After countless EPs, one remarkable debut, years of tours and an absent vocalist, Battles has released their second LP, Gloss Drop. ToneDeaf’s Tom Gaffney had a chat with their drummer, John Stanier, about their latest release.
Your latest album Gloss Drop was released a few months ago – how are you finding the reception of the new release?
It’s going just fine. Everyone seems to enjoy it.
What was the idea behind Gloss Drop’s album art and title?
It’s kind of like a reaction to all our other albums. Mirrored had a very ‘to the point’ feel to it, as did all our other albums. It’s easy to comprehend the album artwork for Mirrored, but no one really knows what the object in the album artwork really is for Gloss Drop.
As for the title, the actual phrase ‘gloss drop’ doesn’t really have a meaning – people just have an idea of what it actually means. The phrase also goes well with the cover art, I guess, as the image is something that’s glossy, and seems to be splattered.
With the bands departure of the vocalist, you guys now use a vocal recording. How do you find that when you implement it at shows?
We didn’t necessarily have a singer/frontman who stands at the front and sings for each song anyway, really. It’s not that much different, and the crowds seem to enjoy it just as much.
What was it like working with all these different vocalists for Gloss Drop.
We had four songs that needed vocals. We essentially called people up that we knew from touring with other bands, or just through connections, and we picked them up and took them right into the studio. The only person we hadn’t met before was Gary Numan, so we didn’t really know if he was even into the stuff we were doing.
It seems like you guys are big in Japan. How did that come about?
Japan was actually our first place we played outside of New York, so it’s kind of like our second home. It seems like Japan was the first place that really embraced Battles and what we were doing.
How did you find Big Day Out when you guys played it in 2008, and what do you guys have planned for the 2012 Big Day Out you’ve been recently announced to play?
We’ve played a bunch of festivals, but Big Day Out was still a blast. It’s a while away, but we’re just planning on playing our new album and doing our general festival routine.
Who are your favourite acts to play with?
We like to play with a lot of different bands, but our touring buddies more recently have been bands such as Nisennenmondai, an amazing Japanese trio.
Lastly, something that’s always intrigued me. Why do you put your ride cymbal as high as it can go while playing with Battles?
It was a mixture of a joke and trying to keep my drum setup minimal. After trying a few things, it seemed like putting the ride as high as it can go kept it out of the way while making it a kind of bigger deal whenever I hit the ride.
– Tom Gaffney