Body Type: From Tender Contemplation to Righteous Fury
Following their run of shows with Pixies and Fontaines D.C. late last year, Sydney outfit Body Type returned earlier this month with "Miss The World," the lead cut to their forthcoming second album Expired Candy. To celebrate the release, we caught up with guitarist-vocalist Sophie McComish and bassist-vocalist Georgia Wilkinson-Derums to discuss the raw emotionality of the belting single, experimenting more with their songwriting, and amplifying the band's ethos across the new album.
Less than a year after dropping their long-awaited debut album that catapulted them to global fever, the empowering Sydney post-punks Body Type returned earlier this month with "Miss The World," the first single from the band's forthcoming sophomore album Expired Candy, out June 2nd on Poison City Records (Camp Cope, Mod Con, Michael Beach). Composed of guitarist-vocalist Sophie McComish, guitarist-vocalist Annabel Blackman, bassist-vocalist Georgia Wilkinson-Derums and drummer Cecil Coleman, Body Type's pummeling lead outing is as much of an ode to life in the midst of Covid as it is a love letter from McComish to the band itself. While the track is charged by its thrillingly distorted guitar interplay and skittering rhythms, McComish speaks to the realizations about society, culture and values that make up our personal and collective everyday, ringing true to the point that "Complacency is dangerous, passion is contagious." Expired Candy is, in the group's own words, "filled with hope, love, and danger, dancing with delicious uncertainty. In pursuit of joy we dreamed up songs about mothers, sisters, dogs, nans; family tantrums, forward motion, falling in love, platonic or romantic, with someone or self. Heart breaks, tooth will shatter, but she'll be there when it really matters. Flirty, feral and defiant, just how we like it. From our wild heart to yours, Body Type."
To celebrate the release, we caught up with McComish and Wilkinson-Derums to discuss the raw emotionality of the belting single, experimenting more with their songwriting, and amplifying the band's ethos across the new album.
Paperface Zine: This is probably one of your most assertive and emotionally raw tracks especially with its piercing guitar attacks and nitro-fueled gang vocals that really hit the sweet spot between grunge and power pop. How did it come about and what did you envision when initially putting it together?
Sophie McComish: Glad you noticed the guitar — I ripped that little repetitive recurring riff technique from one of my favorite Tom Petty songs. I wrote the bones of this one and it was always meant to be a feisty mess, but it definitely got bigger and better than I could have hoped for when I brought it to the band (as is usually the case). I asked Cec to learn the drumbeat from "Hollaback Girl" to slip in there to make it feel extra bratty, and G did this amazing thing where she riffed this gibberish in the outro which totally elevated the chaos.
PZ: This new track is a love letter to life during the midst of Covid and the realizations that came during isolation about society, culture, and values particularly for women. When writing the lyrics, did you want female fans to make a personal connection to it?
SM: Where I'm at in my journey as a raging feminist is that I think there is incredible power in normalizing the experience of being a woman instead of drawing particular attention to it. I'm writing songs about womanhood because it's what I'm passionate about, what I know, and what I'm interested in, but I hope our songs speak to everyone. I want Body Type to be respected and enjoyed as a rock band, not as a girl band.
"I want Body Type to be respected and enjoyed as a rock band, not as a girl band."
PZ: This is the lead cut to your forthcoming sophomore album Expired Candy, which shows the band surging into a new era. Where did you record the new album and what was it like working again with longtime collaborator/Party Dozen drummer Jonathan Boulet?
Georgia Wilkinson-Derums: We recorded it at Stranded Recording Studios with the gift of sound and vision, aka Jonathan Boulet. Jobo has a real calm to him that somehow brings out the best in us and we are terribly lucky to have had him on our side for the two albums.
PZ: When we last spoke, you told us about how the recording sessions for your debut album Everything is Dangerous but Nothing's Surprising were pushed back due to the global pandemic. Did this allow more time for the tracks for album #2 to develop or did you start on those shortly after finishing the debut?
GWD: We recorded our debut a month before shit hit the fan but you're right, the release was delayed due to the pandemic. I think some of the songs that you'll hear on Expired Candy had actually been written a while ago, while others were only truly finished in the recording studio. Reflecting on it now, this sort of eclectic way of writing actually seems to have worked well for the four of us. A lot of the songs were in utero state then sent to and from via voice memo whereby they developed in correspondence. Then we would come together and have intense writing sessions to polish the baby.
PZ: Did you play this new single during your run of shows last year? If so, what was it like? It certainly has the energy to be a crowd favorite.
GWD: People seem to really love it when we play it live. I mean, I got so into it one night that I actually lost my voice, so maybe it's a favorite of ours too.
SM: People started clapping along during the outro bit when we played it at the Forum — usually I have to beg people to clap along to anything, so the fact that it happened naturally means we must be doing something right with this one.
PZ: I feel like you really cemented yourselves as one of the scene's best live bands especially after supporting both the Pixies and Fontaines D.C. during their Australian tours last year. What was that experience like and did it feel surreal at all?
GWD: Yep, absolutely. Completely surreal and joyous. My highlight was definitely the Opera House show back in December. They are well oiled genius bands and we are very lucky to have been able to warm up the stage for them.
PZ: What has it been like working with Poison City Records especially now for a second time?
SM: Poison City is an incredible label with a holistic vision and a killer roster. One thing that stood out when we first started working with them was the longevity they have with the bands they work with. You can really tell that they care about nurturing and investing in an artist's career — they aren't just capitalizing on trends or what's hot or whatever. Andy [Hayden] and Thommo [Sarah Thompson of Camp Cope] have really gone above and beyond for us so we were really happy they wanted to put out the second record. Plus they have the best merch designs out.
PZ: You know there's been an explosion of diverse punk bands in both the local Melbourne and Sydney scenes with Pinch Points, Blonde Revolver, Gut Health, It Thing, Itchy and the Nits, the Vovos, and many more. What are your thoughts on it? Do you think this wave of bands will continue to grow?
GWD: I think all of those bands are 10/10, but I don't believe anything happens in a vacuum. Australia has a strong reputation for having a very good punk scene and an incredible underground community. I think we have our isolation and each other to thank for that.
PZ: Your debut LP was one of our favorite releases last year and I know it was on many year-end lists including Double J and NME. What are your thoughts looking back on it coming up on the one-year anniversary of its release and how did it help the band grow or develop?
GWD: Thank you! I feel very proud to have released a body of work with people that I love. There are really so many hurdles to jump through when you're making and delivering music. Obviously when you're operating at an independent level, financial constraints are challenging and often it feels like you're navigating the impossible. BUT we did it and we're doing it again, and I think this time around we really respect ourselves and the work we've put in. What I mean to say is I think a year on, there is less self-doubt and a lot more confidence. Nice one BT.
PZ: Aside from the new album, what else can we expect from Body Type in 2023?
SM: Well we got another music video coming out very soon and got some pretty special shows in the works, but apart from that probably just the usual — writing more songs, shredding more shreds, trying to get a Gucci endorsement, continuing our attempt at world domination, that kind of thing.
Expired Candy is out June 2nd on Poison City Records. Pre-order the album here.