Batillus Members Discuss Latest Activity And Upcoming Album
In recent years, New York doom metal act Batillus has transformed from an unsigned instrumental entity to a full group signed to Seventh Rule Recordings with a new vocalist. The band has been busy contributing tracks to new split albums, including a recent vinyl split with Hallowed Butchery, as well as working on a full-length release. Members Geoff Summers, Fade Kainer, and Greg Peterson filled me in on what's been going on with Batillus recently and where audiences can expect to be battered to pieces by the band's massive sound.
xFiruath: Batillus has added on a vocalist since we last did an interview. What made you decide to add a vocal element and how did you pick your vocalist?
Geoff: After Greg, Willi, and I had been playing as an instrumental trio for awhile, we began to agree that a fourth contributor who could bring vocals and some other element to the table would allow us to develop our sound in the way we wanted. We never auditioned anyone for the spot. We met Fade, I believe it was when we played a show with Unearthly Trance and Subarachnoid Space back in '08, he was at the show and I started talking to him. I had seen his band Inswarm before and I really liked his vocal style and the other elements of what he was doing, the synths and samples and industrial elements and so forth, and so I asked him if he wanted to play with us. A few months later, he came down to our space near the East River and started rehearsing with us. A few months after that, we played our first show with him and that was that. He just was exactly what we were looking for and, luckily, it worked out.
xFiruath: Now that you have a vocalist, who writes lyrics and what do they deal with?
Fade: I write the lyrics. They generally deal with personal struggles, spirituality, transmutation, the human condition.
xFiruath: Fill me in on the band signing to Seventh Rule Recordings earlier this year.
Geoff: We started talking to Scott Flaster, who runs the label, last summer after he heard our album through the grapevine. We were all fans of the label to begin with, so after we got to know Scott a bit better we all agreed that he was exactly who we wanted to work with. He gets us, we get him.
xFiruath: How did you meet Ryan from Hallowed Butchery and how did the split come together?
Geoff: Stefan from Vendetta Records contacted us in 2009 and asked us if we'd be interested in putting out a split on his label. He had a relationship with Ryan already and suggested a split with Hallowed Butchery.
xFiruath: Are your contributions to the split new songs or previously released tracks?
Greg: The songs on the split are tracks that were available previously on a limited edition tour CD, which we sold out of pretty quickly. So we wanted to make those songs more widely available. Plus, James Plotkin's mastering for the vinyl makes it worth hearing, even if you've already got the CD.
xFiruath: Where were the songs recorded?
Greg: We recorded them with Brendan Tobin from Made Out Of Babies at his basement studio in Park Slope, all in one day and then mixed them the next day.
xFiruath: How is work going on your debut full-length album?
Greg: It's going very well, thanks. We're just finishing up the details of the artwork, and the release date is tentatively set for the middle of April, hopefully coinciding w/ Record Store Day. For us, it seems like it's taken a long time, as we recorded this record last May and we've been playing some of these songs for more than a year. So we can't wait to finally drop this album on the public's cranium.
xFiruath: Batillus is showing up on several new compilations these days. Tell me a bit about where your songs are landing and how the people putting together your compilations found your band.
Geoff: Yeah. We were asked by the folks at MetalSucks.net about participating in a digital “best-of-New-York” comp and, of course, we obliged them. Those guys do great things to support metal and the New York scene and we appreciate their continued support of the band. As for the other one, the noise comp, that was Greg's hookup.
Greg: I've known Andy of Mortville Records since high school, and so I was happy to be able to contribute something to what will likely be his last release. Our song on that comp is a 30 second edit/remix of a demo for a song on our new album. It's much more gnarled and lo-fi than anything else we've released so far, in order to fit in more with the aesthetic of the label.
xFiruath: Where is Batillus headed as far as tour dates in the near future?
Fade: We are touring with Hull in March for a few weeks to Austin for SXSW. In the summer, we're planning an east coast / midwest summer tour, then a west coast tour. And then Europe.
xFiruath: What albums are you digging these days?
Fade: Wovenhand’s “Mosaic” and Twilight’s self-titled.
Geoff: Low’s “Trust” and “'The Eye of Every Storm” by Neurosis.
xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to discuss?
Fade: R.I.P. Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson
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