BATS are a science-core band from Dublin, and part of the Richter Collective. Science-core is a convenient term to use because it references more than one aspect of their music: their post-hardcore influence is filtered through a precise, mathy screen before emerging as a measured whole. They’re also (see what I’m about to do here) experimental. And their songs are about science. Their ethos is about science. At HWCH last year they solicited a round of applause for the work the good people at CERN were doing with the Large Hadron Collider. It’s not a gimmick. BATS have just released their first album, Red In Tooth and Claw, and their next Dublin headliner is in the Lower Deck in Portobello on October 8th, though you might see them supporting Jesus Lizard or Zu before then.
BATS – Credulous! Credulous! from Red In Tooth and Claw
BATS – These Ones Lay Eggs from 2007’s Cruel Sea Scientist EP
Q 0.5 How are you?
Fine thanks. A little head melted after being on the road with Blakfish.
Q1 Nowadays, when everybody has a decent computer and gear is more available, it’s much easier for anyone to make music and have it heard quickly – does the bedroom music explosion devalue music at all by making it so easy to do?
Nah I don’t think so. If anything it diversifies it. I don’t think it makes it any easier to write music though. It just makes it easier to capture. I used to do a lot of bedroom stuff and it was great because I learnt more about structure and form.
Q2 Is downloading a good thing? Does the fact that it’s possible to get so much music so easily and for free make it more disposable at all?
It’s a double edged blade. It’s good in that music can be heard by more people over a wider distance, but it’s bad in that it costs quite a lot of money to make an album and more often than not you don’t make much money from gigs, I mean you’ll make a bit but it usually goes on travel and accommodation etc. It’s just that the more and more people download rather than buy albums the less worthwhile it will be for smaller bands to produce records. For big bands it’s fine because you can sell out huge venues. But how are you supposed to get to that stage if you can’t break even on an album when you’re starting out. More than anything though it signifies the decline of the physical disc, which I think is a tragedy. There’s something special about getting that album you’ve been waiting for for months and months arriving in your hand, taking it home excitedly after having heard nothing from it and placing it in the CD tray with a quivering hand. All that’s lost.
Q3 Is there anything that makes your music quintessentially Irish? Is it intentional?
I don’t think there’s much that’s especially Irish in it. A few colloquial references.
Q4 Do you find it difficult to self-edit, or to take a step back from your music and look at it objectively?
Yeah sometimes. It’s quite hard to hear a song objectively. You think to yourself, “I have no idea what this sounds like! Is this a weird song?” I think you have to just have to go for it and hope for the best. Let it fly.
Q5 Is there a Dublin scene, or even smaller genre-based scenes? Are you a part of one?
There is somewhat of a scene yeah. It comprises of a variety of interesting guitar bands. A lot of which are on our very own Richter Collective. Examples are Adebisi Shank, Enemies, ASIWYFA, Jogging etc.
Q6 Name a non-musical influence on your music.
SCIENCE. The biggest influence on our music. I’m passionate about promoting it, and presenting it in a new way to people. Highlighting its wonders and exposing the dangerous nature of superstition and pseudo-science.
Q7 Take one of your songs and explain the process of writing it from the beginning to the finished article.
They all get written the same way. We’ll begin with a starting point, someone may have a riff or Noel will have a beat. We’ll go from the there and just craft the song copllectively. Once the structure is done I’ll go away and write the vocal lines and lyrics, usually with a room recording for reference.
Q8 Has music criticism ever influenced your music, or at least made you think about it differently? I mean proper reviews, but also blogs or even just hearing someone you don’t know talk about you.
No, not really. We make the only music we know how. I wouldn’t know how to change it, and I certainly wouldn’t want to because of someone else’s opinion.
Q9 Have you ever felt guilty for trying to get other people to take an interest in your music, if you aren’t making the effort with new music yourself?
No, not at all, one of my favourite things in the world is turning people onto music, not just my own. I certainly would never feel guilty because I always make an effort with new music.
Q10 Would you call yourself a traditionalist with regard to music, either as a listener or in how you go about writing/recording/performing?
No way. There’s nothing traditional about the way we consume or produce music.
Q10.5 What’s something you’re listening to right now?
I’ve been listening to a shitload of Vangelis. But we’ve also all been enjoying the new Blakfish, and of course… MASTODON.
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