Interview by Parisa Eshrati
Prior to The Body's set at Southwest Terror Fest, drummer Lee Buford of The Body did a quick email interview with T&E to discuss some of his current favorite reads, the collaboration with Full of Hell, and his all-time favorite love songs.
You guys have stated how doing collaborative albums helps push you musically. How did this last collaboration with Full of Hell push your instrumental precision? Were there any songs off this album in particular that really challenged your technique?
I don't know if this album in particular was about that. It was more about having a wider spectrum of what's possible. Chip [King] and I aren't the greatest musicians, so it's awesome to have an idea and have it executed the right way since we don't got the chops to do it.
A lot of the themes of your music are driven from old literary works. Were you reading anything in particular while recording that helped develop the atmosphere for the album?
I'm reading all the time, especially on tour, so it's hard to say what makes it in directly or indirectly. Dylan [Walker, vocalist of Full of Hell] handled most of the lyrics, I think Chip had written some as well, and I named the record (much to the chagrin of the Internet) but that was my only contribution to any written word type of stuff.
Are you currently reading anything on this tour that you feel will inspire future releases?
This trip I read a book about juggalos, The Fireman by Joe Hill, The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, Death By Video Game by Simon Parkin, and The 37th Parallel: The Secret Truth Behind America's UFO Highway by Ben Mezrich. Nothing there too inspiring for future stuff, but Bluets by Maggie Nelson has been a constant book in my life since I first read it.
You guys don’t listen to a lot of new metal as you have a lot of problems with the genre. I was wondering if you could delve into that a little more and explain some of your issues with the genre or community, and where you’d like to see it evolve.
Well, a lot of it comes down to sincerity. I think there are very safe things you can do in the metal genre that will instantly make you successful, and people capitalize on that. I'm sure that a lot of those bands have that mentality that they grew up with a certain type music so that's what they want to play, but it just breeds stagnation. If you're just aping some band from 10 years ago how is that fulfilling for you or anyone else? Also, and I'm sure this goes along with any genre, I see a lot of ego...and it's really disheartening. There's a lot of self-promotion and enough people paying attention to metal that when people get written about or buzzed about, then they think they're Black Sabbath 2 or something. You're just a dude playing a minor scale through a million orange amps, you ain't that great.
It’s known that y’all are fans of pop music but I notice there’s been mostly mentions of female pop singers, like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. I was curious, then, if the gendered differences in pop and metal is another reason why you don’t listen to a lot of metal.
I've thought about this a lot. I was raised primarily by my mom, my grandmother, and a woman named Earline, who was the closest thing to a saint that's probably ever walked the Earth -- so I think I can just relate to women more. It's no secret that I'm obsessed with Fleetwood Mac and have a bunch of Mac related tattoos. I've got Kate Bush lyrics tattooed on my face, and Patti Smith and Hole lyrics on my leg. I think pop music is more transparent when it comes to that stuff. You rarely hear the press say Taylor Swift wrote this song on the guitar because people don't care. It's superficial nature kinda excludes any background information. It's like..."This song is good, I like it and that's as far as my thought process is gonna go in regards to this." Whereas in metal, it's either astonishment that a woman can play the guitar or the flip side where women get fetishized for playing music. Both sides of that are gross in their own ways.
What are some of your all-time favorite love songs?
This is the best question I've ever been asked.
"Baby" - Gal Costa
"You and Your Sister" - Chris Bell
"Shatter" - Liz Phair
"Hospital" - The Modern Lovers
"Nobody 'Cept You" - 16 Horsepower
"Pissin' in a River" - Patti Smith
"I'll Be Your Lover, Too" - Van Morrison
"Love Letter" - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
"Slow Show" - The National
"Old Money" - Lana Del Rey
"Unchained Melody" - Righteous Brothers or Willie Nelson
I could go forever with this. I'll stop here.
The recent Moog roundtable podcast you participated in brought up some really interesting points about the evolution of electronic music. I’m curious if there is a particular era of electronic music that’s been most influential to the evolution of The Body’s electronic sound. (And was it unreal participating in a podcast with Gary Numan?)
That was a really crazy experience to be sitting with those legends. We felt like idiots just being there. It was like, "Oh, that was a great Killing Joke story! Let me tell you about when Mitch from Thou and I watched a scary movie and ate pizza in the van."
I think since Chip and I grew up in the 80's those kind of sounds are imprinted into our brains. You have Depeche Mode and those synth based bands, then you had hip hop experimenting with samplers, and I think both sides of that influenced us.
What are some other acts you’re looking forward to seeing at this year’s Terror Fest?
I've realized that I get too overwhelmed at fests and end up just hanging with out of town friends more than I watch bands. I'll be excited to see Full of Hell and Infest though.