Manc newcomers The Battery Farm are a band who aren’t afraid to explore the darker, more repugnant aspects of humanity. Describing their sound as ‘Doom Punk’ they serve up a visceral, guttural punk noise with echoes of Idles, The Fall and Fugazi.
The band’s lyrics, meanwhile, tackle everything from society’s response to horrific murders (recent single 97/91 references the 1992 murder of Manchester teenager Suzanne Capper) to the nefarious impact of TV shows such as Love Island and Jeremy Kyle.
Needless to say, The Battery Farm won’t be for everybody – it’s unlikely you’ll hear these songs on daytime Radio 1. But for anyone in need of music that articulates the anxieties and injustices of life in modern Britain – or anyone who simply appreciates blistering, acerbic punk-rock – these self-proclaimed ‘Doom Punkers’ are the band for you.
What made you want to get into music?
Cliche klaxon: it was seeing the video to Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit for the first time. I’d never heard anything like that as a 10-year-old in early noughties New Moston. The power of it, the burst of passion and excitement. It looked right, it felt right, it felt like it gave me an outlet to be myself it the purest way. I wanted a part of that.
Like, literally from the second I saw that video all I wanted to do was be in a band. For a good few years after that Nirvana were everything to me. It changed the trajectory of my life completely and opened up perspectives and ambitions and ideas that I never could have imagined. Lots of different things and people helped develop my interest in music but it started with Smells Like Teen Spirit.
What inspires you to write?
Lots of things. Politics, the way humans treat each other, my own flaws (although, weirdly, very rarely my own strengths). I always try to write about truth, both in the world and in myself. I always try to write to exorcise because I know that way, I’m making a difference, even if it’s just in a minute personal way. I want to document my life and my time and my existence with stark, unflinching truth, in the hope that I can make some positive change to things, no matter how small or personal. As such, there’s inspiration everywhere, especially in the end-of-days dystopia we currently live in. That’s probably the only good thing about the sordid state of world leadership at the moment.
Who has had the most influence on your music?
Nirvana, Elvis and Morrissey are probably the most profound influences on the music I’ve written in an overarching sense, although Morrissey’s gone a long way to tainting that, being the nasty old bigot he’s become. There are tonnes of others though. I love torch singers like Edith Piaf and Scott Walker. I love 50s Pop singers like The Everly Brothers and Neil Sedaka. I absolutely love Paul Simon. In terms of what we’re doing with The Battery Farm the biggest influences are the ones that allow for the most catharsis in the music. IDLES, Sleaford Mods, Evil Blizzard, early Manics, bands like that have been a big influence on our current output. There are a tonne of bands who I would consider our peers – by which I mean bands who play the same venues as us currently – who have been a big influence on our sound, which isn’t something I’ve ever had before. Also, bands like Witch Fever and Strange Bones, who are making a positive difference, standing up for good in a world where evil is winning and doing so with passion and fury. That’s the kind of band we want to be, and the kind of band I think we are.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career so far?
As a band we haven’t faced too many challenges. We’ve enjoyed working hard and are creating something we believe in, and people seem to be responding. It’s rewarding and has made being in this band an incredible thing.
As an individual its different. When we formed in March, I was coming off the back of a couple of pretty significant breakdowns centred around the demise of my last band. They were brought about by the fact that I put too much pressure on myself, became too invested in it all and was very, very unkind to myself, never giving myself credit for the incredible amount of hard work I put in. Quite the opposite in fact.
The biggest challenge I personally have faced is not allowing myself to become bogged down in the minutiae of running a band and giving myself credit I deserve for the hard work I do – that we all do. I always try and remember now to not put too much pressure on myself, to not be so insecure about streaming figures or whatever, to be kinder to myself. I try and remember that it’s supposed to be fun, which is something I’d forgotten previously. I don’t always succeed, but I’m a lot better at it now than I was.
What has been the nicest thing every written about you?
The music blog Beat in my Bones wrote this incredible article about us a couple of weeks ago, calling us brave and important and bold and all sorts. It’s amazing to think that what you do can move someone to that extent. I feel like the songs we write are very human, so for them to be able to connect with someone like that is profoundly moving.
What has been the best and worst gig you’ve ever played?
Best gig we’ve played yet was at Jimmy’s at the end of September. It had been a frustrating day in the build-up to it and by the time on there was a lot of pent-up fury waiting to come out. It was a nasty, chaotic, sweaty bastard of a gig played to a full room of people who were on our side. In terms of worst gigs, we’re only six in and haven’t really had a bad one yet. There was one in Huddersfield that was less good than usual but even then I had fun and we met a really cool band called Toronto Blessings, who are ace. So, it turned out ok ultimately.
What is the last album you played on Spotify?
Ghosteen by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. It’s glorious for about two thirds of the album, then the feeling that it’s all a bit samey starts to creep in and by the end if it you’re just yearning for some drums.
If you could support any band who would it be and why?
Of the current crop it would be Witch Fever, because I think they’re amazing and what they stand for is important. In a fantasy realm where the King isn’t dead it would be Elvis. He would fucking hate us so I don’t know how that would come about, but yeah… Elvis.
What other bands do we need to be checking out right now?
There’s an absolute tonne… Richard Carlson Band, The Red Stains, Bones Shake, Heavy Salad, The Maitlands, Furrowed Brow, XUP, Thee Windom Earles, Cold Water Swimmers, Little Avis, Elijah James and The Nightmares… I could go on and on. Manchester’s scene is the very best I have ever seen it at the moment. There is magic in the air.
Give us a few hints on what’s in store next for your band?
Expect a couple more releases in the next few months, then who knows… maybe an album, maybe an EP, more live dates, bigger live dates. We have a plan, and if everything goes according to it then things are going to heat up.
The Battery Farm have a headline gig on the 8th of November at The Peer Hat in Manchester. New single I Am a Man is out now, check check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to find out more. You can stream the band’s music on Bandcamp and Spotify.