PW: Please introduce yourselves.
Daniel Weidlein: Hey, PopWrapped! Thanks for having us. I'm Daniel, the one who plays most of the instruments, and the computer.
Ryan Amador: And I'm Ryan and I sing most of the vocals.
PW: How do the two of you know each other/how did you meet?
D: We met on a gig for Ryan's solo project right after he moved to LA. We were introduced through some mutual friends and Daniel was hired on as the keys player. Ryan found out he was a producer, and the rest is history.
PW: What are your own personal musical styles like and how did bringing them together, combined with your previous solo experiences, help create the band you are today?
D: We have very different musical backgrounds, but where we find a huge commonality is that we both think about music very visually. We like to picture what movie scene might be happening over a song as we’re writing it, and are often dreaming up grand music videos as we’re editing and mixing a track. Ryan has a wonderfully innate ability to write a pop melody, while Daniel loves to bring his jazz background into the mix with supportive but challenging harmonic content. Where those two intersect is a shared vision for sonic energy and emotion, which has evolved into what the (In)Body sound has become.
PW: Which bands or artists most influenced you growing up and have those influences changed over the years?
R: I was raised on the turn-of-the-century R&B/Pop. Starting with Brandy, N*SYNC, Destiny's Child, Usher, I grew into more "adult" content, like Lauryn Hill, Outkast, Brand New, Damien Rice, etc. From a very young age I found myself mimicking what I heard on MTV and trying to either choreograph myself to it, or write music like it. I continue to love most of that music today and am still trying to find the place where they all meet.
D: I found a very early affinity for jazz and a capella music, which clearly stuck with me as I have pursued both professionally as a saxophonist and bass singer. The first musical names I remember are Tito Puente and Chick Corea - I thought his name was “Chiccorea” and distinctly asking my mom what his last name was. I loved Carmen Sandiego and listened to Rockapella incessantly on my tape player, along with a bunch of Bobby McFerrin tapes. As I got older I really delved deep into the jazz realm and started developing a love for hip-hop. I’ve always had a really wide musical palette and my favorite music is that which crosses over genres and appeals to multiple sensibilities and emotions: Little Dragon, Kendrick Lamar, Tigran Hamasyan, Ibrahim Maalouf, Brad Mehldau, Radiohead, and Frank Ocean to name a few.
PW: Is there a band or artist out there today who people might say you're similar to or do you make a determined effort to just be yourselves?
R: Our music is pretty eclectic, and thus we’ve gotten a wide range of answers to that question. We very consistently hear "James Blake” because of how we approach the vocals, although his music is often much more down-tempo than ours. In terms of energy and sonic-sphere we often hear “Imagine Dragons", "Kimbra", "Hozier", and "Twenty-One Pilots" be mentioned, especially after seeing us play live.
PW: Who or what most influences your song-writing?
R: That's a great question. Just honest reflection on experiences we have individually. A lot of our initial work when writing happens to each of us individually. One of us will lay something down and send it virtually to the other who brings the other half to the table. There's a lot of learning going on at this stage in our lives and I think most of the work has been a reflection on that growth. Our album, Becom(in)g, is very much a summation of that, as we view it as a “hero’s journey” of sorts that a young man goes through while coming to terms with the challenges and rewards of adulthood.
PW: Is song-writing something that comes easily to you or can it depend on the subject matter?
D: Forced song-writing is never particularly fun, but both of us have done it and continue to do so; when we're assigned something and have a deadline. And we’ve actually written some great music in those situations. But I think we enjoy the process when the impetus for a song comes naturally out of a personal experience or a specific desire to comment on something in the world around us.
PW: Which song, in your opinion, is the greatest ever written and why?
R: Boy oh boy. You ask a tough question there. That’s such a layered question because we can first debate if “song” and “piece of music” are synonymous. And you’d probably get very different answers from us depending on your definition of a “song.” But one that immediately comes to mind is Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” which we’ve actually chosen to re-imagine and close our album with. For a song to be truly great, it must have the ability to be timeless and speak to a listener of any age, race, home-town, and cultural background. That song feels as urgent and necessary today as it did when Marvin wrote it.
