AN INTERVIEW WITH SUPERBODY
Superbody wants you to be crazy stupid obsessed with him. Setting out to embody the 80s one hit wonder mystique and dominate the digital age, he wants nothing less than a cult-like devotion. Preaching the doctrine of poptimism through his gospel Youth Music, his maximalist synth and distorted vocals possess the same infectious quality that sparked everything from Beatlemania to Bieber Fever. Channeling the manic excitement and hypnotic force of falling in love for the first time, he’s a shot of pure serotonin in a bolo tie. All hat tippin and howdys, Superbody truly is the western gent of your dreams.
WHO IS SUPERBODY?
BOBBI: Well Superbody started out as a duo with me and my friend Caleb Dills. We put out two albums together and then he went back to school. I’ve always come up with the whole Bobbi Superbody character for a really long time and then I’ve been doing it on my own for about a year and a half now. I wanted to keep the name and I liked the whole Bobbi Superbody pseudonym. Superbody was already tied into my identity anyway.
YEAH, THERE’S A REAL PERFORMATIVE ASPECT
It’s like I’m a theater kid and I don’t want to be involved in music if it doesn’t involve theatrics and shit like that. I don’t want to just be another dude with a guitar, that’s really boring to me. That’s not fun and entertaining.
WHO ARE YOU OUTSIDE OF THE SUPERBODY PERSONA? HOW DO YOU DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN YOURSELF AND YOUR BOBBI SUPERBODY PERSONA?
I realized that everybody in music, even the dude that’s playing acoustic guitar at a coffee shop at in 3 in the afternoon, that’s still not him alone watching Netflix in bed. That’s still some type of character. When we started it I just started singing in this weird voice and then we were like that’s really cool and then we were trying to write songs for that guy, like what he would say because that’s not my regular singing voice. Then I was like I want to come up with the coolest person I can in my head and be that guy because being myself isn’t interesting to me. I mean I’m a cool guy and everything but if I’m going to be an entertainer I want to make up a person and it’s more fun to write songs for him and perform for him then just me as another dude playing music. The whole thing I try to do is positive masculinity whatever that is. I like making like really bright music because I’m not that macho of a guy, but I think it’s funny with bright pop songs to be this weird almost Billy Idol-esque or punk rock machismo with really girly music. It’s fun for me.
YEAH IT’S A COMPLETELY SEPARATE ENTITY.
Yeah it’s separate, it’s fun. I used to be even more committed to it, I would stay in character all night at shows and try to hide from people and then people knew me just as an insane person. People were like ‘have you seen this crazy person that comes and plays here?’ or whatever. So yeah, but I’ve stepped back a little bit from that.
I READ THIS INTERVIEW WHERE YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT DISCOVERING YOUR LOVE FOR MUSIC WHEN YOU WERE 14 - WHAT WAS THAT LIKE FOR YOU? WHAT WAS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THAT DISCOVERY?
I was probably talking about the album being called Youth Music and I wanted to recapture what it is to be a teenager obsessed with music in general. Not even me specifically, that’s just when you’re the most passionate about bands and music. I want to create a culture around myself. Like highschool kids that truly rep certain things and that’s their identity. You can look at a lineup, let's say the 1975 fans. Even though I’m 24, I’m one of those kids cause I’m so fucking obsessed with The 1975 now and I thought they were cringy when they first came out and now I’m like holy shit they’re incredible. They’re the coolest band doing shit out in my opinion cause they create that whole world of content around themselves and are so maximilistic with their shit. That’s what me and Caleb were trying to do with the album, just make music for teenagers, not pretentious 20-somethings. You know what I’m saying? Like dudes with beards like I’m not interested in them liking my music. I’d much rather have teeangers like my music.
THERE’S A REAL PURITY THAT COMES WITH JUST LOVING SOMETHING BECAUSE YOU LOVE IT. DID YOU EVER HAVE THAT GROWING UP?
I was into Tumblr community when I was in high school/college where I was really in the whole weird emo revival thing that happened in 2012-2014. That was the closest thing where ultimately my identity was that scene. The best bands do it without a scene. They’re self-referential and then they make their own thing just like The 1975. They’re into the scene and they’re into the aesthetic of the scene and what it represents, and bands that do that on their own as a singular band are really cool.
WHAT IS POP MUSIC TO YOU? I FEEL LIKE IN TODAY’S SCENE IT HAS SUCH A STRANGE CONNOTATION.
It’s gotten really interesting lately because there's this whole wave of people and this sounds cheesy but they’re poptimist, being really optimistic about the future of top 40. I didn’t get obsessed with pop music until I started trying to write pop music and I was like oh this is such a higher art form to me because it’s so much more difficult than writing ambiguous meandering types of music. It’s just harder to do or harder to produce and I was like this is a higher art form. As well as maximilistic music videos. Music video is the coolest package of art to me because it’s so much fun and there’s so many fun tropes you can do with it.
WHY DO YOU THINK SO MANY PEOPLE ARE PESSIMISTIC ABOUT POP MUSIC OR ARE SO QUICK TO WRITE OFF POP MUSIC IN GENERAL?
It’s shifting away from that now though at least from what I see. In the 90s or mid-2000s the term ‘sell out’ was such a big deal, but now if one of your friends got in Billboard Magazine everybody would be like ‘that’s an artist.’People cheer for people to be put on pedestals now. Everybody loves pop music whether they realize it or not.
