Discovering Battles, meeting the band

When I started listening to Battles around 2009 I had no idea they had been around so long. I felt cheated! I had missed out on their tours and everything. The reason I learned about them is because Thom Yorke (Radiohead) had playlisted Atlas at some DJ events he did. At first I thought it was too weird. I listened to Mirrored and thought it was way weird. And I couldn't get into the EPs. But Gloss Drop pulled me in. I think it is so brilliant, one of the best albums of 2011. After that I went back and listened to the earlier stuff with new ears and now I love it all.

 

I finally got to see Battles in Dallas, October 2011. I wish I had been able to see more concerts. I met Ian and Dave after the show. I asked Ian if he liked Stravinsky. He said "Sure I like whiskey." No, Stravinsky. I compared their music to the Rite of Spring when it first premiered. It was so revolutionary it caused the classical music fans in attendance to riot. I told him how I wish I'd found them sooner, but that Thom Yorke got me into them. He was surprised Thom was a fan. Then I met Dave. I was wearing my Radiohead tshirt and told him the same thing about Thom. Thom is such a fan I assumed they knew each other, but Dave had no idea about Thom's support of them! There was some teenager asking Dave to sign his teeth. Yep, his teeth. So Dave wrote BTTLS on his teeth with a sharpie. I got to talk to Dave for a while and he is so nice! I told him how I wish I'd found them sooner but still I am glad to get in on it relatively "early" (only their 2nd LP).

 

Well, how did you discover Battles? What did you think at first? Were you blown away or skeptical? Have you ever met the band?

Original Post
That's awesome that Thom is a fan. I read somewhere that Stanier really enjoyed TKOL.

I first heard of Battles in 2009 from a few friends (musicians) in college. Somehow Battles came up in some discussion, I think it was about Don Caballero-- and they asked if I had heard them. I hadn't and they told me to check them out. I saw the video for "Atlas" and really dug it, then bought Mirrored and EP C/B EP. Add to that Gloss Drop ( I eagerly anticipated it's release and it delivered) and they've become hands down my favorite band.

Finally saw them live October 2011 in Houston.  Amazing show. "Africastle" was an awesome way to open the set, the opening swells sounded like a futuristic Ennio Morricone score. Stanier actually hits his kit like drummers should-- loud and precise. "Sundome" was a great closer, even better than on record. The whole time some drunk guy kept asking them to play "SZ2" and "insert Don Caballero song title" which brought out the chuckles.  I talked to Dave after the show, didn't see Stanier but shook his hand before the show, and Ian had a huge crowd around him. Asked Dave about his echoplex set up and other gizmos and he showed  me how his set up worked. Very cool dude. Definitley can't wait to catch them again and for the next record.

I could have met John, but he had a large group of people around him. I regret skipping him now! When I was talking to Dave and told him Thom was a Battles fan, Dave asked "since the new album too?", and thinking he meant the new Radiohead album, I said "yes, he playlisted Atlas at a recent DJ gig."

