Interviews / Music

BANDS INTERVIEWING BANDS: The Inoculated Canaries + Host Bodies

Today we’re bringing together New York’s The Inoculated Canaries, an eclectic, boundary-defying foursome who never lack in sarcastic remarks with San Francisco creatives James and Nick of live electronic duo, Host Bodies. Check it out.

Host Bodies: What’s the one interview question that no one ever asks but you wish they would?

The Inoculated Canaries: If we could have people ask us any question, it would probably have to be “who is your least favorite member of the band?”  Why? The answer’s simple, we all have the same answer. All of us – including James – would immediately respond with James!

The Inoculated Canaries: How did you meet and decide to form the band?

Host Bodies: (James:) There was this kid with a mohawk in the hall in middle school. I didn’t like the looks of him or maybe I was just intimidated by the mohawk. Next thing I know he’s playing Zeppelin in my garage. A decade passes and he starts ripping guitar solos over the trip-hop beats I was making. Then he shows up in San Francisco and keeps playing shows with me. Weird, huh?

(Nick:)  When I was 13 there was this punk with a drum kit who kept saying “Let’s jam! Let’s jam! The neighbor girls will come over!” He later cornered me in college and said “You’ve never smoked weed? Dude I’m getting you high.” When I moved to San Francisco and he had the room upstairs, I was like, ugh, this guy again. Luckily he still lets me plug in and press record.

HOST BODIES: Describe your music in a word cloud (no complete sentences please).

The Inoculated Canaries:

The Inoculated Canaries: How did you get your nickname “swoop”?

Host Bodies: (James): Owls. Something about the idea of owls swooping through darkness, silent and wise and precise. That’s the serious answer. The other answer is, in high school, I got my driver’s license early and started picking up my friends. “Yo, come swoop me.”

Host Bodies: Who do you want to listen to your music?

The Inoculated Canaries: Our music sounds nostalgic to people who want to listen to rock n roll played by real instruments. In truth I want to say that we want people who love music to listen to our songs. I think our lyrics, melodies and moods have something for everyone.

HOST BODIES: Where would you play your next show if you could play anywhere?

The Inoculated Canaries: It’s a toss-up between Lollapalooza and MSG in New York – we can’t decide, and the staring contest didn’t help.

The Inoculated Canaries: If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Host Bodies: (James:) Toss up between the gorgeous ambient record by Riceboy Sleeps or Rage Against The Machine’s eponymous album.

(Nick): Stadium Arcadium by Red Hot Chili Peppers. Or Black Sands by Bonobo.

Host Bodies: How does your band make decisions as a group?

The Inoculated Canaries: Very easily – staring contests and/or brute force.

The Inoculated Canaries: What’s the craziest gig you’ve played?

Host Bodies: James: We played an underground speakeasy in San Francisco once. They gave us a huge comp tab and by the time we were performing, we were completely sauced. The basement space was really tight. The crowd was inches from our mixer. I was having a blast, completely in my own world. I played drums on the wrong song, then mixed up my rap verses. (laughs) Nick was in the zone too. He played bass on the guitar tracks and guitar on the bass tracks. We met a lot of new fans that night.

Host Bodies: What’s the biggest challenge facing your band?

The Inoculated Canaries: We’re in a constant battle between writing music commercial enough to attract new fans, without totally selling out and losing the sounds that make us who we are.

The Inoculated Canaries: What’s one piece of advice you received that you didn’t follow?

Host Bodies: (Nick): Buying expensive amps and guitar pedals when you’re just starting and learning. I’m glad I honed my craft for many years before investing in gear. Practice, technique, and finding your style should always come before equipment.

(James): Learn to read sheet music. Practice more rudiments. Go to music school. Write happier songs. Spend more time on social media. Focus on one genre.

Host Bodies: When do you have the most fun playing together?

The Inoculated Canaries: Our favorite place to play is our rehearsals.  There is no thrill like playing on stage for a live audience, but in rehearsal, we can get creative, fun and dumb – not necessarily everything we can do in a live show.  We can dive in to new ideas (even if they’re totally insane).

Host Bodies: If The Inoculated Canaries existed in a fictional world, would it be fantasy or sci-fi? Why?

The Inoculated Canaries:

We would without a doubt be Sci-Fi!  We are all such gear heads, always playing with new toys to get the best and weirdest sounds possible.

From the creative collaboration of MC/producer James Collector (aka Swoop) and multi-instrumentalist Nick Hess comes the live electronic duo Host Bodies.

The San Francisco-based creatives go beyond telling stories. They are sonic painters who design vividly colorful scenes with their riveting masterful use of live instruments, electronic elements, and field recordings that capture the familiar sounds of nature and bustling cities. Syncopated polyrhythms, gritty blues riffs, and underground hip-hop psychedelia find the perfect complement in narrative song structure, allowing Host Bodies’ melodies to hop off the symbolic canvas and into the hearts of listeners.

Beginning their creative journey together in 2006, the duo has brought their vibrant energy to stages ever since, and, in 2019, they released their latest EP, Diamondfruit, a dreamy electronic EP that finds calm and clarity amid hectic times.

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Eclectic, boundary-defying, and never lacking in sarcastic remarks, The Inoculated Canaries are a rock and roll force to be reckoned with. Hailing from New York, the “four guys who can’t dance” are striving to leave their musical legacy; inspired by artists such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and Nirvana, The Inoculated Canaries are constantly pushing themselves to explore new, innovative sounds while making their presence known. The unforgettable quartet is composed of Michael Rubin (guitar, vocals), James Terranova (drums), Dylan Gross (bass), and Brian Sweeney (keyboard).

The rockers are immensely passionate about the music they share and the experience they create for fans. The band had the opportunity to open for The Mowglis in 2017 , COIN in 2019 and played ‘Cult of Personality’ live with Will Calhoun and Doug Wimbish of Living Colour.   They released their single “Who Are You” in February 2019, and will release a slew of new content throughout the year.


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Bands Interviewing Bands: The Inoculated Canaries (top) photo credit: Iris View Photography. Host Bodies (bottom) photo credit: Mark Sandhoff

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