Friday, January 23, 2009
Like Bats - Demo
Every so often a new band will cross my path that makes remember why I got into punk/hardcore in the first place. This nervous, unpredictable energy that reminds me of the Saturday afternoons my parents would drive me to the record store so I could buy Screeching Weasel and Apocalypse Hoboken records, aimless nights spent driving around with my friends or days spent inside listening to said records and typing out ridiculous content for my high school fanzine. Sometimes the smallest things about bands trigger this and it immediately brings back intense feelings for times past. Like almost everyone growing older but still interested in punk rock, only a handful of things stick out to me in any given heap. However, when something does catch my ear, it feels like being 15 again and discovering something for the first time. One of the most interesting bands I've heard in a while is a trio from Northwest Indiana called Like Bats. They play a rough but melodic brand of pop-punk that reminds of a lot of early-mid 90's bands on the Lookout! Records roster. After years of seeing tons of bands playing melodic "punk" that have no connection, interest or roots within punk rock, it's always refreshing to hear a band that does it right.
I sent Like Bats a few questions to get an idea where they are coming from. It's pretty short, but I feel like I'll do something else on them in the future. This is a first for Harsh Distractions and something I'd like to continue. I posted their demo below. Check it out.
If you had to name one band that really got you into punk rock, who would it be? What about them made you want to dig deeper and when did you realize you could just start your own band?
Joey: Although it isn't the most 'punk rock' album, I'd go with At The Drive-In's Vaya EP.
Kyle: Green Day's Dookie. I would always go into S&J stereo in Highland and I was scared that if I never bought anything the guy would kill me because he is very intimidating. It was a good buy.
Mike: The band that got me into punk rock was Bad Religion. My dad showed me that band when I was super young, but the band that made me realize punk could be really personal and introspective was Small Brown Bike. That's when I realized I could start a band like this and write lyrics that are specific to me and kinda wimpy but still play punk.
As a relatively new band, how has the response been so far?
Kyle: It's been pretty good so far. People seemed to be into us at the out of town shows we've played and the response where we live has been really good too.
How has being from Northwest, Indiana affected the dynamic of your band? Do you see a difference in the people and attitudes from there compared to those from Chicago and the suburbs?
Mike: I think it affects the dynamic of the band and the songwriting only in the way that Northwest Indiana and the suburbs are a little more depressing. There's no bright lights or big city to look at and I think we use that to our advantage and it helps us write better songs. But other than that, Indiana's not so bad. Sometimes you just feel trapped in a cage of houses, strip malls, and Wal-Mart's, but you get used to it. A person's surroundings always helps shape the way you write songs. I have this weird sense of pride about living in Indiana, it's the underdog. Everyone looks down on it. The only difference I really see in music scenes between NWI and Chicago is that people from Indiana are more accepting and eager to go out to see Chicago bands. People from Chicago can generally give two shits about bands from Indiana, for the most part. There are definitely exceptions though. People from Chicago seem to really like Cold Shoulder.
The lyrics on the demo are pretty depressing, but incredibly self-aware and well-written. Are they primarily about the same incident? How closely do the samples from "Lonesome Jim" tie in?
Mike: I wrote all the lyrics about one specific girl. I know its kind of selfish and almost immature to write about a girl so literally, but I think anyone who has ever had their heart broken can understand and relate to the lyrics. It's one of the worst feelings in the world. And the movie Lonesome Jim is just one of those movies I watched over and over when I was most down. I relate to that movie like a good record and I just wanted to put some quotes in the demo because of its relevance to the time in my life when I wrote the lyrics.
What has been the most satisfying part of doing the band up to this point?
Joey: All the kind words our friends have said.
Kyle: Mike motivated me to start writing some lyrics. I am satisfied as fuck.
Mike: The most satisfying part is just having an outlet to vent about all my bullshit. Also, playing shows obviously. I love it.
If you could have people take away only ONE thing from listening to or seeing Like Bats, what would it be?
Mike: It would be that sense of comfort you get from sad songs when you're feeling down. You know what I'm talking about.
Kyle: That we're all single. Sup ladies?
What are your plans for the future?
Mike: We're doing a split with our friends Young Devilry and we're currently booking a ten day tour to the east coast in March, and we're also doing a 4-way split 7" with some other bands for this D.C. based label called Traffic Street Records. That's about it for now I think. Thanks for the interview and for putting our demo up!
Like Bats on Myspace
Update: The link for this was deleted when Mediafire erased my entire library. Since then Traffic Street Records has announced they will be re-releasing this demo/EP on cd with new artwork, etc. Out of respect for the label, I won't be re-upping this. Pre-Order the EP Here