Battery Cage

Quite a lot happened lately around Battery Cage, the EBM/industrial band from Boston. So much actually, that interviewer Ikecht hardly knew where to begin with his questions. There is news about three different albums being released and re-released on various labels. Time to clear some confusion, time to let founding member Tyler Newman inform us about the past and future of Battery Cage.

In 2004 you released World Wide Wasteland, an album that combines hard guitars with fast beats and a lot of beautiful surprises. How long have you been working on this album? Did all four current bandmembers contribute to this album?

The making of “WWW” took about three years, because during that time I was also involved with some other projects like Informatik, AEC, and some others. We weren’t signed to Metropolis yet, so it didn’t feel like there was really any pressure to finish. It just kind of rolled along until eventually it was completed. The writing of the songs was pretty much just handled by me, since there were some lineup changes during the recording stages. But in the end, everyone had contributed something to the final result!

How was the album received in both the US and Europe?

It seems like the press and radio DJ’s like it. No idea what the club DJ’s think, although I see some songs turning up on playlists occasionally. Europe has taken a little longer, there was a big delay between the US and European releases, so I think we’re just starting to see the impact in Europe now. I have to thank Metropolis for doing such a great job in the US, and Dependent for helping us so much in Europe!

What are your lyrics about?

Hmm. That’s a tough question! Overall, the lyrical direction on the “WWW” album concerns betrayal… both of the personal and political varieties! I was going through a lot of upheaval in my personal life, and at the same time, the world was going through a lot of changes. So, some of the songs are more political (‘Statemachine’, ‘Caged’) and some are much more personal (‘Anti-Angel’, ‘Ecstasy’). For the new record we’re working on now, I’ve moved away from any political direction and I’m focusing much more on emotional issues that anyone can relate to.

photo by Scott Lanes

The album was released on Metropolis, a great label. How do they support you thus far?

Working with Metropolis has been really great, they’ve been extremely helpful in getting our work out to the world. I’m hoping that things will continue in this direction on our future records as well! I’ve been able to play them some demo versions of stuff from our next record, and so far it’s all been very well received.

World Wide Wasteland was the first real full-length album Battery Cage released, it however was not the first full-length album you recorded. Product was already recorded in 1998. What went wrong? And why did you decide to remix/remaster it and release it right now after all?

Yeah, “Product” was a weird one. The record was recorded by a totally different band lineup, and doesn’t sound anything like “WWW”. As for what went wrong…well, we were really young (I think I was probably 22 when we finished that album, and I was the oldest person in the band), and had big egos and were doing a lot of drugs at that time. Not exactly a winning combination, you know? The other guys I was working with at that time basically decided that they didn’t want to work with me anymore, so I sort of stopped trying to do music for a while. After we did “WWW” with Metropolis, we thought it might be a good idea to reissue the “Product” album since a lot of people were beginning to ask about it. We had it remastered and it was a serious improvement over the original version, and the release has been doing great so far!!

Why did you release Product on your own label SolidGreySky, was Metropolis not interested?

They weren’t interested in doing a reissue, they only want the new stuff! It’s fine with me, they’re handling the distribution and all that, so it’s not impossible to think that it will be available on Metropolis itself someday…

Will this be the first and only release of SolidGreySky or is more to come from this label?

There will very likely be other things that we’ll release, but it’s too early to know exactly what. We’ve talked about doing a DVD release at some point, in a limited edition, but it’s hard to know until after this new record is finished. At the moment there are no plans, but you never know…

The two albums released thus far are very different from each other. Of course so was the line-up on both the albums and there was quite some time between the recording of both those releases. Can we expect the new album, for which you already are in the studio, to become more like one of those two albums, or will it again completely surprise us?

The new record, which is called “A Young Persons Guide To Heartbreak”, will be very different from both our other records. We’re big believers in always changing the sound…we don’t see a lot of point in rehashing the same record over and over again, too many other bands are already doing that. I think that it will be recognizeable as a Battery Cage record, but it will definitely be different. So far the tempos are much slower, and there’s a lot more guitars…an overall more organic feel. I must say that with this new band lineup, I definitely feel like we’re doing our strongest material to date, and I feel really good about the direction this record is going.

Battery Cage - photo by Scott Lanes

Battery Cage has built quite a good live-reputation in the US, being a live-band instead of a project of people behind laptops. To this you also add your own made videos, you design your own lightshow, one can say live-shows get a lot of attention indeed. Is there any chance the European fans will see you live sometime soon?

We’ve always been heavily focused on the live show, definitely! We’re planning a US tour for the fall with Stromkern, so that should be pretty interesting and a good chance to cover parts of the country we haven’t been able to so far. As for Europe, obviously it’s on our minds, it’s a question of how well the record will do over there and whether or not people really want to see us come over there. It’s unfortunately quite expensive to do that, but we have our feelers out to try and figure out if it’s going to be possible.

You are also working on quite some other projects, remixing artists, but also AEC, Informatik and I’m probably missing out on some projects. Which of these projects is most important to you?

Battery Cage is definitely my main project, always. Every moment of my day, every day, is spent thinking about Battery Cage related activities. The other projects and remixes are nice to do, because it gives me a chance to work with different people, and try different things that I can’t do within the structure of Battery Cage, but they’re side-projects, not the main one.

Finally can you tip us on some new or too little known bands that we should check?

Sure. Of my contemporaries, I’d recommend checking out Stromkern (of course), Infrastructure, Grenadier, Iris, and Ctrl. Bands outside the “scene” that I like include Monolake, Sigur Ros, Lycia, Joy Division, the list could go on forever…just keep an open mind, and an open ear, that’s what’s most important!!