Band Spotlight: Battle Lines [2016]

It’s been a while since we talked through with things with Carly from Battle Lines – so, here in 2016, around the release of new record, ‘Primal’, we thought now […]

It’s been a while since we talked through with things with Carly from Battle Lines – so, here in 2016, around the release of new record, ‘Primal’, we thought now would be a (very) good time.

Battle Lines

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S] Tell us what’s been going on with Battle Lines over the last few years?

The last few years have been non-stop. Since our last single ‘Colonies’ we’ve played SXSW, Leeds & Reading Festivals, toured Europe and throughout the UK. It was a whirlwind and so much fun. After that we took a couple of months out to focus on finishing ‘Primal’ before hitting the road again and doing a double A-side release with our pals Post War Glamour Girls.

S] What does ‘Primal’ mean to you now? 

‘Primal’ is a very open and personal record, for me an almost cathartic experience. It documents a time where we were all in challenging and uncertain points in our lives. It enabled me work through a toxic relationship and realise my sense of worth, when I look back at it now I see it as a symbol of how far I have travelled since then. We made the record in just over two weeks, you can feel that pressure. Sonically it reflects us maturing and encapsulates ‘our’ sound. We’re all extremely proud.

S] What are you major plans for the rest of this year?

People might not be aware that we’ve been writing music together for nearly a decade although only forming as Battle Lines in 2012. Until the end of last year we all put music before any other aspect in our lives and although it worked well for all these years, it began to feel unbalanced. We decided to take some time off; I moved to New York, Luke to London, Ralph to Brighton and Matt is holding down the fort in Leeds. As for the rest of the year – we shall see!

S] Talk us through the development of tracks like ‘Sea Of Fear’ and ‘Outsider’ – what ideas and experiences led to their creation?

‘Sea Of Fear’ is the oldest song on the record, we actually debuted it live at SXSW. It started with a really simple lo-fi drum loop and chord progression that Luke came up with. Usually we would jam ideas around, record them on an iphone and email them around the four of us as they develop. With Sea of Fear and Outsider we essentially built our own demo studio in our rehearsal room and worked in a much more structured way, we recorded first and then had to work out the songs live to go out on tour.

Outsider started with Luke layering his voice, over the intro and opening riff. All four of us provide the opening harmonies, we’ve always kind of excelled at writing songs that build without a release, on our last tour we opened most shows with it, it’s fun to play live.

S] What’s motivating you, and the band now – outside of music – think film and people/places for example? 

Touring makes you appreciate where you’re from and the comforts that you’re lucky to have, but it also makes you more worldly in your outlook.

As we’ve all moved we’ve become motivated by our new surroundings, exploring new places and learning how to live in new cities. Speaking for myself, I moved to a studio in Brooklyn and every day and night I’m exploring and discovering new music. The music scene here is incredible. Closer to home I’m forever in awe of the creativity that Post War Glamour Girls display.

S] How do you look back on Battle Lines at its creation now, how’ve you changed and developed personally and musically since then? 

When we started Battle Lines we’d just signed with a pretty big manager based in LA, we were probably blinded by the lights to a certain extent, it was an exhilarating and slightly disorienting time.

We’re a lot older and wiser, the band has allowed us to do some incredible things, things that I would never imagined we would do when we played music together in room for the first time, it’s kind of opened up our eyes to the world. It’s a bit cliche, but it’s about the people and the music, the bond we share through creating music together the ups and the low points, the people you work with that become your friends along the way such as Jamie and Lee from Greenmount Studios.

Dom Smith

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