Fusing nihilism with hope and rage with joy, Manchester newcomers The Battery Farm offer up a viciously appealing sound that’s laced with passion and pain. Inspired by the state of society around us, the band offer up a venomous attack on the modern world that they describe as “nasty but nice.”
The quartet formed when brothers Ben (vocals and guitar) and Dominic Corry (guitar and vocals) left a previous band that they’d been part of for eight years in somewhat messy circumstances. As Ben explains: “We weren’t just angry and disappointed at the band ending but at everything – the impending end of the world, politics, external stuff as well as internal.
“The Battery Farm is an idea very much borne out of how we feel now and have felt at times over the last couple of years – furious, afraid, self-flagellating, hungry and defiant. It was borne out of this desire we had to lash out at ourselves and the world, borne out of this feeling of the world and our minds closing in on us. The feeling of life being a battery farm.”
They immediately recruited bassist Paul Worrall, who Ben met while acting in a play together, then added drummer Sam Parkinson. On their additions, Ben says: “I brought Paul into this knowing he was a musician but not, however, knowing just how good he is. He’s the cornerstone, the pendulum, the bedrock. He is a magnificent bassist who holds the whole thing together, whether he knows he does it or not.
“I met Sam through work and he was the only one who came in and didn’t know anyone. He’s adapted beautifully and really lifts the sound, giving it a gnarled, muscular edge. What it’s left us with is this vicious, magnificent firestorm of a band, creating a sound fuelled by the spirit of having fucking well had enough that drove me and Dom to put this whole thing together in the first place.”
The result of all of this was the release of their debut single 97/91 at the start of last month. It opens up with a big mass of guitars, crashing cymbals and booming bass, then drops into Ben’s abrasive spoken vocals “It sits malignant, dead eyes glazed over, It never moves, it never has to, its presence is enough, Only a stone’s throw away, Nestled in among the others, The things it has seen, The things it has done. You wouldn’t pick it in a line-up, you wouldn’t ever look twice, The very worst monsters look just like the rest of us.”
That feeds into big cries of “97, 91” over heavier rolling guitars and drums. The spoken vocals return in the particularly angsty second verse of “Evisceration, Things you can’t imagine, Shit and piss and agony, Damnation, Silence where the punishment was meted, Strangled cries from merciless brutality and life goes on, It goes on and on and on and on and…” with eerie guitar noises squeaking in over chugging guitar chords.
A second chorus drops into spooky whispers of “It will always be watching, It will always be waiting,” that build in intensity as they are repeated multiple times towards a final chorus. The track ends on spoken vocals “How can it only be real when you can see it, How can it only be real when know what it looks like, when you know what it smells like, when you know what it fucking tastes like, I don’t wanna talk about this anymore.” Give it a listen below:
On the track, Ben tells us: “People should expect something violent and powerful. 97/91 isn’t a nice song really. It’s a howl of despair – proper, guttural despair – at violence and squalor and corruption and the animal depths that human beings are willing to sink to. It’s the sound of someone kicking out in terror and as such is a pulverising, nasty piece of work, in the best way. It’s also human and honest and in turn, I think, quite beautiful for it.
“I can’t wait for people to hear it because its release marks the culmination of years of struggle for us. We’ve scratched and clawed our way to even being able to release this single, which I think makes it all the more potent. I’m proud of it and I’m proud of us. I am well excited for people to hear it.”
The band’s key modern musical influence is Idles – of whom Ben boldly claims: “I think Idles are the most important band in the world. Their message, their outlook, their extraordinary music is vital at a time when the world seems to be running out of love.” Beyond that, they’re influenced by everything from Elvis Presley, Paul Simon and Johnny Cash to Nirvana, Radiohead.
Doom Punk is a pretty new concept to us, so we asked Ben to paint the picture of the genre a little. He told us: “Doom Punk is actually a term I first heard the incredible Witch Fever use. I think it suits them and it suits us too, so I co-opted it. Talent borrows and all that. It’s music of passion and fury that has an apocalyptic rawness to it.
“It’s powerful, honest, venomous punk music driven by pain but also driven by the most visceral, physical kind of joy. It’s a cathartic, rage-filled purge that is never hateful, always in some small way hopeful. It can be bleak and terrifying and scabrous and caustic and it comes down on you like a tonne of bricks, but it feels amazing. That’s what Doom Punk sounds like, and that’s what The Battery Farm sounds like.”
While on what inspires their music, Ben tells us: “It feels like the whole world is hurtling towards some kind of unfathomable dystopia that’s becoming more real by the day. I write about my own fears about that, about politics and what politicians are doing to us in general, about what we’re doing to each other in general. I write about my own place in all of this and how I feel at being lost in what increasingly feels like a tornado of shit. I write to purge myself of my own baggage and my own wretched failings in the hope that someone, somewhere might find some solace in it and not feel as alone as I sometimes feel.
“I also like taking particular stories and using them as a launchpad to explore other ideas about humanity in general – which sounds a lot grander than it is. 97/91 uses the Suzanne Capper murder that happened near where I grew up as a launchpad to explore people’s relationship with atrocity.
“One of our new songs looks at freakshows, and in particular Joice Heth – she was the old woman with dementia and many physical disabilities whose condition PT Barnum exploited for commercial gain in the most racist, callous way – and traces the line from them to things like Love Island and Jeremy Kyle, things that have actually killed people in the last year, things that make us hate each other. So yeah, that’s a device I like using. It gives you a good base to explore.”
We are loving the angsty sound of The Battery Farm, and are excited to hear what else is to come from the band!