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Africastle is the first track on Gloss Drop. Dave: "That song stuck out for us as a good opener because, just the pacing of it and the way that everything kinda kicks in. It's just a good opening after a four-year hiatus since our last recorded piece. The pacing and the way that it kinda comes on strong was to us, I think the ideal opener for the album."

Afrislow is the iTunes bonus track for Gloss Drop. It is a slower remix of Africastle.

Aguayo, Matias: see Matias Aguayo

AM Gestalt is the b-side of My Machines.

The Art of Repetition is a documentary made by Ableton about the recording of La Di Da Di. Ian: "You have to pretend the cameras are not there. I encouraged it, they kept asking for more access and I said 'let them shoot more' - because in the end I figured if they had good stuff, the documentary might be good. I'm glad we let them in there a lot of times. Ableton's not in the business of being sensationalist - I didn't think they were going to do a 'gotcha'. I think we all had crazy personal years the year before - just a lot of personal reasons in our lives. At that point it was like 'I don't give a fuck. If you want to follow me around with a camera then go ahead'."

Artwork for Battles is done by band member Dave Konopka, who is also a visual designer. He designs the covers for all the EPs and albums, as well as tour posters and merchandise. The EP covers are notable as minimalistic nature photos. Dave: "How the band formed, and even how all that music formed, it was very organic. So we were working with a lot of organic imagery." For Mirrored, they went in a different, more industrial direction. Dave: "We didn't really want to get pigeonholed as the band that has trees on their front cover all the time... So originally we were reacting to not having this organic imagery any more. And taking the idea a little bit further, we created this room that's made of two-way mirrors. So it was a completely mechanical environment void of all organic elements. It was just to create these long hallways of repetitive imagery that would kind-of be matching some of the audio elements that we have in our music. So the Atlas video spawned from the idea of creating the album cover and putting all of the tools that we use to make this music inside of this environment." The cover art for Mirrored was the mirrored set used in the Atlas video, production designed by Dave's brother and built by the band, with Dave as the art director. Dave also created the sculpture seen on Gloss Drop's cover. Dave: "The artwork is a sculpture - I'm reluctant to even say a sculpture. It's a sculpture that I made during the making of the album. Essentially, it's a big pink blob of nothing. I wanted to represent a solid document that would be the album, and that is a controlled atmosphere, and then have something that is completely organic, that you can't control the way that things are gonna happen. And at the end of the day, it was more evident that we couldn't control anything other than just the way things were gonna happen when it came to making this album. So the actual artwork was just this blob. Cause I made a controlled square one that didn't look as great, but it was the organic blob that just fell into place and eventually congealed and solidified was the total proper way for us to go for the album." The artwork for La Di Da Di is some suggestively arranged breakfast food. Dave: "I just wanted to work with a medium that was easily understandable. Chefs are the new rock stars. The Food Network is more popular than MTV. I wanted a medium to imitate our process in a weird way. There's a story that follows within the cover. Using something visually eye-catching, but also having the subtext of our process as a band." Dave: "I did a few other food versions for the album cover, which may see the light of day eventually." Ian: "You can read into it how you want. It's food porn - foodie culture has gone insane. The pornification of food. Dave has a certain sense of humour and it comes across in those photos." According to Ian, the city of London deemed the album cover art "inappropriate" for its subway walls.

Atlas is the second track on Mirrored. It is the first single from the album. In 2007, it brought Battles a great deal of attention for the first time. Dave: "Conceptually it was like, 'Let's write a dancey song.'" Ian: "Our song Atlas was our take on the German take on the English rock shuffle." Ian: "When Battles made its first video, Atlas, I said, 'Well how much is it gonna cost?' And I forget what the budget was, but it seemed like way too much money to me... It's a good thing we did, because that Atlas video really did good things for us and music does live on the internet now and you kinda need a music video to go along with it, so they're important." The video's director, Timothy Saccenti, said: "They [Battles] were very involved in the shoot production as far as the set, with Dave's brother production designing and the band themselves actually putting it together." After Tyondai left the band, for the live shows, Battles had a children's choir in London record the vocals. Dave: "I don't think we were interested in using Tyondai's vocals. If we're a three-piece, we need to represent ourselves as a three-piece and move on. If we're gonna play old songs, it should be fresh. It should still be the same song that people would want to hear, but it's important for us to kind-of reinterpret them so it's more adaptable to what we're doing."


B EP is Battles' second EP. It was released by Dim Mak Records on September 14, 2004.

B + T is the first track on EP C. The loops on it were very challenging to integrate into playing, according to John: "B + T took almost 2 to 3 months before we were able to even play it."

Bad Trails is the seventh track on Mirrored.

