Mi, 27.04.2022
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BODEGA’s new album was inspired by a book club. In the early months of 2020, the Brooklyn art
punk incendiaries gathered together
with close friends to study the works of a wide range of philosophers. Passionate debates lasting long into the night
became a regular
occurrence, motivating the band to become as ideologically unified as the weighty tomes they were reading.
Broken Equipment
BODEGA’s attempt to interrogate the external factors that make them who they are, propelling existential quanda
ries with tongue
cheek humour, highly personal lyrics, and irresistible grooves.
In the album’s opening moments, vocalist Nikki Belfiglio urges listeners to “watch the thrown.” She is joined by fellow found
ing member
Bodega Ben, who details various w
ays his personality is constantly influenced, or “thrown”, by phenomena such as “big rock ads” or ‘“the
itch on my back.” This opening song (“Thrown”) serves as a thesis statement for the record’s multi
faceted exploration of how ideology
and identity are
shaped, but never fixed.
Since BODEGA’s formation in 2016, Ben and Nikki (who previously played together in the band BODEGA BAY) have experienced a ra
meteoric rise. The duo double as filmmakers, earning acclaim for their 2020 erotic drama
PVT Chat
rring Peter Vack, Julia Fox, and
other recognizable faces from the Safdie brothers’ cinematic universe. When the pandemic forced them to hit pause, they used
opportunity to regroup with drummer/performance artist Tai Lee,
bassist/philosophy professor
dam See, and lead guitarist Dan
Broken Equipment
was produced by Ben himself with Bobby Lewis, BODEGA’s NYC live sound mixer. The record was mixed by
Bryce Goggin, whom the band sought out for his work with Pavement, and Adam Sachs (WIVES).
“In 201
8 we found ourselves being lumped in with the third or fourth wave post
punk revival,” says Ben with a laugh. “Obviously we love
that kind of music and draw inspiration from it on purpose, but this time we wanted to expand our palette with influences fro
pop, and straight up classic rock. Millennials like us don’t really have genre alliances. We have allegiances towards groups
songs. Nikki and I also tried to sing more, because any time you have a melody to sing it’s much more joyful.”
The album’s 12 songs are set in present day New York City, packing in references to contemporary issues of algorithmic target
ing, media
gentrification, and the band itself. On “NYC (disambiguation)”, they break down how the Big Apple was “founded by a cor
poration” and
history remains alive in the present. Self
help books and vlogs became the inspiration for first single “Doers”, taking on the toxic side of
forced productivity and slyly poking fun at Daft Punk with the mantra “bitter, harder, fatter, stress
ed out.” The poetic “Pillar on the
Bridge of You” is the first love song Ben ever wrote for Nikki, while “All Past Lovers” gazes back to the “southern belle” an
d “chat room
suitor” who still live inside him today.
To accompany the propulsive pace of “Statuette on the Console” and its lyrics about switching perspectives, Nikki recorded al
versions in eight different languages. “I used God in that song as this arch overlord character, but it could also be a rea
l estate developer,”
she explains. “It’s about anyone who puts their reality on your back and forces you to carry it around.” In that song, Nikki
also wryly states
that although she doesn’t have faith in this particular “God,” she is still “living life wit
h (my) platitudes.” On “Territorial Call of the
Female,” Nikki playfully quips that “when the man is around that’s when I’m putting you down,” highlighting how in the past s
unknowingly reinforced patriarchal values by turning against other women to attr
act men. It’s moments like these where BODEGA most
exemplifies their self
professed motto that “the best critique is self critique.”
As the band’s art director, Nikki commissioned the sculpture featured on the cover of
Broken Equipment
as a companion to
the cover of
their debut,
Endless Scroll
. “They’re in the same world,” she explains. “The
Endless Scroll
sculpture was kind of shaped like a computer but
also a gavel that a judge would have. That album was about how we do not yet know in the information a
ge what technology is doing to
our brains. It was almost on the precipice of a judgement. Now, with the pointing finger machine on the cover of
Broken Equipment,
wanted to convey the sense in which social media and Web 2.0 turn people who would otherwise
be allies against each other.”
Ben delves the deepest into his personal life with
Broken Equipment
’s heartrending closer, “After Jane.” Set to a lulling acoustic melody,
the song’s lyrics are an intimate conversation with his mother, who passed away se
veral weeks before BODEGA recorded their 2018
debut. While she struggled with addiction and occasionally forgot her son’s name, Ben still offers praise to the “sceptical s
oul” that
inspires him to remain eternally inquisitive.
“That song is about realizi
ng which parts of her are in me,” he says. “As a performer, I’m kind of a raw nerve onstage, and that comes
from my mom. She was a punk in her own way, talking shit non
stop. That often comes from a place of pain, but my desire to always
speak truth to pow
er comes from her, too.”
Alle Termine

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