Interview: Pain, Hope, and SpongeBob – An Interview with The Body & Full of Hell

Interview The Body and Full Of HellIn a fusion of animalistic hatred, the agony of loss, and a bright-eyed yearning for hope all swallowed by chaos and noise, The Body & Full of Hell’s collaboration One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache pushes listeners through the haunted corridors of the collective human psyche, splintered and cracked by the pressures of the modern world. At the Philly stop of their tour together performing this album, I got a chance to sit down with Dylan Walker (vocals, Full of Hell), and Lee Buford (drums, The Body). Fair warning: Lee’s joining us was a happy surprise, and I did a The Body interview for this magazine a few months ago, so this interview’s pretty Full of Hell-focused. Here goes!

Interview by Sean Barrett
From November 2016 Vandala Magazine 
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So, to what extent was this collaboration worked out beforehand versus jammed out then and there in the studio?

Dylan: Zero percent planned. A hundred percent jammed out.

Lee: Well, we wrote it in the studio, but we didn’t take rehearsal time to write it. Definitely conceived in the studio in a short period of time.

Was it then memorized for this tour?

Dylan: Yeah, we wrote and recorded the record in the studio, and then later we planned this tour, and for this tour, we rehearsed for three days. That’s how we did it.

That’s so f*coin’ raw. When I listen to this thing, I can usually get a sense of where it’s more of a The Body song or more of a Full of Hell song. Is that sort of alternating lead/follow dynamic there or am I just tripping?

Dylan: Yeah, definitely. Some songs Lee would build the beat from the bottom up. Some songs Spencer would come up with a riff and lead it, so it’d be led by the guitar. In some songs, I’d have a structure in my brain and I’d try to articulate it. Each song is definitely led by one or the other.

According to the Full of Hell Tumblr page, the lyrics to this thing are taken from “The Fool Who Ripped His Pants” off of SpongeBob. What about that song moved you artistically?

Dylan: I’m sure we just answered that question on a whim on Tumblr. There’s no relation, unfortunately. No asks are really serious on that Tumblr, lotta joke answers. Sorry. We do all like SpongeBob a lot, though. Even The Body likes SpongeBob. They went to see the SpongeBob movie.

Lee: I think I saw it four times on tour when it first came out. The first movie.

The one with David Hasselhoff, right?

Lee: Yeah.

Sweet!

Dylan: I’ve been watching that show since it premiered when I was eight years old.

I heard you jumped up on stage with The Body during their last Baltimore show. How’d that go down?

Lee: Yeah, ‘cause we did a CD where Dylan sang a song, so we just put it in there.

No, it’s a CD they did for their IndieGoGo campaign to raise money for the band. They just sent me this track and I could do whatever I wanted. Yeah, that show was cool, ‘cause Neil from Krieg sang – what was it?

Lee: Oh, we did a Screamers cover, “I Wanna Hurt”.

Dylan: Yeah, Neil from Krieg sang that. It was a fun show.

So a mutual buddy of ours, Mike from Bandit, says there’s an upcoming Full of Hell split, but the other artist is a secret. Is that still a secret?

Dylan: Yeah, definitely.

Okay.

Dylan: It’s not The Body. I can rule that out.

How about you guys? I know The Body’s super-prolific. You working on a solo thing or a collaboration thing?

Lee: Yeah, we’re doing collaboration with these guys in…a couple days?

Dylan: Yup.

Lee: Then, after they leave, we’ll start working on a new record.

Dylan: The split’s already done. It’s just a secret. This is another collaboration…part two. ‘Cause we have more to do, I guess. It’s fun. The tour’s been awesome, so we’re gonna do another collab, then do another tour…‘cause it’s fun.

Alright, time to get into the weird, abstracted stuff.

Dylan: Alright.

I wrote this one when I thought I was interviewing just Full of Hell, but I’d love to hear your thoughts too. I get the sense that, in the cosmology of Full of Hell, pain and animal-level rage are exalted as having great meaning and importance. Is that there or am I just projecting that?

Dylan: No. I would say that those are the crux of my existence. I try to distance myself from those as much as possible, but I feel like its part of the human condition. When I happen to sing about those kinds of subjects, it’s more of a coping mechanism rather than a glorification.

Word. I guess I mostly got that idea from the final lyric of this collaboration: “Accept the pain/ Release/ Be free”

Dylan: Oh, yeah, thematically, for that record, I was imagining different sorts of people, the pain they’re going through, and maybe it’s okay just to give up and be swallowed by it.

How about you [Lee]?

Lee: Yeah, that’s probably the main point of The Body songs, suffering, but in a different way, y’know? Me and Chip are both pretty miserable people, but kind of have to focus on what’s good in order to just get through the day. I think a lot of it is the yin and yang of complete misery and then complete hope.

Do you think that the natural state of man is to be in conflict and that harmony is a sort of aberration, or maybe the other way around?

Dylan: It’s not an aberration. It’s just a moment, y’know what I mean? It’s probably really, really hard for a human being to find that medium that balance, especially if you’re trying to do anything in your life, move anywhere, and interact with any other living thing. The perfect middle balance point, I’m sure as you’re sliding back and forth you happen to come across it, for a moment or two, but it’s no more of a fiction than misery is. It’s just part of it; you just slide between.

Lee: I don’t think anyone can ever really be – I mean, I guess there are people that are happy, but I don’t know how sincere.

Dylan: Not in a life where you’re actually doing things, like growing or interacting with other people.

Lee: Yeah, I would find it hard, if you exist fully in the world, to be happy.

Do you think that authentic interaction with raw experience is more valuable than feeling good?

Lee: No. I would rather be a complete idiot and be happy. When people do drugs and shit, whatever they do to get through the day, it’s hard to knock ‘em. The world is terrible. Whatever you can do to get through the day, I can’t really look down on.

There seems to be this view in the occult world of this dimension being a sort of prison. Do either of you guys find yourself on that train of thought?

Dylan: No. I don’t think so. I don’t know what Lee thinks, but I don’t think there’s as much of a cadence to life like that. I don’t think there’s a grand design. I think we’re just complex organisms, and we live and have conscious thought because we’re at a certain evolutionary point, but I think it’s all just kind of pointless. But, because it’s pointless, I think you can make life about whatever you want it to be about, but I don’t think it’s some realm on top of some other realm.

Lee: There’s a part of me that – like me and Chip, we use a lot of Christian stuff, ‘cause there’s a part of us that wants to believe that there’s some sort of reasoning to people, that there’s going to be some retribution for the pain. Do I think that? Probably not. It’s a nice thought to think that people will pay for whatever they’ve done.

When I do my thing, as much as I might wanna write about being in love or drinking with buddies, because that’s stuff more acceptable to relate about outside of art, I don’t feel compelled to put it in.

Lee: I think everybody’s song’s a love song.

Dylan: What is hate but the inverse?

Lee: I mean, most of our songs are about loss, and if ya don’t love something, it doesn’t matter if it’s lost. Every song we write is a love song. Some are more direct than others. To me that’s the only emotion you should try to focus on.

Grab your copy of their collaboration “One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache” and follow both bands online at:
www.fullofhell.com
www.facebook.com/fullofhell
www.facebook.com/thebodyband
www.thebody.bandcamp.com

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