The 2016 St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival begins its tour of Australia with a stop in Port Adelaide this afternoon – the sun is shining, the stages are set and the drinks are on ice. The bands have arrived from a successful event in Auckland and eye up a few weeks of entertaining new fans and old and especially for our international visitors, this tour is a great opportunity to present music out this way for the first time. For New York legends BATTLES, this is just the type of trip they’ve been looking forward to for some time.
“I’m looking forward to the Laneway Festival,” Multi-instrumentalist Ian Williams says of the Aussie tour. “It sounds like a really cool festival and Australia is a sweet place! Jumping out of the cold New York City winter into the sunny environs of Australia, eating some good food and enjoying playing some good shows down there, that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
The band’s latest album La Di Da Di, released in 2015, has seen BATTLES further progress musically and flesh out even more facets of their already well-documented musicianship. He comments on the making of the record as being one of BATTLES’ strongest creative processes in comparison to their previous releases.
“In a way, each record has its own trail of history of what was going on and I think everybody’s life was personally a bit complicated for a year or so around when we made the record. In some ways, it felt easier to make this record; it was definitely easier to make this album than the previous one was. It was the most identity-certain record we have made in a while. Identity-certain, there’s a new category!”
The album, following on from 2011’s Gloss Drop, is a record Williams says mightn’t necessarily breakthrough to the masses outside the hardcore BATTLES fan base, but that’s okay too. The music BATTLES have made since their early days has always been best approached with an open mind to experimental tunes and La Di Da Di is no exception.
“I mean, I could have expected to some degree that it would be a record that delivered what I think our core fans would really like.” he says. “I think it was one that would make the general, alternative/indie world that is looking for a ‘hit’ go, ‘Oh, I don’t get it.’”
“There’s no singing, there’s no catchy songs; I think “Atlas” and “Ice Cream” were the last records that really played that role. This one wasn’t really trying to be that thing. I’m not surprised about the way it’s gone down; I think the people who have been already on board with us, they like it a lot. I don’t know, kids going to EDM concerts, I don’t know if they know what to make of it.”
BATTLES will be having a decent shot of rolling out some of their new material in a headline setting too while out in Australia, with the band also slotting in dates in Melbourne and Sydney on the trip. While festival stages have provided a great atmosphere for the band to explore how this La Di Da Di material feels in a live capacity, Williams admits he is keen to continue doing so in their own headline, club setting.
“You can control the setting of your own club show and make it your own moment. ” he says. “With festivals, you’re always slightly at the mercy of things that you can’t quite control. We’re doing this tour and then we’re doing a festival in Mexico City and then a couple of weeks in Europe and a couple of shows back in the United States. Most nights? I think we’re playing very well. I think it’s cool. We can take the music in a lot of directions on stage now, so that’s nice.”
2016 ST JEROME’S LANEWAY FESTIVAL AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
February 5th | Harts Mill, PORT ADELAIDE
February 6th | Brisbane Showgrounds, BRISBANE
February 7th | Sydney College of the Arts, SYDNEY
February 13th | Footscray Community Arts Centre, MELBOURNE
February 14th | Esplanade Reserve & West End, FREMANTLE
BATTLES HEADLINE AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
February 10th | Manning Bar, SYDNEY
February 12th | Max Watt’s, MELBOURNE