Sometimes the time is just right for a band. Bodega arrived at The Great Escape, stole the show everywhere and shifted the album release date to help continue their dazzling trajectory. So Danny Wright got Robin Murray and Hassan Anderson together to talk hype, hope and Endless Scroll.
When did you first hear about Bodega?
Robin: Well, it was 6Music hammering it all day, every day I suppose! And I saw them at the Lexington, which was ace.
Hassan: I couldn’t avoid them after all the highlight round-ups after The Great Escape.
Robin: Yeah, they were very buzzy weren’t they? Brighton’s hottest ticket.
And has the record lived up to that hype?
Hassan: For me it has, yes. They’re a really playful band whose dynamics and lyrics seem to meet one another really well in terms of energy levels.
What is it about their sound you think that’s got people’s attention?
Robin: They pick their influences so well and, like Hass says, deal playfully with them. It’s very concise, minimalist but also really entertaining.
Hassan: I think the way the instrumentals are immediately striking.
Robin: Top riffs, lads.
Hassan: But they clinch the deal with the way their lyrics sit on top of that. They’re very humorous, but biting.
Yeah the lyrics definitely stand out. Are there any highlights for you?
Robin: It’s very intelligently done with the stuff about becoming zombies online, but equally they enjoy jokes about shagging, so they cover all the bases!
Hassan: “Your playlist knows you better than your closest lover” always makes me lol when I hear it.
Robin: There’s a lot of laugh out loud moments on the record. “I wonder what his head looks like when he’s fucking” always makes me gasp. ‘Can’t Knock The Hustle’ is another fave for me too…
And what about a stand-out song? Think for me it’s ‘Bookmarks’ or ‘Jack from Titanic’.
Robin: ‘Jack From Titanic’ is ace.
I like ‘Charlie’ too – it shows they can do something touching and emotive in between all the lols.
Robin: Yeah and ‘Williamsburg Bridge’ has that low key feel, a kind of end-of-the-night atmosphere.
The theme of online life taking over is quite an old one now – but do you think they do it in a fresh way?
Robin: I’d say they do; there’s a lot of depth to it, and the added humour means it continually feels fresh. And I enjoy the little computerised ad/clips they intersperse through the record – it feels a little like a skit from a hip-hop LP.
What about other influences? I hear a lot of Parquet Courts in this.
Robin: Ha, yeah! It’s very Sonic Youth, Talking Heads, early Walkmen… that great New York lineage.
Hassan: Yeah I was actually going to mention Parquet Courts – as a band that combines cutting lyrics with humour. Definitely agree with Talking Heads too. For me they really remind me of The Fall – tracks like ‘Eat Y’self Fitter’ for example. They have that same kind of ironic chorus feel to their songs.
Robin: Definitely! And that obscure humour as well.
Do you think they will have the longevity of a band like that?
Hassan: They sum it well when they say “everyone is equally a master and a slave”. I think to be a band today compared to being a band in The Fall’s day is a very different thing.
Robin: How so?
Hassan: There isn’t the need to please a long-term fan base in the same way – I think that Bodega may just release one or two things and then call it to a day, and that means they can keep it very concentrated.
Robin: Yeah I would agree there. I think any project that is so self-consciously defined and minimalistic that they could exhaust its creative oxygen pretty quickly.
Hassan: Though I do think they have the potential to be long term in the way that Parquet Courts have managed to so, too.
And finally, as you’ve seen them live Robin – does their sound make more sense live? Have they carried it over to the record?
Robin: There is an added dimension live yeah. Particularly in how percussion heavy it is and the gender dynamic.