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Body Language
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by: Dean Van Nguyen - April 13, 2012


Read the Austin 2012 Issue of The Deli with Body Language on the cover here.


With their glitzy synths, soulful licks and pretty vocal harmonies, Body Language channel a lifetime's worth of music fandom into their own hybrid sound. Citing everyone from Bill Withers and The Beach Boys to Animal Collective as influences, the group is a fine example of the modern Brooklyn indie scene, with music-obsessed artists drawing inspiration from a variety of eclectic sources. In the case of Body Language, members Grant Wheeler, Matthew Young, Angelica Bess and Ian Chang all bring their own personalities to the table, adding to the interesting jumble of sounds and styles heard on their latest release Social Studies.

“Every member is involved with the outcome of the tracks,” explains Grant. “There are niche roles in writing, sequencing, performing, production sometimes one member's work will sort of define the track. It fluctuates between songs, but to put it loosely, Matt does a lot of sequencing and songwriting, I do a lot of production and sequencing, Ang does a lot of vocal melody writing and writing on other aux instruments and Ian writes drum parts and also helps figure out vocal arrangements.”

Grant originally met Matt and Ang in Hartford, Connecticut, and the seeds of Body Language were sewn when the trio began cutting dance remixes and a few original tracks to spin at a weekly party hosted at a local dive by their mutual friend JPrez. Shortly after the event reached its peak fun and popularity, the group upended and moved to Brooklyn to hook up with good buddies Machinedrum and Praveen of Sepalcure who were hosting parties through event organizers Percussion Lab and Cassette NYC. Following the move, the band started collaborations with Passion Pit on the early writings of their album Manners and became the backing band for rapper Theophilus London. It was at this stage when they completed their lineup. “Ian Chang came to drum for [London’s backing band] The Lovers, and we knew we had to get him involved with our own project in the future,” says Grant. “We eventually brought him on board a year later to debut Body Language as a quartet in support of Passion Pit at the Bowery Ballroom in 2009.”

Since then the foursome have hardly stood still. Releasing their first EP Speaks in 2009, the follow up Social Studies is the sound of a maturing band. According to Grant, both records came from completely different stages in their evolution. “Speaks was almost written almost in its entirety while we were still in Hartford. It was largely detached from being a band they were just murmurs of our interest in writing pop music. We were still transitioning out of writing somewhat obscure IDM. As soon as we wrapped up writing with Passion Pit, we started writing Social Studies. ‘You Can’ and ‘Falling Out’ were drafted in early 2009, and we just played them live a whole lot.  That's really where the formula for the current sound started creeping in. We wrote skeletons of tracks and started playing them as a band. The bits and pieces of the song were easily filled in by our natural inclinations while playing them live. At this point, we've played out a majority of the tracks that will be on our upcoming full length. That’s how we finish music.”

As well as working on their first album, Body Language have maintained their hard work ethic by gigging constantly and recently producing a record for dream pop artist Vacationer. Still, Grant remains adamant they should maintain this momentum. “We are now wrapping up the full-length. Everything is recorded, we're just making it sound magical now. We'll be making our rounds on the live circuit as well"

“ We are now wrapping up the full-length. Everything is recorded, we're just making it sound magical now. "

Body Language
" Social Studies "

what it is

A lifetimes worth of music fandom into an electro-soul sound.