Recent New Artist Of The Week, Show Me The Body caused a torrent of abuse on NME’s Instagram account over the weekend when the above picture showing them burning the Union Jack ahead of their UK tour got uploaded. Comments ranged from “Down with this sort of thing” and “cunts” to someone encouraging people to scald them with hot tea and Yorkshire puddings so’s to “leave a proper British burn on them”.
Tonight they kick off said tour with a date at London’s Rye Wax venue in Peckham (it’s been moved from the nearby Ali B’s Safehouse). The band also dropped a mesmeric new track ‘Body War’ a few days ago, which should convert you if you were about to pop down to Morrisons for some Aunt Bessie’s. It’s embedded above and is today’s New Music Of The Day.
Plus, read our Q&A chat with SMTB mainman Julian Cashwan Pratt below, which takes in Audre Lorde, Manhattan venue ABC No Rio and NYC graffiti artists & crews Rusk, Soze, IRAK.
NME: Did Show Me have an aesthetic, or manifesto of any kind when you started? What did you want to achieve as a band?
Julian Cashwan Pratt: We wanted to play shows. Have people dancing and make them feel free.
NME: Tell us a little about the New York you come from.
JCP: I grew up going to shows at ABC No Rio on the Lower East Side. It’s the last real hardcore venue in Manhattan. Extreme bands from all over the country play there. Kids from all over the city roll through.
NME: You’ve said you’re influenced by the poet Emily Dickinson. What appeals about her? Is poetry a big deal to you?
JCP: Audre Lorde’s Uses Of The Erotic: The Erotic As Power is essential. A chemical reaction happens within the body when the right moves are made.
NME: People tend to put you in the same bracket as Ratking, who you grew up with and play shows with but don’t really sound much like. Is that weird?
JCP: Music doesn’t live on paper. To throw a good show in a giant city you have to play with your friends and the people you roll with. When you are born you make two pacts, one with the earth you stand on and the other with the humans you share the space with.
NME: Who do you rate?
JCP: Soze, Stop, Harlem, Rusk, Libre, Mali, Fade, IRAK, Neck Face and the NYPD.
NME: You also said that to record good music you have to get into the same feeling you have when you play live. Can you put that live feeling you get into words?
JCP: It feels like a gang that doesn’t care about money, drugs or turf, just the truth.
How close have you come to replicating that feeling in the studio? Can you do it 100 percent?
JCP: Our live show is always changing. Music demands renewal. There is never a cap, only forward mobility.
NME: How clued into the UK music scene are you?
JCP: Not really. I like The Bug. Flow Dan and Skepta are ill. Black Mack is the yung god. Tryna find the fire low-key raves.
NME: Any expectations of your upcoming UK tour?
JCP: I don’t know if anyone knows us outside of New York. I hope they do.
NME: What are your aims for it?
JCP: Tryna feel free.
NME: What are the ideal circumstances for someone who’s never heard an SMTB song before to see you live in?
JCP: Anywhere there’s a bunch of kids and no rent-a-cop bouncer.
NME: Do you still like the term “sludge punk” being used to describe your music?
JCP: Defining, or labelling, something is the same as making it a commodity. We are in the business of building our own.
NME: What about songwriting – do you work individually or collaborate?
JCP: All songs are product of complete collaboration. I write the lyrics.
NME: Where do you want to be as a band in 12 months time?
JCP: A high school gymnasium world tour.
Show Me The Body play the following UK gigs. Leave the teabags at home.
Feb 8 – Rye Wax, Peckham
Feb 9 – DIY Space For London
Feb 18 – Electrowerkz, London
Feb 20 – Manchester White Hotel
Feb 21 – Leeds Temple Of Boom