The Real Ding
GET TO KNOW: bodycatchers
After spending the last few months building and developing his sound, emerging producer James Selidoras aka bodycatchers has now unveiled the new album for his latest project, 'Mosey'.
Channelling the broad and adventurous direction of Daft Punk, 'Mosey' deliver a wonderfully warm and explorative spread of electronic influences. With its rich and shimmering textures mixed with a progressive direction, this new venture makes for a brilliant alluring listen from start to finish.
So with the new album out now, we sat down with him to find out more about his background and influences over the years.
What was the first band or artist you fell in love with?
The first band I was obsessed with was Carrisa’s Weird. I was homeless as a teenager and was dealing drugs to eat. That took a wrong turn after a rival dealer almost slashed my throat in a set up back in my hometown, Stanwood. My sister let me move in with her in a Seattle apartment she had with her boyfriend. They broke up and he took everything. When I got there it was her room, which was off limits, and an empty apartment with a stereo and a sleeping bag for me. My sister was young (older than me) and recently turned 21 so was out partying and I never saw her. Her cat would attack me in my sleep. It was miserable. I had enough money to buy a really big box of fruit loops and could afford to eat a bowl a day for a week, spending days walking all over Seattle looking for a job before that box ran out and I would have no food. One night I sat down with the CD player after a week of walking and running out of nearby places to explore and pressed play on the CD in the stereo, Carrissa’s Weird album “Songs about leaving”. It was like hearing a transmission from another planet of people that felt like me. After a bit I realized I could probably play the simple guitar lines and taught myself how to play guitar by ear listening to that record. If you are looking for incredibly sad, brave and majestic music you should check them out. They do this thing where they have a chorus and it is totally great, another band would just lean on that for the song, but they unleash these huge choruses at the end of their songs that are unbelievably better than what came before. I try to emulate that whenever I get the chance cause I love it so much. If you ask any mopey person of a certain age from Seattle, they’ll tell you about how great that band was.
Did you ever form a band when you were younger and if so, what did they sound like?
I’ve had many bands. I was in a weird crappy indie pop band when I moved to Olympia, ostensibly to play music but we basically just jammed the same songs in garages for years. As that band was imploding, my friend Cam and I decided to start a band that focused on playing shows. He wrangled up some folks from college who played drums and weird stuff like violin and cello- I didn’t know anybody cause I was poor and didn’t go to college. I was a dishwasher at the Olive Garden where everybody thought I was a Mexican person who couldn’t speak english. They said so much racist shit it is crazy to think about with today's (2021) perspective. Anyways. That started out as a crappy indie band as well- there is a legendary shitty recording of our first show where it was plugged in and we sound like a nervous high school band. But then this strange thing happened. We were asked to play a show but didn’t want to haul out our gear. So we just grabbed acoustic instruments and went and played it like that- we practiced acoustic and kinda loved it. Anyways, that band became Hail Seizures and we ended up holding down the “folk punk” circuit on the west coast with Blackbird Raum and the Dandelion Junk Queens for a spell. We hated the term folk punk because all those bands sung about finding pizza in dumpsters and sharing a kiss teeheehee so cute while me and Cam were writing apocalyptic noir poetry. Cam loved Jean Genet and I loved Phillip K. Dick. It was cool. Eventually we were embarrassed to always be playing acoustic shows and plugged in to be able to play with our new super cool punk scene friends who embraced us because we had somehow become popular for an underground folk punk band. That electric band was the Chain. It sounded like, to me at least, At-the-Drive In mixed with Black Sabbath and lots of stoner metal. I was stoned and listening to alot of stoner metal. Eventually that band was forced to become a “one tour a year band” where I was the only one on songwriting duty so I quit. In that time I also was a part of a synth pop band called RazzM’tazz which is just amazing and you should check out. We had a mission to be the summer party band one year in Olympia and we did it! Later on I was in a band called rexmanningday. which was a 90’s emo throwback band. We were all really into the Get Up Kids if that gives you any insight.
