Singer Genevieve Moore and guitarists Pablo Cabrera and Jasiu Mich previously played together in the fuzzier dream-rock outfit A MARC Train Home, but when a recording school project by bassist Nathan Scholz brought them together with drummer Brandon Breazeale, a different project took shape–one their social media presence describes as “a battle song for the underdogs.”
The video for “How Dare You,” filmed around D.C., helps visualize that ethos. While Moore stands her ground against a hypocritical, abusive partner, the band takes out their pent-up frustration on a few totems of the relationship. As listening to Soul Meets Body will remind you, few things hit harder than a fiercely catchy riff and the righteous anger behind it, but a golf club or hockey stick will do in a pinch.
Before the EP release, Soul Meets Body sat down with The All Scene Eye to talk about exploring American University’s audio facilities and relating to audiences through mental health issues.
You all recently played a show–Frederick Jams at New Spire Stages–opening for Rozwell Kid, who are a pretty well-known band. What was that experience like for you?
Moore: They were all really nice. After the show, I talked to Jordan, the lead singer, and I invited him for Pizza. [laughs] Unfortunately, they had to head out, but it was really cool. It was kind of surreal.
Breazeale: There were a lot of people there.
Breazeale: Like, there early, when we played–
To see the openers?
Breazeale: Yeah, to see the openers.
Moore: I talked to the people who run the venue, and they said there were, like, 220-some people there.
Cabrera: It was probably the biggest crowd we’ve had so far.
Scholz: Remember when we played at Black Cat for Garbagefest last year? That might have been–
Breazeale: Oh, true, that was a lot of people. Well, that room doesn’t hold that many. It maybe holds–no, probably less than 200.
Scholz: I don’t know.
Breazeale: It was a much smaller room.
Cabrera: I feel like usually, people get nervous, but it was a big confidence boost for me. I was just like, “Oh man, this feels great to play to a big crowd.”
Breazeale: Yeah, I honestly wasn’t nervous or anything.
Scholz: I was talking to Genevieve about it the next day–I feel like there’s a point where playing a bigger show is actually easier and less stressful. There’s so many people you’re just like, “Oh, it’s just this big wash of people looking at you,” whereas you don’t really focus on any individual people.
You can feed on the energy.
Scholz: Yeah, if you have, like, 20 people and you can really tell they’re watching you, you’re like, “Oh my god, I can’t mess anything up. This is going to be terrible. They’re going to see me play this one note wrong,” but if it’s 200 people, you’re just like, “Alright, let’s have a good time.”
Moore: [laughs] Yeah. It was very, very cool. I think we were all pretty impressed with how well they perform.
Cabrera: Oh, yeah, I was admiring the drummer the whole time.
Moore: They’re very rehearsed and, like, clean, and it kind of gives us new goals; sort of an idea of how we want to shape our performance to maybe include certain things like them.
First, let’s step back in time. You announced your debut EP around June of last year. How did Soul Meets Body start, and how did the EP project develop?
Moore: Soul Meets Body kind of formed post-MARC Train Home–there were so many changes that it didn’t really feel like MARC Train Home anymore. Eventually we were like, “Let’s just start something new because we don’t feel like this is MARC Train Home anymore. This is something new we need to create.” That’s kind of how that turned into Soul Meets Body; some of us that were in MARC Train and then some of us that were in other bands, and we all came together. We actually started out with another bassist, but it didn’t really–
Scholz: Yeah, Jasiu–you’re here.
Mich: Yeah, I was the bass player at first, and then we felt like we were writing a lot of cool stuff, and we’d just–we’d always talked about having two guitars, but we never knew who would be that second guitar player, so I just kind of stepped up, and then we found Nate. He was also looking to record a band for his capstone project at American University, so during that whole process, we formed the group that you see today. It’s interesting–it all kind of just worked out through that project.