DO YOU THINK IT REPRESENTS POP CULTURE AS A WHOLE CHANGING AND BEING MORE OPEN TO DIFFERENT TYPES OF MUSIC OR DO YOU THINK THERE’S JUST MORE WAYS FOR PEOPLE TO PEDESTALED IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL SCENES?
Hopefully it’s moving in that way. Or it’s now the culture of what it means to have a ghost writer and have a lot of people write songs for pop stars. Now that that's all out in the open I think that’s a lot better as opposed to when people freaked out a couple of years ago when they were like Drake has all these ghost writers. All I care about is the final product being good. All these indie people that are complaining about it aren’t doing shit with moving culture forward or actually changing music. All those people helping Drake are actually changing music. Anyone who hates on Top 40, it’s like this weird middle school baseball team that for some reason hates the major leagues. That’s what I feel like indie music is like sometimes.
YEAH A LOT OF PEOPLE NEED TO MOVE PAST THEIR GOD-COMPLEX AND SEE THE POTENTIAL FOR POP MUSIC TO REALLY PROGRESS CULTURE. WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE AN ARTIST IN THE 21ST CENTURY?
I started Superbody wanting to be a complete and only internet artist. I just wanted to make music videos and I didn’t think life was an important thing. I just wanted to display my shit on the internet and then if there was enough demand to tour on it. Of course people can say everything's oversaturated now but at least if you display your shit properly everyone has a chance. If this was the 80s I would’ve had to been found as a talent and then signed to just have the chance to have somebody looking at my music. Everything cool that happened to me with my music is just by displaying shit I’ve made on my own dollar on my own time and then people coming to me through the internet and being like this is cool do you want to do this? I’m optimistic about it. It’s like the wild west of art right now.
YOU MENTIONED YOUR MUSIC VIDEOS AND HOW THEY’RE A BIG PART OF SUPERBODY. CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE ONE YOU DID PRETTY RECENTLY FOR “HOLLYWOOD?”
I got hit up after I did the “Patricia” video by a dude in LA and he was like if you ever come to LA I want to make an outdoor video for you. I didn't have anything written so I wrote a bunch of different songs called Hollywood and I was like that will make sense and that’s corny enough and that will fit my character. It was the first time I didn’t use my friends or anything, I went with people who wanted to work with me. It was raining the whole time which sucks and it never does in LA but it was cool.
WHAT ABOUT THE STORY LINE? WAS IT YOU THAT CAME UP WITH IT?
Yeah, the whole idea and why I got really excited about that song was because it’s really self-referential in the sense that the song is about me wanting to make it. It was just like, ‘judge me!’ I don’t think enough people in indie music are like ‘look at me and judge me or make fun of me.’ I want attention without trying to mask it in aesthetics or looking cool. The plot of the video is me just trying to make it and not having what it takes and having to bribe people to be good enough.
IS THAT EVER HARD AS AN ARTIST TO PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE SO COMPLETELY?
I have an easy time with it cause I’ve been doing it long enough that I welcome with open arms people making fun of me. I welcome people thinking I’m corny where most people in indie music are so deathly scared of being corny that it paralyzes them instead of actually making things that are expressive.
YOUR ALBUM YOUTH MUSIC CAME OUT IN 2017! I FEEL LIKE THERE'S A REALLY OVERARCHING THEME OF YOUNG LOVE IN THAT ALBUM.
Me and Caleb just wanted to make every single song a love song because if we were already going to put ourselves into tropes, the lovesong formula is just such a fun thing to do. When I’m making pop music what else am I going to make it about. I want to do something where my character was in a position of like teenage love for the whole album. Which everybody's done but it’s fun to hone in on that and be like that is what I’m doing. I’m doing a teenage love album even if I’m not feeling teenage love right now. So yeah we went into it and were like let's demo a bunch of love songs and try to make them as well produced and dancey as we can.
I FEEL LIKE THAT FITS YOUR CHARACTER SO WELL TOO! THERE’S SOMETHING SO MAGICAL AND CRAZY STUPID FUN ABOUT BEING A TEENAGER IN LOVE IT REALLY CAPTURES THE ENERGY OF SUPERBODY.
It’s just being happy and of course that’s the ultimate dopamine release, the first time falling in love with somebody. If that’s paired with major key music that’s ecstasy from beginning to end.
LASTLY I WANT TO TALK ABOUT TOUR! THIS IS YOUR LAST NIGHT OUT SO I WANT TO KNOW WHAT WAS THE MOST SUPERBODY MOMENT OF THIS TOUR?
We were in French Canada and we were trying to get a hotel and we called about 12 places and couldn’t get anyone to speak English to us and I didn’t realize how French that part of Canada truly is and then we were so pissed off we almost ended up just going back to America. This has been the most successful tour I’ve ever done. I’m not depressed, usually at the end of tours I’m depressed because it’s gone badly or I’ve lost a lot of money. But with this one I feel good and I’m optimistic and I didn't lose money.
MEMORY YOU KNOW YOU’LL NEVER FORGET FROM TOUR?
I’ll just be cheesy with it. I had my first real big encore in Atlanta at this almost sold out show at The Drunken Unicorn.
SOMETHING YOU DID FOR THE FIRST TIME?
Made money. That’s a first.