What has been your primary inspiration in writing music?
I am someone who had been beaten, starved and abused for most of my youth and was homeless at a young age. Some people talk about music and the things they can get from it. It’s simply a vehicle for their narcissism. For me it saved my life. It’s the only thing that has never betrayed or abandoned me. So for me the most inspiring thing is picturing music like this enormous and grand bonfire we are all circled around. Inside you have contributions from everybody- not just popular artists but like sheepherders tapping out a rhythm with their crook 15,000 years ago. It’s this huge thing you can admire, or draw fire from or contribute to. So remembering that it is- despite recorded music- a living document of human will and yearning- inspires me. Even if an artist has problematic personal stuff- even the most extreme stuff- in the fire it exists outside of them. People can still find warmth and hope from broken people. Criminals, outcasts and iconoclasts are generally the people I admire most. Sometimes I am convinced I can’t relate to anyone unless they’ve been broken or sold a lie and had to find it in themselves to put their identity back together. Even if it is just for one song or one line, it’s a mercy and I respect people who go looking and come back with something. Anything. I relate to and find more inspiration from Sam Cooke- as problematic as that is- than anyone in the town I live in, for example.
What is a song you wish you had written yourself?
I don’t really think like that. I do admire lines though. One of the greats is Lou Reed and I suppose if I had to take a stab at my favorite lyrics, right now it’s probably “Oh! Sweet Nuthin”.
If there was any moment in your career you could relive, what would it be?
I wouldn’t. For better or worse, I am comfortable pushing myself here and now. If I was more interested in the past than the present I think that would be depressing. Don’t get me wrong, I have done wild shit. In addition to music I’ve thrown artswalks, published bi-weekly zines for years, helped start an anarchist breakfast restaurant, written/directed/edited a punk rock sitcom and recently became a scientist. It would probably be great to do drugs and lay around and reminisce about all the dope shit I’ve done. But no. I am the sort that looks to my artistic peers in this town regurgitating the same sounds and styles just wishing they would push themselves. Usually that boils down to the punk scene rewarding white mediocrity over any contributions of POC so my white artist peers get stuck in feedback loops where they get all this positive feedback for any attempt at self expression and never have to challenge themselves beyond that. I, on the other hand, am like my city's Laurie Anderson or something but am treated like their Sonny Liston. I could write for days about how I am perceived differently here for no legitimate reason besides sublimated racism. Always up against tokenization, indifference or outright hostility when I participate in the “scene”. I suppose some silver lining is the displacement affords me the opportunity to reinvent myself in order to satiate my own curiosity. Not at the behest of anyone else. I don’t get a cookie and a pat on the head when I succeed or when I fail and that makes me have to reach deeper into my spirit for artistic expression because I want to live up to my own expectations for myself and not someone else's. It is empowering in a certain light. I’m not stuck writing the same song over and over or having a false sense of “I am so great” for putting out generic trash. It’s unfortunate but through my time in the punk scene I have had to come to a very shitty realization. Never trust white punks.
Which artist would you most love to share a stage with?
Cab Calloway, hands down. If you were sharing a stage with that guy, you’d have to bring your A game. If it had to be a living modern artist, I would love to do a Swans kidz bop show with Micheal Gira.
And is there an artist you would love to collaborate with as well?
I genuinely think Shannon Funchess from Light Asylum and I would make very passionate and expressive synth music. We both can scream our hearts out and I would be honored to follow her melodic lead and sing/write counter-scream melodies. It would be really cool. Or Ida No from Glass Candy. With her I would love to basically work together to set up a good track and let her do her thing over the top of it- let her be herself and express whatever she felt in the moment. I think she is a criminally underrated lyricist, even if only for “Beautiful Object”.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Dead from cancer.
bodycatchers' new album 'Mosey' is available to stream now. Check it out below.