Little Rock natives Lee Buford and Chip King have earned a heap of critical praise for their work as The Body, a two-piece avant-garde metal act that has pushed the genre in strange new directions and forged its own distinctive, suffocatingly intense sonic headspace. The band's newest record, "Christs, Redeemers," was released earlier this month on the longtime Chicago tastemaker label Thrill Jockey. They play at White Water Tavern on Tuesday with Wizard Rifle. We caught up with Buford recently to talk about positive attention from the mainstream press, their recent move to the West Coast and what it would take to impress mom.
You guys have been getting quite a bit of good press for the last few years now, but you started the band 14 years ago. So is it weird to be in the New York Times and stuff?
Oh yeah, definitely. I mean, it's real weird. But I don't know, it was kind of like a fluke that that stuff happened.
Is it a fluke, or is metal a little more mainstream now than it was 10 or 15 years ago?
Yeah definitely, but I think there's even weirder metal stuff nowadays.
Has the attention and the new record deal made your families any more accepting of the path you two have taken?
I don't know. I mean, if we were in a magazine and my mom could buy it at Barnes and Noble out on Chenal or whatever, that's pretty good.
But have they always felt the same way about you guys playing music? Or has that degree of attention changed it?
Not really. I think my mom is somewhat impressed when she can buy a magazine with us in it. But as far as monetarily, we're not, you know, living off of it or anything. If we were living off of it maybe she'd be impressed.
What prompted the move from Providence, where you were for a long time, out to Portland?
You know, growing up in the South and then going to New England is like, real rough. So the West Coast is the closest to the South without being in the South that we could find. So far it's been good, I like it out there.
It's got a more relaxed, friendly vibe?
Yeah definitely. I don't know how much of the friendliness is genuine and how much of it's just weird, put-on hippie friendliness, but New England is just real rough for people from the South as far as cultural change.
But for two dudes who don't really like people, it seems like there are a lot of people out there. Are you guys planning to move to remote northern New Mexico or something?
Nah, I doubt it. I like my friends a lot, I just don't like other people.
You two have been involved in the DIY punk scene for like 20-25 years now. Do you run into many other folks nowadays who've been in it as long as you have?
Oh yeah, definitely. We just played the More Than Music anniversary thing last summer in Oakland that Grace Bartlett did, who used to do — remember her? She used to do a zine distro?
Yeah, I do. So she put on a More Than Music reunion show?
Yeah, it was out at Gilman Street. Los Crudos played, it was good times. So we see people like that. Chip is still close to Scott Moore, who was doing stuff forever, he was in Limp Wrist. There are definitely people out there who are still doing stuff. That's probably the main reason to go on tour is to hang out with old friends.
What's next in terms of records?
We've got a collaboration we did with my friend Neil [Jameson] who lives in Jersey and does this black metal project called Krieg. And then we also recorded another record that actually [Little Rock native] Matt Werth is putting out on his label.
What label is that?
RVNG. He did that Sun Araw/Congos record.
Oh yeah, that's part of that series where they pair up new experimental musicians with old-timers?
Yeah, that's Matt Werth.
OK, I didn't realize that.
Yeah, I didn't either until he was like, "Hey, you guys wanna do a record?" and I said, "Sure," and he said, "We'll do it on my label," and I was like, "That's your label?"
So you guys are coming through Little Rock on Nov. 5. Are you gonna hang out for a couple days?
Yeah, we usually stay there for two or three days, whatever we can.