Setting out to create the most twisted and disgusting pop record ever created, The Body certainly achieved that goal with their latest album, No One Deserves Happiness. In this interview Lee Buford, drummer of the band, discusses the idea behind their album and their work process as a band, as well as some of their upcoming collaborations and tours.
Scene Point Blank: Hey guys! First of all thanks for finding the time to do this interview. It is much appreciated. Would you like to give an introduction to the band?
Lee Buford: We started in 1999 and been playing together since then.
Scene Point Blank: If I am not mistaken, No One Deserves Happiness marks the fifth time that your work is released by Thrill Jockey. How is it working with these guys?
Lee Buford: We love everyone at Thrill Jockey. I feel bad because I hear so many horror stories of our friends dealing with other labels and we don't have to deal with any of that. I think we're probably a hard band to sell since we try to push away from any genre people try to put us in to, so I'm thankful for them sticking with us.
Scene Point Blank: I found the concept behind No One Deserves Happiness, the fact that you set out to make the most disgusting pop album ever created, very intriguing. What was it that set you on this path? And do you feel that you have succeeded?
Lee Buford: I think that was kind of a joke. We did want to take the elements from pop music we loved and incorporate them into our music. I think we did a good job with it. I think we retained the stuff that still makes it "a Body record."
Scene Point Blank: By the way, is it true that the original bass line for “Two Snakes” was inspired by a Beyoncé song?
Lee Buford: Most everything we do is inspired by Beyoncé. Or the Weeknd.
Scene Point Blank: I'd like to ask specifically about “Adamah.” The word itself, as far as I know comes from Hebrew, and it is roughly translated to “earth,” and is closely related with the name “Adam,” giving a link between man and earth, and to an extent between man and animal. Is that how you see the concept of the specific track? How does that fit in your philosophy as a band?
Lee Buford: Our friend Maralie wrote the lyrics and that one so I couldn't say what her intent was.
Scene Point Blank: The sound of the new record is amazing. Congrats on that! Can you tell us more about the production stage . Where was it recorded? Which engineer(s) did you use for the recording, mixing, and mastering stages?
Lee Buford: We record most everything with our friends Seth and Keith at Machines with Magnets in Rhode Island. They did everything as far as recording and mastering. They're the best.
Scene Point Blank: You also had a number of guests in No One Deserves Happiness. Can you tell us how these collaborations came to be? You have worked with The Assembly of Light Choir on Christs, Redeemers if I remember correctly.
Lee Buford: Chrissy Wolpert, who does the Choir, has been on most every record we've done. This one doesn't have the whole choir, but some of the women who have sung with the choir in the past. They're all good friends of ours.
Scene Point Blank: I Shall Die Here is a great album and was considered a bold move from you guys, having Bobby Krlic (Haxan Cloak) come in as a producer and starting to move into other musical directions such as electronic music, techno and industrial, a move that very few acts would dare make. What was it that signaled that change for you? And do you feel that The Body will transform further its sound in the future?
Lee Buford: We're always trying to push ourselves creatively, otherwise what's the point? We'll always try to take as many risks as we can because we'd probably die of boredom if we didn't.
Scene Point Blank: Obviously you guys had a very distinct sound from before I Shall Die Here. How do you mold the final product of The Body? Is it a collaborative effort, or is rather each member bringing his own identity to the band?
Lee Buford: We're best friends and being only two of us it's easy to write music and take more chances that I think traditional bands can't take. It's easier for two people to get on the same page than it is for four. Everything we do is collaborative, including the guest musicians we have on the records.
Scene Point Blank: Sticking with the subject of your sound, have you noticed any differences in your creative process in I Shall Die Here and No One Deserves Happiness? It seems that your sound has become even less straightforward and I wonder whether that has influenced the way you compose the music.
Lee Buford: I don't think we have any agenda when we make music. We just kinda grab whatever interests us and try to incorporate it in. The way music is now I think we might subconsciously try to distance ourselves from that stuff, but most of the time it's pretty natural.
Scene Point Blank: You have done some excellent collaborations in the last few years, including bands/artists such as Krieg, Thou, and Vampillia among more. Are there any more collaborations on the horizon?
Lee Buford: We've got one with Full of Hell that comes out in March, and hopefully one with The Bug is coming out sometime.
"We'll always try to take as many risks as we can because we'd probably die of boredom if we didn't."
Scene Point Blank: Is there any more material from the sessions of No One Deserves Happiness that did not make the final cut, just because it did not fit with the rest of the album? I am asking since you have been very prolific in the last few years. Is there a possibility we are going to get an EP from The Body soon?
Lee Buford: We have two songs that are more the old style. Maybe it'll be a 7" at some point.
Scene Point Blank: You guys have also participated in the latest Wrekmeister Harmonies excellent album, Night of Your Ascension. How did this collaboration come to be? How different do you find working as The Body compared to contributing in Night of Your Ascension?
Lee Buford: We're just friends with JR and he asked if we wanted to record with him while we were in town. I mean, it's fun hanging out with JR and Mark Solotroff was recording too, so it's always great to hang with those guys.
Scene Point Blank: Do you guys have any plans for future gigs?
Lee Buford: Europe tour with Full of Hell, and a US tour in May.