through, writing Warriors has only made them stronger. “We were on tour across the United States and we decided to go for it as a band, at a time the election was happening – but I had just gotten sober off of prescription drugs.

“I wanted to check out, I didn’t want to be around anymore but music was the one thing I still wanted to do. I couldn’t work, I couldn’t go outside or do anything other than that. It was in finding all the lessons after getting sober, I came back to the girls and said, ‘Four women doing a project with each other can get a little dicey sometimes if you don’t check in with each other’ and it was like, ‘I don’t want to be judgemental, weird or jealous toward you guys, I want to hear your thoughts, I want us to be honest with each other and connect with each other. I don’t want to blame you for shitty stuff, I don’t want you to blame me.’ I wanted to try do something different. They jumped on board and that’s how we’ve been since. Self-discovery while we were writing that record was a big part of our lives.”

For Bad Cop/Bad Cop, the music became about personal accountability and support, questioning their motives for a largely feminist activist start to their career. “Writing the record was difficult because it took us to some uncomfortable places. And it’s like do I want to stand up and make the whole world feminist, do I want to stand next to that?” Dee says.

“I’m a woman who’s playing in a man’s world but I don’t call myself a feminist – is that a big thing for me to say that? Is that gonna label with me forever? There are some big words in there you have to pull up your big girl pants and stand next to. Do I want to settle down and be the woman society decides for me or am I going to go out and howl at the fucking moon and be somebody?”

Of course, listening to their music there will be those who want to stick with that one label – feminist. “If that’s the one word you’re gonna stick then I feel sorry for you,” Dee says. “There’s so much in that record about taking accountability – ‘What kind of life do I wanna have, what kind of person am I gonna be, how can I help?’ We’ve been given a gift to affect people’s lives and if we don’t use that the right way, it’s falling into dangerous territory.

When Bad Cop/Bad Cop take to the stage at Download Festival it will be a test for Dee to convey all these emotive layers to their audience. “The honesty comes through, the friendship comes through,” she says. “People see us and say ‘That made me feel good.’ Not one person is trying to rule the roost up there, we’re just trying to get through it and play as well as we can. Our vulnerability really shines through.”

People are always changing, situations are always changing, not just Bad Cop/Bad Cop but the world, and this commentary is held up with their powerful brand of punk-rock. “And if something really big comes up we’re not afraid to talk about it,” says Dee, “Because it’s not for us to be up there and be like ‘Look at me.’ What we’re trying to do is be on the same level as everybody and say ‘I’m with you, I see you, let’s have a good time together, let’s sing together.’”

Bad Cop/Bad Cop will perform at Download Festival, coming to Flemington Racecourse on Saturday March 24, also featuring Korn, Limp Bizkit, Good Charlotte, Neck Deep, and more.