Naked Bodies are a new formed Melbourne collective. Quang Dinh from Little Red fronts the group, along with Cameron Potts on drums (Montero, Baseball, Ninety Nine, Emma Russack, Cuba is Japan), Brendan West on bass (I Told You I Was Ill, The Polites, The Messengers) and the New York transfer Will ‘Coyote’ Lopez on guitar. The band have self-recorded an LP in an industrial warehouse, and it is a mix of punk and rock.
How has it been to start afresh after other musical projects? (chiefly after the success and time spent as Little Red)
It’s been immensely satisfying. Nobody wants a carrot dangled in front of them and to go cross-eyed.
Off the leash. No bossman. Self-employed. “I’m set free to find a new illusion.”
How did you all come together as a group? Each of you have come from varying bands and genres. What was it that made it work for you all as collective?
I started playing some solo shows when LR ended two years ago. I started to think to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to play with some cats again?’ I went to a gypsy in Brunswick East, handed over my rights to my next life, she blindfolded me, burnt some incense and asked me what I saw. I saw an army of musicians, uptight and playing with lost money eyes, all playing to some old dreary flog-a-horse tune. And then a few things stood out.
A wild-haired man named Cameron Potts was standing on the heads of a dozen rabies metronome infected durable bunny drummers. He was hitting their heads with the bunnies’ own plastic arms and each time Cameron connected the bunnies would make terrific squeals I’d never heard of.
Brendan West, fully moustachioed, was surfing atop a giant blue tongued whale and had plugged his bass guitar into its blowhole. Every time Brendan fingered a string, the whale would groan and all its blubber would vibrate at the lowest brown note I’d ever heard.
Will Lopez, with one eye larger and more intense then the other, was with a pack of six coyotes and each time he squeezed their tails little dragonflies would fly out of them coyotes’ mouths, buzzing at different frequencies.
I found this all so fascinating and got them all together. We work together well because we all believe in the value of experimentation, madness and fire.
How did your songs form? Who wrote them? How did the writing/recording process occur?
The songs form on their own. Probably somewhere there’s a huge lake full of these songs waiting to be born and eventually one song wants it enough and travels to this universe into the most appropriate host’s mind. We recorded in a warehouse that Cameron used to live in and also the house that Me and Cameron live in now. We wanted to do it ourselves and Brian Eno was busy and Salvador Dali was dead. Make it messy, frayed, imperfect. We mixed with Nao Anzai, a Japanese born Melbourne mixer. He’s a very calm, patient man.
Your LP has been funded and supported by Arts Victoria. It is hard to get any sort of grant or funding. How much paperwork went into that? Was it as hard for you as it has been for other artists to gather the money to make the music and record at the quality you had hoped for (also for the further process of mixing and mastering)?
It is hard but fortunately for us blood is thicker than water and I’m related to 51% of the Arts Victoria board. I’d recommend all bands to get what they can from whoever they find. Make friends with billionaires. Kidnap dogs from rich people. All bands need to get proactive and at least apply for whatever grants are out there. Bands need to demand respect from the gatekeepers in the business and not suck on their udders like lost little orphans. You don’t want to be held hostage by anyone in the business. Be shrewd.
Why was ‘Ride On’ chosen as your debut single? What is it about this song that made you want to launch it first?
Cameron and Brendan’s rhythm section work is furious. It’s thunderbolts, it’s locomotives, it’s heart attacks. The guitars are fun. It’s digestible (unlike a lot of our other stuff which will make you constipated or throwup).
Your Unearthed profile reads: ‘Naked bodies are unmaskable pathetic ugliness, bare stupid hope, skins of idiot self-loathing and Neanderthal confusion.’ Who wrote your biography and how did that come about/what were you trying to convey?
I wrote that. But really it wrote itself. I think it is an accurate description in itself of us.
You chart Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, The Drones and Evolution as some of your influences (as well as anti-depressants). What is it about these artists that appeals to you?
They can be quite dark, broody, deep and reflective. Is it their subject matter that appeals to you, or their unique and distinctive take on music?
They are all wounded gospels. I feel they are trying to go far far beyond the “I am cool, look at my shoes” format. Love, life and society are complicated organisms and for them to be described they require a rearrangement of words, sentences and ideas. These guys don’t speak normal English. They are mad. English is everybody’s fifteenth or seventeenth language.
What have been the most rewarding things about being part of ‘Naked Bodies’ so far? How have the live shows been? What is the camaraderie like between you all?
I enjoy the opportunity to play with these great musicians. They are unafraid, unkempt and unobsessed with cool. The live shows are the best thing about being in the band. There is an opportunity to be touched and contact other realms of being. A room is a universe and it’s fantastic to be involved. Amongst the band we offer each other a platform to speak and to breathe momentarily outside the whirring black hole of mundane capitalist existence.
What are your other interests outside of music? Does literature/film/art and other such things feed into the music you make?
I’m interested in mother nature, flora, fauna, society, love, banks, philosophy, revolution, weirdos, culture, resourcefulness, life and death. All art feeds other art. All moments feed new moments. All questions lead to new questions.
Melbourne is abuzz with new music and new bands. How have you found your way as a new group on the music scene? Are you a fan of using social media as a tool, or do you prefer getting out and playing live shows locally to gather momentum and gather a following?
Unfortunately social media is a fact of life. Everybody uses it and believes in it so you kind of have to use it to communicate to people. It’s a fantastical idea. That your identity, your self-worth could be attached to something as meaningless as the number of likes you have on Facebook. My friend from a band called Pope’s Assassins wanted to create something called bumbook, where instead of likes you get licks. I think it’s a good idea. I’d prefer it if Facebook was shut down and people started playing their guitars better or making some real imaginary friends or sniffing roses. Naked Bodies are just saying hello and if people want to say hello back then we can all have some meaningful conversation, a cup of tea and some biscuits.
Single Launch Dates:
July 10th – The Old Bar, Melbourne
Supports: New Pollution & Cherry Dolls
$8 on the door
July 17th – Rad Bar, Wollongong
Support: Pretty City
July 18th – The Standard, Sydney
Supports: Lights Of Berlin & Darkened Seas
July 19th – Front Gallery and Bar, Canberra
$10 on the door
Watch the music video for ‘Ride On’ here: