Since their emergence in 2007, Bad Rabbits has lit up the stage with everyone from Kendrick Lamar, The Roots, and Wu-Tang Clan to Deftones, Passion Pit, and Paramore, and has embarked on several North American and international headlining tours. Touted by USA Today, Pitchfork, Interview, Vice, Spin, Huffington Post and more, their 2013 breakout album, American Love, landed at #1 on the iTunes Top R&B Albums Chart and Top 10 on the Billboard R&B Albums Chart and the Heatseekers Chart between a TV takeover that included performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. 2016’s American Nightmare LP took a darker turn, siphoning their heavier influences through a fiery filter and becoming a fan favorite.
(Photo Credit: Steve Osemwenkhae)
The topics on Mimi, our latest album, are aimed to counter the stereotypes and tell a crazy story from a female point-of-view. We are not trying to give you the perspectives of a bunch of 35-year-old guys. It’s not about us—it’s all about Mimi.
Mimi, who is the center of the album, is a fictional vixen who no one can quite figure out. From a young teen to a grown-ass woman, people have looked at her like they already know her or like they want to get to know her. In a sense, Mimi is a representation of our infatuation with phones and social media in today’s society; she’s all about Starbucks and selfies. The character is spontaneous and crazy, but fun to be around. She is black; her look is independent and fun. Mimi, to us, is what we view a fan of Bad Rabbits to look like—we like to think that our fans are stylish, independent women. She still remains a bit of a mystery, even to us. When we think of her, we think of our quintessential dream girl. There is an instant attraction.
Mimi was the brainchild of our drummer, Sheel Davé, and we instantly fell in love with her. Her story is mainly told through someone else’s voice, so you can only learn so much about the character. Every song on this album is a piece of this complex person from an outside vantage point. Mimi is ambiguous; you don’t even know if she is talking about a girl or a guy. It’s more relatable that way. We are celebrating women of all shapes, colors, sizes, and walks of life.
Some songs are meant to be lighthearted, but then we have a song called “F on the J.O.B.,” which deals with the topic of sexual harassment in the workplace. We wrote the song well before the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements and, now with everything that has happened in the past year, the song is even more important to us. The song and the video aim to shame and mock men who feel entitled to sex just because they are attracted to a woman. Chances are, you’ve been attracted to someone you work with at some point in your life, but sexual misconduct in and out of the workplace should never be accepted. The narrator in this song is a guy who harrasses Mimi every day at work. To the douchebags that sexually harass women: your time’s up. And to women, we just want you to know that we support you.
Even though we are telling Mimi’s story through this album, the songs weren’t necessarily written with a character and story-line in mind. Some of these songs had already been written for years. The music and the songwriting on the album helped us put together this concept of how we wanted to express these messages. The videos and illustrations were conceptualized after the songs were made. We all sat down with our longtime friend, tattoo artist and designer Jimmy Lazer, and showed him the music, along with the idea of Mimi being the focal character.
We wanted to get into Mimi’s head, but that wasn’t an easy thing to do since the story is mainly told from her admirers’ perspectives, from harassing her on the job to courting her on a Miami Beach. We spit ideas back and forth with Jimmy throughout the process. Jimmy’s visual storytelling is something that we all admire; we kind of just let him do his thing and run with the main idea. He actually learned how to animate for the first time while doing these videos, which is insane. He’s a beast of an illustrator, animator, and tattoo artist, as well as an amazing visual creative director. We all worked very closely on the visual presentation of the album.
Musically, the album represents what we’ve always done, but it’s a little more adventurous. Our last album, American Nightmare, was very dark, angry, and serious rock. We were in a different place. We wanted it to be a cult record; Thankfully, it became that. Fast-forward a few years later—we’re home, we’re happy, and we aren’t burned out on the road anymore. When it comes to our music, this was the happiest we have been in a long time, being in B. Lewis’ San Jose studio putting Mimi together. It felt right to go back to our roots, the sexy parts. Mimi was about capturing our lighthearted side.
We want fans to have smiles on their faces from beginning to end—from the minute they start the first track to the last track. It’s all positive vibes (even, we think, on a song like “F on the J.O.B.,” because justice is served). When you hear it, we hope you automatically want to dance or find your special person and have a good time. That’s our goal. Mimi is a trigger for the party. There’s too much dark shit in the world, we want people to lighten up, kick back, and enjoy this.
(Photo Credit: Steve Osemwenkhae)