Scholz: When I first started talking to you guys about recording, Genevieve, you told me you had to pretty much kidnap Pablo and take him to American to see the studio to like, convince him to record there rather than having Pablo do it. [laughs]
Moore: [laughs] Oh, yeah.
Scholz: Which I feel like at the time–it was before we were all really close. I was just like, “Yeah, alright, cool,” and I didn’t realize, no, you literally kidnapped Pablo to do it. [laughs]
Cabrera: Yeah, you and Jasiu both were like, “We’re going to D.C.,” like, “We have a surprise.” You weren’t telling me what exactly, and I was like, “Okay, sure.”
Cabrera: I’m like, “What could this be? Maybe there’s a cool show happening here.”
Moore: We thought Pablo would be skeptical about recording somewhere that wasn’t his studio because he’s really familiar with his stuff, so we kind of kidnapped him and were like, “Hey, we’re going somewhere surprising, yay!” [laughs]
Cabrera: It really did convince me because–I mean, the fact that we would be able to work with all that equipment, it would be a good experience. I remember hearing about Nathan looking for bands for that project, so I was tempted to hit him up too, so we were both kind of thinking the same thing. It’s obviously, like, Nathan’s project, but it was cool because me and Brandon and Jasiu all have audio engineering experience, so we all got to pitch in our two cents.
Breazeale: Well, I knew Nate from the audio program at AU, so then–it was probably a couple months after you guys had started recording stuff, and Nate asked me if I wanted to be the drummer of a band. [laughs] And I was like, “Sure.”
Scholz: –“You want to be the drummer?” and you were just like, “Yes.“
Breazeale: [laughs] Yeah, you literally just asked me in the studio one day, and I was like, “Yeah, okay.”
Cabrera: I don’t think we could have asked for a better drummer–he’s, like, a perfect fit. Brandon’s totally on the same boat with the music he’s into. When we did the My Chemical Romance cover set for Halloween, we found out, you know–
Cabrera: It’s one of your favorite bands, too.
Breazeale: I was dreaming of that day. [laughs] But yeah, we ended up recording more once I was in the band, and I was helping out with the recording because I was also an audio student at AU. And actually, Nate graduated, but I was still a student, so over the last year, I would be the one to let us into the studio. [laughs]
What is that AU setup like and how did that influence the EP you made?
Scholz: They have one of everything.
Breazeale: [laughs] It’s an insanely nice studio.
Cabrera: It’s better than most commercial studios.
Scholz: If anything is a recording industry standard, they’ve pretty much got it, and when you’re a student there, they give you 24-hour access to the studio. You can pretty much just do whatever you want because they want you to learn through experience and, like, trial by fire. One of my classes was starting this band’s project–like, my class was just to record this band, so I’d spend the entire semester working on it, and then we realized we wanted to work on it more. It kept growing from there, and over a year and a half, we just kept adding more to it and being like, “Oh, it’s going to be a four-song EP. No, it’s going to be a five-song EP.”
Breazeale: Yeah, we wrote another song and we were like, “Oh, wait, we’ve got to record this one,” and then we ended up–
Scholz: It just kept getting bigger and bigger, and then we were just like, “Okay–“
Breazeale: Then we redid another one. [laughs]
Scholz: We were just like, “Hm, should we just start adding new songs to make it a full-length?”
Which was the late addition?
Mich: It’s called “Stay.”
Cabrera: It’s the one that’s, like, a slow-starter.
Breazeale: That was the last one we wrote, but after we recorded that one, we ended up re-recording “Fire Away.”
Cabrera: Yeah, that was pretty cool. We did it almost live, with just like–you, me, and Jasiu did the instruments all together in the same room–
Scholz: I did too, remember? I was in the control room.
Cabrera: Oh yeah, I forgot. He was recording and playing bass at the same time, but we were seeing him through the control room window. Yeah, that was fun because we just did a few overdubs and maintained more of the natural feel of how we sound live.
