The Body Really Is as Suffocating and Bleak as You've Heard
Chances are, whatever you're listening to right now isn't as heavy as The Body's Christs, Redeemers. The record, the latest from southern-born duo Chip King and Lee Buford, opens with a haunting drone, "I, The Mourner of Perished Days," before "To Attempt Openness" kicks in, marrying Buford's doomy drums and a blackened riff to the incantations of the 24-member female choir, Assembly of Light Choir. Then King starts screaming, all distorted high end, sounding like a cheap keyboard with a drained battery.
The remainder of the record follows suit, blending distinct touches of droning Americana, sludge rock, fuzzed soundscapes, and industrial clatter. It's resolutely bleak (sample lyric: "The pain of living holds no victory") but compelling, and though it's void of redemption, there's a something curiously triumphant in the record's DNA.
King and Buford are currently on tour, and we spoke with them as they departed from their adopted home in the Pacific Northwest. Don't worry: Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball came up.
Up on the Sun: I've had a hard time finding an interview that doesn't mention the guns in your press photos. Does it surprise you at all that people are so interested in that?
Lee Buford: Yeah, definitely. I mean, that picture's old too, so I don't know why [there's so much interest in it]. I feel like we've talked about the guns enough in past interviews. [Laughs]
I'm more interested in the reaction music writers have had to that image. It seems like people are super interested in discussing it.
I don't really know why. I guess it doesn't seem that crazy to us. It does to other people.
But it's an interesting choice. Was it posed? Was it a deliberate image?
I mean, yeah. But I think people think there's more to it than there is.
You could tie it to the music if you choose to do that. There's an element of violence in what The Body sounds like. I think people are freaked out by it. I'm in Arizona; it's actually not the first press photo I've seen with guys with guns. There are a lot of guns out here.
Yeah, it's definitely where you grew up. We grew up in the South, so it's really not an issue for us.
Christs, Redeemers features a lot of religious imagery in the album art and the song titles. What role did Christian imagery play in the creation of this record?
I think we just use the Christianity stuff as stories that we can relate to. I don't think it's as much the "Christian" aspect [to us] as the "story" aspect of it.
When you employ Christian themes, you sort of bring to the table people's ideas which are sort of already formed. It's like thematic shorthand.
Exactly. Yeah. It's what we're familiar with, and most people are.
What does the plurality refer to in the title?
I don't know. Chip [King] came up with the title; that's more on him. Yeah. [Laughs]
It adds some ambiguity to it.
Yeah, that was probably the point.