It was easy to miss Bodycop. During the local band’s short tenure, it shunned websites and mostly played DIY spaces and house shows. But the band’s crushing, twisted Swans worship—-and a cassette release on Fan Death Records—-has brought it a loyal underground following. As Bodycop’s shows got more intense, rumors began to fly about self-mutilation on stage—-a topic the band asked me not to bring up in an interview, unless I wanted the call to end then and there. Bodycop recently announced its final show, and your last chance to witness the group’s sonic devastation is this Sunday at Black Cat. I caught up with drummer Jason Lobe to chat about the band’s too-brief existence.
Washington City Paper: When did this whole project begin?
Jason Lobe: Our first practices were in September of 2009. Kiki [Suthard, singer] originally, just out of the blue told me she wanted to be in a band that sounded like Swans, so she could get naked and roll around in glass. That was like 8 months beforehand. James [Reichard] and Ian [Mills] were both in two other bands that were on tour in the summer, and they had talked to each other about starting a project that sounded like early Swans. We were all at a house show that this band from Richmond called Catalyst was playing, and I overheard them and wormed my way into the band. Garrett [Underwood] came to all our early shows and joined in late December of 2009.
WCP: So you wanted to start a band in the style of Swans?
JL: We thought we could only be a band for six months because Kiki had plans to move to Braddock to live in a group house. So we knew we had time constraints and so we set out to aesthetically sound like early swans, write songs, and go on a short tour.
WCP: Obviously, it lasted longer that six months. What changed?
JL: Well, I guess Kiki really liked being in the band. It was the first band she had ever been in, and she said we could all make it work. She come back here once a month to practice and make it work as a band.
WCP: Was there any message or ideological core underlying the band?
JL: This would be better to talk to Kiki about, but her lyrics are very inspired by different existentialists and poets. We don’t have any overarching themes though.
WCP: Musically, do you feel like the band got beyond imitating Swans?
JL: Yes. By the time we got to the recording studio in 2010, we all felt we grew as a band. We only had like 5 songs, but it was probably 30 minutes worth of material. The later songs, most apparently, had much more complex song structures with many more parts. I don’t feel like it sounds like early swans as much, but it’s hard to say with only 5 songs.
WCP: The band has no discernible website or online presence. Was it a conscious decision to stay offline?
JL: Like I said, we only wanted to be a band for 6 months. We had no goals to get people out to shows. We got lucky with a loyal following and an enthusiastic response, but we didn’t have any goals as a band. We didn’t see any need for a Myspace page, and we didn’t have any recordings. None of us were any good at making websites.
One thing that I find interesting is that there is no way to gauge how our band has been received
aside from maybe message boards, so it’s a mystery to us as well.
WCP: Have there been any particularly memorable highlights?
JL: Yeah, the first time we played Richmond we played a loft space called Couch Heaven, and Paint It Black jumped on the show later in the evening.
WCP: Are you guys big fans of Paint It Black?
JL: Yeah, it was just interesting.
WCP: When did you decide to break up?
JL: In April of this year. There just wasn’t any reason to keep the band going. Everyone had their own priorities, and Bodycop was not the main priority for any of us.
WCP: So it was just a matter of time and locations?
WCP: Is there anything you wish you had done as a band?
JL: I wish we had put out a full-length LP, and I would’ve loved to have gone on tour in Europe.
WCP: Do you have any unreleased recordings?
JL: No. We have some recordings of practices with parts of song ideas, but nothing important.
WCP: Is there anything specifically people should expect at your final show?
JL: I’m not quite sure what to expect myself. I know I’m going to click in and play the songs, but other than that I have no idea.
Photo by goodgovernor.