Battles is an experimental rock band from New York City currently composed of Ian Williams, Dave Konopka, and John Stanier. Ian Williams knew the other eventual members from playing shows with their other bands. He formed the band initially with Tyondai Braxton, and they performed in several different incarnations before the other members were recruited. Ian soon ran into Dave and asked him to join. They performed as a three-piece for a show on September 19, 2002. Ian then ran into John and asked him to join. Initally the band names considered were I Will and Deep Cuts, before settling on Battles. (According to Dave, Ian's initial inspiration was cheerleader battles like in the movie "Bring It On", though the name has come to have more significance as the band developed. Ian: "The band name is really simple and stupid and basic. That's one reason I like it. At the same time, I think the name is connected to a point in history that this band exists in, both outside of music and within music.") Ian: "We're a rock band of our time." Tyondai: "We are a modern band. We are a modern experimental band... We're a product of our time." Dave: "Battles is essentially an electronic band through the medium and construct of a visceral rock band." John: "We really are, at the end of the day, an indie-rock band." John: "The essence of Battles is we were so insular because we had no idea what we were doing, so basically it was like a laboratory, and we were created in a basement in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for just such a long time, because we had to perfect what we were doing because there were so many different ingredients and it wasn't your typical rock band." Tyondai acknowledged jazz, world music, and rap comparisons. Dave (2015): "Our most valuable asset is our ability to be a really good live rock band. As generations become more self-reliant on making music exactly how they want, collaborations will dwindle. We've gone in the other direction. Being a rock band is the bare essence of who we are. Individually, we have our own ideas of how we want to technically make the music, but when we come together it's really just about being a unit. And I think that collaborating is valuable today. When you think about music today a lot of it has a very individualistic approach. For us, we find strength in being a trio." Ian: "We're a band that physically couldn't have success in the 90s. This is mainly due to the maturation of the internet. So when we came out in 2006 we were able to find a small sect of respect in every country." Dave (2011): "The essential setup of our band is traditional, like with guitars, keyboards, bass, and drums, and I think that's where we leave it. And then just try to reinterpret that tradition in as many different ways as possible... I think we were a little more simple when we made the EPs, but now we have different ideas about the way we wanna do things, and the more technology that advances. There's different ways for us to do things, like synching loops and synching video and parts. I think we're a band that is consistently evolving. We always embrace change, when it's good change... We work with a lot of electronics and we do a lot of different things, strictly experimental, it comes from a place where it's just things that are interesting to us. I think one of the exciting parts about Battles is that there's the threshold of man vs. machine, and to us I think it's important that we're always controlling, and controlling the technology. I think when you lose track of that we're an actual band controlling the stuff, then it gets carried away. But I think that we're really good at maintaining that, like the visceral rock band part of being, through the eyes of people who are interested in electronic music." John (2011): "Some of us want Battles to be an instrumental band, and some of us want Battles to have vocals on it, so it's kind-of the best of both worlds. And I think that, unfortunately, being an instrumental band does kind-of limit you to a certain extent, as far as mass appeal. Simply because people like vocals." Dave: "I think it's good to have vocals... to not limit yourself, and you can reach other worlds that would not necessarily be interested in something that would be labeled instrumental rock." Battles is often called a math rock band, which they do not like, considerng the classification "too easy." Dave: "None of us have ever uttered the phrase math rock in the history of this band." John: "We don't like that word. That's the M word... It's boring. It evokes images of boredom and nerds." Dave: "It's got negative vibes... It's essentially saying that we sit together and write our albums with this [points to head] and none of this [points to heart]. But it's a healthy combination of both." John: "Or this [points to crotch]." Dave: "Yeah, a little of that too." Dave: "Ian and I both come from math rock backgrounds, and it's like you're doomed to repeat your past in a way, but it's this weird unclassifiable thing... but it's not [math rock]... We're not instrumental, we're not math rock, we're not avant-garde, we're not even horny." Ian (2015): "The thing about this band, it is sort-of a ridiculous pairing of different kinds of people. I'm interested in complicated things. Like the truth is revealed through a sort-of mystical machine of chaos. John I think grew up in a hard-core music background, his drumming is very stripped-down. In some ways John and I seem to align in that we both like something that hits you over the head. Dave often has this perspective that that can be kind-of obnoxious. He is like a designer by training, with a minimal aesthetic, so there's this conflict of too much coming from me, and stripping everything down coming from them, I think. They're actually pretty opposite directions, and it's funny finding this middle ground." Seth Manchester (engineer/producer, Machines with Magnets) has this insight: "Dave and Ian start to hyper-focus on things when John's not around. John, kind-of similarly to the way he plays drums, is just like 'All right let's get this done.' So when John's around they kind-of get a little nervous and feel like they've got to do something really well really quickly." Dave: "When we started, John and Ian had a lot of experience. John lived entrenched in the rock world since he was 20, touring, playing MTV, really big stuff. Ian was successful with his old band Storm & Stress. And then there was me who had only played in Lynx. So I think we thought we'd just see how it goes. Of course, the first couple of times we ate shit live. And even to this day when we step out on the stage there's always this risk it could all go wrong. It's such a visceral process for us that any given show may not be as great as we hoped for. And other times we unexpectedly have an incredible show. It's all based on how we're communicating together. There's a lot of tangibles, and intangibles, that play into us actually being a great band."

Black Sundome is the b-side of Ice Cream.

Blonde Redhead is the band of Kazu Makino, singer on Sweetie & Shag.

Boredoms is the band of Yamantaka Eye, singer on Sundome.

Braxton, Tyondai: see Tyondai Braxton

BTTLS is the fourth track on B EP.


Cacio e Pepe is the fifth track on La Di Da Di. Cacio e Pepe is a Roman pasta dish. "Cacio e Pepe" means "cheese and pepper" in several central Italian languages.

Closer Musik is the former duo of Matias Aguayo, singer on Ice Cream.


Dance is the fifth track on B EP.

Dave Konopka is a member of Battles. He plays bass, guitar, and pedals. "I'm at the analogue pedal end of the spectrum - the guitar guy, trying to bring stuff out of simple guitar lines." Ian (2015): "At this point, I'm Digital Dude, and Dave is Analog SoundWorld Pedal Dude... Dave is a bit of a minimalist, musically speaking, and I'm a bit of a maximalist." Dave, who is younger than his other bandmates, has stated that Don Caballero and Helmet (Ian's and John's former bands, respectively) were formative musical influences for him. Dave was born September 2, 1976 in Worcester, MA, where he grew up. He was a graphic design major in college and decided to become a musician in 1997. A former book designer, he also designs the band's record covers, tour posters, and much merchandise. His favorite band (2015) is Golden. Dave lives in Brooklyn with his wife Deb, a book designer.

DdiamondD is the third track on Mirrored.

Dominican Fade is the seventh track on Gloss Drop. Dave: "Dominican Fade was named after a haircut in the United States. A lot of barber shops have this like super super short and it just gets... That really just existed from a little jam that John and I had together that we kept working on in our rehearsal space. And just kept jamming that out. We were like, 'It would be cool to have this track, maybe it'll be this little bridge in between songs.' But then once we recorded it and he put his drums on it in the studio and all of this extra percussion, like he plays a cast iron skillet on this song. And just all of the percussion and stuff, we were like, 'This song is a lot doper than we thought it was gonna turn out to be.' It was a super-simple, almost like an EPs-type-of track. And I think it was important to us to harness some of that energy from our EPs, our first recordings. And so we just kinda went with it and then Ian added some more percussive elements and keyboard parts that was just like the icing on the cake then. I love that track."

Don Caballero is a former band of Ian Williams. Formed in Pittsburgh in 1991, the band relocated to Chicago in the late 90s. It is still active with other members. He was with the band from 1992 to 2000.