Moore: Because of all the access to stuff that we had, I personally got to use a few different microphones and different effects, so that was cool.
Cabrera: Oh, yeah, wasn’t that the Green Bullet mic?
Scholz: I thought we used the Copperphone. I don’t remember.
Breazeale: Oh, the Copperphone. Yeah yeah yeah.
Scholz: Yeah, basically it’s like a telephone receiver that’s put into this weird copper microphone box, and it’s designed to just sound like shit.
Breazeale: It sounds like you’re singing into a trash can. [laughs]
Moore: It’s awesome. [laughs]
Where did that end up getting used on the EP?
Breazeale: Yeah, where did we–
Scholz: “How Dare You.”
Breazeale: Oh, yeah.
Scholz: There’s this weird distorted vocal thing, so it sounds like a bunch of processing–which, I think there was processing, but a lot of it was the fact that we used this microphone that’s designed to sound really trashy and crazy.
Cabrera: Yeah, during the bridge part.
Where did the name Soul Meets Body come from?
Moore: It’s a Death Cab For Cutie song.
Moore: No, what was funny was we couldn’t think of a name at first because–well, we had this other name, but we were like, “No, that name’s stupid.”
Cabrera: We won’t name it. We won’t name the name.
Breazeale: Wait, what was the name? I joined after everything was established. [laughs]
Moore: Should we name the name?
Breazeale: I just want to know. [laughs]
Cabrera: It’ll be a mystery. We’ll tell you later.
Breazeale: Maybe don’t include it, but I want to know.
Mich: So Brandon will never know.
Mich: As of this interview.
Scholz: Let’s talk about it when we’re not being recorded.
Mich: We’ll make a riddle out of it somewhere.
Moore: But yeah, we couldn’t come up with a name and our old drummer was like, “Hey, maybe we can choose something from a Death Cab song because they’re really good at naming songs.” [laughs] I stumbled across “Soul Meets Body,” and I was like, “Fuck, why hasn’t anyone used this yet? This is way too good.” A day or two later, we made the Facebook page just because we were like, “Someone else is going to get this. We need to do this now.”
Scholz: I don’t know if y’all knew this about Death Cab, but this is kind of a funny anecdote. Our band name effectively comes from the title of the song “Soul Meets Body” by Death Cab, but “Death Cab For Cutie” is actually the name of a song from the ’60s. I think it’s just really funny that we’re both technically named after songs that neither of us really sound like because I wouldn’t say we necessarily sound like Death Cab, but if you listen to the song “Death Cab For Cutie,” it’s. Bonkers.
Breazeale: I mean [laughs] with that name.
What you’re saying is that somebody has to start a band called “How Dare You” just to keep the chain going.
Moore: Right. If it doesn’t happen, I quit.
Breazeale: Then we’ve failed as a band.
Mich: I think Soul Meets Body is a great fit for us. People are like, “Oh, it’s just a Death Cab song, and you guys don’t really sound like that,” but you know, every time we play a show, there’s always some real cool dude who comes up and is like, “Oh man, you guys checked all my boxes of, like, favorite, like emo bands from the earlier 2000’s.” I think it does hearken back to that era where, just–
Breazeale: Death Cab was kind of part of that whole scene. Emo-adjacent, you know. [laughs]
Mich: Yeah, they were in there. It’s the era, sort of, so it fits in that sense too.
I appreciate that SMB also stands for Super Mario Brothers.
Mich: Yeah, we’ll just go on record and say that was on purpose.
Scholz: We should make a Super Mario-themed shirt.
Cabrera: Oh, true.
Moore: Why haven’t we done this already?
Breazeale: That might not be a bad idea.
Mich: As of this interview, if you go on our website, enter promo code–
Breazeale: We have a website? [laughs] That’s our next step. We need a website.
Mich: Just planning for the future here.
When you introduced yourselves as Soul Meets Body, the tagline you used on Facebook was “A battle song for the underdogs.” Where did that concept come from, and how is that reflected in the songs?
