Sheer audio annihilation seems to come easy for Brooklyn, New York’s very own avant garde, doom quartet, Batillus, a band that knows very well how to blur the edges of genre confinement. Fresh off the road from a string of pulverizing U.S. dates with the likes of The Atlas Moth, Kowloon Walled City, and more, these guys show no sign whatsoever of pulling any punches. Forbidden Magazine recently touched base with ¾ of Batillus; Fade Kainer (vocals, synths), Greg Peterson (guitars), and Geoff Summers (drums) to shed just a little bit of light on their apocalyptic creation.
Hails! First off, for those that might not be too familiar with the history of Batillus, could you grant them a brief run down of how this beast came about?
Geoff: Love at first sight.
Having recently caught the band’s live assault, at the November 7th stop in Indianapolis. Speaking of which, how did the road treat you all this time around? Any intriguing stories?
Geoff: Nothing really of intrigue, but Las Vegas was a surprising scene. Bunch of teenagers smoking weed and drinking in a strip mall parking lot, tripping acid, and no cops to bother them. We got offers of free tattoos (with a free side of hepatitis?), blowjobs in exchange for posters (our merch guy, inexplicably, declined), and one dude asked Fade to cut him with a knife. I had always pictured Vegas as a sort of adult destination for debauchery; nice to know kids can have fun too.
While most people would probably align the Batillus sound with many qualities of the doom genre, anyone that pays attention can see there’s more to it than that. The band definitely exceeds the simple label. How do you feel experimentation with that sound provides a positive result in the band’s creative process?
Geoff: There have always been non-doom influences prevalent in our sound, even dating back to the self-titled instrumental EP. Over time, we’ve refined and refocused these influences into something we hope is our own. On Furnace, I think you can still hear the influences (i.e. this is the doom part, this is the Godflesh part, this is the Wizard part, and so on) but in the material we’ve been working on recently those lines have become much more blurry. Ultimately, we just try to write interesting, dynamic, unique music. Whether or not we succeed is up to the individual listener to decide.
Furnace is one hell of a record, I just have to say! How was the creative process this time around? What was it like working with Sanford Parker?
Greg: Working with Sanford was wonderful. It’s like he’s a mind-reader that only picks up on the good ideas you have, and then turns them into reality before you even knew you had the thought. One of the most important things to keep in mind in the studio is that the songs are not necessarily finished being written until they’re mixed. You’ve got to be open and willing to try anything (within reason, obviously) that might improve the song, instead of just trying to faithfully capture the essence of a demo that you recorded in your practice space . . . let the songs blossom.
It could, and has been said that there are noticeable elements of black metal and industrial influence in much of the band’s material. On that note, what, musically speaking, would you pinpoint as the biggest influences on the Batillus brand of annihilation?
Greg: Well, the influences that we all agree on would probably be Godflesh, Electric Wizard, Ministry, Depeche Mode, and Danzig. As far as black metal goes, we were interested in the sounds and atmospheres more than any specific bands.
Outside of the realm of music, what aspects of life have lent the most fuel to the Batillus fire? How do you feel NYC has wormed it’s way into that creativity?
Geoff: Aquavit, dick-headed New York/New Jersey drivers, and practice space anxiety.
On the subject of New York, what is it about that state that it can just produce so many amazing bands? Something in the water?
Geoff: The water has more to do with the bagels and pizza, which are second to none. New York produces more good bands than, let’s say, Billings, Montana, because 2.5 times as many people live in Brooklyn alone than live in the entire state of Montana.
If a film were to be released tomorrow, and Batillus were responsible for not only the soundtrack, but the story line as well…what would we all see on the screen?
Geoff: The extinction of humanity and subsequent flourishing of all other species.
With the correct pronunciation of the band’s name in mind, what was the significance of it when it was officially chosen?
Greg: The pronunciation which we prefer is just the one that seems obvious to us, an anglicization of the french: buh-TILL-us. But the pronunciation has nothing to do with the actual thing, which is the largest capacity oil tanker ever built, and in operation from 1976 to 1985.
What’s up next for Batillus? Recordings? More on-the-road devastation?
Fade: We are working on a split w/ Australian crushers Whitehorse, planned to be released before summer when we will be touring a bunch of dates with them here in the US .
Well, that’ll do it for now! On behalf of Forbidden Magazine, I thank you for your time and effort. Any last words for those fan boys and/or girls who just can’t get enough?
Fade: Thank you all for supporting what we do!
Group photos by Scott Irvine
Live photo by Samantha Marble