Dot Com is the seventh track on La Di Da Di. Dave: "I envisioned it as a slow krautrock builder, but the more we tried making it that, it really wasn't conducive to it. What we learned from this was that when we were stuck, rather than go back to our room to fiddle and turn longer, we decided to jam for a bit and get it out of our systems. That yielded some interesting parts on this album."

Dot Net is the second track on La Di Da Di.

Dross Glop is the Gloss Drop remix album. It was released on CD and MP3 by Warp Records on April 16, 2012, though the songs on it (except for the "Sundome" remix) were released on 12" vinyls (Dross Glop 1-3) starting in February of that year. The vinyl for Dross Glop 4 actually came out on Record Store Day, April 21, a few days after the CD release. Remixes were done by Gui Boratto, The Field, The Alchemist, Shabazz Palaces, Kode9, Silent Servant, Kangding Ray, Qluster, Brian DeGraw of Gang Gang Dance, Hudson Mohawke, Patrick Mahoney and Dennis McNany, and Yamantaka Eye.


Eclipse is the Twilight movie in which The Line appears.

EP C is Battles' first EP. It was released by Monitor Records on June 8, 2004.

EP C/B EP is Battles' first full-length release, comprised of EP C, B EP, and the Tras single. It was released by Warp Records on February 6, 2006. All tracks are instrumental. Ian: "Bands often start with an obscure sound. And I think our EPs kinda had that sort of quality. Just because I don't think we had formulated ourselves beyond this abstract stage. And then when we made Mirrored it became a bit more clear what we were trying to do, and I think that made our sound a little more accessible. So I think our audience grew with that." John: "We recorded those songs at different studios at various different times of the night. We would record after hours at a studio from 4 p.m. to 6 a.m. We would get in where we could. It was so random. We didn't have the luxury of going to the compound that is Machines with Magnets. You're up in this compound, and you can get so much work done. It's like Andy Warhol's factory. There's nothing to do there, you sleep up there, and you're so focused and productive. The EPs were more randomly recorded at different studios. We had to live with what we got, so they're super punk in that sense. There's some one-takes in there. We didn't have the luxury of perfecting stuff. Of course, this was back when we recorded live onto 2-inch tapes and no correcting on ProTools."

Eye, Yamantaka: see Yamantaka Eye


Fantasy is the second track on Tras.

FF Bada is the third track on La Di Da Di. Dave: "There's like, somewhat of an afrobeat song in FF Bada."

FF Reprise is the Japanese bonus track for La Di Da Di.

Flora > Fauna is the eleventh track on La Di Da Di.

Futura is the third track on Gloss Drop. Dave: "Futura is personally one of my favorite tracks on the album. There was this minimal thing that was going on there, and there was this pacing and it was about taking turns and, you know a lot of Battles songs can be like a leap-frog process of just playing on top of each other and it creates this overall texture, but this song was really more about the entrances and it was almost like a tide. For me it was like a semi-hip-hop tide, which I really liked about it. I just think it's a perfect follow-up to Ice Cream."


Gary Numan is the singer and lyricist on My Machines. Dave: "Asking Gary Numan to collaborate on a song was total... It was strictly like a fantasy choice, it was like, 'There's no way that he would do it.' And he showed interest and he's totally awesome and he totally rules. It's just an honor to have him on the song." Ian: "Gary Numan was the fantasy guest... I can't believe Gary Numan sings on our record, it's so amazing." Ian: "Gary Numan was great - he completely came up with a different sort of song and then we had a talk about it and described what we wanted. So he came back and wrote a totally vocal section. The structure of the song was already set - we had the drum and bassline and he created a different reality on top of that. I was impressed with how good he was at dropping different realities on top of that. He could have just told us 'fuck off' right then - but he's totally no ego."

Girls have had a small presence in Battles' music from the beginning, even though the band is all male. Battles employed female back-up singers early on. Women are one of the only reasons Ian Williams wanted to play music again after the demise of his first two bands. Ian (2007): "When Ty and I started talking about playing, I was burned out and not sure I wanted to do a band. But I did want to do this thing with screaming girls, like 12 [female] Iggy Pops all in one band, just vicious bulldogs. That was the only inspiration I had to strap on a guitar and play music again. Bizarrely, now I'm in a band with four dudes. I don't know how it all went so wrong." Battles notably employed a female singer, Kazu Makino, for a song on Gloss Drop. And in the beginning, most of Battles' fans were male, and to see female fans was a rare exception. That has changed over the years.

Gloss Drop is the second studio album by Battles. It was released by Warp Records on June 6, 2011. Dave: "It's a new beginning for us... It's been in the making for a long time and it's definitely an accomplishment in our eyes to be able to release an album as well as that album came out... There's a lot of new elements to it, including guest vocalists, but I also feel that we have managed to pull in some parts of us from the past that we've neglected on our previous album, and tied it all together." Ian: "The way we made the record was different in the first place. We generated a lot of riffs and sonic material, rhythms, melodies, textures. The record may be a dream of what we wanted." John: "It's the combination of those three of our own individual personalities coming together, pushing and pulling each other up. Pulling somebody back in." Ian: "When we made this record we were really, just, different." John: "For a couple of reasons it took a very long time. Personal things happened to us. We lost a member. We had to go back and basically rewrite the entire record. There were many, many obstacles to overcome, but we managed to overcome all of them. So we're very grateful that that happened and that we have a record now. So it's a relief and a blessing that we finished the record." Ian: "The writing was kind-of slow at first, cause you have to change your mindframe from playing already-written music on stage every day to creating a new statement. And it's kind-of less inspiring 'cause you're locked away. You don't have an audience any more, which scares you into performing every day, and trying to be good, whereas when you're in a practice space by yourself it's a little more like going to the office and just putting in your day's work and trying to get through it. At least it felt like that at first. And that was maybe the problem we had. As we went, we forced ourselves to go in the studio because the label wanted us to make the record, and eventually we lost a member, so actually when we had to retool and redefine the statement of what we were as a band, only on the level of membership and how we were now a three-piece, not a four-piece. So I'd say that us becoming a three-piece is sort-of what saved it. We had to reorient on this record too because we had to step outside of our own membership and we had to bring in guest singers actually. So that's also something that maybe played with the balance of what the band was. But these challenges in some ways are exercises that make you connect a little deeper to why you're trying to make music in the first place, so it's a healthy thing in a strange way." John said they didn't intentionally make a happy record on purpose because they were depressed, but it just naturally came out that way. "But it did happen, and I think we're all very proud of it." Gloss Drop features several guest artists on vocals. John: "We turned into a three-piece making the record, and there were four songs that we knew needed vocals on them." Dave: "Some songs we had that were a little bit not as information-overload, as far as the instrumentation, and we wanted to leave some space for vocals. For the most part each song was completed, and we had these songs that we wanted to apply vocals to. We just considered a song by song basis of like, 'Who would be the right fit for this song?'" Ian: "It was nice to be able to be in the position where you could ask people that you respect and talented singers to guest-appear on your record and have them do it. So it opens up a lot of new freedoms for us." Dave: "Once you start to see people coming in with demos of how they interpret the songs, it was a really exciting part of the process that I didn't anticipate, so it was nice. It was fun working in that way and being able to collaborate with other vocalists as well." Only Kazu Makino was with them in the studio. The others recorded their vocals separately.


