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Mo., 25. Apr.


Hansa 39


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25. Apr. 2022, 20:00

Hansa 39, Hansastraße 39-41, 81373 München, Deutschland


support: Cousines Like Shit

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 is BODEGA’s attempt to  interrogate the external factors that make them who they are, propelling  existential quandaries with tongue-in-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 founding member  Bodega Ben, who details various ways 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 rare meteoric rise.  The duo double as filmmakers, earning acclaim for their 2020 erotic  drama PVT Chat starring Peter Vack, Julia Fox, and other recognizable  faces from the Safdie brothers’ cinematic universe. When the pandemic  forced them to hit pause, they used the opportunity to regroup with  drummer/performance artist Tai Lee, bassist/philosophy professor Adam  See, and lead guitarist Dan Ryan. 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 2018 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 from hip-hop, indie-pop,  and straight up classic rock. Millennials like us don’t really have  genre alliances. We have allegiances towards groups and 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 targeting, media  gentrification, and the band itself. On “NYC (disambiguation)”, they  break down how the Big Apple was “founded by a corporation” 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, stressed 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” and “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 alternate versions  in eight different languages. “I used God in that song as this arch  overlord character, but it could also be a real 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 with (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 she unknowingly  reinforced patriarchal values by turning against other women to attract  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 age 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, I 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 several 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 soul” that inspires him to remain  eternally inquisitive. “That song is about realizing 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 power  comes from her, too.” – Jesse Locke

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