Tuesday 8 August 2017

An Interview With Phil Wilkinson From BATTALIONS

UK Hardcore Sludge/Stoner Metal Mob – Battalions – first burst onto the scene back in 2010. Since then they've released two excellent and brutally heavy albums. 2016's – Nothing To Lose and their recently released follow up album – Moonburn.

Battalions merge heavy brutal sounds with some catchy Stoner Rock riffs. It's a common theme held within Moonburn, as Battalions will play a ferocious riff and then lay down some good old fashioned rock and roll to lighten the mood.

I caught up with Phil (Vocals) from Battalions to discuss the recording of the new album and working with Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studios.

Hi Phil. Thanks for doing the interview. How are things with you today.

Hi, thanks for giving us the interview! I’m doing very well thank you.

Can you give a brief history of how the band came together and where it is today.

Battalions started in January 2010 as a reaction to myself (Phil) and our original drummer being bored with the local scene in Hull and not being in a band ourselves, we wanted to create a caustic bass heavy sludgy band that Hull hadn’t seen for a long time. From there we have had many line-up changes, with the core unit now being together in various forms for around 4 years or so. Today we are the strongest unit we have ever been, playing more shows than ever and having a great time doing it!

We here to talk about your new album – Moonburn. What can people expect from this album.

Big riffs, big enough to chew on! Haha. Short punchy songs, but with enough bounce to get your head nodding, with harsh vocals to juxtapose the riffs, bringing it all together in one neat package of (what we think) are great songs and an album we are incredibly proud of.

You recorded this album with Chris Fielding over at Skyhammer Studios. What was that experienced like. As we all know that Chris is an amazing producer.

This is actually the second time we have worked with Chris, and you’re correct, he is an amazing producer! He is a perfectionist, so any missed notes or anything played ever so slightly out, you’re doing another take. But this is a great way to work, and helped us produce the album we knew we had in us.

Was this an easier or harder album to write and record for compared to your last album.

They were both written in different ways. Whereas ‘Nothing to Lose’ was more of a culmination of songs from the previous 5 years, picking the best with one or two written for the album, ‘Moonburn’ was consciously written as a set of songs to be an album, so we feel as a whole collection of songs, it has a better flow and feel to it than the previous release.

What are the underlying themes of the album.

There is no underlying theme lyrically on this album, again there are songs influenced by movies, personal songs about state of mind, and songs written tongue in cheek. As a band we never take ourselves completely seriously, and this shows in the lyrics.

What’s the song-writing dynamic within the band. Is it down to one individual or is it a group collective.

It always has and always will be a group dynamic, a lot of songs or riffs are borne out of extended improvised jam sessions in the practice room, rather than one person coming along and saying they have a new song written.

Moonburn is heavier and angrier than your last album with moments of heavier Sludgier sounds. Was that the plan to release something different and heavier compared to your last album.

There was no set goal in terms of writing something heavier or angrier, simply to write songs we would be happy to listen to and enjoy even if we didn’t write them. As this album was more of an effort to write songs for the album, I feel it definitely shows as a whole sound for the album.

Will you be touring this album heavily around your home-town and the UK. Or will it be one-off gigs and festival appearances.

We have plenty of gigs already sorted for the rest of the year and beyond. Although we don’t have an extended tour specifically to tour the album, the set consists heavily of new material, and we have a couple of shorter runs booked, namely with Scotland's ‘Psychotic Depression’ and California’s ‘Armed for Apocalypse’ in November.

Does Battalions have an advanced equipment setup when playing live or recording new material in the studio. What equipment do you use to get the trademark Battalions sound.

We’re a simple 4 piece band set up, nothing out of the ordinary. Which is nice as it means we can play anywhere and everywhere with ease! Equipment we use is:

Mapex Drums
Zildjian K Dark Custom Cymbals
Orange Amps
Laney Amps

All with big beefy sounds to bring a huge live sound!

Well Phil, thanks for doing this interview. Before you go do you have anything to say to your fans.

We would just like to thank every single person who has ever listened to us, caught us play a live show, bought any merch or simply come and said hello and given us kind words about the music we play, we love you all!!

All the best with your new album. Such a fantastic and brutally heavy album.

Thank you! We enjoyed doing the interview, and thanks for such kind words.

Words by Steve Howe and Phil Wilkinson