Helmet is a former band of John Stanier. At the time it was based in New York. He was their drummer from 1989 to 1998.

Hi/Lo is the third track on EP C.

High Fidelity is the 2000 comedy-drama film in which Ian Williams has a small non-speaking cameo.


Ian Williams is a member of Battles. He plays guitar, keyboards, and electronics. "For some reason I like making my guitar sound like a keyboard or a synthesizer as much as I can, and I like making my keyboard sound like a guitar sometimes." Dave: "Ian has more and more, throughout the development of the band, become entrenched in using Ableton, and he's done some incredible things. It allows him to go in to a mad scientist's lab and come out with some mutant form of what really is a simple, original line." Though Ian started the band, he said: "For us, there's no bandleader. It's a committee where the three of us have to agree that something is good. But sometimes it's hard to get us all to agree." Ian was born August 31, 1970 in Pittsburgh, PA and grew up in Johnstown, PA. He also spent part of his childhood in Malawi. He took piano lessons as a child and started playing guitar, bass, and drums as a teenager. He was a history and political science major in college. His favorite band (2015) is Dawn of Midi. Ian lives in Brooklyn with his wife Kate, a video journalist, and his daughter.

Ice Cream is the second track on Gloss Drop. Matias Aguayo sings on it. It is the first single from the album. Dave: "Playful, summertime, kinda light-hearted type of a song." John: "The song is about eating ice cream in the summertime in the sun. That's pretty much all I know." Dave: "We asked Matias Aguayo to guest as a vocalist on this particular track. He really matched the level of sexiness that I think that the song required, and actually had an underlying sexiness that I feel like he brought out a little bit more." "That song has a super-good vibe to play."

Inchworm is the fourth track on Gloss Drop. Dave: "Inchworm is a personal favorite of mine as well. We were in the studio for the first half of the year, then we had some setbacks, we lost a member, and we went home for a little bit. But when we went home we made sure that we weren't gonna be complacent. So I recorded this. I just set up and played this one riff, just altering the source material of that same riff and working with this loop. It was really like a two-hour jam of just playing with this and more of a dance-y type vibe. I was really pumped when that was going down, but the key to it was to translate that as a band. Really John added that reggae-tone beat and Ian brought in all his basslines and stuff. That song to me was a really successful under-pressure type of song that we put together and that I think is really important for the scope of the album."

Instrumentals are a key output of Battles' music. All the tracks on their EPs were instrumental, as were many tracks on Mirrored and Gloss Drop. On La Di Da Di, Battles has returned to being a purely instrumental band. Dave: "It started off as working within the elements we can control and what we can do between the three of us. We started writing songs we felt were interesting in an instrumental format. It was a different story when we were writing Gloss Drop, and we had guest vocalists because, as you're writing, you can easily layer and layer and layer. As you're writing, you have to leave a little space for vocals. I think that as we started churning out more material, we found that we were most interested in writing an instrumental album, not predictably repeating what we did on Gloss Drop or Mirrored. It's working with the elements that we have control over. Generally speaking, we've always been mostly instrumental, so it wasn't too much of a leap for us."

IPT 2 is the third track on B EP.

IPT-2 is the fourth track on EP C.


John Stanier is a member of Battles. He plays drums. In fact, he is widely regarded as one of the best drummers in the world, in particular by other drummers. Ian: "As the drummer, John has always done kick drum, snare, hi-hat, and crash, and that's what he does. He's the acoustic traceable element of the band." Why is his cymbal so high? John: "There's various reasons. I injured my shoulder, my rotator cuff, snowboarding, so I have a hard time..." Ian: "To go like that, the angle's wrong for his cartilage, so the doctor said 'You can only do this.'" Dave: "Once you incorporate John, who is 100% analogue and hasn't changed his drum setup since the early EPs, it becomes awesome alliance. John is the constant and we are the variables." In an interview, John referred to the other members of Battles as his best friends. John was born August 2, 1968 in Baltimore, MD and grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and in Florida, where he performed in drum corps. He was an orchestral percussion major in college before he "took a year off" and never went back, instead opting to become a professional drummer. His favorite band (2015) is Rush. John lives in Brooklyn and in Berlin, Germany with his wife Ryo, a tattoo artist.


Katoman is the Japanese bonus track for Mirrored. It may be named after the Tokyo-based DJ and producer Katoman.

Kazu Makino is the singer and lyricist on Sweetie & Shag. She is from the band Blonde Redhead and the only guest vocalist on Gloss Drop who actually recorded with the band. Ian: "I think the idea was enticing that we would try to work with a woman, 'cause in some ways we have these characteristics of a guy band, so the challenge was to step into the female. 'Can we do that?'"

