The L.A. quartet of Josh Boardman, Riley Mackin, Stephen Bannister and Beak Wing are better known as Battle Tapes, an electro-rock outfit that were infamously described as sounding like “Trent Reznor and Daft Punk went on a cocaine-fueled party binge in Los Angeles, but in the best way possible”. Their music has been featured in various movie trailers, TV shows, and video games. The group are following up their 2016 album Polygon with a new EP called Form and have recently toured the American west coast with Rococode.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. What’s the story behind Battle Tapes and how would you describe your sound?
We are synth laden quartet from Los Angeles, Ca. We started towards the end of 2010 playing locally around LA. Released our first EP Sweatshop Boys in 2012 and our first full length LP Polygon in 2015. You might have heard our music in such video games as Grand Theft Auto 5 and Need for Speed or TV shows like HBO’s ‘Girls’ and ‘How to get away with Murder’. I’ve heard out sound described as “If Daft Punk produced a Queens of the Stone Age record in the 80’s”.
What motivates you and inspires your music, aesthetic and vibe?
It can really come from anywhere. Conversation, an article, maybe a random thought or realization. I feel like inspiration is something you have to meet half way and have your proverbial antenna up and ready for it to hit you. Inspiration will definitely come knocking, but you better have your shoes on when it does.
That’s a great analogy. When we did Polygon we were playing out A LOT! Meeting tons of people, travelling, etc. There was a ton of excitement during that period and the music definitely reflected that. Form is def. the darker more introspective proverbial morning after counterpart.
Your music has been featured in games, films and TV shows, all of which are visually striking. What do you think attracts other creatives to your music? Did you write the tracks with other mediums in mind?
We never set out to write with any intent other than to make an honest artistic gesture. I think we’ve just been fortunate that our sound lends itself to uses in other mediums. I’m not really sure what attracts other creative to want to use our music to accompany their work. What ever the case, I’m not mad at it and happy to be a part of helping facilitate other peoples vision.
You’ve garnered quite a reputation for your live shows –could you tell us more about that? Do you have more shows lined up to promote the new EP?
We like our shows to be somewhat of an experience and to make our audience feel like they are in a different space than they were before we started playing. Our lighting and visuals play a big part of that. As musician I think it’s easy to get too focused on the sound and let the visuals aspect slip in to the sidecar position. And as long as we create a show that we’d want to watch ourselves I think we are happy.
What’s up next for Battle Tapes? Is there more new music on the horizon, other projects?
We are definitely itching to get back in the studio and start working on the follow up to Form. Being on tour you have a lot of down time to think about your next move and I’m really excited about some of the ideas I came up last time we were out. In between that, I’ve been writing with my friend Elana of Party Nails and I’m about to start mixing a record for my friend Mahsa of Omniflux (keyboardist for Puscifer). I think Riley has some real interesting things on deck too, though I’m not sure if we can talk about it just yet. ;)
Cover Photo by Lyndsey Byrnes