Interview: Battles


BattlesQuench Music’s insightful contributor, Oli Richards, chatted with Battles’ enigmatic, Ian Williams. Have a read of how it went below.

Quench Music (QM: One striking element of new record ‘La Di Da Di’ is its lack of vocals and/or vocal samples. What triggered this stylistic departure after 2011’s ‘Gloss Drop’?

Ian Williams (IW): Vocals have always been a garnish to the dish; not the main portion. For us, we always build the music around riffs and beats. Maybe vocals come afterwards; maybe they don’t come at all.

QM: You gave fans an insight into the band recently via ‘The Art of Repetition’. Repetition and looping forms the basis for much of the new record; what techniques do you use to keep your music exciting within each song?

IW: Well, I don’t think you’ll change things up very much from song to song if you use the same technique. It’s about sending different instruments into different receivers, effects, loopers and glitchers; and each combination has its own logic and technique.

QM: You are playing Simple Things Festival in Bristol in October, how does it feel to come to the UK and find such a welcome response?

IW: The UK has always been good to us; music appreciation society.

QM: When playing live, to what degree does the music change from the records? Do you improvise around established loops or stick to the pre-decided song structures found on each album?

IW: Recorded versions are blueprints for the stage. But, then, needs arise from song to song, like a section may need to be longer here to pull off a trick, to record a loop or something similar.

QM: You have previously disagreed with comments about your sound being futuristic; how would you better describe your music?

IW: I currently have no opinions on future versus past versus today.

QM: The album artwork and song names for ‘La Di Da Di’ are wonderful. How do you go about naming instrumental music?

IW: We build the songs so that they work in any language or culture. A Japanese person can say ‘Yabba’ just as easily as an Indian person or a Spanish person.

QM: Critics have always been fond of you and you have a large following in the math rock scene. ‘La Di Da Di’ is already receiving a lot of attention. What do you hope to achieve with album number three?

IW: Continued good times, all the time