Living Body release ‘No Debt’, on tour now

By Dom Smith
By November 3, 2023 Leeds, News

Leeds collective Living Body are pleased to announce ‘NO DEBT’, their second single of 2023, alongside a live session video, 11-date UK headline tour and performance at Sŵn Festival.

Following summer tour support shows with Owen (Mike Kinsella of American Football), Holiday Ghosts and Dolores Forever, the band are touring as a 5-piece with two drummers, honing their inimitable blend of blissful synthpop and harmony-driven, groove-laden indie/pop/math/shoegaze with their new single, a future classic in the up-and-coming genre of debt-abolition-rock.

Inspired by the US president’s campaign pledge to eliminate student debt and its subsequent crumbling under the weight of right-wing and corporate influence, in its simplest sense ‘NO DEBT’ is a song about how all education should be free, as songwriter Jeff T. Smith elaborates:

The commodification of education creates schisms whereby capitalism deems certain types of learning as more valuable, while others are told by the UK prime minister to “retrain or find other jobs”. Whether it be neuroscience, engineering, queer theory or 17th century textiles, there is inherent value in expanding the overall breadth and scope of human knowledge. Much in the way that no one should be in debt for receiving health care, no one should be in debt for learning something, anything!

‘NO DEBT’ also examines how multinational tech companies increasingly insert themselves into everyday life, challenging the need for traditional higher education while undermining reality and human connection. On the song’s closing line ‘funny, you replied, “Google it”’, Smith notes:

On one hand, who really needs a university education when you can find the answer to anything on a screen in your pocket? But should we really place our entire basis for truth in the hands of one large profit-driven corporation? Ultimately, this poses quite serious future concerns surrounding our relationship to truth, facts, deepfakes, AI and corporate power.

‘NO DEBT’ includes vocals by Living Body’s Jeff T. Smith and Alice Rowan, with additional vocals from friends Chrissy Barnacle (Come Outside) and Jamie Lockhart (Mi Mye), as well as a flugelhorn section from Emily Ingham (Mi Mye). All other instrumentation, songwriting, singing, mixing, mastering and production by Jeff T. Smith at his studio in Leeds, AKA ‘the Bungalow.’

The live session video, filmed at Echelon Coffee Roasters in Leeds, showcases the band’s unique use of interlocking vocal, guitar and bass melodies and dense double-drumming polyrhythms.

Lead by immigrant songwriter Jeff T. Smith (f.k.a. Juffage) the band’s current live lineup includes Alice Rowan (Mayshe-Mayshe), Sarah Statham (Crake, Fig By Four), Annie Prior (Parker Lee) and Matt Simpson. Other contributors have included Katie Harkin (Harkin, Sleater-Kinney, Courtney Barnett), Tom Evans (Vessels), James Yates (Epic 45) and Jack Burgess-Hunt.

Shaped by Smith’s fascination with the contortion of the pop song into a uniquely imaginative and immediate form, his former Midwest-US upbringing and longstanding roots in both US and UK DIY scenes, Living Body infuses timeless pop melodies warped through an experimental and punk ethos. Expanding on the need for music to bring joy into the lives of others in an age of confusion and information overload, Living Body’s music expresses the bleak yet positive, immediate yet complex, pessimistic yet hopeful, exhausted yet perseverant state of modern living.

The band are celebrating the release of ‘NO DEBT’ with select tour dates across the UK:
October 21: Cardiff – SWN Festival
November 1: Brighton – the Prince Albert (w/ Perch)
November 2: London – New Cross Inn (w/ Rubie & Winifer Odd)
November 3: Birmingham – the Victoria (w/ Overcliff)
November 4: Bristol – the Exchange (w/ Lifter)
November 16: Newcastle – Cumberland Arms (w/ Waves of Dread, Madeleine Smyth)
November 17: Glasgow – Hug & Pint (w/ Come Outside)
November 18: Edinburgh – Voodoo Rooms (w/ Hailey Beavis)
November 22: Salford – the Eagle Inn (w/ Real Terms, Oort Clod)
November 23: Liverpool – Kazimier Stockroom (w/ Real Terms)
November 24: Nottingham – JT Soar (w/ Real Terms, Kaliugah)
November 25: Leeds – Wharf Chambers (w/ Real Terms, Jooloosooboo)

Living Body have toured extensively throughout the USA, UK and Europe, including shows at SXSW, Canadian Music Week, Tramlines, Deer Shed, Long Division, High Tide, Sounds From The Other City and ArcTanGent festivals, UK tour dates with Joan of Arc and live sessions for Breakthru Radio and Daytrotter. They have received radio play on BBC 6 Music, Radio 3, Amazing Radio and others. They released their debut album ‘Body Is Working’ in 2016 and a number of subsequent singles to critical acclaim. Their previous 2023 single ‘CONSUMER’ was selected by Emily Pilbeam as Track of the Week on BBC Introducing in West Yorkshire.