Australian garage-rockers Body Type are making their first steps over to Europe and the US, breaking out through a succession of industry festivals and now their first tour.
There are high expectations on the Sydney scene for the four-piece, who have two EPs out to date, one of which charmingly features a slightly goofy picture of guitar and vocalist Annabel’s dad on the front cover. I asked them about that, album plans and life in general ahead of their Dublin date later this month…
I understand you’re quite a big deal in Australia. While I could name a heap of great Australian acts right now (I swear!), is it fair to assume that getting a more international breakthrough is as difficult for you Aussies as it is for local acts here in Ireland?
That kind of reminds me this scene in Anchorman where Ron Burgundy says, “I don’t know how to put this, but I’m kind of a big deal”, so I’m gonna deny that. It’s pretty early days, and I’m not sure if anyone in Ireland has a clue who we are, but I’m hoping that our Australian aura (whatever that is) gives us an edge of intrigue. I think any form of a breakthrough is a small miracle so we’re just giving it an international stab and seeing how things go, but it is definitely harder building up an audience from the ground level of touring when you’re confined by money and distance to a large and isolated island somewhere at the bottom of the world. I guess that’s why the internet is so handy.
How have you found growing into more international tours? Have you developed a good international fanbase?
This is only our second step out of Australia for an international tour but I think we’d definitely do it all the time if it was sustainable. Unfortunately, it’s not though. I’m probably going to be asking my parents if I can borrow money soon, so I think we better lay low for a little while. My main concept of whether we have an international fanbase comes from the breakdown of listener locations on Spotify and by the looks of it strongest international reach we have so far is New Zealand, but we had a pretty nice response to our shows in America, so hopefully that’s a good litmus test for how things will go.
We have a wonderful burgeoning rock scene here, something that seems to be really entangled in the gritty roots of the city. You guys talk a lot about your roots in the Sydney scene, too. What are things like over there?
I really enjoy the way Fontaines D.C. write about their home place – I think if we compare it to the way Sydney feeds into the music of local bands it feels like it’s much more humorous and localised; an inside joke that’ll only be fully appreciated by people from Sydney. I think the ‘scene’ has changed a lot since we started playing a bit over two years ago, but the minute we entered it we effortlessly befriended tons of lovely, interesting people. It was like we tapped into this great vein that was always there, and now we’re still friends, still going to each other’s shows, putting on shows together, and sometimes even playing in each other’s bands.
Speaking of Fontaines D.C, you’ve just played a few shows with them over in the US. Did they give you any tips for playing Dublin?
I can’t remember a single conversation we had but they’re really great lads and every single show we saw them play was absolutely pumping. Go Fontaines.
Partisan Records are a pretty big deal in the rock world. How do you feel about the new EP going with them?
We were already feeling good about the whole thing but that really escalated when we finally got to physically meet the USA and UK Partisan crews – they’re all so warm and come across as a big family fuelled by one another’s enthusiasm. We feel really lucky to be with them.
What can we expect from the EP, compared to what you’ve done already?
I see our first EP as an ejection of all the songs we learned how to do ‘Body Type’ with. The collection of songs on EP2 are built on the foundations of what we learned together through writing our first lot of songs and subsequently came together a bit faster and more fluently.
I like that you stuck your dad on the single artwork. How did that come about?
I had to do the artwork on the fly while we were in America and stupidly didn’t bring my computer, so I trawled through my phone and found a vaguely relevant-looking photo, which just happened to be one I took of my dad in the deserted hallway of a ship-themed hotel in Sydney. He’s also our biggest fan so I thought it would be cute to sneak him into the artwork but I’m not sure he found it very flattering.
SxSW, Live at Leeds… You’ve been booking some great industry-type festivals recently. How did you find the SxSW experience – is it a genuine learning one, or more a chance to get yourselves out there?
It’s a mixture of both – learning about how an industry-flavoured festival works and figuring out how to adapt to whatever venue and crowd situation you’re thrown into. I think the latter part will take some more work. I found it an intimidating thing but I spoke to Lucas from Jerry Paper about it at one of our showcases and I liked his attitude of seeing it as a kind of fun challenge to try and tune random crowds, really getting in there and making serious eye-contact (I can’t do that – the floor is my best friend).
Let’s say I’m on the fence about coming down to see you (I’m not, see you there…), tell me about your live show.
We spend the whole time trying to amp each other up and usually succeed, but not without a few dorky spills along the way. I think it would be interesting to watch if I weren’t in this band but I can’t help being biased so you’ll have to just come and decide for yourself!
What’s on the horizon for Body Type after this tour – is there an album on the way?
That’s fur darn sure, we can’t wait to get back in the studio and nut out a heap of new songs. Sit tight.
Body Type play Sound House as part of Eastbound Festival on May 12, in support of BILK. Tickets here.