My first experience with Battles was little big planet a few years ago. I loved playing that game, but whenever the level with atlas was played I immediately would turn down the volume. My friend talked highly of battles, but I thought of them as pretentious and really weird. So a few years went by and no mention of battles had occurred in quite some time until Gloss Dropp finally came out. Another friend of mine told me that the member that sang on atlas (Tyondai) had left the group and they now had guest vocals on the new album. So I listened to Ice Cream and acted like it was okay, but in all actuality I was blown away. Never in my life had I heard such a unique sound that was completely original and innovative. So I gave them a second chance and decided to start from the EP's because I enjoy hearing how a bands sounds got started. I remember I was gardening and SZ2 started. I stopped what I was doing and just listened to the track. Then the drums came in and what I thought at the time was bass ( was actually keyboard) came in as well and I couldn't stop smiling. It was everything I wanted to hear in music. Somehow this band was able to achieve all of my music expectations and this was the same band that I use to bag on for years. From that point on I was completely hooked. A couple months later I was able to see them at the treasure island music festival. Without planning I decided to take a hit of LSD at the festival and was curious to see how my first experience with battles was going to be (especially with acid). I remember YACHT was putting away their equipment when I saw Dave, John, and Ian just chatting back stage and I got a sudden feeling of surrealism. I instinctively started yelling at Ian and after making an ass of myself by yelling at him, he noticed me and gave a grin and a wave.  I felt so stoked to know that I was able to say hi and meanwhile all my friends were just laughing at how ridiculous I was being.  Then naked and famous played on the opposite stage while battles setup and it was the longest 45 minutes ever. I just patiently waited front stage to see what kind of wonders battles was going to pull off. All i kept thinking was, Battles is going to blow everyone's minds so hard after this. Then it finally happened. Africastle begun. The sun had started to set and was now directly behind their stage. Dave strumming the intro, John on his knees waving the jingle bells around, and Ian non chanlantly playing the violin-esque riff. The waves from the bay of SF were crashing into the island and water droplets were flowing in the air. It's as if time had slowed down for just a brief moment and then, boom! John gets up and hits the floor tom. Dave busts out that sweet DL4 loop and switches to bass. Then the rest of africastle was truly amazing. I told Dave he rocked after the song and he looked and laughing said, thanks! After their breath taking set I was standing their in shock still when I saw that Ian was chilling right next to the stage talking to a lady and her kids. I immediately got excited and was about to run when I stopped and thought, wait a minute, I'm on acid and I'm about to Ian Williams, what the hell are you going to say to him. So I thought about it for a bit and then p
-politely walked up to him and this lady ( who I assumed was a friend of his). They stopped talking and Ian, who was a good half a foot taller than me, looks over at me and waits for me to say something. Immediately I apologize for interrupting their conversation  and introduce myself. I shook Ian's hand and then told him the average shpeel that I really liked his music (Don Cabarello, Storm and Stress etc.) and he was just listening. I then asked him when they planned to play the west coast again and he said sometime in the spring most likely (unfortunately not true). Then I shook his hand again and I walked away. I wish I could have said more to Ian, but I couldn't really think of anything at the time and didn't want to bug him too much. But I know that one day I'll  meet him again and hopefully it's under the circumstances of playing a show with battles.

Never in my life had I heard such a unique sound that was completely original and innovative.

 

Man, you got it! One of my favorite adjectives I have seen to describe them is "peerless". I love that one. It is very true. They have no peers, they are in a league of their own.

 

Awesome story by the way. So, what do you think of Atlas now? Do you still turn it down? 

So, i discovered battles many years ago (2006?) in one magazine (sonika). In it, had a section called "warning" (the "new" in it time music that you MUST hear). One month they wrote about the band (i loved the things they saw about the vocals: "like squirrels in one factory with drugs"... come on, we are mexicans!). I be honest: i thinked that they music was BORING (note: not all songs) but was the little girl not hear well (now, i can listen again, again, again and again the eps because i like it and to make angry one dudette on my job > ). If i had meet the guys? unfortunadly no, for these things: 1 because i live on mexico 2 i live far of the mexico city/monterey 3 and they came here only two times (i can't go to the date on monterey because i knew months later and i can't go to mexico city because i worked that day )

A friend showed me Battles and thought I'd like them.
They were always that "weird band that has chanting n' stuff"
But I couldn't stop listening to it.
Then one day I stopped doing other stuff while listening to it, and for the first time I noticed their amazing musicianship, and creative layering and interplay. Eventually they became my favorite band, and even though Gloss Drop wasn't quite as ground breaking for me as Mirrored, I grew to like it almost as much, and anticipated any releases from then on!
Looking forward to hearing La Di Da Di

Ok you guys, the other day at St Vitus in Brooklyn I had the ultimate fan experience. Of course I went to NY from my home in Texas mostly to see the guys perform. So I showed up to queue at 1pm not knowing what time most people would show up (turned out most show up at doors). Well about half an hour later the band showed up to load in. I introduced myself and they knew who I was! (especially Ian, he and I have conversed on Twitter before) Well even Dave and John have been to the fan site before. And so had their tour manager Bobbie. I got them to sign my Gloss Drop vinyl cover which I'd brought. Well anyway they invited me inside to watch soundcheck and I ended up spending all afternoon with them. They took quite a while to load in all their equipment to the tiny venue. Ian's wife brought their 1 year old baby to hear some of soundcheck, it was so cute, she was learning to walk and she kept smiling at me! Ian let her play John's drums. Dave joked that she shouldn't be worried about how her dad is doing, they usually play much larger venues. Soundcheck took forever, and John was very concerned about not being able to hear the loops once the band started playing, all he could hear was Ian. Ian was complaining that he couldn't hear himself in the monitor though. It seemed like there was no solution. Dave just wanted to keep playing and not get stuck arguing. They sound checked one I didn't know (haven't listened to leak), then The Yabba, Ice Cream, and Tricentennial which they referred to by name, the only way I knew the title. I recorded a little of their soundcheck: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNbG7qRatX4

