You’ve been a band since 2006. What have been some of the highlights of the past thirteen years?
James: One highlight that jumps out for me is the origin of the song, “Hurdles” on our debut release “Daily Apparatus.” That track came together through total serendipity one session when we realized that two separate song ideas happened to fit perfectly together with a slight modulation of key. Specifically, the beginning of the song, which rides the tonic note, fit like a puzzle piece with the breakdown from another song. It’s moments like that which keep us reverent to the mystery of creative forces. Then, to perform that song after so much practice, and receive an email from an impressed music scout asking us to play in Noise Pop 2018 felt so damn good.
What have you learned in that time about making music and being in a band, and what advice would you offer to aspiring musicians?
Nick: Inside jokes. Gotta have em (laughs). If you can’t goof around with your bandmates it’s not gonna last very long. Being in a band is a lot of work, especially these days, because there’s the business side too. This collaboration is based on a strong friendship, and it has lasted because we trust each other and support each other even when it’s not glamorous. That foundation lets the creativity happen, not the other way around. Right Hobo Zero?
James: Right, Hobo One.
Nick: Oh man, we’ve learned so much. Beyond the technical aspects of sound and mastering and all that, I’ve learned to trust the initial idea or inspiration behind a song. Those first moments you have with something can define it pretty quick, and that’s ok. You want to capture that and run with it and not fight it. Sometimes you may be able to write something “better” or improve on a recording, but often times you’re trying to paint over a photograph, so to speak. And now we’re in a very freeing place gear-wise, because our initial recordings can be the final recordings. That was not always the case for a long while.
You just dropped your latest single, titled “Accept,” which is themed around the topic of acceptance. What inspired you to write about that?
James: My creative process and personal growth are inextricably linked. Of course, I do my share of escapism through music, but I also use songwriting as an opportunity to face my shadows and reconcile with things that are otherwise difficult to accept. I think there’s power in staring straight into the void. In music theory, there is something to be said about how minor chords can provide a foundation for some of the most joyful melodies. The inspiration for “Accept” came from a difficult part of my life when everything I had depended on was changing. I had to leave San Francisco and move to a small town. The transition felt like a new life, and to my suprise, what I found there, far away from my previous community, was a sense of peace in letting all that go and being present in the moment. Oddly, that path led me back to the Bay Area with renewed determination and the first day I arrived, Nick and I immediately reconnected in an unforgettable music session during which the main melody of “Accept” was spontaneously written.
“Accept” is the lead single off of your forthcoming EP, “Diamondfruit.” What about this particular track made you choose it to be the lead single?
Nick: You wouldn’t think an eight minute song would be the obvious choice for a single (laughs), but for us it was. Not only was the writing process a personal journey as James mentioned, but the song is simply the truest encapsulation of the feeling that is Diamondfruit. When crafting this project and thinking about the playlist of songs, “Accept” was always the mission statement. It’s chill but energetic. Minimal but intricate. Ambient and melodic at the same time.
Tell us a bit more about the EP. Are there other central themes or messages found on some of the remaining tracks, and if so, what?
James: Diamondfruit is a collection of tracks that capture our sense of wonder and awe at the natural beauty of California and Colorado. If there is a coherent message, it might be: “Come into this moment. There’s magic in everyday experiences.” Trying to put this stuff into words, I’m reminded of a short walk Nick and I took one foggy day near our old house in the Inner Richmond of San Francisco. Off Funston, next to Highway 1, there’s a wide median with old trees growing on either side of a grassy path. Just walking there filled us both with a sense of peace, even there in the middle of the city with traffic a stone’s throw away. I think Diamondfruit is about finding those pockets of tranquility.
What can people expect from the EP as a whole?
Nick: An active and peaceful listening experience. A meditative break from the slog of modern life. A group of songs that come from a core idea and natural inspiration. Our debut album showed all the different sides of Host Bodies, from blues to hip-hop to electronic. This project is very cohesive for us, we hope listeners can experience it as a whole.
What’s one thing you’d like to achieve with the release of this EP?
James: We would love for our fans and new listeners to feel like Diamondfruit is a musical refuge for them. There’s a few albums I own that I turn to again and again to relax, reset, and reconnect with what matters most to me. It’s our intention to create something like that for others.
What can people expect from Host Bodies in the future?
Nick: More hard-hitters and dance tunes. After years on this retrospective wave of chiller sounds, the pendulum is swinging the other way and we’re getting back to our raw blues and hip-hop roots. So once our fans have reached an optimal state of calm and acceptance, we’re gonna be that hippie neighbor who randomly jolts them awake at 2am with a throbbing head-banger.
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