Konopka, Dave: see Dave Konopka


La Di Da Di is the third studio album by Battles. It will be released by Warp Records on September 18, 2015. According to Warp, the album "is a mushrooming monolith of repetition. Here is an organic techno thrum of nearly infinite loops that refuse to remain consistent. The rhythmic genus of Battles is here as ever; full frontal, heightened and unforgiving." As with their first and second album, there was a four-year gap between their second and third albums. John: "It took four years. Big deal. Our marketing aspect doesn't have to rely on the 'comeback record' angle. We're not back, we never left. We'd work for a while and then take a break from it, and then we'd repeat the process over a block of time before the blocks got more intense. Personal things happened over the years but it's not like we rely on that to make an album interesting. We don't rely on tragedy to sell a record." Dave: "When we recorded Gloss Drop we spent seven months sleeping and living in the studio. It became this ridiculous, out-of-control project. This time we've tried to do a lot of stuff beforehand and come in here a little bit more prepared and have ideas to work together." Dave: "We've gone beyond being classifiable to even ourselves on this album. All I'll say is that this is our next level shit... In the end, there's something intangible about what we do, but simply speaking this album stands as an excellent display of how the three of us communicate musically. How we work as an organism." Ian: "The one idea behind it was that it's an instrumental record, so what words describe instrumental music? Using 'la la la' - like generic voicings for singing - using this to describe instrumental music. It's sort of a playful, whimsical thing that takes pressure off of us by saying, 'We're not overwhelming you with heaviness or anything.'" Unlike Battles' first two albums, La Di Da Di is all instrumental. John: "We never said, 'This record, we're gonna go out and make it, and there will be no vocals whatsoever.' It was more like, 'There might be; there might not be. Let's just see what happens - let's not worry about it right now.' Then, the next thing you know it's like, 'Well, I guess there aren't any vocals on this record.' It didn't seem that important." Dave: "When you consider the trajectory of our albums, including guest vocalists on this album didn't make sense because it would be going down the same road as our previous album. It was more like, 'What's the next step to figure out something less predictable than getting four guest vocalists to sing on a couple songs?' ... I also think the world has changed enough that people are willing to accept instrumental music more than they were in the past." John: "When we were writing, there might have been some stuff that didn't make the record that we thought there possibly should be vocals over, but maybe not... We were just more concerned with seeing what happens." Dave: "This time around, there're still a lot of hooks on the album, but it's not vocal hooks. When we were making this album it was just more about the integrity of the interaction between the three of us. And even from, like, when we first wrote our EPs, all of the melodies and the interactions between what we were doing musically sufficed as vocal hooks. Throughout the course of the album, each song is something that we were trying to get out of our system... We're almost like this bizarre mixtape band. We can't commit to anything, but that allows us to try out a little bit of everything." John: "The vibe behind this record is, it's the three of us completely writing this record after already being completely comfortable with being a three-piece, so it's coming from a different, more genuine area. Also I feel like those guys, even more than me, the responsibilty was more on them because all of a sudden now there's way more real estate that's opened up now and there's less you can hide. It used to always be about fighting for real estate, everybody had to have their little line, in and out and it was really manic. Now there's all this open space. The spotlight is more on them as writers."

Leyendecker is the fifth track on Mirrored.

The Line is Battles' song on the sountrack for Twilight: Eclipse. The film's producers didn't like Battles' initial submission to the soundtrack. John: "Here's the condensed story. We gave them a song, they didn't like it. But they were like, 'We still want you to be in the movie'. So they sent us a specific scene, a major fight scene, to compose to the scene. We did that, and they were like, 'It's too composed'. They didn't like that either. And then at the very last minute they were like, 'All right, if you can do one more song, we'll put it in there'. They were nice to us. So we wrote another song, and apparently some people say they heard it for 1.2 seconds, other people own it and they still have not heard it. So, apparently it's in there."

Loops are the foundation of Battles' music, particularly in live shows. John: "Looping is the backbone of this band, for sure." Dave: "There's no deep philosophical meaning, it's just like, repetition is something that's really interesting to us." Ian: "We've always had loops. Loops are a cool thing but they can become a prison, 'cause you fucking hear that thing coming back at you every two seconds. Trying to find ways of making loops shift organically is something I was working on, so that they evolve throughout the song. Embedding more melodic information in the loops so that sometimes really all I'd be doing is the loop but I'd be playing it live and you wouldn't need to overdub a melody on top. You'd just be experiencing the texture - it has rhythmic and melodic information at the same time." Ian: "We've always made loops as a band. And when you talk about doing it live, there's the immediacy of it being an instant photograph. It's already a little removed from you actually 'playing' it, and it becomes something that's a little more un-human. It creates a lot of possibilities - manipulation, and taking the music to a different place than you could if you were actually playing it. It's a blessing and a curse. It has its limitations and its downsides. One is this monolithic thing that keep repeating throughout the song. But then that's the thing we've always struggled with within this group - how to keep it interesting, and how to shift it. Can we actually change the key of the song? Can we give your ears a break so you don't have to hear the same thing again? It's one of the things that we work with that harnesses us in too tightly, but sometimes it lets us go more places than we could by playing." Ian: "Loops can help you but they can hurt you too; they get boring if you hear the same thing played back forever so it creates an extra burden to keep things interesting. You have to make all these other things happen to keep it captivating, but you still get a sense of when things are over." Loops have also become a key part of Battles' songwriting process. Ian: "We usually start with a loop that originated by me or Dave Konopka and we sort of pass them around - each with its own texture and rhythm and melodic suggestion built in. We would all read different vibes off of them, like, 'this means this, this means that.' And then we'd discuss, 'okay let's turn this into a song or let's turn this one into a song.' We try to get everybody to agree that they're into the song. If someone doesn't like it, it doesn't become a song - it's sort of a collective songwriting style." John: "Battles is all about loops, so in a really weird way I'm not even really the drummer. The master loop is really running the show. It's like I'm playing along to something else, whereas every other kind of music the drums are keeping the tempo."

Luu Le is the twelfth track on La Di Da Di. Ian: "The final track started with a working title of 'Winter Wonderland' because it reminded me of ice skating, like a choreographed ice skating team. But then it started to get this South Asian guitar solo thing, and towards the end there's a helicopter sound, so it all started to turn partly Vietnam or something. Basically, in the last few years, my parents died, and I started thinking about my family. We adopted a girl named Luu Le from the Vietnam war. This is a true story. Her plane crashed coming over to the United States, and so she died. I actually just found out that she had a twin brother on that plane who survived, which is kind of crazy, but I was thinking about how to talk about that American to Vietnam relationship in a song, so I thought it would be good to honor her name."

Lynx is the former band of Dave Konopka. Based originally in Boston and then Chicago, it released an EP in 1998 and an album in 2000.


