SXSW Artist Spotlight: Body Language

Brooklyn indie band Body Language make funky dance pop, and this year the band returns to SXSW for the third time with every intention of getting people moving to their music. Recently The Horn’s Lee Ackerley spoke with the band’s lead vocalist Angelica Bess about past SXSW experiences, life on the road, and, of course, eating barbecue.Have you played SXSW before?
This is going to be our third year! We first came in 2010, skipped 2011, and came back last year. And now we’re coming again!

How has your experience changed from your 2010 experience at SXSW to this year?
This year we have some new songs that we are trying to get together. We also have a special guest bassist with us on tour, Kenneth Vasoli, of Vacationer. We are definitely a lot more prepared, comfortable, and familiar with some of the showcases and what to expect. SXSW is kind of like a rat race, it’s just this big race, and everyone is trying to get the end. But we are definitely a lot more calm, we don’t have as many shows this year. We actually only have one show a day. So now we can focus on making one show perfect instead of rushing off to the next show.

You guys are known to be a great live band. Do you switch it up on stage every night? Do you like to improvise?
We have a short list of what we want to play, but there is no telling what songs we’ll do until we see the crowd and venue. We have to gauge whether it is going to be a more low-key night, or if we are going to have friends going crazy in the crowd. We definitely adhere to the feel of the audience. As far as improvising, we like playing the songs as they are but every once in a while someone will throw in a crazy fill, or riff, to mix it up.

Tell me about your new EP Grammar.
It’s kind of like a little striptease of our full length, which is now getting pushed back to July. It’s definitely an intro of what we finally want to sound like. For a while we were writing songs where we didn’t necessarily care, like pursue a genre as far as a sound. It was more like, we love tropical music so let’s make a tropical track, but we didn’t necessarily know what to do with it. With theGrammar EP, it’s a little snippet of our full length, a lot more disco and dancier, which is what we present onstage, and it’s now all coming together. This is definitely a Body Language album though. It’s not a lot like an EP, with different kinds of Body Language songs. It’s more like a novel, or a book, where each song follows the next one.

How is the writing process in the band? Is it one person coming up with songs or is it collaborative?
It’s pretty collaborative. It usually starts off with Matt. Matt will either write a whole instrumental and I’ll just do lyrics, or sometimes he’ll just write a beat, and we’ll just build off of that. But the lyrics are a trade-off between both of us. Matt will do most of our production. Ian, who is our drummer, gives us a lot of insight with drum fills and what the flow of the song should be. It might be one person does more, but there have definitely been songs where Matt has written the whole instrumental and I will write all of the lyrics. Sometimes it is vice-versa. It’s definitely a little bit of everybody for sure.

Do you guys write while on tour?
Matt writes a lot on tour, with his trendy laptop. He’s the logical and savvy one. He will spit out tracks like crazy. But he gets a lot of inspiration from the road. When you are driving out on these highways and these vast plains, this flat space, your mind goes crazy, and really wanders. He writes like a madman on tour, he’ll come up with ten tracks. They won’t necessarily be full length, but there will be enough there to finish the song.

So how do you go on tour and not tear each other apart being in a van and on top of each other 24/7?
Oh my God. Well, we definitely have our moments. It’s just being in a band with three dudes. I’m always a minority and I don’t have a say in anything when it comes to food, or when we want to stop somewhere, they’ll be like “No! We don’t have time.” But generally we love each other so much. It’s like a family; you love each other and sometimes you just want to fucking kill them. Everyone is a diva. And to be honest, I am probably the least diva out of the whole band. Men are divas, not women, its men.

Is there anything in Austin you want to do while you’re here?
We want some authentic BBQ for sure. Last year, we were just thrown at so many commercial places, like Stubb’s, and this year we want to find some more secret spots. I want to check out some shows on the outskirts of the downtown area. I want to hear some bands I know nothing about. There is something about discovering a band that is just the most gratifying shit you’ll ever experience. You’ll see someone that you love a million times, and they’ll be better every time, but it is so expected and you know all of the songs. If you hear them for the first time and they’re good. You discover it and you want to learn more.

Similar Posts