As the frontwoman of her band Bully, Alicia Bognanno is a blonde-haired guitar goddess with a throat-shredding voice. Her undeniable talent lies in her ability to offer herself to the music so completely. With a dynamic range and a powerful narrative speaking to built-up regrets and sometimes desperation, Bognanno is a relatable rocker. On Bully’s latest album Losing, Bognanno created a collection of songs that are an accurate representation of the band’s live performances, which really is their bread and butter.
Following their early afternoon show at Shaky Knees Festival, complete with a sweaty mosh pit and a lot of screaming, Bognanno admits that the day’s audience was great, despite the set time. “For very early on in the festival, I thought it was awesome. Early shows are always shitty,” she admits. Though the live show aspect has become a huge part of the band’s identity, on Losing, the stories being told shared the spotlight. “Writing music is a very personal experience. I think you should just write, and not have any other pressures on the back of your mind. It’s important to not censor yourself and your experiences,” she says of writing Losing.
With a background in audio engineering, Bognanno has always managed to keep the quality of sound at the forefront of songwriting and producing, while maintaining the band’s authenticity of live performances. Losing was engineered and mixed at Chicago’s Electrical Audio studio, where Bognanno once interned. “We do everything on tape because that’s my preferred method,” she says of Bully’s music. “I like being able to listen to records on tape that aren’t super edited with pro-tools and hear the natural mishaps.” The band’s natural mishaps offer personality to the music and make it a true “Bully” sound. From politically-charged songs like “Kills to be Resistant” to emotionally frustrated sentiments in “Feel The Same,” the strong sound is unwavering throughout the album.
Bully offers an energetic and electric live show, coupled with emotional storylines and a crisp sound. With new music on the way, listeners can expect the same honest voice from Bognanno complimented by her signature analog recording methods.
Main photo credit: Alysse Gafkjen