Beautiful Bodies is a female-fronted spasm of energy. Recently, Yell! Magaine reviewed their debut album, Battles. Now they have been touring the Vans Warped Tour and showcasing their talent across the United States. I recently had a chance to chat with guitarist and primary songwriter, Thomas Becker, about the tour and just how sick Alicia’s vocal range is!
Congratulations on the debut album, Battles. How do you think the reception has been playing the Warped Tour?
Dude, it has been killer. It is weird to see, our record came out technically on the 10th of July, online sales were a few weeks before that. It is cool to see. Once it came out, kids knew the lyrics already, better than our singer. It is cool. It is rad and exciting to be like, “holy crap, we just released this three days ago and the front row is singing along.” I mean, I don’t know the lyrics, I am impressed.
Even if you don’t know the lyrics, you are the songwriter, right?
Order Beautiful Bodies’ Battles here.
How does the writing process go from like you to Alicia and everyone else?
We started on a really weird front. I lived in South America.
Right, you were a lawyer.
I still am a lawyer. I still am doing it on tour.
What do you prefer, being a lawyer or playing the Warped Tour?
I like them both. Being a lawyer is terrible, it’s like the worst thing ever. I do human rights law, I am honestly more of an activist as a lawyer. I do litigate and stuff like that but a lot of what i do is document abuses or work with like social movements fighting for change. That is really energizing and exciting to be apart of. On the flip side, it’s rad to get to tour and play music all over the Earth. You know what I mean? And have kids singing along like I was saying. I don’t know if one is better than the other, they both kind of complement each other. It’s a blast.
So you were writing in South America?
Yeah, a lot of it started in South America. I’m usually a drummer, but I brought a guitar to Bolivia just because I can’t bring a big drum kit and start playing in the Andes Mountains. I just started writing these songs. I met Alicia and Louise and I had seen them play in projects for years. I said we should all just do a project, we were not thinking it was going to be this big serious thing. I was lawyering and I thought I was done with music. It was so natural, I would send these songs to them and Alicia and I would go back and forth on lyrics. I would record it when I got back to the U.S. and I was like. “we should do this full time.” A lot of the record was written that way.
Sometimes I will get a song idea in the middle of the night and record it on my iPhone like we are doing here (a couple of the background vocals were recorded this way), and then wake up the next day and track it. Alicia and I will battle it out for lyrics. Sometimes mine get like too sophisticated or political and she brings them back to normal.
“September 1973” has that political vibe.
Sure, it is about the Chilean dictatorship that the U.S. backed. We definitely can get hyper political at times, and other times not at all. We try to have a good balance. She helps balance me and I help balance her, it is a good combo.
You may not be the best to know, but Alicia has a damn good vocal range, how does she keep it so intact on tour?
1. I can tell you how, but 2. I do know her vocal range cause I have recorded her. It’s sick. I may be biased because she is our singer but she kills it in the studio. She made homemade cough drops from a bunch of hippie plants and weird stuff. She gives them to other people and they taste them and they are just wretched, I haven’t even tried one. She gives them to other people and their face is like they just got stabbed in the throat. She takes these things every day and so far it has helped her keep her voice. That is literally her solution. It’s pretty awesome and it has worked for sure.
So, what’s your favorite song to play live?
“She’s a Blast” and “Capture & Release.” “She’s a Blast,” we have played it for awhile and it sounds cheesy but I have memories attached to it, playing at South by Southwest, like when you play it you remember things. Our other guitarist Mike, well our bassist hit him in the face during that song and literally he could not feel his face for the next month. His face did this weird paralysis thing. Not that that is a pleasant memory but I have like these memories associated with this song. I got a love for it. And then there is “Capture,” which is new and has some keys on it, it’s a little outside the box. It’s fun to play keyboards on it and have this halftime song.
Who has been your favorite band to watch on Warped Tour?
There are a couple bands that are just exceptionally good. Crossfaith. They are really heavy on the monster stage. If you like acoustic folk music you will love Crossfaith. Just because their energy is out of control live. Musically it may not be everyone’s cup of tea but their stage show is exceptional. I think Pvris is really good. Lyndsey the singer just has an incredible range. We toured with them in the fall and they are just humble and down-to-earth and you can see it on stage, they are just good fun people. I like Night Riots. August Burns Red are just heavy and slay all the time.
I just saw ’68 and I don’t know if you’ve seen them.
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, dude, they’re sick.
Scogin has been my favorite for awhile, I call him the renaissance man of the hardcore community because he has done everything.
It may be my favorite thing that he has done. It is super stripped down, just two people. But still has the energy of like The Chariot or something like that, or Norma Jean. It’s crazy how much energy two people can do.
What else do you have to look forward to in 2015?
Honestly, we are going to be touring non-stop until we are old and decrepit. Or at least until the record cycle is over. We will be touring in the fall, winter, spring. We are setting it up so nothing formally is announced but I think we are going to be going to Europe and Australia and some fun places.
Any last words?
Go see ’68; they are fucking awesome!