Photos + Interview: Brooklyn-based Body Language at Bottom of the Hill

07/14/2016

On Sunday, July 10, 2016, some people stopped playing Pokémon GO and went to a show at Bottom of the Hill. Luckily for them, Brooklyn-based electro-pop group Body Language was providing the tunes. The crowd that gathered around the tiny stage was treated to a passionate and lively performance.

Lead vocalist Angelica Bess truly personifies the band’s name, performing contagiously energetic movements while her flawless vocals filled the venue. The crowd was singing along in unison with Bess to every song, which she noted was something she only sees in San Francisco. Being a Sunday night, the venue was not packed to capacity. Fans had plenty of room to dance and reciprocate the energy that Bess was giving off.

Body Language played a fantastic set with old and new songs, plus an encore that included a phenomenal cover of Ghost Town DJs’ “My Boo.” The night came to a close with “Really Love,” and as soon as the lights came on, Bess was at the merch table saying hello to fans and friends. Body Language has played to bigger crowds, but they did not let up in the intimate atmosphere of Bottom of the Hill.

Body Language are fresh off their release of AA-single “Just Let It”/ “The Fall”. If you haven’t already, check out those jams ASAP. Here is “Just Let It”

I had the chance to ask Body Language a few questions before their return to San Francisco. Answers below are by band members Grant and Ang.

SF Critic: It’s been 5 years since Body Language was first featured on SFCritic. A lot has happened since then. Can you briefly give our readers some highlights into what you have been up to?
Body Language: We’ve written a lot of music and toured with some amazing bands like Rubblebucket and Vacationer. We’ve built a nice following in San Francisco. It’s amazing to see a fan base grow outside of your home turf. We sold out at Bottom of the Hill on our last visit there, complete with a room full of people singing our music back to us. That was such a special show.

SFC: Can you describe the band’s creative process and how it has evolved over the last 5 years?
BL: We all write and pass along the work to each other. It varies a whole lot. A track idea might start on the piano w/ vocals or it might start w/ a beat where Ang just freestyles a vocal idea on top of it. I’d say Matt writes the most music between all of us. He’s become quite a prolific instrumental and topline writer over the years.

SFC: How do you feel the band has progressed since your first EP, Speaks?
BL: Speaks was literally the training wheels, we had no idea what exactly we wanted to be. We’ve all become better writers, producers, and singers since that record and we’re much more focused even as we bounce between genres like house and bass music.

SFC: You’ve gotten to work with some pretty incredible artists like Passion Pit and Theophilus London. If you could work with any artist, who would Body Language like to work with most?
BL: Anderson Paak, he’s doing some seriously soulful and creative music right now.

SFC: The band’s most recent single “Just let It” is uplifting and dreamlike. Simultaneously, it sounds like it’s about giving in and just letting life happen. We can’t control everything around us even if we tried. What other themes or patterns are you guys exploring right now in your music?
BL: Just Let It in a way reminds us of our mood when we first started the band. It is rather uplifting and encourages a pretty care-free feeling. However, we have a darker and moodier side too. We like to explore themes of love and desire and accompany those lyrical themes with future-shocked moody R&B and bass music. We’re a little older and wiser now and that optimism we really pushed in other records gets intertwined with other reflection on the challenges of life. You’ll certainly hear few more minor keys in our tracks these days, haha.

SFC: I read that between the four members of the band, you have quite an eclectic taste in music. What are some of the albums you guys are listening to right now?
BL:
Kaytranada – 99.9%
Anderson Paak – Malibu
Grandtheft – Quit This City
Get Real (a collaboration of Green Velvet and Claude Von Stroke)
Leon Vynehall – Rojus

SFC: What do you look forward to most when coming to San Francisco?
BL: The people! The vibe is just right in San Fran and everyone brings their best selves to our show. It always ends up being one of those performances where we can’t stop smiling.

SFC: Can the band recommend a podcast, book, or television show?
BL:
You Made It Weird (Podcast)
Radiolab (Podcast)
Last Week Tonight with Jon Oliver (TV)