Show Me The Body’s new album ‘Trouble The Water’ is out now, and is as vital, vicious and volatile as hardcore in 2022 should be.
Show Me The Body’s new album ‘Trouble The Water’ is out now via Loma Vista Recordings.
An incendiary celebration of innovation and tension, the band have created a record that builds upon their journey up until this point and presents it to a world in need of release. Dark, discordant and drenched in diabolical noise, it is an album for all those who are proud of where they are from, but ashamed of what it is becoming. It is a modern classic in the making that will live in your mind for weeks after you let it in, and show you that you aren’t alone in feeling the way you do.
To find out more about it, we chatted with the band – Julian Cashwan Pratt; Harlan Steed and Jackie Jackieboy – and delved into their unique and vital universe…
Where do the roots of this record lie for you? The core of what it represents has been there from the beginning of the band, but when did you work on building upon it?
Julian: “I think it’s funny when we talk about the message because it has always been the same for us. The message remains the same regardless of what time we are in, what we are doing, where the country is, or where the politics is. The message always remains the same to that certain extent, and that message is of people, love, and violence. By nature, the different times we are in, it was about approaching the message and relating it to what we see around us.”
Harlan: “We have been naturally progressing towards being more of ourselves. When we started making records eight years ago, we had never even thought about what it means to make records. We just wanted to play shows and get our friends out to them. That’s the only reason we made one. This time, we made a record because we knew what we were doing and knew what we wanted to do. It was a really amazing process to be able to build this project, like we have with our other projects, from the ground up. I think we have become creators and producers of our own craft throughout this time, and we’re really excited that it has culminated in this record we were able to make ourselves.”
To keep that energy at the forefront and power everything that you do is the most powerful thing you can do as an artist. Because it’s so easy to let it sit on the back burner and fade away from your process…
Harlan: “Absolutely. There was a funny conversation we had during the pandemic where we considered how everything would affect the world we exist in. Is our band going to disintegrate and fall away, or will there even be a space for us at the other end of all of this? Is this a lost cause? But fortunately for ourselves, we tried to stay as creatively driven as possible, like we have always been. With this record, a lot of it had already started to be written around the time that we released [2019’s ‘Dog Whistle’]. When we came off that album’s momentum, we knew we just wanted to keep going. We really caught the recording bug and wanted to keep that up. We tried to stay as active as possible in ways that allowed us to stay and be ourselves, and I think we achieved it.”
How did it feel to watch the world shift in the way it did whilst you were creating these songs? Did it affect what you ended up producing in any way?
Julian: “It didn’t feel good, man. Most of the subject matter within Show Me The Body isn’t happy. It’s really sad and painful. It’s about the human experience, but the hard parts of that. And to make it make sense and to speak to more people’s reality, it has to come from the bad. It’s not a positive thing to be a part of. In some ways, it would be nice if what we were doing spoke to nobody’s reality because the world would be in a better place. But because it does, I don’t feel happy or sad about it. It’s just the condition of the Earth currently; if anything, we feel blessed that there are other humans who feel like they need song and beautiful music to help them along their fucked up journey.”
Being back out in the world in the way you are, and playing shows on the other side of the world in small towns across Europe and back home, you’re able to see those people face to face. You see first-hand what their life is like and why they need the catharsis of SMTB to make sense of it all for them…
Harlan: “On ‘Dog Whistle, ’ we had a situation that meant we couldn’t tour Europe. Then the pandemic hit when we were finally able to, meaning we lost the whole cycle. We didn’t know how it was received because of that. But coming back this Summer and now, the response has been so phenomenal. People knew the songs in a way that felt so intimate, familiar, and fresh for us. When we perform these songs, these kids make us feel like we are back home. It’s an incredible celebration of everything this band is.”
Julian: “It feels really beautiful to be able to play and be free in these places. To express ourselves in such a way and have such a firm reception from people who want us to be there doing what we do, it’s so special.”
And what does it mean for you to be able to do what you set out to do in the first place again?
Harlan: “It was a scary thought to think they we might not play again, something I had in my mind a lot. Julian and I have been playing for 15 years, which is crazy to think, but even crazier to think that the start of the pandemic was the first time we hadn’t worked or been in a room together in that long too. It’s an existential shift that you don’t always know how to grapple with, but the hope that we would be able to continue to work again kept us going. We also parted ways with our old drummer, making us feel rudderless. We have always focused on the power of the triangle, and not having that drummer made it difficult to steer. But we were fortunate to get Jackie to join the band, who has been one of our closest friends and supporters throughout this whole journey.”
Jackie: “And I’m so lucky. I went looking at these kids with a banjo and not knowing what they were doing to watching them explode and represent everything I thought were the most beautiful things about growing up making music in New York. Now to join it, I am incredibly grateful.”
What do you hope that, as we move forward, these songs will represent for you as a band?
Harlan: “Our goal has always been to take where we left off and improve upon it. We always do what we do to impress ourselves and make something that we haven’t heard yet out there in the world. I feel like this record achieved that goal, and I couldn’t be prouder of it. It was an interesting experience as songwriters to make this record on our own, and it has made me hungrier to do it more. It’s a feeling we have all shared. It’s an intense and painful process sometimes, but it becomes like oxygen for us.”
Julian: “This band is oxygen for us and a shelter for others. For the whole world. Making music that will serve as a friend for a stranger and solace for a stranger. To protect them and give to them. Everything that we have done is always going to everybody else’s. That’s the way it will always be, from start to finish. One of my most happy things that happens on tour is speaking to a young person and telling them this music is for them, and them replying, ‘Yeah, I know’. That’s what it is about. The understanding that we just play this and that these songs are there for them. They already know, and that is so lovely.”