Formed in July 2018, Bug Bath is comprised of long-time friends Brigdon Markward, Nick Meza and Watson Meyer. Markward and Meyer moved to Reno from Nevada City after graduating from high school in 2013 and have led many creative endeavors around town since. Similarly, drummer Meza moved from South Lake Tahoe in 2012 and admired Reno’s underground hardcore scene.
“It was awesome, and I fucking loved it,” Meza recalled. “I instantly fell in love with the vibe. I had never been in a basement to go see a band, you know, and I’d never seen anyone get kicked out of a concert for saying homophobic slurs, and I’d never seen anyone get called out for being a dick. I thought that was awesome.”
Markward is Bug Bath’s primary lyricist and guitarist. Bassist Meyer has played in quite a few local projects, including Blackstallion, Surly, City Wolves and Gemini Cusp—as well as his signature group, Pry. Devoted members of Reno’s DIY scene, Meza and Meyer have booked concerts at Fort Ryland, Clark Lane Maul, Park Place Penthouse and The HOL since 2012.
Earlier this year Bug Bath released its second EP, I Know It’s Not Your Fault, on the bandmates’ newly founded record label, Egg Wash. They believe that being taken seriously is vital to success as musicians. They understand printing merchandise, professionally recording music and booking tours are arduous and costly tasks, and they want to help emerging bands in Reno navigate the industry.
“For too long we’ve been seeing really, really good bands not know how to put themselves out there and wanted to share our resources to help,” Markward said. “We want to help Reno folks get themselves out there and have a foundation to build their projects up.”
The latest EP reflects the trio’s growing pains through the years. I Know It’s Not Your Fault is anchored and raw, stripped of extraneous instruments that have made appearances in earlier projects.
“Between Pry, City Wolves and Skinwalkers, we’ve all put so much work into nuanced, serious and emotionally challenging projects and wanted to do the opposite and stretch our legs,” explained Markward.
The band found conceptual inspiration in early 2000s Nu Metal and visually abrasive groups like Limp Bizkit, The Prodigy and Mudvayne. Even though Bug Bath doesn’t sound like these bands, the themes behind their music resonate.
“It’s fun going back to the roots and initial concepts behind those projects,” Markward said. “Essentially, Nu Metal was created as this kind of working class rebellious version of metal and was supposed to be more down to Earth. Stylistically I think that still came through a bunch, even as it diverted into this hyper-masculine, mainstream thing. I think we drew from that, or at least looked at it and thought about it and tried reconceptualizing it.”
Listening to Bug Bath’s songs, much like reflecting on the early 2000s themselves, invites critical introspection. Straight eight-note, Iceage-esque riffs are upholstered with scooping lows and driven forward by accents of Nu Metal from Meza. Markward’s lyricism often faces inward, observing the world through a droning, occasionally caustic lens. “Unique Experience” is the newest track on the EP. It’s simple and thrashing, and as Markward frequently describes Bug Bath, “It gets the wiggles out.”