In Conversation With - BATS
Dublin avant-rock five piece BATS have announced their grand return with their first album in seven years ‘Alter Nature’, and have shared the first single to be taken from the record, ‘Old HItler’. We had a chat with the band about their return and how their feel about the new material.
It's been over seven years since 'The Sleep of Reason'. What was the process of getting themes, musical ideas and such together for 'Alter Nature' like after a long hiatus?
If I'm being honest it wasn't really a hiatus, more of a slowdown. We have continued writing and experimenting slowly over the seven years while at the same time maintaining careers and family life. Our music has never been particularly commercial so we have to work on it in our spare time. But we don't mind. We do it for the love of it. We've always believed It's better to take your time than release 3 albums a year just for the sake of it. Hey it works for Tool! It took Andrew Wiles 7 years to prove Fermat's last theorem! (See the track 'Andrew Wiles' from our first record.)
Bring us into the process then of recording and post-production. What was the process like this time around, what was it like working with ex-Richter folk, and how do you feel about Alter Nature as a 'finished' piece of work?
We recorded with Deaf Brothers in The Meadow in Co. Wicklow. These guys are veterans of the Irish music scene and did a fantastic job of realising our songs as a cohesive whole. We used a different approach this time around, recording through multiple amp set ups and with new and weird guitar pedals. The guys went above and beyond and were very patient with us as we can be very particular about our recordings. For mastering we returned to West West Side Music in New York. Alan Douches has mastered all of our full length records and he pulled it out of the bag once again! We're extremely happy with how the record has turned out and can't wait to unleash it upon the world.
The album was crowdfunded on Kickstarter, both an embrace of changing models and a deft sidestep of issues that presented themselves with PledgeMusic. What were your thoughts on how it went, the responsibility of 'delivering' something for a pledge, and how bands can still benefit from it?
Since the demise of The Richter Collective we have been an independent band so crowd funding was the only option for us. We couldn't be happier with the overwhelming support we have received from our fans, raising funds well over our target. It was very encouraging to see so many people pledging their hard earned cash for a record they had never even heard one second of. We literally couldn't have done it without them. For a band like us it is a really effective tool and I would highly recommend it for other independent bands. Coming up with rewards is also a lot of fun! We included fun extras like portraits drawn by the band. It will be a lot of work getting all the rewards organised and delivered but well worth it.
Yourselves and fellow noisemakers Jogging are releasing quite close to each other, in a move that's brought jubilation to some now-ageing hearts that would have been quite attached to your old label, The Richter Collective. What are your thoughts on the timing, and the Collective's legacy?
Yeah it's funny how it's worked out! Jogging and us go way back. We've played together countless times. They are a great band and even greater humans. We're very proud to be part of the Richter Collective's legacy. We knew at the time that they were putting out the best of and most interesting Irish music, but to see how the label's reputation has endured and the bands they championed have gone down in history and gone on to greater successes is very gratifying.
You returned to live action at Knockanstockan this year, one of the few festivals dedicated entirely to the Irish music community. How did it go, what were your thoughts on it, and how did the new stuff go down?
It was great fun! We played it a few years ago and it's always been a fantastic festival to play. We practiced our asses off so the rust didn't show! New stuff went down a treat!
The record releases in October, with release happening directly through the band in addition to Kickstarter deliveries. How has the response been to 'Old Hitler' so far?
Response to the first single 'Old Hitler' has been fantastic! People were obviously craving songs about giant hammerhead sharks from WWII.
What next for the band in terms of live stuff, after the record's release?
We'll be doing a launch show in Dublin in November but after that the sky's the limit!
Feature created by Mike McGrath-Bryan
'ALTER NATURE' is due out 10th October