Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Michigan’s Bathroom of the Future. Together we discussed the origin of their name, their influences, their EPs, and so much more! Check it out below!
1. Hello! Mustard would like to thank you for being here. How are you?
I am well! I’m no longer besieged by seasonal allergies and am eagerly looking forward to a Trader Joe’s pizza I’m warming up as I write this.
2. Mustard occasionally ends up in bathrooms. Depending on the day, it is in the future. Could you share how you got your name? Do you have a patent?
The short version of the story is that we got it from a Simpsons joke wherein Homer uses what he calls the “bathroom of the future” and Marge informs him that he had just done his business inside Apollo 12. We had another name in mind at first that has been long lost to history, but one of our members (who will remain nameless) got drunk and called us “Bathroom of the Future” instead of whatever the other name was, and it was too funny to not use.
Patent law in this country is a tricky subject to navigate, but we are proud to say we were able to buy our own domain name after some bathroom fixture company stopped using it.
3. You make Nerd Rock. Do you have a favorite geologist?
Shaggy, in that Tumblr thread where someone misunderstood what the phrase “high geologist” meant and it ended with him becoming an immortal minotaur who loves rocks, or something.
4. Who (or what) influences Bathroom of The Future?
“Who” is kind of a fun one to answer, because all four of us have such disparate musical tastes, although there is a lot of common ground in that we all love punk and emo bands with super forthright and humorous lyrics. People have compared us to stuff like Nerf Herder and Rozwell Kid which I think is fair because we all love them both (Nerf Herder especially was pretty formative for me when I was much younger and trying to figure out what sort of music I wanted to play). There’s a lot of more obviously “geek rock” kinda stuff like Weezer and Ozma that informs what we do both musically and aesthetically, but we’re also into a lot of more indie or emo stuff like Superchunk, Piebald, or The Get Up Kids as songwriters even if it isn’t as obvious in how the songs come out. A big part of how our songs turn out is because we all have something else to bring to the table, and our finished songs rarely sound the way I expected them to as I was writing the chord progressions or whatever. (I should stress that I absolutely consider this to be a good thing.)
The “what” is maybe a little easier, because we’re honestly inspired both musically and aesthetically by things like 90s internet culture and the feeling of staying up too late to watch Toonami and Adult Swim as we by any actual bands we enjoy.
5. You released ‘Heck Awaits’ in 2015. Was this EP foreshadowing the future? Could you share more about this release?
Heck Awaits was a terrible joke that our bassist Sean and I used to laugh about when we would get drunk on his porch and think about how nobody uses the word “heck” in any kind of professional context. We recorded it in a friend’s garage with a few pals from another local band that were kinda learning how record instruments, place mics, and so on, and we did the whole thing in an afternoon before I rushed home to watch wrestling.
While we certainly couldn’t have foreseen the EXACT heck that awaited us all, we did think it was important to warn people that heck was approaching, and is indeed still approaching at all times.
6. With remote jobs becoming more of a viable option for humans, would you recommend “Welcome To Work Life” as a manual or guide? How did the 90s help inspire the songs on this record?
The 90s inspired “Work Life” about as much as they inspire anything I do, in that I’ve spent the rest of my life trying to chase that high of finding just the right SNES game on the shelf at Blockbuster before going to see if Ghostbusters 2 or The Mask were still available for rent.
Really, if anything, the title “Welcome to Work Life” is just as much of a warning as “Heck Awaits”, moreso than it is a guide, since no matter what you do, work life will come for you someday in whatever form it takes. (The fact we don’t really play anything from this EP live anymore perhaps indicates our unspoken feelings about working vs. going to heck.)
7. Words I Had is a collection of previously released (and unreleased) music. They appreciate the cleverness of the title. Was “Words I Had” planned or in mind when releasing albums such as “Heck Awaits?
“Words I Had” kinda took shape over a couple of years after releasing Work Life – we had written a bunch of new stuff we were super excited about, and there were a few older songs that were still staples of our live sets that we wanted to take a crack at re-recording and kind of polishing up a bit with a local producer we really like named Tom Skill. We went back and forth on what the title should be for a long time until our drummer James once said “words I had” as a joke about the mutual word salad we all share, and we liked it so much we made him the unofficial tiebreaker whenever we couldn’t come up with an album title going forward.
8. Mustard had the pleasure of reviewing and enjoying your latest record, Maclunkey. They wonder what your favorite Star Wars film is. Could you share more about this record?
Maclunkey took a pretty long time to come together, at least by our standards. A lot of the songs were actually written a while before they were recorded but didn’t really have a place on our previous releases, so when the material started coming together for Maclunkey we found a home for some of the older stuff we’d worked on. The writing process was something of an attempt to expand what a “Bathroom of the Future song” sounded like – nothing revolutionary, but we wanted to try to let the songs breathe a little more and kind of make sure every song wasn’t the exact same energy and vibe from one song to the next. This sort of extended into the production too, as it’s probably the densest and most layered album we’ve made when it comes to vocals or guitar tracks or whatever. We like to think it adds a new wrinkle to what Bathroom can be without totally throwing our usual style out the window, and the response has been super flattering so far.
I think I speak for all of us when I say The Phantom Menace is our favorite Star Wars, and we try to watch it every year at the band holiday party we throw. Aside from our old pal Jar Jar however, I think the answer would be some mix of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi for everyone.
9. Do you have any upcoming projects?
Right now we’re just playing a lot of shows – we’ll be performing at DragonCon 2022, we’ll be playing with mc chris among other artists, and we’re kinda hitting the road for the first time in a long time. We’ve always got stuff cooking up, but right now we’re just happy to get people to check out Maclunkey and to get the new material out in front of new people.
10. Where can readers listen to your music?
We’re on pretty much any streaming service people still actually use, but if you want a quicker way to get there you can go to bathroomofthefuture.com and choose the platform of your choice. (We’ve also seen our stuff get uploaded to some scary European torrent sites, but I wouldn’t recommend actually going there to download anything.)