Mich: That’s a good Genevieve question.
Moore: All of our songs are kind of about–there’s a song about falling out friendships. There’s a song about, like, a lack of mental health, and–[laughs] a variety of situations that people normally wouldn’t talk about. I guess we all see ourselves as this underdog band kind of clawing our way to the top, or–I don’t know if that’s stupid to say. [laughs]
Scholz: No. [laughs]
Moore: But one of the things I like most about music is how you connect with other people and I think that’s really important. That’s how you find new friends and new fans. I don’t really like to say fans–like, I think that’s weird. We don’t make new fans. We make new friends. But just being able to have someone sit down and relate–like, I remember we played at Jammin Java, and I met this girl, and she was like, “I just got out of the hospital. You were talking about mental health, and I really feel that.” And I’m like, “Dude, been there.” [laughs]
Relating to people through mental health issues and stuff is kind of cool and kind of scary at the same time, but I think being able to relate with other people is the main draw. And, you know, people that don’t feel like they’re quite there yet [laughs] they’re not–I don’t know, I feel like we connect with a pretty wide variety of people, and who doesn’t love an underdog story?
It’s appropriate that the first single you put out was “How Dare You.” Can you tell me about writing that song, but also how people have received it?
Moore: “How Dare You” is a big, huge “Fuck you” song.
Moore: It really is. It’s–let me see if I can make this story small. I was dating this guy, and he cheated on me a lot–like, more times than I can count–and for a short amount of time, he and I were talking about getting back together. At the time I didn’t realize how stupid that is, but anyway, along the lines of this happening, I kind of withdrew from that and I was like, “You know what? This is a bad idea.” When I finally approached him about it, I was like, “Look, this is what’s going on in my heart,” like, “This isn’t going to work out,” whatever, and he was like, “I feel so used.” And I was like, “Literally, how dare you?” That’s where that came from. How dare you say that to me after all you’ve done to me?
There are even parts in the song that actually happened. For example, there’s a part where I said I couldn’t sleep for days, and I remember in the midst of all the cheating and stuff, I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t functioning like a human should, and at the end, I say, “What was I supposed to do?” The only real way for me to recover from that was to move on, so that’s where that came from. As far as people have received it, I think most people are just like, “That’s a cool song, man.”
Moore: I don’t think people have read much into it, but I think people can tell it’s an angry, sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek sort of “fuck you.”
You also filmed a video for “How Dare You” around D.C. Tell me about the concept for that video and setting all of that up.
Mich: That was almost a year ago.
Moore: I like drawing inspiration from people I like, and the first influence was Beyonce’s Lemonade. In the music video “Hold Up,” she has a baseball bat and she’s going around just smashing windows and breaking stuff, and I’m like, “I feel that.” The other part of it is from My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Not Okay.” They have this sort of battle with–the cool kids, I guess? And they’re, like–
Mich: The underdogs.
Moore: The underdogs.
Moore: And–dude, that was so fun. Going around D.C. and recording in different places was very cool. It was very hot. I remember sweating so much.
Breazeale: And then it rained for, like, an hour, and we just hid in the van.
Mich: We were just chilling.
Cabrera: We had to walk a lot too. I remember my legs were really sore.
Breazeale: That was a long day.
Moore: One of the things I love to point out to people is, like, “Look, we recorded in front of Velvet Lounge! Can you see it? It’s right there!”
Scholz: It was just kind of like, “Where can we go set up where we know nobody’s going to be around? Velvet Lounge. Let’s go.”
Moore: It’s kind of a fun game, like, “Where are we now?” [laughs]
Mich: Yeah, we went to a skate park and stuff. It’s kind of nice because all five of us come from the same scene overall, but me personally, I only knew Pablo and Genevieve starting out with this whole thing. Nathan and Brandon were new for us, but we all relate on that level to all those venues, or just all the places around D.C. We had all been to those places, so it kind of tied everything together for us. Also, I think it represents us well to film there, even though we’re kind of like that stereotypical Hard Times article–“Band claims they’re from D.C. but is really from anywhere but D.C.”
