In Conversation with…BAT AND BALL

London quintet, Bat and Ball have been making quite a name for themselves after releasing their début EP late last year, with a sound that is laden with delectable stop and start beats, lustrous guitars, plush bass lines and velvety vocals. Bat and Ball are playing The Shacklewell Arms on 28th April to celebrate the launch of their latest single, Stops My Mouth, tickets are available here. Hurry though tickets are selling fast.

We are lucky to be able to host our very first ticket competition to win tickets to the very show mentioned above. All you need to do is hit us up on twitter and facebook pages and quote “I WANT THOSE BAT AND BALL TICKETS!” for your chance to win 2 tickets to the show. The winner will be contacted on Friday 25th April. Good luck.

I caught up with the band to discuss their new single, Stops My Mouth, venues they would love to play in, what’s next for the band and much more.

Firstly, I’d like to say thanks for this interview. What’s one thing that we should all know about Bat and Ball that we might not know about you yet? 

As a band, we’re known to have the best party tricks. We’re a flexible band. Who said it was impossible to lick your own elbow?

You just recently released the music video for your new single, Stops My Mouth. The concept is quite ambiguous, what was the thinking behind the message of the video and did you get any say in the treatment for the music video?

I wanted the video to be ambiguous. The majority of it was filmed with me in my flat, a camera and my close friend, who stars in the video.  The making and creative decisions of the video were all made by the band. The figure in the video is deliberately obscured; we see uncomfortable close-ups and feel unsure about their identity.

Central to this video is the idea of gender identity and playing with that.  Hopefully the video adds another layer to the song, closing off some interpretations and opening up others.  We hope that the video brings the pain and the pathos to the forefront, but also makes viewers question further.

The past year has been quite a whirlwind for your band gaining some well deserved attention from the likes of Elle Magazine, Clash Music, The Guardian and Xfm to name a few. What has the past year felt like to you?

It feels fantastic. It’s definitely a different buzz to playing live- perhaps you could call it surreal. The attention certainly keeps you on your game. It comes in waves- and of course, you want them to keep on coming.

You’ve been able to play in some of the best venues in London over the course of being in Bat and Ball. Is there a venue that you’ve not played yet that you’d love to play at?

Yes we have been lucky to play some really great venues in London. I think next we would love to play a church or perhaps outside in a field somewhere. I hear Spitalfields City Farm put on gigs occasionally, that would be awesome.

You’re music prides itself on its restraint and vocal harmonies. When working on the tracks, what’s the process like?

The studio is definitely somewhere we feel most creative. It’s the time to bring out usual pieces of percussion and vintage synthesisers to create sounds and textures we can’t achieve when playing live.

At the same time, the focus is always on the song– the tune and the lyrics. This is paramount. We’re always aware of refining our songs. With 5 musicians in the band, finding space can be challenging, but it’s an important part of the process.

What comes first the melody or the lyrics?

We start with lyrics. The melody comes second; they are the bases of our tracks. We’re really interested in the relationship between voices in songs and the artists who write and perform songs, and we want to tell stories as well.  They are unconfessional lyrics hiding our real confessions. 

Particularly in reference to Stops My Mouth, how long did that song take to come to fruition?

This song is a great example of how the band works together. I started with the chorus- some chords and lyrics. Then I passed them on to Abi.

We have said previously that we don’t explain our lyrics to one another and I know that this can sound like ‘PR’ but it is true; we like the effect of lyrics sitting there, with all their possibilities of meaning and it is not helpful to pin them down with explanation. Abi wrote the verses and the song took on new meaning and direction. We arranged Stops My Mouth as a band, each member bringing in their own ideas and individuality to the song.

Do you remember the first song you ever wrote together and if you do, can you tell us a bit about it?

Probably not the exact first song we wrote together.  Early on when we both were writing I remember Chris asking me to save a song I had written, we developed it together and still play it in the live BB set today.

You’ll be playing Live at Leeds and The Great Escape festivals this summer, both have strong line ups. Are there any bands that you particularly would like to check out while you’re there?

Too many. We’ll try and see as much as we can. We’re really interested to see Jungle live.

We’re big supporters of new music here at Bitter Sweet Symphonies. Having said that, are there any new artists that have caught your attention recently that you’d like to share with us?

Yes we know a ton! You just have to take a look at the artists coming out of New Cross, many who were on the same course as us. To name only a few you should check out: Machines, Oh Boy, Holy Milk and Niomi Eve.

What do you hope to achieve in 2014?

We’re looking forward to playing some more gigs outside of London- we like to explore. There should be lots of new music coming in the summer and look out for remixes of Stops My Mouth over the next few months!


A special thanks to Bat and Ball for this interview and for more info on the band, check out the following links below.

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Charlotte Holroyd
Editor, Creator and Founder of Bitter Sweet Symphonies. A lover of music and cinema, who's constantly attending gigs and in search of a great experience.

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