BODY LANGUAGE: Rolling steady

We like the groovy, electronic, disco-esq rhythms of Body Language. And you just might trip out with them, too.

Words & Interview: Marjua Estevez
Image: Courtesy of Body Language

Brooklyn-based quartet Body Language takes being musically innovative elsewhere. While I was skeptical about the band that started out playing at house parties in Hartford, CT at first, the truth is, they’re as refreshing as it gets. Matthew Young, Angelica Bess, Grant Wheeler and Ian Chang (plus a computer) makes up this magical crew of groove-setters, but Grant gives us access beyond the psychadelic haze.

Within the group who has the worst body language and why?

Me. If I have too much energy, I freak out on stage sometimes, like I have a nervous tick.

How would you describe Body Language (the group, not the social science)?


We saw an article recently that said that Indie music is the new Adult Contemporary. Would you agree when it comes to your music?

Our tracks are kid-tested, mother approved. Can I Kix it? Haha…

Do you still perform with Theophilus London? Do you still work with Passion Pit?

No, we haven’t talked to Theo in quite a while. And no, we don’t work with P Pit either, but we still hang with various members now and again. A few of them live in Brooklyn.

What’s up with paying homage to Kylie Minogue with the band name? There are so many other dance tracks and names you could have had! What were the other names that were on the table?

It was actually in the name of our undying love for Jesse McCartney. Duh.

Taking Kylie out of the equation, whose “Body Language” song was best, Jesse McCartney, Jon B or Queen?

Jesse’s is the biggest earworm. Freddie’s is the steeziest.

You know, we kind of want to blame you guys for this video…

Because we heard you guys were kings (and queen!) of the dance floor in Hartford. How big of an influence on Hartford do you think you left behind, and how much of an influence has Hartford made on you?

The parties we threw in Hartford are directly responsible for the creation of this band. Beyond that, there is a reason why we got the F outta dodge. Naw, nobody there knows us, all of our friends moved to NYC.

Can you describe the parties you played at in the early days of Body Language? Was it just a matter of making a buck or just practicing and getting to know each other’s ways?

It was certainly not about making a buck. We played for free, we were just a trio and we were a bit all over the place. First BK [Brooklyn] show was a rooftop party at McKibbin Lofts in Bushwick with Machinedrum, and then the basement of Lit Lounge with Ninjasonik and Theophilus London. Theo even jumped on the mic and did a rendition of “Computer Love” with us. Ian jumped in like nine months later, in June 2009, when we were good and ready. We debuted the quartet with Passion Pit at the Bowery Ballroom.

What is your favorite dance recording of all time?

Adonis – “No Way Back”

What is your favorite computer based recording of all time?

Probably several cuts off of Chiastic Slide by Autechre.

Since you love computerized sounds, and even though it’s kind of a dead horse, are you pro-autotune? Is it still okay in the dance music scene?

I like how autotune has been incorporated in current Jungle and Juke records, it’s over the top, but very appropriate. See Jacque Greene, Machinedrum, Africa Hitech.

Has anyone ever told you that you look like a United Colors of Benetton ad? What do people tend to comment on the most when it comes to your group?

Nope, they kind of mostly just comment on the music, thankfully.

What is it about disco that resonates with you? Does it at all?

Soul harmonies + fly-ass grooves.

Do you guys just rock out, or is there a blueprint to producing your music?

A lot of our music starts in the studio as a skeleton of samples and synth ideas. It’s built out to be played live and that’s how we figure out how to finish the song. Then, we record more or less to the adaptation of our performance. A few of them are made entirely without the influence of live band performance.

Check out Social Studies, the Deluxe EP from Body Language, available here

Follow Body Language on Twitter, @Body__Language

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