Breazeale: We’re from all around D.C.
Moore: In the video, we all have bruises and scars and stuff, and it’s kind of supposed to, like, emotionally represent how we’re feeling, as opposed to being like, “Ahh! I’m dying!” Or–you know. [laughs] It’s kind of a metaphor for, you know, when someone says something or does something to you, you feel beat up, but you might not look that way.
People don’t always look at mental health the same way they look at physical health, and it’s a way of representing that divide.
Moore: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Scholz: I also thought about it as, like, imagine you were beat up by a guy, or physically–like, even though that didn’t actually happen, that was representing the abuse that you face in a bad relationship. We were kind of personifying that through, like, “Oh, we’re smashing all these random things.” You know, that could be their stuff–we’re taking some of these well-known things you do when you’re angry at somebody and just having fun with it to be like, “Hey,” like, “We’re angry.” We’re telling you this isn’t okay, but here’s how we’re letting out that kind of emotional response.
I mean, it must have been cathartic to smash all the stuff at the end of the video.
Moore: It was really fun, actually. We all brought something to smash, and some of the things didn’t go as planned, so [laughs] we kind of had to improvise.
Breazeale: Remember that cat thing that we had? [laughs]
Scholz: It was so good because it just ripped the head right off!
Breazeale: The head–the head just went flying. It was so funny.
What was it?
Breazeale: It was, like, a Halloween decoration. It was a cat that was, like–I don’t know. What was it made of?
Mich: A spooky Halloween cat.
Moore: With like, wires.
Breazeale: Wire, and like, papier-mache kind of thing. [laughs]
Moore: And then we tried to smash the old speaker.
Breazeale: Yeah, that didn’t work. [laughs]
Moore: It was funny because at first I think he tried to smash it–
Breazeale: With the skateboard, right?
Moore: With the skateboard.
Moore: He was going at it, and then he kind of looks at the skateboard and goes “Fuck this” and tosses it aside, and then grabs my bat [laughs] and goes for it.
Scholz: I just wanted to make one dent in it. That was the whole thing.
Breazeale: Wow, that was already a year ago. That’s crazy.
Scholz: I guess that means we have to get started on another music video.
Do you have another track in mind you would want to do?
Moore: We’ve talked about “Fire Away,” which is about falling out friendships and stuff falling apart, and we have some ideas. We’ve talked about maybe going into a boxing ring and doing something with that, so–
Breazeale: I hadn’t heard that. [laughs] That would be fun, though.
Cabrera: I heard.
Scholz: News to me!
Moore: Okay, maybe it was just me and Pablo, but–
Everyone else is going to be lured there surreptitiously.
Scholz: All part of the video.
Breazeale: You shouldn’t have told us. You should have just thrown us into it and filmed it, just like, “Hey, surprise, go box there. Good luck.” [laughs]
This project started in connection to a school project. Did the EP ever get a grade?
Scholz: I got a grade for the first two songs, but my grade was mostly based on the fact that I said I was going to have four songs done and we only had two.
Scholz: The quality of the two songs was great, and it was just one of those, like–“You said you were going to do four. You only did two. I can’t really give you an A.” And I was like, “Yeah, I feel that. I get that.”
Scholz: There were a lot of extenuating circumstances that brought about why we only had two songs, but that never bugged me. It wasn’t like, “Oh, man, I got a bad grade on this class because this band couldn’t deliver.” At that point, I was so much more invested in wanting to be a part of the band that I was just like, “Man, screw it. I’m going to do this EP either way.”
What’s next for all of you now that this EP is very near to being released?
Moore: Well, definitely we’ve all talked about another music video. When that happens, I’m not really sure, but it will definitely be soon. We do have some shows coming up, and we’ve talked about doing some weekenders and some short tours, so I’m hoping that will come from us soon.
