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INTERVIEW: Home Body

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “DNA”?

We wrote DNA as a way to process some emotional trauma surrounding loss,  death and illness. We had been thinking a lot about inherited/biological identity, as well as curiosity surrounding ancestral history and generational possibilities. This song took a few years to complete. It’s wasn’t always easy, but there was something about these chords, these phrases, that compelled us to come back to it again and again. In retrospect, writing this song was a necessary step in healing some pretty rough wounds. In its softness, its steady, pulsing heartbeat, and its lush layers, it feels more like an auditory salve than a song to us now.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

People change, families change. Accidents, illness, discovery, and death revise our relationships to ourselves and each other. We’ve lost a few very important people in our lives over the course of the past 5 or so years, including both of Eric’s parents, and we’ve also gained important family members. We’ve supported our friends who have gone through very difficult losses. In a way, this song feels like a container for grief, uncertainty, loss, curiosity, and resilience.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

Writing this song we had been thinking a lot about inherited and chosen identities, and how ritual can initiate personal evolution and generational healing. We had wanted to work with Patty Gone after seeing their video series, “Painted Dreams”, which playfully explored the cliches and contradictions of gender as told through soap operas and the soft language of cultural objects. Incorporating actual meaningful objects from our families and personal lives into this sort of absurd display of luxuriant domesticity was a way for us to subvert our own shifting heteronormative narrative. We shot all of the footage in one afternoon in Patty’s former studio. Working with Patty was a total dream – playful, improvisational, and fun. The experience felt truly collaborative and we love how the video came out.

The single comes off your new album Spiritus – what’s the story behind the title?

Over the past 3 years working on the album, we’ve come to consider Home Body not only a creative practice, but a spiritual one as well. We’re interested in not only how music can mirror, shift, and elevate one’s energy emotionally and physically, but how music can seem to vibrationally connect us to something bigger than ourselves. Though I legitimately thought I made up the word “spiritus”, it’s since popped up over and over again in meaningful ways, like in my tarot deck on The Star card and as the name of a pizza place in Provincetown, MA, which coincidentally is where we shot the photography for the Spiritus album art. It’s just one of those things that felt like it was meant to be!

How was the recording and writing process?

As we’ve sort of said, many of these songs were written as a way for us to process and work through some pretty dark, tangled, and heavy personal experiences, and refocus on the light. When it came to finally recording them, we decided to really slow down the whole process and take our time with each song, letting the compositions breathe and giving ourselves space to reflect and gain perspective while sculpting them. By not pressuring ourselves to rush, we were able to truly follow our own curiosity and delight with each song, and experiment with new approaches and elements like background vocals and subtle supporting synths.

In the past we’ve recorded in a more traditional manner, booking a certain amount of days in a studio, and at the end of those sessions we always had to kind of convince ourselves that we were totally satisfied with the recordings, kind of like, “yeah this is good…right?” A lot of that weird pressure seemed to be financial – you pay all this money up front for studio time, and when that time is up, you’re supposed to be done. Or pay more money for more time. That work flow just didn’t seem like it was going to serve us or the songs this time around. So we worked on the songs in small batches, tracked most of the instruments and background vocals on our own at our house, and then spent our money on studio time for the main vocals. We would then mix the songs best we could and then hand them off to James Zaner to finish mixing, and worked with Sarah Register to master the tracks. We’re so proud of how cohesive the album ended up sounding. Spiritus really captures our energy, depth, and intimacy in a way that we’ve never been able to share before.

Have bands such as Bjork and Sylvan Esso influenced your writing?

No, not really. We’ve admire Bjork for her authenticity and far reaching creative vision, but sonically we’ve always followed our own curiosity and delight when writing our music. And we have enough meaty inspiration to draw from our 13 years together without feeling the need to emulate another artist style or form, ha! But it’s always interesting to hear who we remind listeners of, and are honored to often be in the company of so many other interesting, envelope-pushing artists.

Influences for us come in many forms, and often are not musical. A lot of the things that influence our writing come from a more guttural and intangible place, from our shared emotional world, sometimes from ugly or uncomfortable experiences, or physical spaces, or meals, or ancient history, or modern dance, or flecks of plastic we find in the woods…

How much did you guys get to improvise on this album?

Most of our music evolves from improvisation, from being playful with each other.  So much of the recording process is making it up as you go along, recognizing those magical moments and doing your best to capture them without thinking too much about it.

What role does New England play in your music?

Seasons are a huge part of our lives as New Englanders. Living through four radically different climates in one calendar year certainly does shape you as an individual and helps you be adaptable to change as well as grateful for the good times. We love living in western Massachusetts, where we can live simply and heartily, eat fresh vegetables, swim in clean rivers, and still see the stars at night. I think feeling connected to nature encourages us to make music that’s alive, experiential and constantly changing. Even though it’s electronic, our music feels organic and tangible. And maybe since we eat maple syrup literally every day, that’s why our music can be sweet, too…

Any plans to hit the road in support of the album?

We just got home yesterday from a 6 week tour down to SXSW and back. We love performing live and touring and will be back on the road soon! We have lots of east coast spring/summer shows coming up, and are also planning our first European tour for this coming fall!

What else is happening next in Home Body’s world?

Besides catching up on sleep and unpacking from tour, we’re getting ready for our big local album release show on May 3 at the Shea Theater in Turners Falls, MA. We’ve got some new music videos coming down the pipeline, as well as some top secret projects in the works we can’t talk about quite yet (but definitely stay tuned to our instagram, @home_ _body)! 2019 is shaping up to be a big, bright year for Home Body and we can’t wait to see what surprises are ahead of us!

Home Body’s newest full length album, ‘Spiritus’, will be released April 26 2019 via  Feeding Tube Records and Peace & Rhythm.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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