Absolutely no one makes music like The Body. With each release, the duo of Lee Buford and Chip King continue to defy the constraints of what it means to be a “heavy” band, seamlessly combining composition or production approaches from hip hop, pop, classical, as well as rock and electronica resulting in a rich and utterly singular sound. Equally at home on festival stages, art spaces, or in DIY basements, they transcend musical boundaries. Their ambitious creativity shapes their bleak worldview into propulsive and even danceable music, often drenched in distortion. On I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer (Thrill Jockey), The Body challenged themselves again by turning their compositional approach on its head, choosing to build the record on their own samples rather than recording the basic tracks of drums and guitars and processing those. The results carry the listener towards the brink of emotional and musical extremes. I Have Fought Against It… conjures the sublime from an unexpected and incomparable variety of sounds.
The Body are known for their intense, abrasive live shows, whose waves of dissonance create an abiding dread or an overwhelming sense of terror. They create a volume of sound almost unfathomable from a duo, and are unaffected by instrument choice: guitar and drums, or keyboard and synthesizers. Inventive producers, the duo expand their recorded sound palate with regular contributions from the likes of Chrissy Wolpert (Assembly of Light Choir), and Ben Eberle (Sandworm), arranged with help of longtime engineers Seth Manchester and Keith Souza (Machines With Magnets). Wolpert’s ethereal calls and Eberle’s vicious growl are augmented by Lingua Ignota’s Kristin Hayter, whose impassioned voice features on the viscerally emotional “nothing stirs.” On “sickly heart of sand,” vocal tradeoffs between King and Hayter’s are punctuated with the howls of Uniform’s Michael Berdan. With The Body’s keen sense of balance, the ferociousness of these extreme performances are underpinned by the elegance of string swells and pensive, even melodies from a lone piano. For The Body, any source of inspiration is fair game to achieve their distinct atmosphere of unbearable dread, pain, and sadness.
I asked Lee Buford some questions about The Body and the new album.
I listened to your new album I Fought Against it But I Can’t Any Longer. I mean.. it’s insane. How was the process of creation of your last work?
It was basically the same. We recorded some basic stuff and kind of sat on it for a while and would kind of get ideas here and there and we went back in like 8 months later and hammered out the details and kinda moulded it into a cohesive thing. We never really wrote anything before we get in the studio, we’ll have ideas of things we wanna do but it’d be impossible for us to have anything before we went in because it’s so dependent on building tracks up in the studio.
You always choose very meaningful title for your records. What is the concept or the story behind I fought against it but I can’t any longer?
It’s from Virginia Woolf’s suicide letter to her sister. When I read it I felt a deep connection to it, because it’s such a profound statement. I think a lot of times that doesn’t get addressed, the feeling of something bigger than you or the love you have in your life that can ultimately kill you.
I bought your new t-shirt and the sentence in front is “you are nothing.” Why do you despise humanity so bad?
I mean, there’s a lot to despise. Every species has some sort of self-perseverance ingrained in them, but in humans it’s gone beyond that to basic cruelty. I think we spend so much time together and with our friends that we forget how the rest of humanity is, so maybe it’s more of a stark difference for us. Maybe that’s why we have such a strong opinion on it.
In every work you collaborate with a different artist. Why the necessity to complete your music with someone else’s influences?
We’re just two people and there’s a vast amount of things we can’t do musically, so we get other people to fill in the things we can’t do and also the people we have on the records are our good friends so it feels like a natural thing for us, these are the people we choose to spend our lives with so it makes sense that they’d play with us.
Why the choice of Lingua Ignota?
Kristin is our good friend and she’s extremely talented. She also has the same aesthetics to a degree. I think we also understand each other beyond a musical level. Plus she always has jelly beans on her person.
You continue to defy the constraints of what it means to be a heavy band. What does it means for you to play in a project like The Body?
I think the best part of playing is the freedom we have, we’re not beholden to any specific way of doing things whether in the studio or playing live so it keeps things interesting. it has a newness to everything so it doesn’t get boring.