Breazeale: I think we’re hoping once–we just want to get the EP out as soon as we can, and we’ve already been writing new songs too. We want to get it out so we can have some music out, and then play shows, and, you know, people can have something to listen to. Then we’re going to probably start working on new stuff already, and then eventually–
Moore: Or let’s be Fall Out Boy and just record a music video for all of them. [laughs]
Breazeale: Oh yeah, screw writing new songs. We’re just going to do music videos. [laughs]
Scholz: When did Fall Out Boy just record music videos?
Breazeale: Save Rock and Roll. They did a video for every song.
Scholz: Oh, I didn’t even know that.
Breazeale: Yeah, The Young Blood Chronicles.
You mentioned the cover set you played as My Chemical Romance. If you were going to do another one, what band would you most want to portray?
Moore: We’ve already talked about this.
Mich: Maybe we should go around and just say, like–
Breazeale: Who ideally you would want to do?
Scholz: For this band, I know we’ve talked about doing Weezer, and that’d be really cool.
Breazeale: That’s what we’re considering for the next Halloween show, actually.
Nathan: Personally, I would want to do a White Stripes cover set, which I did once in college with a friend, but I’m trying to do it again, hopefully. But that would–you kind of have to commit to the whole White Stripes aesthetic. That’s one of my favorite bands, but yeah, definitely for us, I think Weezer is next on my list. It’d be super fun.
Cabrera: Same. I’m 100% on board with Weezer.
Breazeale: Yeah, I think we’re all really on board with doing a Weezer cover set. [laughs]
Cabrera: If I personally would do a cover set, I would definitely do Zeppelin.
Scholz: We could pull off a Zeppelin set too, actually. I think we could.
Mich: Yeah, we have a big enough sound. We’re big. We’re loud.
Cabrera: We’ll just have two Jimmy Pages.
Mich: Yeah. [laughs] That’s not a problem, man.
Moore: What about you, Jasiu?
Mich: I think it’s kind of a tie. Probably something like Fall Out Boy because that was one of those bands, like–elementary school, I saw my friend wearing the shirt. They were an early pop-punk kind of band for me to get into. Right next to that would probably be the Wonder Years just because, like–
Breazeale: Oh, I would love to do a Wonder Years cover set. [laughs]
Mich: Just because we end up jamming a lot of their stuff, and the hooks are so catchy. I can’t get that out of my head, man.
Breazeale: Yeah, I would love to do a Wonder Years set. They’re one of my all-time favorite bands.
Mich: You’ve already said that, so what’s your other one?
Breazeale: I mean, probably–just personally, Green Day.
Cabrera: When we were talking about Weezer, we were also saying maybe Green Day as well, but–
Breazeale: Yeah, or like–I don’t know. I would love to do a Paramore cover set also. [laughs] I would love to do that.
Moore: Alright, I’m not going to lie, that would be super fun. That would be very, very fun. However, I feel like–
Breazeale: It’d probably be, like–
Breazeale: Of course they’re doing a Paramore cover set.
Moore: That would be super fun because honestly, they super influenced me growing up. That was one of the only bands that I saw that had a lady singer, or a lady in it, but–MCR is my favorite band in the world. Ever. So last Halloween was, like, euphoria for me.
Breazeale: That was the best night of my life.
Moore: It was like–[laughs] it was so awesome.
Breazeale: [laughs] Yeah!
Moore: We’ve all talked about doing Weezer. We’re all big fans of Weezer, and then Brandon said Green Day, which I’m stoked on because Green Day was also a really big influence for me. Actually, if we played Dookie, like, the whole way through–
Breazeale: Oh, that’d be sick.
Moore: That would be so dope. Another favorite band of mine is Taking Back Sunday, so–I don’t know if I could ever convince these guys to do that. Probably not.
Scholz: I feel like we could do it.