Machines With Magnets is where Battles has recorded the majority of their material. Though the band was formed in New York and rehearses in New York, they prefer to save money and be able to spend more time in a studio where they can make sure everything is exactly the way they want it. John: "We had to write a lot of the record [Gloss Drop] in the studio. It's called Machines With Magnets. It's outside of Providence, Rhode Island. We kind-of barricaded and isolated ourselves, it's kind-of half underground, and it's literally in the middle of nowhere." Dave: "The main reason we record our albums at Machines with Magnets is because of the people, and the studio itself." John: "It's the whole 'log cabin in the middle of the woods' studio routine. Pawtucket, Rhode Island, there's nothing to do there, and it's this compound where you stay there, and it's super super intense, but it's also, you just get a lot more done. And it's always worth it."

Makino, Kazu: see Kazu Makino

The Mark of Cain is the hard rock/alternative metal band that John Stanier plays with in addition to Battles. Based in Australia since 1984, the band recruited John in 1999.

Matias Aguayo is the singer and lyricist on Ice Cream. He is a Kompakt artist, formerly of the duo Closer Musik, and a DJ. Dave: "We're big fans of a lot of Kompakt things. Just the way that he treats vocals, how he works vocally... We had a lot in common as far as the way we like to incorporate vocals into our music and create more of a seamless integration rather than have a lead singer. So we asked him to sing on Ice Cream and he just totally added to the summertime playfulness sexiness of that song. Especialy 'cause it's in some made-up Spanish too." Ian: "John brought in the idea for Matias... He ended up having a good approach, just the right light-hearted approach for a goofy song like Ice Cream." Aguayo was initially supposed to be the live vocalist for the Gloss Drop tour, but dropped out at the last minute, forcing the band to come up with the idea to have the video screens for the guest vocalists.

Megatouch is the tenth track on La Di Da Di. Dave: "Megatouch was difficult... but we jammed a lot on that one and found stuff that became a huge part of the song." John: "That started with a Dave loop. Dave was like, 'This reminds me of...' And the first time I heard it, I was like, 'Wow, yeah, it really does. Let's totally roll with this, but let's be kinda careful. Don't go over the deep end with it.' But we were that tasteful with it that we actually pulled it off." Dave: "None of us are big reggae fans, but I wanted Battles to try and re-create a weird version of how we envision reggae. Even if we tried to do it properly, we probably wouldn't be able to do it. Our last album was so insular. We were broken up in separate rooms, and we were writing singularly. Megatouch was one of the songs where the noodles weren't totally sticking to the wall yet, and then we went into the live room and jammed for hours." Dave: "I'm fully aware of the fact that reggae coming from three dudes like us could sound really weird, but that's the interesting part of it too. I know it's disgusting but let's get it out of our systems and see what happens." Ian: "The loop gets set and then there's the intro melody, and then it goes into this middle section. That was supposedly supposed to be a trance section, but I added the melody thing overtop and turned it into a totally different thing. You're always upsetting somebody else's expectation for what something is going to be."

Mirrored is the first studio album by Battles. It was released by Warp Records on May 14, 2007. Tyondai: "The EPs were an example of this band searching for our sound. And this new record is an example of a band who has found their sound and is distorting it and can play with it more, hence we're more relaxed as a band because we know each other better but also because we're more comfortable with the unified sound so we can play with it and distort it, add to it, deconstruct it, and add new things in it, as lyrical vocals." Tyondai explains what held up the album: "We toured like crazy on those EPs. We just kinda jumped at the opportunity to get out on the road. Not only for exposure, but also to refine the songs... but we did wait a long time." John: "We definitely work really really hard before we go into the studio. We know what we're doing." Tyondai: "There's no such thing as one take in the studio for a band like this, though, because we experiment but a lot of the results you get on the record, we reserve the right to experiment a lot with the studio recordings as opposed to the live. The way I see it is, the live influences the studio, which we then take liberties we maybe wouldn't have done live just to make it a cool record, and then the studio reinforms the live after it's done. Then we kinda relearn it, reassess the way we approach it." Dave: "Sometimes after a tour we take maybe a week off, just to chill and have some down time, but... it's busy. Ya gotta keep rollin', you don't want to drop the ball. Actually on tour, in the United States when we stop at truck stops sometimes we'll play catch."

My Machines is the sixth track on Gloss Drop. Gary Numan sings on it. It is the second single from the album. It was written and performed (a different version) while Tyondai Braxton was still with the band. Dave: "The title of this was taken from the lyrics of Gary Numan, who we asked to collaborate with us on the song. I remember John saying, 'We should totally ask Gary Numan to sing on the album.' Which was like, a total shot in the dark, like 'There is no way Gary Numan's gonna sing on this album.' We drove up to Boston and saw him play at the Paradise. And he was playing Pleasure Principle. And we got to meet him after the show and it was really awesome. It was one of those bizarre, like the three of us standing outside his dressing room and his manager was like, 'Ok, you guys wanna come in and meet Gary?' And we were like 'Yeah, that'd be great.' We had a CD for him and we went in and he was like, 'Hey how's it going, nice to meet you, I'm Gary." And we were like, 'Hey, nice to meet you.' And he was like, 'Yeah I heard your track, I like it a lot. It's really fucking weird.' And I was like, 'Gary Numan is telling us that we're weird. This is awesome. This'll be a moment I will never forget.' He was totally like, 'Yeah, I'm into it, let me see what I can do.' He was going into the studio and I think it worked out at the time. Really it kinda came together at the end. But he was awesome to work with, just total charm." Ian: "I think that song actually sounds like a real Battles song, and it also sounds like a real Gary Numan song. It's such an interesting thing that they both coexist, I like that. That was just a case of 'Let's go ask a pop star from our youth, when we were kids, that we used to really like.'"

The Music Building is a historic music rehearsal facility where Battles rehearse in Manhattan. Ian: "It is a music rehearsal space, but whenever we do that, our neighbors just don't understand. Guys who are like piano players above us, they're like, 'what the hell is going on? I've heard that loop for the past three hours!' We've made people irate. I once recorded a guy. He stormed into our room. It was like a 10-minute screamer."


Nightmare Before Christmas is the All Tomorrow's Parties festival that was curated by Battles in December 2011.

Non-Violence is the sixth track on La Di Da Di.

Numan, Gary: see Gary Numan


OK Go, the band, has a connection with Battles. In addition to their drummer Dan sharing a last name with Dave (Konopka, not related), Ian Williams and Timothy Nordwind were roommates back in the day in Chicago.


