Week in Pop: Body Song, Scarves, Tom Brosseau

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Body Song

Introducing San Diego's Body Song—featuring from left, Jackson Milgaten & Jeremy Scott; press photo courtesy of the artists.
Introducing San Diego’s Body Song—featuring from left, Jeremy Scott & Jackson Milgaten; press photo courtesy of the artists.

From the incarnations of Cuckoo Chaos, Deadphones, The Paddle Boat, The Vision of a Dying World & far beyond…we bring you San Diego’s latest reincarnation with Body Song, featuring the talents of Jackson Milgaten & Jeremy Scott. Possessing their own economically minded instincts in pop composition & overall construction; Jackson & Jeremy blaze their own trails while developing forth from a foundation of synergy that seeks to make the most sleek & sublime productions (forever a seemingly inward challenge to best whatever arrived before). Self-described childhood friends & lifelong musical collaborators; the duo continue to best themselves by raising their own self-styled sound bars onward & upward toward new discoveries of aesthetic innovation.
Presenting a premiere listen to their debut single “I’m Not Crazy (You Are)” b/w “Stained Glass Eyes”; Body Song emerges out of the smoke-screen ether with some finely arranged chops. “I’m Not Crazy” takes it’s time lifting off the ground where we are treated to the establishment of the percussion & sparse melodic additions that marinate in the song’s opening build. As they parts softly collect, it takes well over a minute before the “who let this happen?” rhetorical inquiries spurn the song’s narrative functions forward. Questions of who rage forward as bits of brass sax are heard in the mix, while a mechanical drum piece in the center keeps all the creative items propelled all about the entirety of the song. “Stained Glass Eye” offers up a kind of a forlorn romance portrait, lifted out of some kind of second world war era where urgency & enchantment collide together with ill ease. “Glass Eye” offers up a closer look at Jackson & Jeremy’s more electronic considerations where the synth & percussion work allude toward some further experimental sound fusions that are perhaps soon arriving down the line. Read our interview with Body Song featured after the following debut listen.

Describe how Body Song was formed, and the story behind the moniker.
After we decided to dissolve Deadphones, which was a tough decision- we had devoted more creative and emotional energy, as well as time and money, to that project than any we had before- everyone kind of drifted away and did their own thing. Dave and Garrett were in a band called Ditches, Jackson started getting into film and I went back to school. In the vacuum left by Deadphones I had all this creative energy and time to work on my own stuff. I’m a songwriter at heart, although that wasn’t my role in Deadphones, and I went through the most prolific writing period of my life. At the same time, I had had it up to here (so to speak) with creative collaboration so I decided to teach myself how to produce these songs without having to rely on any other musicians. Logic was the DAW I had some experience with so I used it and as songs got written I would interpret them in a pretty fluid experimental production process as I learned how Logic worked. When it came time to name the project, after I felt like I actually had something worth naming, I chose Body Song, which, along with Deadphones, was in the running for Cuckoo Chaos’ new name. It’s an homage to Jonny Greenwood’s soundtrack to an experimental film of the same name.
Tell us about the behind the scenes song writing process that lead to “I’m Not Crazy (You Are)” & “Stained Glass Eye”.
I’m Not Crazy was a early song I finished pretty soon after Deadphones ended. I started writing in a new tuning on the guitar and was really out of my element, having only written in standard tuning until that point. I was writing some chord progressions that, to me, were really hard to write singable melodies over. They were pretty weird and modular, and I probably had tried five or six times to develop it into something I felt good about before I landed on the melody that I kept. I was really into this psychologist, Fritz Perls, at the time and I was interested in the idea of totally letting go of any concern for what others did and paying no attention to others possible concern for what I did- essentially stopping giving a fuck, which is really hard for me- so I wrote the lyrics from the perspective of someone who can’t let go of anything, who gets angry and wants to blame somebody for practically everything, even the most trivial stuff, like uncut grass, or losing a parking spot at the mall. The chorus is this person’s desperate attempt to express their misery and try to find some understanding or empathy, which they can’t give to themselves. Stained Glass Eye I wrote years ago and produced with Jackson’s younger brother and my longtime friend Keith Milgaten, a.k.a. Keith Sweaty. Keith is an electronic music wizard and is able to indulge all my whims, like, “hey let’s put an opera singer in here.” Two minutes later he’s cut together all these different audio samples from YouTube clips and made it sound great.
From Cuckoo Chaos, Deadphones, Body Song & more—tell us about how you have grown to increasingly adopt an adept form of economic, electro audio minimalism.
Economy is the key word in this question. The fewer other humans I have to rely on the better and the computer, ergo electronic music, became the obvious path. It’s interesting you describe it as audio minimalism because I’m psychotic when it comes to not being able to stop adding things- more rhythmic elements, more melodies, more more more! But I think I’m Not Crazy is pretty minimal, especially compared to the other tracks on the full length we’ll be putting out this summer. I’m Not Crazy is probably as minimal as it is because I was truly still figuring out how to make electronic music when it was made and basically had no skills. So during production, as soon as I thought, “that’ll do,” I hit save and that was that. I didn’t go totally nuts on it. Which, in retrospect, is probably for the best. My own lack of ability forced a certain restraint on me. The live show is minimal only in the number of people on the stage. Jackson and I are recreating as much of the album live as we can, with the computer doing loads of work. But still, he’s playing sax, piano, synths, guitar, singing, and operating our light show. I took the lesser work-load, singing and playing guitar, and a bit of sampler. We have no amps, no drums, are totally self-contained, and it’s the most confusing, difficult set-up of any band we’ve had.
Jackson & Jeremy of Body Song; press photo courtesy of the artists.
Jackson & Jeremy of Body Song; press photo courtesy of the artists.

What has been driving your visions & inspirations as of late?
Lately we’ve been inspired to get this music out of Google-Drive and actually get people to hear it. It took years of writing, producing, and building a live show so we’re both really happy and excited to finally be playing live and sharing this stuff. We’ve been working on videos for some of the songs and really focusing on putting together a cohesive presentation that hopefully is interesting and enjoyable. As far as writing more music, I think the peripheral things in life are what seep in and spark the creative process, at least for me, so it looks like the next record will be about Downton Abby and Black Holes. Jackson has been currently engrossed in Star Trek: The Next Generation, David Byrne’s book How Music Works, Australian folk duo Luluc, and we both have been quite partial to the moody stylings of Chet Baker. We also have two 1 year old Himalayan/Ragdoll kittens (they are sisters) named Kiku and Madeline who are invariably influencing our every waking thought.
Local artists & causes you wanna give a shout out to?
Our dear friend Max Cheney has recently completed his 1st documentary short entitled Dead Mall Walking about the not so abandoned Hawthorne Plaza Shopping Center located 5 miles from LAX in Hawthorne, CA. This is his debut as a filmmaker and we believe it to be a fantastic first offering. He is also collaborating with us on a number of Body Song music videos that we are most excited to share in the near future.
What’s next for Body Song?
We have a completed full length album that was recorded and co-produced by Stuart Schenk (who also did the Deadphones record). In the spring, we will be releasing one more digital single before putting out the aforementioned album sometime in the summer. We recently did our first live show and have several more lined up for the next few months.