Sometimes helping others with their artistic passions makes you long to create something you can call your own, something Ryder Bach knows all too well. The actor/songwriter has written all kinds of music for his friends, and collaborated on all kinds of stage productions, but it’s the experimental pop duo Body Parts that he makes up with Alina Cutrono that’s been consuming him of late. While running around L.A., Bach told us about botched video shoots, transitioning from acting to music, and the band’s debut album, Fire Dream, out October 29. Body Parts play with Heatwarmer and Lures at the Columbia City Theater this Thursday (8/15).
Last-minute errands? Errands, but also, we’re shooting the video for one of our new singles. We were supposed to shoot it last night, but we got shut down before we even started. It’s ridiculous. There’s a fireplace on this rooftop. We put a fire in there and they showed up and said “You can’t have fires in that fireplace.”
Because that makes sense! I know! We were like “Are you serious? It’s a fireplace.” We had to scramble then we’re going to shoot it somewhere else tonight.
Are you and Alina behind the video concepts? It’s been a pretty even collaboration between Alina and I and the director. We’ve gotten lucky to have friends who are talented enough to execute the videos. For the choreography, we told them “We’re going to come up with some choreography.” They’ve been like “Cool. Just show up on the day of and whatever you guys come up with, we’ll do.” It’s been pretty natural and easy so far.
You both have backgrounds in theater, dance, and performance. Can you tell me a bit about the work you’ve done? Alina’s done a lot of dance in different troupes. She’s also in this sideshow troupe where she breathes fire. I’ve done quite a bit of musical theater. It’s been my profession for the last couple years. I also act in commercials. I’m coming at it from more of an acting background, and she’s more a dancer.
Do you have a favorite role? I’ve been involved in one production since the workshop five years ago. It’s called Girlfriend. It’s based on the music of Matthew Sweet. That’s been the most fun because the people involved have become my favorite people.
How did you make the transition from acting to music? I’ve always written music. I’ve written music for movies, friends’ movies, and art pieces. I moved to L.A. with the intention of just acting, and at a certain point I thought “I have to have something that I can be the lead creative force behind.” I tend to get very into the things that I’m doing, so Body Parts became something that I could devote my time to. It’s mostly really fun.
Where did you all record Fire Dream ? The bass player in the band, Ray [Proudfoot], is an engineer, and he has some recording equipment and I have some recording equipment. We recorded it between five locations [laughs]. We recorded the drums in Alina’s dad’s house. We did the vocals three different places. I have this friend, Danny, with a studio so we recorded some stuff at his studio and then a bunch of stuff at my apartment, a couple things at Ray’s apartment.
Body Parts sounds like a very self-sufficient band. It happens out of necessity. This album was a whole concept brewing in my mind, and you go “I could either wait for someone to give me the resources, which may never happen, or I could figure it out myself.”
A concept you had or a concept album? It’s a loose concept album. It came from this dream I had where a close friend murdered my parents. The dream changed the way I interacted with my friend in real life. I created this phrase, “fire dream,” to define that phenomenon where a made-up reality affects reality. I thought there were many specific circumstances that fall under that scenario, so I started writing this album that has built-in messages and themes. A big theme of the album is self-help religion. It’s about religion, the culture of worship and celebrities. It’s not a concept album in that there’s a story that you’re following, but all of the songs are based around this fire dream idea.
Does that friend know about your dream? He does. I had a lot of talks with him about the idea in its early form so it’s OK.
What’s next for Body Parts? We have some more singles coming out. We’re going to do a larger U.S. tour in October. It should be a pretty crazy next couple of months because we’ve put a lot on our plate, and we’ll see how it goes. We’d love to go to Japan, England, Europe, so that’s the dream.
A much happier dream than no parents. A happier dream than the fire dream.