 

Anyway I also took portraits of the band with my vintage 3D film camera which I'll have to get developed later. And took photos with the band too. Dave was the most friendly, he was all concerned about me having a good time and spent a lot of time talking to me. I told him about the leak and he said yeah he prefers not to listen to leaks either, he likes the suspense of waiting until release day and a physical release. I asked Dave why they don't play any EP songs live any more. He said they're not opposed to them, but once they learn all the new songs there's no time for the old songs. I told him my favorite is Hi/Lo and he said that is his favorite too! So I said they should play it in Dallas. I also asked Dave why he isn't on social media like Ian and John. He said he's shy about it though he did show me his Instagram account where he has some art photos similar to the ones for the La Di Da Di cover. 

 

Then the show was amazing! Naturally I was front row center and got some good video but I only shot 2 songs to be courteous (I don't know how they feel about tapers). Also I was shooting the show with my vintage film cameras. I got Dot Com (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z7tXt9C7xo) and Tricentennial, I think (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcehKgv8grM). As for the photos, it will take some time to develop but the type of photos they will be, you can see from my Radiohead days here: http://amybrown.net/radiohead . Ian's wife was there rocking out and jumping up and down like crazy, she said it was her first night out in a year (since having the baby).

 

After the show, the guys hung out a long time talking to fans and the huge amount of friends they had there (37 on the guest list, I heard). I asked John for a setlist before he left the stage, of course, he was the closest to me! I thanked Ian and let him get to his family, then John started thanking me and literally said "We'll give you anything you want. Anything. Do you want drumsticks?" Well of course I wanted drumsticks (I got them) but I told him what I really wanted was to interview them when they came to Dallas. He said of course! Dave was also very gracious, I thanked him for the concert but he started thanking me and gave me a hug! I asked for a pick and he gave me one, saying that it might have bite marks on it. I told him it was OK because I also had one from Thom Yorke (true). He asked me to rub them together to see what happened (I have). Then I told Dave the story of how I got into Battles, because Thom listed "Atlas" on a radiohead.com playlist. Dave was so interested, and flattered that Thom was into Battles, because he really likes Radiohead. (Never mind that I had told him that story 4 years ago! He forgot?) 

 

Well it was an amazing time. When the day started out I mentally listed my wishes for the day, and I hoped to at least meet the band and get my record signed. I had no idea I'd spend the whole afternoon with them and get to know them on a first name basis! These guys are the coolest and nicest guys, and I have met a lot of musicians! They really care about their fans and when Dave was thanking the fans on stage, especially the ones who came from far away... it felt like he was talking to me. I hope you guys get to meet them on the tour. I know that St Vitus was an extremely small venue compared to what the tour venues are going to be, it was a special show, but hopefully they will greet fans at all the shows!

 

Greetings Battles fans...first post!

Been a Battles fan since the beginning when I heard about the Tras single coming out and I bought it right away being familiar with DonCab, Lynx and Helmet. 

Saw them live four times: During EP years, Mirrored tour twice, Gloss Drop tour, and I have tix for the new tour. 

I'm from the New England area and I got to meet Ian and Dave at a non-Battles show in RI while they were recording Gloss Drop. They were really nice to me. Met John on the Mirrored tour while he was working the merch table, bought the Atlas vinyl single off him. 

Also lucky to know the guys at Machines w Magnets and was able to record there myself. Great studio/people. They told me some great Battles stories . 

Anyway great site/forum

And congrats to Amy for a great night out w the band!

I got my 3D photos developed from that day in Brooklyn. To see the 3D, you just refocus your eyes like you're looking "through" the photo. The images will realign on top of each other and you should see the 3D! It is with a vintage 1980s Nimslo film camera. The guys posed for portraits and I also took some shots at the show. 

 

That last one misfired and I got a double!

Add Reply

Likes (0)
www.battlesatlas.com
×
×
×
×