Prismism is the eighth track on Mirrored.



Race: In is the first track on Mirrored.

Race: Out is the eleventh and final track on Mirrored.

Rainbow is the sixth track on Mirrored.

Rolls Bayce is the tenth track on Gloss Drop. Dave: "I was running all of John's beats that he recorded through all of my guitar pedals... I wrote a bassline to it, and that's what that bassline was called Rolls Bayce because it was constantly like a rock rolling down a hill type thing. And then Ian had this awesome line that was all about Ethiopian ice hockey during the break. So it was just those things that we were like, if we could just get away with making a song out of the beats and the bassline and the tiny little icicle parts, it could be a good one."


Snare Hangar is the ninth track on Mirrored.

Songwriting is a complicated process for Battles, as evidenced by the length of time between their record releases. They described it in 2015. John: "The basic process of recording a record for us is, people individually coming up with stuff, everyone will work by themselves, they'll come up with these tiny seed ideas, we'll send them to each other, and then we kind-of just take it from there. The three of us really only get into the same room together when we're all really reacting to a specific idea that seems to be working." Ian: "We get more done when we're by ourselves. Then, we figure out a way to bring it to the other guys. I feel like a lot of our productive time is alone." Ian: "Well the way we work is that we bounce ideas around before we go into the studio. We'll record rhythmic loop information and pass that around. Then we'll see who gets inspired by what. We work as a collective, so everyone has to be into a song enough to work on it as a full band.,We agree on the ones we're going to try and flesh out into songs. So a lot of that happens before we go into the studio, then when we're in the studio we're tracking and working on overdubs and the drums and things you can't really record at home in your practice space." Dave: "If we compare loops or something, or send each other ideas, or a beat, it's totally subjective. It's like looking through a glass house and not knowing which way the doorway is." John: "Ian will write stuff, and he'll give it to us, and I'll spend all this time living with it and doing this stuff and then play it for him and he'll just be like 'What the, that's not even close to what I had in mind.'" Dave: "Sometimes John can be like 'The one is here' but Ian and I can be like 'No that's the three'". John: "Sometimes people get bummed out by that, and sometimes it's a beautiful accident and it turns into this amazing monster that everybody loves. So that process is very very important to us and I think that you wouldn't be able to achieve that if you were constantly together." John: "Maybe we are a bit of perfectionists, possibly. I think that we tend to think things out in a major, major way. 'When is this song done, when does it need more, what does it need more of?' These are questions why it takes us so long to make a record." Dave: "We get pretty heated throughout the process of making an album, but I wouldn't expect any less. It's intense and everybody cares and everybody is fighting for what they think it should be and I think that's a great thing." Ian: "Everybody has a different idea for what the song should be. That's probably the heart of the Battles issue, when we collaborate and come up with solutions for what a song is, there are often wildly different ideas. And sometimes, those car crashes work. Like, 'there's a ballerina in the middle of a football game. What's going on?' Sometimes, it makes sense and sometimes it doesn't, but those are the kind of calls we need to make." Dave: "Sometimes we're not on the same page. It's like a Venn diagram with three overlapping circles and the songs are somewhere in the centre. Sometimes a song can be redirected but that's naturally part of the weird process we've developed." John: "There's a lot of pushing and pulling and really opinionated things going on in this band, which I think is really good. It takes twice as long and it's kind-of a bummer sometimes, but I feel like if that tension didn't exist within this band we would not have been around for over ten years, I mean there's a reason for that, and it's because we love doing what we do and we love this band. And I will go completely out of my way to keep this thing happening, and I want to continue to do records, and I know that both these guys do as well. So we really really care a lot. It's our life. So I think that that's worth fighting for." Dave: "Given the nature of three grown men trying to sculpt the same stone, it's difficult. Once you get to that point where you realize that you all have the same vision, then it becomes this really rewarding thing. The differences between the three of us in that process is what makes for really interesting music." Ian: "There's really no correlation between titles and sound. We're not a band that has a lead vocalist or has anything to say, per se; we're purely working with music as form... Usually the song titles get applied to make a little more sense to the way we're reacting to what we've made... The meaning is in the sound. The meaning isn't always necessarily a deeper thing than that."

Stanier, John: see John Stanier

Storm & Stress is a former band of Ian Williams. Formed in Pittsburgh, it was active from 1994 to 2000.

Summer Simmer is the fourth track on La Di Da Di. Ian: "On that song, I used the Ableton Push to get to that repeated 16th-note setting, on the intro. The Push made that song possible."

Sundome is the twelfth and final track on Gloss Drop. Yamantaka Eye sings on it. Dave: "Sundome is also another one of my favorites, I love that song... It's named after a basketball league in Brooklyn... During the weekends or something they had these leagues that were called Sundome. The whole beginning of it is very organic and trying to find its shape and then it kinda starts to slowly evlove, but at the other end of the spectrum has really experimental bizarre vocals-as-instrument incorporated into the whole track. And who better to do that than Yamantaka Eye from the Boredoms? He was awesome. He just sent us this raw track and he was like, 'Do whatever you want to it.' I mean the vocals themselves, it's just stuff that... It was bizarre to us, because we thought he was speaking Japanese, but he was just making up his own stuff but he was repeating the things that he making up which seems like it would be so hard to do. But I love what he came through for that song. It just brought it to another level."

Sweetie & Shag is the eighth track on Gloss Drop. Kazu Makino sings on it. Dave: "For Sweetie & Shag we asked Kazu Makino from Blonde Redhead, because she lives in New York and she has an amazing voice, and just delivery. We've all been Blonde Redhead fans for years. So that really came together. She was awesome. She was kinda like, 'This is part of your life document and I'm totally into helping you do whatever it is that you want me,' you know and we were just kinda like, 'That's awesome.' So she came up to the studio, we drove up with her, and she was great. She just worked all day. She was totally like, I think she had a little bit of a cold, but still just totally made it, was just working so hard to come up with the lyrics and the melody, and she was awesome. She was great." [N.B. I asked Ian about the lyrics but he doesn't really know them, he said to ask Kazu! According to John, Kazu loves horses and owns a horse; Dave said the lyrics are about guys and girls falling in love at a horse stable. Dave: "When the song was done, we were like 'What were you talking about?' She was like, 'Oh my horse stable, these kids falling in love.'" John: "Yeah, it was super vague. Then she left."]

