Author: Moorman, Trent
Date published: October 12, 2011
Wed Oct 12, Neptune Theatre, 8 pm, $19, all ages
BATTLES CUT YOU OPEN WITH GLOSS DROP
Battles are a New York-based three-piece that exhibit an exponentially technical prowess. Layers crush with weirded precision-grooves. Loops echo and strobe offeach other. Battles are preeminent. Dave Konopka and Ian Williams meld guitars and keys, soldering together sheer mathematics with levity. Drummer John Stanier (the Condor Pope)-with his one crash cymbal 10 feet high, shining like a sun shield-is simply one of the better drummers you will witness in your lifetime. I spoke with Dave Konopka.
With Battles, I see M. C. Escher's imagery, the quantum organics of The Tao of Physics, and the freak-creativeness of author Chuck Palahniuk. I see y'all as crazed genius surgeons transforming bodies into amusement-park rides. I want to verify with you that this is okay for me to think.
It's definitely okay for you to think that. Actually, we have a vibe master who tours with us and hangs Escher posters up wherever we go. And lights candles.
How did losing your vocalist in the middle of recording Gloss Drop affect the album?
Writing the album was a difficult process between the four of us. We went into the studio as a four-piece and leftas a three-piece [laughs].
Did you ever consider just doing the album as instrumentals?
Some of the songs were complete. Some, like "Wall Street," became superlayered, with tons of parts that we knew would be an instrumental. Previously, when we had a vocalist, he was singing on stuff, and the three of us were holding back instrumentally to give the vocals room. When he quit in the middle of the studio session, we went back and took out all of his parts and rewrote everything so we could represent ourselves as a threepiece. The decisions to have guest vocalists were made on the fly. We had spent three months in the studio, then we realized we weren't getting anywhere. Then Ty [Braxton] quit, and we went back in for four more months. At that point, we were like, "Do we do an instrumental album? Or do we get guest vocalists? And if we do get vocalists, who are they going to be?" We had a list of people we thought would be cool and appropriate for the songs.
What was it like working with Eye from Boredoms? He's a God.
Yes he is. Eye was in Osaka. I remember checking my e-mail and seeing that he had sent his take in. It was him just absolutely going offfrom the moment the song started all the way to the end. No effects at all. It was totally bizarre and amazing. But he was just giving us a ton of stuffto choose from, and he told us to do whatever we wanted with it. So we chopped it up and edited with Keith Souza and Seth Manchester to get it to fit within the fabric of the song. It's one of my favorites on the album
Read the rest of this interview at THESTRANGER.COM/MUSIC