Born through blood, sweat and beers, Astral Bodies are a young collection of musicians that have soaked in a wide variety of musical inspirations to construct their own unique take on alternative rock. We had the pleasure of seeing Astral Bodies live at The Good Shepherd Battle of the Bands Semi Final in Leederville last Tuesday, and they made it through to the grand final tonight, Tuesday, March 21 at the same venue. KIERRA POLLOCK spoke to singer, Liam Hubbard, ahead of the show.
In their young life span as a band, Astral Bodies have already become accustom to the gigging lifestyle, playing whenever they can, at whatever cost, constantly bringing a solid crowd to check them out and support them.
Astral Bodies thrive on making music that is exciting, fun, happy, sad, dangerous, and want to bring you along with them. They also put on a great live performance, and with studio time under their belt, Astral Bodies are set to become familiar faces the Perth music scene.
With a posse of people already wearing Astral Bodies shirts enjoying their set and jumping along, the band are a real crowd pleaser. Hubbard is a great front man, with plenty of energy, and he is never afraid to jump in the crowd.
Their lyrics inspire thought, like those of Gang of Youths, the tone and sound of their heavier songs could be likened with those of Violent Soho, their vocals are often soft and melodic like those of Matt Corby and Jeff Buckley, and their songs definitely have a Smiths-like angst about them. With excellent originals and a cover of Kanye West’s Black Skinhead (inspired by Catfish and the Bottlemen), the band showcase their unique sound in sets that flow, which is a nice surprise from a band so young.
How did you guys form?
I’ve known Jakub [drums] since we were 11 years old and we started jamming when we were 13. Back then, our jams were really just a way to pretend we were our, at the time, favourite bands and to catch up. During our year 12 final exams with already limited free time, we for some reason decided to start the band [laughs], it was just a way to take a break from the normal routine of waking up, going to school, coming home and studying. Something this time really clicked and we really had our asses in gear, so we found James [guitar] from Facebook musician pages and we hit it off and have been jamming ever since!
How did you get the name Astral Bodies and what does it mean?
The name Astral Bodies comes straight from Insidious [laughs]. There’s a part in the movie where the little kid draws a picture and captions it with “Last night I watched myself sleep, and then I flew away,” for some reason those words stuck with me and after Jakub didn’t let me name a song with that as the title, I started exploring what it really meant and why I was drawn to it. It lead me to finding out about a person’s astral body, which essentially is the centre of a human’s emotion. Our astral bodies are part of the astral plane, which is kinda like a world itself that exists in our dreams. A lot of our songs, lyrically, are related to dreams, either inspired by or taken from imagery of my own dreams, and with a fascination for the dream world. The name Astral Bodies just stuck.
How would you describe your sound?
Ah this is the question I get asked most often about our band, especially by people who are keen to check us out but haven’t yet, and I can never ever answer it. I guess there isn’t a set way to describe our sound, apart from it being under the umbrella term of indie. We tend to not necessarily have one exact sound, it varies, and I think this is because the songs are driven by emotion. If someone’s pissed off, we write an aggressive song, if I hurt someone I care about, I write lyrics about what I did, if we just want to have fun, we write music that we can dance to, so really our sound is just based on what we are feeling, and what we’ve taken influence from at the time that we’ve been inspired to write.
What is your song writing process like?
The song writing process is very collaborative between us. Often James or I will come to a jam with either a riff in mind, a progression or a certain tone we want in our song. Then we write our own parts, taking in criticism or praises from each other, until we have a solid instrumental track we like, and like playing. Then I’ll go away and write a melody and lyrics and get the boys to suss it out at the next jam.
Favourite song to play live?
For me, my favourite song to play live is probably Lizard. It’s a chill, yet haunting piece in our set that I think shows a different, more in depth side to us.
Which artist, alive or dead, would you hang out with if you got the chance?
Hands down Jim Morrison. That man has given me so much inspiration it’s crazy! I have a permanent picture of him on my amp that just gets me in the zone, try and look out for it at a gig haha! But yeah, for me the stage is the one place I don’t need to give a shit, or be shy, or care what people think, and I was able to get this Lizard King mentality from growing up listening to the King himself!
Digital or Vinyl?
Both! Jakub, James and I are all pretty big collectors of vinyl, but personally I listen to most of my music digitally. The digital world is just so great to find new artists and tunes. Then usually when I fall in love with a digital album, I’ll go out and buy the vinyl copy, just to have a physical form and be able to have the art work printed out nice and big. So I think the two forms compliment each other well, and I wouldn’t want one without the other.
Pics by Blake Good & Dan McBride