How Wolf Bradley met Andrew Macatrao feels like the beginnings of a teen soap opera. They were 14 years old, studying at the San Pedro City Ballet School and competing for the same roles. The ballet school was owned by the former’s parents, making dance academy rivals Bradley and Mactrao.
But it wasn’t center stage or Pretty little Liars. The rivalry did not last forever. At 15, Bradley received a guitar for his birthday, and Macatrao was already playing drums. Like most teenagers, they were both “really bad” at their respective instruments, but that didn’t stop them from forming their interestingly named first band.
“We found common ground through music, and then we’ve been best friends ever since,” Bradley recalled over the phone, before diving into the origins of their first band’s name. “We were all ballet dancers, and we were the men, so [the band was called The] Ballerinos. Nobody could spell it because it’s a made up word, and it’s ridiculous.
But their path since has been an uphill battle with lots of twists and turns. They went from The Ballerhinos to a pop-punk band called Last Day Off, then to horror punk band 20 Eyes (which Bradley says is “the worst name of all”). Over the years, they endured a handful of music-industry horror stories with different managers, bad contracts and an identity crisis before finally settling on the moniker The Habits and a sound that appealed to them. seemed loyal.
With Bradley as vocalist/guitarist for The Habits and Macatrao as drummer, the duo finally felt comfortable and confident in their alt-pop sound. In 2019, they shared their self-titled debut EP, and after a year of disappointments (including “getting signed and being dropped”), some form of personal gratification seemed imminent. They released four songs, including one they personally loved titled “Casual” – a track they never expected to go anywhere, but which ended up reaching No. 1 on KROQ and aired everywhere from SiriusXM’s Alt Nation to grocery store playlists.
“It sounded like everything I imagined myself playing when I was older,” Bradley said of the electrifying pop guitar track. “[The success] gave me permission as a songwriter to do exactly what I felt I wanted to do, and what Andrew and I wanted to do as a band.
Following the success of “Casual”, the group launched headlong into creating more music. At the beginning of 2020, they decided to resume their series of terrible names by planning to release an EP titled What’s the worst that can happen?
“I didn’t know what the worst could happen… Then it happened three months later,” he joked.
After recording in March, Bradley quit his job and planned to tour before it all died down. Luckily, the summer allowed The Habits to create music videos for “Amelia” and “Shoulders” with a small crew, and the latter gained a solid fan base. “Even though it’s been a little over a year, [the numbers for] The ‘shoulders’ are still growing every day on all of our streaming services, and people are really drawn to that,” says Bradley.
Again, Bradley didn’t want to waste time between outings. Last year, The Habits started working on a third EP, which has yet to be released. Through a mutual friend, The Habits were connected with Dave Rublin of American Authors, who helped them write their explosive latest single, “Don’t Need A Hero”. Together Bradley, Macatrao and Rublin wrote the song in about 30 minutes. Right off the bat, the comfort level was there. They were able to “overshare” and be themselves without shame. For Bradley, the connection has been invaluable.
“I talk to Dave once a week,” he says. “He’s the coolest guy – very nice and also a great producer and collaborator.”
Alongside the track, Bradley and Macatrao edited a music video influenced by the intro to Julia Roberts’ romantic comedy. The wedding of my best friend. The film features a bride and her bridesmaids in a pink bedroom, running and singing a song. The music video, well, is their “own weird version” with some Bob Fosse jazz moves.
“Don’t Need A Hero” is just a taste of their upcoming introspective EP titled I think I’m fine but I don’t know, expected later this year. They’re feeling a bit more (cautiously) optimistic this time around, but Bradley knows he can lean on Macatrao no matter what happens next.
“We’ve had band members come and go, but Andrew and I stay consistent. We are bonded for life.
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