In our seemingly cosmopolitan society the idea of thinking in the same way as your parents, or god forbid your grandparents, is something that a great deal of people scoff at. To many having an open, spiritual mind is what life is all about, and Western Body Eastern Mind are a band that, like many others, embrace that ideal.
Hailing from Eastbourne, Western Body Eastern Mind is a completely equal, unfronted band comprised of Rachel on vocals, Jamie on lead guitar/ backing vocals, Jason on acoustic guitar/vocals, Harry on bass, and Tim on drums/percussion. With a name like theirs it’s easy to assume that this band is influenced by more genres of music than most, and anyone assuming that would be right. Western Body Eastern Mind each have their own influences in bands and artists like Charlie Winston, Tim Payne (Thursday), Matt Cameron (Soundgarden/ Pearl Jam), Danny Carey (Tool), Aretha Franklin, Dire Straits, and less specifically, genres like the blues, folk, and gypsy music. In their own words if you “grab a load of genres and put them in a bucket” you have Western Body Eastern Mind. However if they were forced to they would describe themselves as being “funky gypsybilly”.
Rachel claims to have never written a song that doesn’t hold at least an element of truth. She writes about experience and many of her songs speak of a woman scorned. Jamie has a darker side to his writing, one influenced by the painful side of everyday life and relationships. The song “kill zone” which was written about an argument between a married couple is a particular highlight, as is “Blackout” which Jamie wrote about an ex-girlfriend that blacked out in his car.
Although I haven’t managed to catch this band live I have witnessed Rachel’s singing first hand at a gig for her covers band Decadence, Sleeze, excess. Rachel has said she is influenced by vocal goddess Aretha Franklin, and it shows; her voice is so powerful that it draws your attention and makes the prospect of talking over it seem like a crime. She is truly an exceptional talent that deserves all the attention she gets. Western Body Eastern Mind have told me stories of catchy riffs, energy, infectious foot tapping, cancan dancing, and the possibility of future Cossack dancing. If these stories are true then this band are truly something special, and that’s without even mentioning their music. They have gigged at venues like The Eagle and Via in Eastbourne, and are currently working on material.
As the country continues to fall victim to the plague that is the Cowell virus, it’s the smaller bands relying on grassroot gigs that truly suffer. Western Body Eastern Mind are one of these bands and are very passionate about the cause. They want to bring the music scene back to their local area and think something needs to be done to coax people to go find the bands that are out there. They believe that shows like The X-Factor are causing music to lose its value by making it overly commercial. Perhaps the time has come for people to turn off their televisions and give the talent around them a chance to shine. And who knows, if bands like this one are successful in their cause then maybe, just maybe, the sound of music will be what fills the streets on a Friday night, and not the cry of the angry mob.
Originally published here: http://sqmagazine.co.uk/2011/04/local-band-western-body-eastern-mind/