D: “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. There’s an innocence and joy to that song that is unparalleled in music. You can actually say that about a lot of Stevie’s music, but that song captures a moment that can only be experienced a handful of times at most in your life, and he captures it both lyrically and musically so beautifully.
PW: Tell me about your latest track "Safe In Your Heart". Is there a story behind it?
D: "Safe In Your Heart" is about that hero's journey we mentioned before. It was initially written while Ryan was coming to terms with a big move away from his close-knit college community in New York City to the opportunities and intimidations of Los Angeles. It also was heavily influenced by a project Ryan was working on at the time related to Joseph Campbell’s positions on the monomyth. We hear that audibly in “Safe In Your Heart” as Ryan’s voice goes in and out of being distant, and is embraced in love by the choir of friends that he is leaving behind.
PW: The track is taken from your upcoming debut album "Becom(in)g". Without giving too much away, what can you tell me about it?
D: This album is the culmination of almost two years of work and growth, musically and personally. Over that time we have gone from musical acquaintances to really close friends, and that has had a great impact on the music. While the songs have originated out of fairly disparate backgrounds, a very clear voice has emerged from the album that reflects our growing mutual experiences. The album is wrought with raw emotion while approaching love and psyche from many angles. It’s accessible and relatable, but we can also guarantee that there will be new stones to turn over and musical wrinkles to unfold on even the 5th and 6th listens through.
PW: Do you have a favorite track on the album and if so, which is it and why?
R: That'd be like choosing a favorite child - as in we’d never admit to it, but of course we all have one. For us, the songs all take on different relevance at different times. It's been a long journey creating this puppy, so it's exciting that they still all feel fresh to us, especially now that we get to perform them live. A fan favorite, however, is "Talk In The Morning", and that track does get the proverbial child favoritism from time to time.
PW: What are your tour/performance plans for the album?
D: We've just played an advanced release party at El Cid in LA, and we've got another on April 4th at Mercury Lounge in New York. Shortly after, we'll be embarking on a "Yoga Tour" through the Southern US. We'll be performing primarily in yoga studios or yoga-related events, which was a crazy idea of ours to find a community that truly loves internalizing and physicalizing art and music. The idea has been really well received and we’ve built a whole tour out of it. There will be some venues and other kinds of spaces along the way as well. Please subscribe to our mailing list on our website to stay informed!
PW: If you could share a stage with three other bands or artists who can be living or dead, who would they be and where would you play?
D: I think we could curate a cool show at Radio City Music Hall sharing the stage with Michael Jackson performing his "BAD" album, Outkast performing "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below", and John Lennon rekindling his brief collaboration with Elton John - and of course with George, Paul, and Ringo in support! Does that sound like fun or what? We’d be more than happy to play the early slot with that line-up.
PW: How has social media helped in terms of building you a fan-base and would you agree that it's essential for bands and artists today to be socially interactive with their audience?
R: Social media helps connect fans to the artist, that much is clear. It doesn't beat showing up live though. It doesn't beat the connection that's felt "(In)Body" when you go to a show or bump into your favorite artist on the street. Social media is making it easier of course, and more accessible on a global level, but it isn't the end all be all. To us it's simply a means to hear about what's going on—the modern newspaper—not meant to suck you in for hours on end. That's vitally important to us. We are not trying to be a band that lives and thrives in the virtual space, bending to the beck and call of an audience with a constantly dwindling attention span. In fact, we have had many conversations about making our live audiences check their phones at the door.
PW: Finally then, what is your ultimate ambition as a band? At what point would you be happy to call it a day?
R: With that same notion, the idea is to play for people all over the world, and share this music with as many people as possible LIVE and (IN)BODY. Huge stadiums help with that, so we could see that as a goal. Playing Madison Square Garden a few times. That'd suit us just fine. And then, of course, we’d have the means to keep producing what we're writing at the pace that we wish we could now.
For more information on (In)Body, visit their website or give their page a like on Facebook. Their debut album Becom(in)g is available for pre-order here. The duo have just released their second single "Lions" - check it out below!