SZ2 is the first track on B EP.


Tij is the tenth track on Mirrored.

Toddler is the ninth track on Gloss Drop. Dave: "Toddler was just this little ditty that Ian did, that was maybe gonna be the beginning of White Electric or something but we just thought it was like, just that little kiss of, just space in the album, would be really nice to have it somewhere placed strategically. We didn't have a title for it and I thought Toddler would be a really cute name for that track."

Tomahawk is the alternative metal/rock supergroup that John Stanier plays with in addition to Battles. The band formed in 1999.

Tonto is the fourth track on Mirrored. It is the second single from the album.

Tras is the first track on the eponymous release, Battles' first release.

Tras 2 is the fifth track on EP C.

Tras 3 is the second track on B EP.

Tricentennial is the ninth track on La Di Da Di.

Twilight is the vampire movie franchise in which The Line appears.

Tyne Wear is the eighth track on La Di Da Di. The title likely refers to Tyne and Wear, a metropolitan county in northeast England around the mouths of the rivers Tyne and Wear.

Tyondai Braxton is a former member of Battles. He played guitar, keyboards, and performed vocals. He departed the band in August 2010, citing a desire to focus on solo work rather than a new Battles album and world tour. Tyondai (2007): "Solo music is like you in your purest form. That has its benefits and that has its cons. I feel like it's good to have a balance, in a way. I still like doing solo music and still want to work on that front. I can tell you this though, band-wise I'm definitely not looking to play with another band, like this is definitely my band... I think it's necessary to keep balance, because then it will let the project exist for longer." Dave (2011): "Getting going again, playing as a live band and learning to be a three-piece... We were so enveloped in being a recording band that we needed to learn to be a live band again. We made a conscious decision to play only new songs so that we get better at playing these songs." The official website announcement called his daparture "a sad but amicable split." However, interviewed in 2015, John acknowledged animosity at the departure: "You were in this together... this was like this baby that we've all raised and now it's like this monster and we're finally making money and we're making a living and everything's great and this is gonna be the second record it's gonna be awesome and then one of the guys out of nowhere - while we're recording the record, mind you - literally leaves. Just, really, like you're not gonna give us...? It was just nothing, like 'I don't wanna do this any more, bye.' And he just left... It put is in an exremely compromising position where we absolutely freaked out because we're like 'Oh my god, now what are we gonna do?' But I think it was a blessing in disguise that we couldn't see right off the bat... In the fact that if we would've kept going the way we were going, it [Gloss Drop] would've been a terrible, terrible record."


UVA (United Visual Artists) is the British group that Battles and Warp Films collaborated with in the video for Tonto. Ian: "They put the whole thing together really. It was good for us because... we don't have time to think about making music videos... They set the whole thing up. In a lot of ways we just had to show up. I mean, they consulted with us." The video was shot in a stone quarry in Wales, England.

UW is the second track on EP C.


Vocals, a staple of rock music, are absent on most of Battles' songs, including the entirety of the EPs and La Di Da Di. Ian: "The idea of a vocalist in pop is such a heavy concept. We treat [vocals] more lightly, like it's just another instrument. As opposed to, 'The instruments are the bread and the vocals are the piece of meat on the bread.' To us, it was never that ratio. It's maybe a salad, and it's just another chopped bit. It's just another instrument, just another part of the texture. Always, the vocals came after the music. It's natural for us to make instrumental music. If you look at our records in the past, our first three EPs were all instrumental and then Mirrored had a couple of songs with vocals and then the rest of it was instrumental with some beatbox-y sounds mixed in. Even the last album had four songs with vocals but [eight] songs without. It's riffs and beats and melodies, textures and tones and whether there's singing or not, that's just like whether or not you're gonna play your Fender Stratocaster on this song."


Wall Street is the fifth track on Gloss Drop. Dave: "That song I think was one of Ian's babies. We recorded in the same studio, Machines with Magnets, with the same engineers as Mirrored, but this time because we were kinda under pressure a little bit to get the album done, we separated into three different rooms and would record our parts direct, like through all of our effects, but then record direct and then turn it into the live room. And the engineers took on more of a production role, to find the sounds for us and ring in stuff as we just kept cranking out more material. Really Ian was like, 'I keep envisioning these 80s stockbrokers at the pinnacle of their success, partying on a yacht... Yeah, this song is all about success. It's gotta be about success.' And he just kept really pushing that visualization, so we decided to call it Wall Street." Ian: "The first section makes me think of the sound that rich people make when partying on a yacht in the 1980s. We called it the 'Sound Of Success' when we were making that song. I even played YouTube clips from the movies 'American Psycho' and 'Wall Street' in the studio to get the vibe right."

Warp is the British record label that has released all of Battles' studio albums. Dave: "How did we get signed to Warp Records? We signed to Warp Records via an introduction through Prefuse 73 [Guillermo Scott Herren], a friend of ours, and he took us on tour and we did some shows opening for him. And Warp was interested in signing us. They, we started by putting together EPs that we had released in the United States. So they courted us for a little while, and we did the EP thing and then there was an official signing. It was just a right place at the right time, both things worked out really well and they were a perfect label for us. Still are."

White Electric is the eleventh track on Gloss Drop. It was written and performed while Tyondai Braxton was still with the band. Dave: "White Electric was actually the first song that we worked on for this album and I think that we were so trying to get into the mode of writing again, that when we were first done with this track it was like sixteen, seventeen minutes long and we were like, 'Yeah, for the first track on the album I think we're gonna need to shorten it down a little bit.' So that was just kinda like a constant work in progress. It was funny because it was the first thing that we worked on, but then all the way at the end of the process there was this rewriting of it that totally, cause I think we felt like there was maybe a little bit of like, we weren't flexing enough like... Whereas the album rocks, I don't think we were flexing the riffing rock enough, so that song I think we just really wanted to get across this semi-metal-type thing. It's also named after one of our favorite coffee shops in Providence, Rhode Island, where we were recording."

Williams, Ian: see Ian Williams



The Yabba is the first track, and first single, on La Di Da Di. Ian: "It's a song about the desert."

Yamantaka Eye is the singer and lyricist on Sundome. He is from the band Boredoms.