Celebrating the vinyl reissues of ‘Mirrored’, ‘Gloss Drop’ and ‘EP C/B EP’, released today worldwide, Battles’ John Stanier looks back on the band’s early years in a guest interview on Warp.net.
Q: Share some memories of how you got together as a band. Your first impressions of the others? Were you a fan of their work pre Battles?
JS: Ian kind of started the band and all of us knew him from different periods in his life. I ran into him in the street in Williamsburg and he was very excited when I said yes to checking out his new post Don Caballero project. I didn’t know the other guys at all but they seemed really nice and I was somewhat relieved that it wasn’t some self indulgent art project that at that time I really didn’t have any time or patience for... it was neither.
Q: How was starting work with Battles different from your previous musical experience?
JS: My previous bands were Helmet, The Mark Of Cain and Tomahawk... all of which are somewhat traditional “rock” bands with drums, guitar, bass and singer guy. Battles was the first project that threw all of that bullshit out of the window and asked the question… “does any of this matter?” and the answer was unanimously “NO”. It was apparent that Battles had no rules whatsoever and I embraced that philosophy with vigorous ambition which is still resonating today.
Q: How and where was EP C and B EP recorded?
JS: I barely remember any of that shit. Emery Dobyns recorded our early magic.
Q: What were your favourite shows from around this time?
JS: I liked our very first show opening for Le Savy Fav because it was so horrible. I also liked our second show which TV on the Radio opened (their first show).
“It was apparent that Battles had no rules whatsoever and I embraced that philosophy with vigorous ambition which is still resonating today.”
Q: How did releasing with Monitor and Dim Mak come about? What do you remember about signing to Warp?
JS: Originally we wanted to capture the mojo of releasing one side each (of our record) on 2 different labels with 2 different vibes… a very late 90’s attitude I think. Actually our very first 12” release is on my old friend Sam Velde’s label Cold Sweat. After that he convinced us to consider Dim Mak as an option and after meeting Steve Aoki we were sold.
Monitor records hails from Baltimore and was headed by our soon to be first manager Baby Leg. Both releases were to represent the 2 different scenes that were happening at the same time… again, this approach was super 90’s and really didn’t exist anymore but it was still fun to release/stagger our records this way. We could have very easily released one single album, but we decided to have fun and split it in two... for LA and the EAST COAST.
We were introduced to WARP by Prefuse 73… he took us on tour all over the world and we are eternally grateful to him for that.
Q: What influenced the direction on Mirrored? How did the process change since recording the EPs?
JS: During the EPs most of us had day jobs. After we got signed we had to step it up and really take this seriously…and we did (it took a minute though).
Q: What’s the nicest thing a member of Battles has ever done for you? What’s the weirdest thing?
JS: We all have had specific serious personal things happen to us and we all give each other space, but at the same time we support each other big time like a family is supposed to do. As annoyed as I get with these guys, they are my brothers and I love them both very much. They have changed my life in ways that words cannot describe and I respect that and hope that I can give that back somehow.
Reissues of ‘Mirrored’, ‘EP C/B EP’ and ‘Gloss Drop’ are out now worldwide and available to buy individually or as a bundle from Bleep,