Tuesday, April 23, 2019

an interview with Body Void

Body Void are no strangers to this blog, having been featured on my Bandcamp Picks regularly since their 2016 debut. But their latest EP is easily my favourite- You Will Know the Fear You Forced Upon Us is a righteously angry screed against the alt-right that any fan of sludge metal should own. I reached out to the band to find out more about its creation; guitarist/vocalist Will Ryan was kind enough to take the time to answer my questions.

Dreams of Consciousness: What is Body Void?

We're a slow punk band from the Bay Area, California. Sometimes we play fast too.

DoC: Please give a brief history of your band - when did you form, and what were your goals at the time? What led to you changing your name from Devoid?

We formed in 2014. We spent two years as Devoid and I think the name change in 2016 marked when we started to take ourselves a little more seriously as a "real" band. Musically, the goal was always to combine the extremes of doom and hardcore. We like to find interesting ways to make a slow song go fast and vice versa. Over time I think our approach has evolved and refined, but a lot of the broad, early goals have remained the same.

DoC: Your latest EP is You Will Know the Fear You Forced Upon Us. Where was it recorded? How long had you been working on it before its release?

We recorded the EP at Earhammer Studios in Oakland, CA with Greg Wilkinson who's recorded all our material as Body Void. It's definitely our fastest written and recorded EP. We started writing in the spring of 2018 and it came out less than a year later.

DoC: YWKTFYFUU deals with the alt-right and encroaching fascism in pretty blunt terms. Was there a specific event that inspired the EP? Do you consider Body Void to be a political band?

The content of the EP was inspired by the slow rise of fascism back into the mainstream since 2016, but I think if I were to point to any one thing that decided it for us it would be the US's family separation policies at the US-Mexican border. Policies whose effects are still ongoing and just obscenely detrimental, inhumane, and heartbreaking.

We only consider ourselves political insomuch as we are personally involved and effected by politics. But we don't brand ourselves as "political". Body Void is an outlet for our own misery and hurt first and foremost, and that's where our politics are grounded.

DoC: Metal encompasses a wide variety of viewpoints, and sadly racism and quasi-fascism are fairly common. Do you make it a point to never collaborate or share a stage with a band with those viewpoints?


DoC: YWKTFYFUU was co-released by Seeing Red, Crowne and Throne Ltd., and Dry Cough Records. How did three labels get involved for one EP?

We all worked together on our last record I Live Inside A Burning House. We were all very pleased with the end result, so we decided to do it again for this release. We've worked with Crown and Throne and Dry Cough since our first release as Body Void, Ruins, and we linked up with Seeing Red for our second recording.

DoC: It was announced a few weeks back that Body Void will be relocating to the East Coast. What led to the move?

The move is mostly for personal, family related reasons. Parker and I are from New England and we wanted to be closer to family. Luckily our drummer, Eddie, who's from California decided to move with us so we could continue as a band.

DoC: Parker and Wilt are also in Atone with members of Swamp Witch. What does the move mean for the future of Atone?

It's unclear at the moment. I hope we can still somehow make it work remotely. With Parker and I still in BV together it might be possible to write some more Atone songs long distance. We'll see.

DoC: Body Void have been pretty busy on the live circuit, having finished a West Coast tour with Un earlier in the year, and a tour with Primitive Man is planned for May. How important is touring and playing live for you? What are your favourite cities to play? What do you want your audience to experience at a Body Void gig?

We love touring and playing new places. I think we'd do even more if we could.

We always have great shows in Portland, OR. One of the best shows on our US tour last year was Minneapolis, MN. We'd never played there, but the room was packed and everyone was extremely welcoming. We had a great experience in the Midwest in general, for the most part.

Our only goal live is to make the music physical in a way it can't be on the record. So we play loud, but it's more to fill the space than to make people's ears bleed, haha.

DoC: What's next for Body Void?

We're touring the Midwest with Primitive Man and Aseethe starting May 17th. Then we're touring Europe in August and we'll have some more east coast dates later in the year as well. We also have a split in the works that'll hopefully see release in the summer.

Body Void on Bandcamp

Dredging the Sludge:

an interview
with Greber
Mixtape 56: