Spotlight: Battle Lines

By Molly Newhouse
By August 11, 2013 September 17th, 2016 Band, Spotlight

Soundspheremag recently caught up with Battle Lines vocalist Carly Humphries to talk about festivals, career highlights, inspiration and new material. The West Yorkshire band is getting their name out by playing soon at festivals such as Beacons, Leeds Fest and Galtres Parklands Festival.

Battle Lines

To begin our interview, Carly describes how she feels about the chance to be playing at such well renowned UK festivals and she says: “It’s pretty wicked to be honest! A bit excited, just working so hard and it seems to be paying off at the minute.”  We couldn’t agree more, Battle Lines have also been working on a new EP, touring and generally growing as individuals and as a band through their music. This hard work doesn’t stop there, Carly explains that playing at Leeds and Galtres is going to be “hectic” as the group are playing at both Leeds and Galtres on Friday, August 23; a challenging task for even the most experienced of bands! We’re sure that Battle Lines can rise to the challenge however (even if England’s schizophrenic weather does make it hard). The band is not a stranger to great North Yorkshire festivals however, and even played Galtres a couple of years ago, so we hope the bigger size of Galtres now will help Battle Lines to grow and develop further.

Carly’s personal future highlights for Battle Lines in 2013/14 may seem simple but with the right people behind the ideas (which all the members certainly are), it will allow the band to musically flourish and hand-in-hand with that become a more well-known national act. Her highlights so far include “getting in the studio, we’ve a few new songs that I’m pretty excited about… hopefully getting on the back of that and maybe putting out an EP”. There is also a mention that a European tour is on the cards!

Out of all of Battle Lines songs, we find ‘Hearts’ and ‘The Walls’ to be the most moving and thought-provoking tracks. They are both sensitive tracks, and we’ve always been quite curious about the thoughts and feelings behind these songs. We ask Carly (for who better to ask?) and she explains that heartbreak was a main inspiration for ‘Hearts’, describing herself as being “caught up in a bit of a mess” when the track’s lyrics were written. She said she found it “quite a poetic song” and continued to explain that the message of the song was supposed to get across the feeling that when you fall in love “you don’t intend to fall that way or intend for it to be that messy”. As for ‘The Walls’, Carly comments she was “in a bit of a strange place when I wrote that, I just let myself go in order to figure things out…”. This track’s purpose was to demonstrate clearly “the sense that you’re always looking for someone to be the hero” and that you have got to make your own destiny and way in life.

People who have followed the band from the start will be aware that Battle Lines were originally called Alvin Purple. When they started, what they created was almost bluesy kind of rock – substantially different to the seductive semi-electronic tones championed these days. Carly explains: “We all knew each other through mutual friends but we’re now starting to collaborate, at the beginning Alvin Purple suited but as we started playing more and more, it didn’t seem to fit. Alvin Purple was just a bit too poppy.” We see the name change as a way for the band to take it to the next step with a clean break, allowing them to develop and refine their sound and message.

Next on our agenda was the process by which the songs were written. Carly says: “When we write songs myself and Luke [Barnfather] might come up with an idea but it will always sound completely different when we all start playing it. All of our songs are written with us all there. All of us have such different personalities; we all bring a different kind of element into the song.”

Following on, we ask to discuss a song from the band’s new material that she thinks perfectly defines where the band is at right now, sonically. She mentions a song they are putting out over the coming days called ‘Colonies’.  Carly reflects: “I think it’s really strong. I’m really excited about it. It’s really personal and was written from a dark place, it just came together, and it feels right.” She also mentioned a song Battle Lines are working on at the moment, called ‘Hunting’. Carly said it is the band’s favourite song to play live at the moment and described the track as a “fast-paced, sexually dark” song.

Focusing on Carly personally we ask about her musical influences both in the past and present. She is very sure of herself, saying, “When I first picked up the guitar I was very led by strong artists such as Janis Joplin, who really got me into music.” In terms of current influences for tracks, Carly is influenced by many things, focusing on poems, news stories and other bands as well. She describes herself has having “a really diverse mix of influences”.

For more information on Battle Lines, click the links.

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