Maryland’s ambient progressive rock band BODY THIEF discuss their debut album

7 mins read

BODY THIEF, an ambient, progressive rock / melodic post hardcore band from Maryland have teamed up with IDIOTEQ to talk about their band, their new full length album, and some of their inspirations.

Teased by 2 singles below, “Speak In Hibernation” was produced by Paul Leavitt (ALL TIME LOW, CIRCA SURVIVE, SENSES FAIL, etc.)  and proves to be a very focused and creatively powerful record. Taste some of the new tunes and learn more about the band through the interview below. BODY THIEF will be self-releasing it digitally on September 18th.

BODY THIEF album promo

Hey Greg! Hi guys! I wanted to start off with a little story about the work you’ve done in the past. Please drop us a little introduction on your background and BODY THIEF.

Greg : Hi Karol ! BODY THIEF began as a project among Sebastian and I. We played together in a (now defunct) band called TOOTH & CLAW. The band broke up around January 2012, and about a year later, Sebastian and I began demoing new material for BODY THIEF. The two of us stayed extremely busy while working on new music, and coordinating the vision that we wanted for this new band. As we began to feel more comfortable with our demos, scratching old ideas and refining the new ideas, we decided it was time to find members. This was a difficult part of the formation of our band, as we were determined to work with like-minded people who shared the same goal and vision of this band in their minds. Towards the end of summer/beginning of fall 2013, we had finalized our lineup with Walt Umana on bass, Austin Loman on guitar, and Daniel Hawkins on vocals. We played our first show as BODY THIEF in February of 2014, and then spent the remainder of the year playing around, promoting our name, and finalizing songs for our album. We went in to record with Paul Leavitt (ALL TIME LOW, CIRCA SURVIVE, SENSES FAIL) in Baltimore, MD in December of 2014 to record our full length, and we couldn’t be happier with the result! We are extremely excited with how far we’ve come along and have big plans for our future!

What was the inspiration for this specific mood of dynamic yet ambient progressive rock in the vein of CIRCA SURVIVE?

Greg – Haha we are all big fans of CIRCA SURVIVE. They are a group that has consistently been a large influence on myself personally, and our band. We definitely have felt inspired from listening to groups that play with dynamics and we wanted to incorporate that into our own material like RADIOHEAD – were also really big Radiohead fans! In general, I think we take a lot of inspiration from groups that are fairly technical but also play off dynamics to create different feels in their music! so for example, we listen to a wide variety of post-rock, math rock, progressive metal, etc.

What’s so special about these guys that makes people either love or hate their work?

Greg : That’s awesome ! Hmm, describing what makes RADIOHEAD so special seems difficult, but I’ll try my best ! I think my obsession with them began when I started listening to Kid A and I was so fond of the sounds on this album. I was really interested in how they went about making some of the sounds, like what instruments or effects they were using, and that definitely made me want to try experimenting with new sounds or styles – specifically weird effects and electronic sounds. And I’d say that is one of the biggest reasons a lot of people love their work. Songs like Kid A or Idioteque or Sail to the Moon for example; I just can’t think of any band that really pulls off this kind of sound and does it in such a way, in terms of rhythms/melodies/harmonies – they just have always been a really unique and creative band in my mind, and their music has definitely influenced myself and our bandmates in trying to find our own sound and think outside the box ! :)

Thom Yorke has just announced that he has separated from his partner after 23 years spent together, so I guess we can expect a sorrowful offering coming up from his creative mind :)

What experiences have triggered YOUR ideas for compositions most frequently?

Greg and Sebastian: Hmm I think there’s something to be said about going to shows and experiencing live music. You may listen to an album from top to bottom a bunch of times but the experience that is had through headphones is much different than the experience had in a live setting. The things you feel, the chills you get, the connections had with the people around you drives me (us) to want to compose songs that make people feel those exact things. With that being said, experiencing a lot of different types of music and keeping up to date with new bands/artists. You can’t expect to write fresh and innovative music without being inspired by what’s new and upcoming.

