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Archive for April, 2014

Belligerent and ferocious, the limited edition cassette released by the Swedish/Australian noise trio Batalj was one of the best releases of 2013. Just sixty copies of this beautiful monstrosity exist, but they lie in wait ready to explode through any pair of ears that may hear its glorious, viscous sounds. I interviewed drummer David Hantelius at a precarious time for the band, as their future seems uncertain: all the more reason to devote space to them within these pages. With singer V now displaying her talents in Meddicine (see below), this may be the last word on one of the best bands this magazine has ever come across. Below the interview we also profile Sixsixsixties Records, run by the estimable label boss Monika Krol. It is home to many of the most exciting and interesting underground bands currently at work. Her work is as tireless and varied as the label’s aesthetic, with a particular flair for tantalizing, limited edition cassette releases. Long may her sterling work continue!

Monika from SixSixSixties contacted us a while ago saying she wanted to release something. We’ve been in contact before when our friends Jailhouse Fuck and BATALJ was supposed to be on a compilation together (which unfortunately didn’t happen). But we are very happy we could release our latest recording now. It turned out really good for a zero-budget trash recording in the rehearsal room with a 4-track tape recorder.       You recently made a tour of the UK and Europe – what were the highlights of the tour for you? Well it certainly wasn’t the congestion zone in London, nor the parking tickets! Nah, but apart from the usual tour goodness my best memories are hooking up with our babes in Divorce, swimming in lakes, red wine in Paris, underground London parties and of course the BEAUTIFUL town Leicester.

       How did you decide upon your current guitars/synth/drums/noise set up? When Albin left the band I started doing pedal-noise while drumming, and that has evolved into a fourth instrument in the dynamics we create. When V joined, we kind of felt that synthesizer (instead of bass) would be a fresh and exciting new-start! We’ve since been working really hard to create good dynamics between the instruments since they all have variations of synth-y sounds.         With releases that include vinyl and tape format alongside MP3, what do you think are the advantages of releasing music on digital and physical formats? We’re actually surprised by how many people have been buying our digital release on Bandcamp. I’d prefer if everyone would get the 7″ instead. But then again, not everyone has a record player. Both are as important in my opinion, I wouldn’t be satisfied with just one of the two. However I think a vinyl will always live longer and it kind of makes history in its own way. Internet reaches a bigger crowd but get over-swarmed by the 10 billion other things you want to do online.        What is Berlin like as a base for you? Is it a creative environment for the band? I always tell everyone that Berlin is the perfect platform for music. It’s cheap to live, culturally stimulating and has the perfect geographical starting point for touring. However it’s very lazy and you really have to struggle to get everyone out of their sluggish misery before anything happens!       The videos that accompany your music are as eye-popping as the music itself – cases in point being “Aborted Triplets” and the amazing “Doppelganger”. How crucial are these visuals to you as band? I’ve always felt that our recorded stuff is a bit unjust, and in my opinion our recorded tracks and live performances can’t be compared. But when a track is presented with a video it becomes something new. So yeah, visuals are definitely an important factor, today more than ever I’d say. We’ve also started doing projections when playing live, that’s the work of Alexandra Macdonnell (she also did the video for Aborted Triplets), check it out here – alexandramacdonnell.com    What does the future hold for BATALJ? Uhm, seriously the worst timing ever for that question! We’ve been through a lot this year. We did somewhat of a come-back after a 6 month absence in February this year with a release party for our 7″ EP. The show ended with me falling off stage and severely injuring my hand on broken beer bottles. After hospitals, operations and three weeks of mental and physical agony we embarked on a three week tour with me drumming with one hand. After about four shows in the tour we got a phone call saying that our former member and very close friend Albin had passed away in a snowboarding accident. Despite moral dilemmas, broken hands and spirits we decided to continue the tour till the end – and we definitely did the right decision! That tour ended with us going to Sweden, one day after the last official show of the tour, to attend Albin’s funeral. We also managed to arrange a memorial show for him together with Tjänstevapen and Tyred Eyes. The UK tour two months later was already planned since months before any of this happened, otherwise I don’t think we’d have made it. To brighten our spirits we got a luxurious van and invited a lot of our friends to come with us on the tour, which was amazing, especially since we’ve done almost every tour in a cramped up station wagon! But even under almost ideal circumstances it was still very tough for all of us and we’ve definitely realized that we need to slow down on touring for a while. We have plans though! At the moment we are planning two solidarity shows this year to raise money for ambulance bills and the damage on the luxurious van we managed to scratch up. We’ve been writing a lot of new material and will continue to do that and hopefully release our first full-length early next year.Image

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