INTERVIEW: John Stanier of Battles

Image via Patrick Chen Photography.

John Stanier wants you to enjoy his band’s new record.  He told me so.  “We’re not even thinking about the next record,” he wrote in a recent email interview, “so take a deep breathe, relax, maybe take your shoes off, and enjoy the multiple personalities and dense layers of sonic storytelling that is Gloss Drop.”

The 43-year-old Stanier — who is the steady hand behind the kit for New York City-based Battles — makes it sound so easy, but who wouldn’t want to take it easy after releasing what might be one of 2011’s finest records, being in the midst of said record’s intense touring cycle (which takes them to Japan and Europe in just a few weeks), and answering the media’s incessant questions about his band’s vocalist leaving?

He apparently attended college in Florida (we’re not sure if he actually graduated, but he does credit Sun Coast Sound with fostering his love for marching corps), and he and his bandmates are set to curate All Tomorrow’s Parties’ Nightmare Before Christmas, but Stanier took some time to answer a few questions for SubAp! Check out the results below.

How cool is it to be curating ATP in the UK?

Well it hasn’t happened yet but I’m sure it’s going to be amazing

Which records are inspiring you guys to make an album that’s even better than Gloss Drop this time around?

We are still way into the touring cycle for Glass Drop…I don’t think any of us have even begun to think about the next record.

Is there ever a point in the songwriting process where someone goes “whoa, this song is getting out of hand – let’s tone it/strip it down a bit guys?” Who is that guy?

The three of us are constantly arguing in the studio, but that to me is what makes a great record.

What is the band going to do when you finally decide to lower your cymbal?  Are fans going to freak out the way they did when Tyondai left?

The cymbal shall not be lowered nor do I think people “freaked out” when we became a trio.

Speaking of…Tyondai leaves, and you guys end up bringing in Matias Aguayo  and Gary Numan amongst others.  Those are pretty nice snags in themselves.  Have you guys started thinking about who you can get on the next record, or are you waiting until some songs are fleshed out to start a wish list?

Like I said, we are not even thinking about the next  record…so relax and enjoy Gloss Drop.

On Halloween you play your last show of the U.S. tour before heading to Asia and Europe, did you guys ever fear that you wouldn’t be received as well without Tyondai?

Of course not.

You guys are obviously a bit constrained to samples and electronics on the Gloss Drop tour, but what has playing this set of songs lived revealed about them.  Did they hold any hidden surprises?

Some songs are more difficult to play than others and some songs are easier to play than others.

Finally, are you playing any new songs on tour?  Can we expect to hear any when you hit Tampa?

We don’t really write while we are on tour because it’s way too hard.  We spend years writing and recording to present what we feel is the ultimate statement from ourselves at that moment in time.  So again take a deep breathe, relax, maybe take your shoes off and enjoy the multiple personalities and dense layers of sonic storytelling that is Gloss Drop.

Battles plays Crowbar on Wednesday October 25 alongside Nisennenmondai and Auto!Automatic!!  More information on the show is available here.