So what characterizes your music philosophy?

Greg: In general, I believe we all have a different type of philosophy when it comes to music, and how we approach it individually. My “music philosophy” is just sort of working with what sounds best to my ears. So, my philosophy isn’t really based on any strict ideas or certain rules – I just write what I think sounds good, and try not to overthink it too much. In my mind, I always have a million ideas rushing through my brain at a million miles an hour, and so there is (quite literally) some kind of musical ideas that are constantly in my head. It might be a certain rhythm pattern, or a little melody, but I always have a lot of ideas that are continuously flowing; so I have to try my best to write them down, or record them. From there, it goes from 1 small idea and then I begin to piece it together with the help of bandmates, and everyone gets to put their own spin on it. It’s really awesome to be able to work together and coordinate ideas as a group. Without the help of this team I call my band, all of my songs would probably just remain the 30 second-1 minute mini recordings I have roughly recorded on my laptop (so I don’t forget them !)

OK guys, so you’re about to punt out your debut full length. Tell me a bit about this record and your cooperation with Paul Leavitt.

Dan: To put it simply, writing and recording this record was the beginning of BT finding our sound and growing as musicians and friends. I feel like everyone had joined the band in the beginning with an open mind of what we wanted the music to sound like, which lead us to be able to find a style that we are all content with and love to play. I hope this album will really speak to people, and that they will connect with the music and lyrics as much as we do. Working in the studio with Paul was an awesome experience. He was very easy to work with and had an answer if we had a question, or if we were looking for an outside opinion. His attitude and focus really made the recording process go smoothly and efficiently. We all had such a fun, unforgettable time in the studio and grew closer as a band by being with each other all day, everyday.

Are there any memories from writing and recording time which you’d like to share with us?

Greg: The process of recording was a little tedious, most likely due to the fact that we had done a lot of pre-production prior to entering the studio with Paul, so we were very serious about every little fine detail, and ensuring that each part was recorded exactly how we envisioned it to sound in our heads and also portray the way it would be played and sound in a live setting. I think one of the memories we have from writing and recording was beer, pizza, and subway! haha ! We were at Paul’s studio for 2 weeks straight, and his place is located right next to a bar which also serves pizza. We went there pretty often, and then when we got sick of that, we began to go to subway, because of their cheap prices. And oh my god, we quickly got so sick of those subway sandwiches, I personally haven’t eaten at a subway since then just because of how often I had it, it made me never want to eat there again !

Alright, so I guess late 2015 will be a good time to take the new record on the road. Is this the plan?

Dan: Our plan is to hype up the album as much as we can locally, and through social media for the ending duration of 2015, then come into 2016 strong with an east cost tour, most likely in the beginning of spring.

What are some of the most memorable shows you’ve had so far?

Greg: We’ve had a ton of memorable shows and played with a lot of really talented bands; it’s been awesome and very humbling to play alongside some of these groups. I think one of the best shows we’ve ever played was in November of 2014 in Baltimore, MD with HAIL THE SUN, STOLAS, ICARUS THE OWL. It was quite a rough time in my own life, personally, as I was dealing with a lot of stress due to theBUSYNESS of being in school, and making time for the band and coping with depression. Everyone in the band was also dealing with a lot of stress due to the business of being in school, working, and trying to commit to this band full time. But when we played that night, we all had a giant release of that – for just 30 minutes, it was almost like a cleansing feeling for all of us to just be able to play and not think about the other bothersome things in our lives at that time. And we left that show feeling very confident of our set, the outcome of the crowd, and the reassurance we got from others in the crowd, including some of the band members who we played alongside with! It was also such a memorable show for all of us, because we have filmed almost all of our shows (we like to look back and critique every little thing!) but that night, we decided not to ! and as a result, we don’t have anything to look back on to say, “aw man, I didn’t hit that note properly” or “I was off beat by a half second!” – instead, we’re just left with a great memory of playing a really solid set and enjoying a great night !

Cool. Thanks so much for the interview guys. Feel free t add your last words and take care!

[email protected]

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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