It wasn't until after graduation that college friends Ben Carson and Scott Johnson, lead singer and guitarist of Hot Bodies In Motion (HBIM), respectively, started>"/>
It wasn't until after graduation that college friends Ben Carson and Scott Johnson, lead singer and guitarist of Hot Bodies In Motion (HBIM), respectively, started playing music together. With the introduction of drummer Tim Lopresto by their original bass player, the rock 'n' soul band really got going. After picking up Allen Stone's old bassist, Tyler Carroll, though, Carson says the band's writing style evolved and that they really grew into their soulful sound.
We caught up with Carson and got all the details about "That Darkness," off the recently released Principle A, before the band takes the stage at Neumos on Saturday.
The Video: Directed and produced by SHEP Films, who also worked on HBIM's "Old Habits" video, "That Darkness" features characters the band and crew all refer to as "Light Eyes."
The Light Eyes concept came from the guys at SHEP Films. To create the creepy, blacked-out faces effect, Lopresto, one of the video's producers and one of Carson's roommates wore sunglasses with LED flashlights taped to the lenses over backwards-facing ski masks.
The trio understandably had trouble seeing so Carson had to guide them around at times during the shoot. On the plus side though, the ski masks helped keep the guys warm, unlike the mask-less Carson was left shivering during the three-night, plus one afternoon for the performance scenes, shoot.
Carson says "That Darkness" is intentionally monotonous, featuring scenes of the Light Eyes completing everyday activities like eating cereal and hanging out with friends at a bar, because, while we may appear "normal" to others, we all have darker instincts underneath the façade, hence the light eyes against the darkness in the video.
"It's basically about recognizing that inner, dark instinct to look out for number one or pursue whatever it is that you want first," he says. "Recognizing that darkness is the first step in understanding where you come from and where everybody else comes from as a human being.
"It's that human element that I was mostly writing about, these innate, kind of selfish desires that everybody has and they're not always physical to people around you."
Home Is Where The Video Is Filmed: HBIM filmed "That Darkness" in several very familiar locations -- Carson's house, their Seattle neighborhood of Wallingford Playfield and Al's Tavern, one of the band's favorite local bars.
Before the shoot, the band took to Facebook to invite their friends to appear in the bar scenes, promising free drinks all night. These scenes ended up being the highlight of the shoot for Carson.
"Everyone was kind of handing me drinks because they knew I was supposed to be this drunk guy at the bar that leaves with these random dudes and so that was the most fun part for me was recreating that bar scene and then really getting into my role by actually getting drunk," he says with a laugh.
Guiding Light: Originally, the video was completely made up of shots of Carson obliviously interacting with the Light Eyes until he eventually transforms into a Light Eyes himself.
This transformation occurs thanks to a bright light in a briefcase, representing, according to Carson, that "Aha!" moment when a person starts directing attention towards themselves, discovering where their desires stem from and becomes a person who is comfortable with the dark side of themselves.
Though it was originally intended, the band wanted to break up the video's monotony and decided to add the performance shots. The interspersing of these shots with the Light Eyes scenes ended up forming a narrative of caution, as told by a man who had recently experienced the Light Eyes transformation himself.
"In my mind, the music video is cut together in a way where it's like the scruffy, long-haired version of myself is telling a story about what happened to me just a week prior," Carson says. "I think there's a distinct difference in the way that I look between the two scenes. It wasn't intentional per say, but it really leads into the story nicely where it's almost like a cautionary tale from this guy that's been there and that has seen it and then you're seeing flashbacks as I'm singing it."
From The Ground Up: "That Darkness" comes off of HBIM's latest EP, Principle A, which will eventually be followed by Principle B and a few other songs to become the Principles LP.
While demoing Principle A, Johnson came up with the idea to stick a microphone in the band's practice space and have Lopresto play whatever beat he wanted. Johnson, Carson and Carroll would then respond musically, creating songs organically based on each member's natural musical inclinations.
"Basically, we went out to intentionally streamline our creative process a little bit," Carson explains. "How do we collaborate together in the most effective way?"
The band then took these demos to a producer who was adamant about recording most of the EP live, telling the band he wanted to create a snapshot of them doing their craft together. Although they were a little apprehensive at first, the band consented and recorded much of the album live to tape rather than through a computer.
"I think the whole thing stems from a desire to be as organic-sounding and as genuine and true to our instruments as we could be," Carson says. "It's just like 'Let you do your thing and let me respond to it.' I think that made a huge difference in the writing process."