“Dreamo” four-piece Teen Body (members of The Lilliputians, Hoop Dreams, White Laces) recently released their new record, Get Home Safe. The album is a collection of sparkling, melancholic tracks that take cues from shoegaze, dream pop, and post punk. Bassist Alex French and drummer Marcus McDonald both hail from Virginia, which while you wouldn’t expect it, has a surprisingly robust indie pop repertoire – like McDonald’s prior band Hoop Dreams, Blacksburg, Virginia bore dream pop vets Wild Nothing. The whole crew resides in Brooklyn now, and the intersection between this softer, otherworldly sound and New York’s grit are palpable. Here we discuss the new record, the Brooklyn music scene, and their upcoming date with Sam Kogon, Carey, and Pop & Obachan.
We love the new record. What were some major changes in the making of Get Home Safe compared to”Quarterlife”?
AF: So ‘Quarterlife’ was of this batch of songs that I wrote and recorded demos of on a 4-track cassette recorder in Richmond, Va just before I moved up to NY in early 2014. At some point the band was like “yo lets use these songs,” and QL was the most polished of the demos. We just added Shannon’s vocals into the mix and sent away to blogs. So that was all bedroom production, but Get Home Safe is home studio production by our guy Bryan Keller. Also, QL demo is just me, a drum machine and Shannon, Get Home Safe is the whole band.
SL: Working with a producer is just like having a 5th member. I think the album definitely speaks to Bryan’s influence.
Alex French wrote the lyrics to “Quarterlife” – was that the case for Get Home Soon or was it a more collaborative effort?
AF: Definitely not, I am really hit or miss with lyrics so it was good that once we started writing together, every single member had involvement with lyrics.
SL: If you get a tape, we have notes on who did what where but we mostly just throw ideas at each other in the practice space until we start doing Lit covers.
What are your favorite tracks on the new record? Why?
AF: I started off babying “Can’t Remember” and “Sudden Roots,” I think they grew up to be “quite the young ladies.”
SL: “Can’t Remember” is my jam, for sure. Also, “Rhododendrons” because it reminds me of a lot of horses galloping all together.
AB: “A Wolf” is a real stand out track for me. It pulls my heartstrings in all sorts of bittersweet ways.
MM: I really like playing “Bored Window” and “Daymoon.” I think Shannon and French’s voices are so pretty in “sudden roots.” <3
One of your listed genres is “dreamo”, what does that mean? Who are some other dreamo artists in the world who you’re a fan of?
AF: Ohhhh lol. Finally someone is acknowledging our attempt at trying to create a genre (not the first time we have done this). So firstly, we recognized how morose we and the album sound (loose correlation to emo). Also dream-pop has always been one of our go-to, catch-all descriptors we use. So when Evander’s partner, Casey, just off-the-cuff described us as “dreamo”, we were just like “WOAH”. No one has subscribed yet, but I would say a contemporary Dreamo band could be Alvvays. But we can let Molly Rankin decide that one for herself lol.
MM: I really like “dreamo” because it could be synonymous to “shoegaze” in a way, but its not quite the same thing and a little more associative.
Where do you feel you fit in in the Brooklyn music scene? Any bands you’re really into playing with / any favorite venues to play?
AF: Gotta analogy this one. We are the quiet but cute kid in school you just invite to the party thinking you have to coax them out of their shell and then they end up running keg stands and leaving last? So maybe I’m trying to say that we come off as an internet band but then people see us live and realize we real af? We just played with Total Slacker and Vivienne Eastwood during Northside Festival. I thought we all really vibed well together/have similar sounds. I don’t want to get sad on venues but some of our favorites just got fuzzed out last weekend.
SL: I went to college with Olivia and Stuart and it’s siiiick to see them doing what they do at Aviv. Alphaville’s got the chicken, and Current Joys and Sean Henry and SoftSpot are beautiful people and incredible live. Also, I love Lauren Early.
MM: I looove SoftSpot. Bryan Keller, who is in that band, recorded and produced our record, is an angel person.
What else is on the horizon for Teen Body after the record release?
Voice of Reason and Clarity: We do a record release show in Brooklyn, then go on tour through the east coast to the south in July (PA, MD, VA and NC look out for dates!), come back and play through the summer in NYC, MAYBBEE some festivals, MAYYYBBBEEE a mid-west autumn tour, and more importantly get back to writing!
SL: Becoming Hank Hill.
AB: I concur with the voices of reason. Ready to write parts and shred on new songs
– Ben Schechter & Mandy Brownholtz