Singer and guitarist Sophie McComish of Body Type discusses the ins and outs of creating the rising Sydney band's hot-blooded and scorching debut album Everything Is Dangerous But Nothing Is Surprising.
Body Type are a band born from a fundamental need to express and create. This fact is apparent not only in their origin story, but also in the way their music is brimming with pertinent social commentary amplified by dynamic instrumentation. Their long-awaited debut album, Everything Is Dangerous But Nothing Is Surprising epitomizes this. Released through the band's new label home at Poison City Records (Camp Cope, Michael Beach, Cable Ties), the debut album is an exhilarating whirlwind of angst and desire, seizing the male ego in its various manifestations and crushing it in the grip of skittish percussion and vigorous guitars. After two highly regarded EPs, the new album unveils the band's evolution from dreamy, lo-fi guitar-driven seances to fuzzy, unapologetic garage punk that exceeds all expectations.
Charged by their thrillingly agitated guitar interplay and skittering rhythms, Body Type is comprised of guitarist-vocalist Sophie McComish, guitarist-vocalist Annabel Blackman, bassist-vocalist Georgia Wilkinson-Derums, and drummer Cecil Coleman. Founded by McComish in 2014, the band has increasingly found themselves on the radars of listeners and musical peers both at home and abroad. The band has shared stages with the likes of Big Thief, Fontaines D.C, and Frankie Cosmos despite only being in the early stages of their career. This is no doubt a testament to their brilliance, their clear unflinching resolve not to water down their unique brand of warped, angst-ridden angular pop that paces angst. This infectious and cathartic punky energy is ever-present at a Body Type live show, and has translated seamlessly into their studio recordings thus far.
Everything Is Dangerous But Nothing Is Surprising was recorded over the course of eight days back in 2020 before the limitations of the global pandemic put a stop to many other recording schedules. Now that the album is out after two years of lockdowns and other pandemic-related struggles, the songs provide an even deeper sense of catharsis in their up-beat riffs and gutsy vocals. The snarling, biting middle finger to an industry head offering condescending advice adds a kiss-off quality on "Charm." Lead single "Sex & Rage" is a brazen, soaring anthem that has a celebratory feel, blending caustic post-punk riffs with brooding lyricism — "Can you feel my pain? It's persistent / I'm running round the block in chains / The paper today was all girls and guns and politics, so I skip to the cryptic."
We recently caught up with McComish who takes us behind the making of the debut album and surging to new inventive heights.
Paperface Zine: Body Type has been on the rise the past few years. How did this project start and what was the vision when forming?
Sophie McComish: I started playing guitar while I was living in New York in around 2014. Bought a crappy acoustic guitar from a thrift store, and started writing songs as a means to process the myriad of feelings you feel when you're living in the center of the entire universe. Moved to Sydney after that, crap guitar in tow, and reconnected with an old friend Cecil who was learning drums. We put two and two together, she put the boom baps to my la-la-la's, and eventually we fattened it all out with Annabel and Georgia. The vision was to just make noise really, and get heard — none of us had felt like playing music was a viable option for us growing up (I'm sure a lot of young women can relate), but our mid-20s malaise made us wanna give it a go. Glad we did!
PFZ: Huge congratulations on the debut album! You recorded it in early 2020 over the course of eight days, can you walk us through what that process was like?
SM: Thanks! It's a collection of songs ranging from one of the first I ever wrote to some super freshies ("The Charm" we wrote about two months before recording). Demoed them all, sent them round to the powers that be to try and figure out some kind of recording schedule. Realized somewhere along the way that everything was moving too slowly for our liking — sometimes there are a lot of hoops to jump through in this big wide world of music. So, we decided to just ride the lightning and booked studio time in February 2020 with our friend Jonathan Boulet. Songs were pretty much finished but we like to always leave room for a bit of studio magic. We did the drums and bass in a big beautiful live room at Golden Retriever Studios, and then overdubbed guitars and Vox in Jono's studio. All happened pretty quickly, but I like how that makes things sound.
PFZ: Was it an entirely different experience writing and recording your album compared to the previous EP's? Could you share some highlights with us?
SM: The writing part has always felt pretty consistent to me our process usually involves one person bringing the bones of an idea to the rest of us, and we flesh it out together. I guess with the album the writing was more intentional — we had more to say, and a better idea of how we wanted to say it. Highlights would definitely include a writing session we did in Margaret River in June 2019 on this beautiful farm where Cec and Annabel nearly got taken down by a herd of cows. I also love working with Jono, he makes it really easy to find the sounds you want and feel confident in your output.
PFZ: Do you feel like you relate to the songs differently having now lived through a global pandemic for the past two years? Do some elements hit home even more?
SM: God yes, I feel like I relate to every single element in my life differently now haha. But honestly I feel more proud of the songs than I ever did, and proud of us for not losing sight of ourselves. Two years stripped of the thing you love doing most in the world is totally miserable but somehow (fuck knows how) we are out the other side. In that sense, I guess the album feels way more celebratory than if we had released it any earlier.
PFZ: The reception of the album has been great so far. I know people are really digging its lead single "Sex & Rage." The plea for people to look up from their phone screens and live life comes through loud and clear, it's fantastic. Are you able to share any of the other themes or ideas that pop up on the album?
SM: Happy to hear the message comes through! There are many intricacies and hidden themes in our writing but I would say generally this album is about bulldozing the male ego. And it's an ego that manifests in so many ways — love, day-to-day existence, creativity. The fact that male artists have been historically afforded so many more opportunities than their non-male counterparts still has such extreme manifestations today in terms of what people expect from culture and consuming art. This is a big fuck you to that!
PFZ: The "Sex & Rage" music video is a lot of fun! You got to work with Madeline Purdy again. How did the idea for the video come about?
SM: Maddy rules. This video is 100% her. No idea where she got the idea but we love her and she is a genius. She did our video for "The Charm" too. She's brilliant.
PFZ: There's no doubt your energetic live shows have been sorely missed by fans throughout numerous lockdowns and venue restrictions. I know you got a tour coming up in June, so what's it been like translating these newer songs to an audience?
SM: Playing live is just the best feeling in the whole entire world and I think that's a sentiment that really pervades our songwriting. These songs were written with movement and mosh pits in mind. And so far so good :).
PFZ: Congrats on signing with Poison City Records! What drew you to this label in particular?
SM: Andy [Hayden] and Thommo [Sarah Thompson of Camp Cope] are just such massive legends, we are so so thrilled to be a part of the family. They work with some incredible artists, and their lineup is mainly non-male in a way that doesn't feel at all tokenistic. Also, all of the artists on their roster seem to have been working with them for years — so there is a beautiful sense of longevity there which is special.
PFZ: What was the feeling like finishing this debut album and what do you hope listeners take away from it?
SM: Immense pride. Proud of making it happen, proud of my three best friends, proud of us all for not getting bogged down in other people's opinions. Mostly excited about this record setting the course for what's coming next — we've already written most of album two, so hopefully people keep giving a shit haha. If people buy it because they like the sound of it, and then come to a show and rock out and sing along, that will do me. That'd be the best take away of all. Oh that and proving to the world (alongside many sisters who have gone before us) that you don’t have to be a man to make rock 'n' roll.
Everything Is Dangerous But Nothing Is Surprising is out now through Poison City Records.
Stream the new album below.