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Monday, May 19, 2008

What's On Tap With Body Tap?

I recently had the opportunity to hear one of the area's newest bands, Raleigh duo Body Tap (MySpace), featuring the electronic and vocal music of Andrea Stroud and Jeff Rehnlund. I asked the questions--they answered!

David: How long have you been playing together?

Since January.

You have quite a bit of music on MySpace. Do you have CDs available?

No releases yet. We record very often. We probably have over forty hours of material, three hours of gems we dole out on CDRs per request. We have a bunch of sifting to do before a proper release.

D: I find your sound very difficult to describe. (My current description is electro-noise-opera) How would you?

Andrea: Kind of noisy, loose. We've been working in a pop music direction lately (possibly even dance music). We like simple, driving bass lines and basic beats. That leaves lots of room for crazy vocals and noise. Sometimes we end up sounding more classical, maybe even church-like. Our general direction, however, is pop.

Jeff: Synth wrapped in noise, dualing delays, 130 beats per minute.

What are your influences?

Cesárea Tinajero
Maurizio Bianchi
Glass Witch
Ivan Chtcheglov
Emil Beaulieau
Giorgio Moroder
Alan Bishop
Luis De Pablo

D: Andrea sounds like she has some classical voice background. Operatic.

Andrea: I started with voice lessons when I was really young. I need to get back to it. I would really like to learn to sing in a coloratura style -- really fast and agile. I feel like my pop music would benefit a lot.

D: How do you approach composition? .. or maybe a better question is: do you approach composition?

Jeff: We plug everything in, sit on the floor, hit record, and play wearing headphones so that we can't hear anything else. We listen to it later, in the car on the way to buy food, and see what happened.

Andrea: New songs are usually generated spontaneously during our practices and then refined. Sometimes they are based off new synth patches or sequencer parts that I've programmed, sometimes they are just based on a keyboard riff. There is a structure to everything we play live, but we always leave room for improvisation.

D: Tell us about your instruments.

Andrea: My main synth is a Mono Evolver by David Smith. Usually I control it with a broken Korg, but I very recently purchased a Yamaha S30. As soon as I figure out how to use it, I will use the Yamaha as a lead synth and as a midi controller for the Evolver. My vocals go through a Line 6 DL-4 delay pedal. Our beats and Jeff's vocal and acoustic effects come from a Roland SP-404 sampler. All of our gear is plugged into a Korg D-888 digital 8-track, which I also use to record.

Jeff: I use my sister's Yamaha keyboard and a Boss Delay pedal that died in November 2005 -- the knobs fell off, it wouldn't do anything but scream and ruin amps. I found it again, somewhat regenerated, this past March -- now it does something between delay and decay whenever you touch the metal. I process it through Andrea's mixer.

Andrea: It's an old mixing board that I purchased for noise. It is a monophonic Yamaha with built-in coil reverb (the reverb is actually generated by springs). It has a really nice sound, especially when you run keyboards through it.

Jeff: I also have a box of acoustic tricks: bells, bowls, drums, a xylophone, a DP vibrator, a zoom mic.

D: Did I see Jeff put the mic in his mouth? Do you know where that thing has been?

Jeff: No. Oops. It came from K-mart, but that was a long time ago. I guess I need to get a headset like Andrea, but I like to be able to shove it into things.

D: You are playing at Slim's on 5/21. Are there more performances ahead?

Andrea: We'll probably be playing at Nightlight in Chapel Hill on June 11. We've been playing pretty frequently the past couple of months -- I hope we can get some more shows booked this summer. I'd like to get out of town to play.

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