Through a chance meeting with J.G. Ballard’s novel ‘Crash’, Body Horror explore the darkened corners of human fetishes.
Photo: Galen Bullivant | Words: Karl Johnson
It’s release day for London outfit Body Horror, new single ‘Cull The Culture’ arrives as the follow up to 2021 swampy-rock hit ‘The Gimp’s Gimp’. In very Body Horror fashion, we have a thought-provoking visual aid which arrives with the single, out on Hideous Mink Records. We got in touch with the band to dissect the themes of inevitable cultural change, humanity’s fascination with self-destruction and filming their music video on a Tottenham industrial estate where they live.
Where & how did you record the track ‘Cull The Culture’? Talk to me about the process..
“We recorded it at The Park Studios in Wembley with our friend Tobin Engineering. We recorded it over a couple days back to back with our last single ‘The Gimp’s Gimp’. ‘Cull the Culture’ is a lot more meat and potatoes than that previous single. We just recorded it live, four of us in a room, and we just tried to put as much energy into that room as possible. This song is about an attitude more than anything else so we just tried to bottle that.”
Where was the music video shot and what did you want to achieve with it?
“It was all shot outside my place in the warehouse area of Tottenham. It’s like a looping industrial estate so it’s perfect for car-based videos because no one comes down here. The amount of crews I’ve seen outside my house shooting drill or grime videos is kind of crazy. So we wanted to make our own car video. The idea came from symphorophilia which I read about in a J.G. Ballard novel ‘Crash’. It’s this fetish for wanting to be in a horrific accident like a car crash. I wanted to retell it in a grim but funny way with this group of desperate, messed up guys getting turned on by roleplaying as crash test dummies. It’s so dumb but that’s what made it so much fun to make.”
How does ‘Cull The Culture’ compare to your debut ‘The Gimp’s Gimp’, do they feel connected?
“Musically they are very different. They have some sonic similarities, the gross, wobbly sounds. But as songs they’re trying to do different things. ‘The Gimp’s Gimp’ was very influenced by electronic music, building this journey with different rhythms and grooves. ‘Cull the Culture’ is much simpler, it’s more about a mood. The vocals take centre stage and really if you break it down it’s a basic rock song, but that’s its charm I think.”
What the story/ ideas behind ‘Cull The Culture’ lyrically?
“I’m taking the piss basically. It’s written from this cynical, sloganeering view point, barking about bad cultural change. But it blurs the lines between positive and negative change, not realising you’re the one benefiting, the culture is changing for you. Being part of the solution but very much the problem. The song’s viewpoint is intended to be confused. It’s not subtle because people don’t leave room for subtlety when they talk about this subject. But there is an underlying hopelessness there in the lyrics, that even our defiance is sold to use, so all you can do is surrender to the all consuming futility and take the piss out of it.”
What were you looking to achieve instrumentally in the track?
“We wanted it to sound like this laid-back but grotesque rock and roll song. it was a very natural song to write. Bart brought in this bassline to rehearsal and we finished the song in that session. It definitely took the least amount of time for us to write out of all of our songs.”
What artists inspire the writing/ playing/ sound on ‘Cull The Culture’ and Body Horror’s music?
“With this song I’d say it’s a very different side to our sound than what influences the other songs. Iggy Pop’s Berlin records definitely. The Stranglers. That sleazier side of The Doors, and maybe Ride’s early stuff.”
What plans can you share with us for Body Horror in 2022?
“Recording the new stuff we’re working on, we recorded ‘Cull the Culture’ so long ago now. I feel we’ve come some way since then. So I’m really excited to show people what we’ve been working on. It’s going to be very different, I’ll say that.”