Battle Cattle is a rollicking punky/ska band composed of three Frenchmen who have been shaking stages in China for the last six months.
They are getting ready to release their album Kenny’s Not Dead. Friday night at LOgO.
The cover charge is 30 RMB, which includes a CD.
The opening bands all come from Beijing, and the Jingweir Collective : Arm Trick, Lowbow, and Cloud Choir.
We caught up with the band to talk about a lot of stuff, including why they think Battle Cattle sounds like a “luxury prostitute.”
Here we go…
LAYABOZI: Tell us about the band members and the band’s origin.
Laurent: Alex is the guitarist and lead vocals.
Franck is the drummer.
I’m is the bassist and also I’m doing vocals.
All (come) from Paris suburbs.
On November 4th, 2010, at 11.49 pm, Alex posted an ad on the bonjourchine.com forum to do a ska band. I answered the ad and we started to jam and write some songs.
At the same time, we went to a lot of gigs. We were bored to see always the same bands. We really decided to do something when we saw a band-that-we-will-not-name-here 3 times in a week.
Shanghai needed us and was screaming for help!!! With Battle Cattle, we wanted also to prove that it is not a miracle to write more than 10 songs within a year and have them recorded.
The basic idea was to play 3 minutes songs, kick our elder brothers in the nuts, and run fast.
LYBZ: Where do you get the inspiration for the music and lyrics and who writes the songs?
L: Most of the songs are written from the jam we do at the beginning of each rehearsal. We keep the ideas we like, try to put them together.
Then, if Alex sings, he writes the lyrics. If I sing, I write my own lyrics.
One of the basic ideas of the band was also that everybody could shout what they want.
LYBZ: Are there any bands that have been super influential on Battle Cattle?
L: Tough one. We all have very different influences and listen to loads of bands. At first, bands like The Clash, The Specials, and Arctic Monkeys. Then, some people mentioned that we sounded like Franz Ferdinand, Gang of Four…
We do not try to mimic any band in general. It’s more a rip off of songs, according to what we are listening at the moment. I know I tried to rip off some Metronomy stuff on bass and McLusky on vocals.
The good thing is that it ends up completely differently than what these bands are doing.
LYBZ: If you could, please describe the Battle Cattle sound as a weapon?
L: Definitely not something light.
Maybe a weapon of Mass Destruction, the exact same ones they have in Iraq.
We would massively destruct people if we ever existed.
LYBZ: How did Yang Haisong (lead singer of PK14 and Beijing producer-extraordinaire) become involved in the project?
L: Qi Wei from Next Year’s Love told us he (Yang) was doing some recording and mixing aside from PK14. We sent him an email with our Douban link and he liked it.
LYBZ: Where was it recorded, mixed, and mastered?
L: We recorded at PK14’s rehearsal space, located in the east of Beijing, and then Haisong did the mixing.
Then we pissed him off many times (asking him) to twist buttons over and over again (imagine 3 weeks of twisting buttons if you can). He is a super cool guy and seemed to like it.
I did the mastering at home. It’s not really a mastering, but you know — apply some EQ, do some makeup and make the songs loud, but not too much. And, voila, mon ami!
LYBZ: What was the process of working with Yang like?
L: He is a super-easy guy to work with, and it went really smooth. It was fast, being set-up in two hours and then we started recording.
We had five days to record so we took our time, the first three days were intense, and we were all a little tired. Being locked up in a basement all day long is not good for your mental health.
The last two days were more relaxed and we just re-recorded some stuff we did not like.
LYBZ: Describe the Battle Cattle sound as an animal [Ed. Note: In hindsight, a silly question for a band with a group of animals in the title.]
L: Do I really have to answer this one? Uh…a cow?
No, seriously, we would be a luxury prostitute. There’s something for everyone in Battle Cattle but we are not so cheap.
LYBZ: What do you think is your place in the “Shanghai Scene”?
L: We try to be nowhere and we pretty much succeeded. We just wanted to shake things up a little, and enjoy ourselves.
LYBZ: Favorite place to play live in Shanghai?
L: LogO. Shitty sound, stage at ground level, definitely our favorite place.
LYBZ: Favorite place to practice?
L: Boneyard Studio: Clean, good sound system. The opposite of the places were we want to perform.
LYBZ: If Battle Cattle was a team of crime-fighting mutants, what would each member look like and what would his special power be?
L: Alex’s superpower would (be to) depress bad guys so much they would give up everything, including being bad guys.
I would control their mind and make them lock themselves in jails.
Franck would ganbei them until they passed out.
Oh wait; we already have these superpowers…
LYBZ: Are we sure Kenny’s not dead?
L: No, but we’ll see if he shows up Friday evening at LOgO. Normally, he should sing a song and wear a kilt. So if he does, he is alive, if not, he might be dead.
LYBZ: What’s in the future for Battle Cattle?
L: Nothing. We fight way too much to predict anything in the future. Our future is Decemeber 9th. Then it becomes very blurry. If we stop having fun, if it becomes too serious, we will not hesitate to push the “auto-destruct” button.
So the message is:
It’s only music.
Dance, shout very loud, and have fun.
Find more information about Battle Cattle on their Douban page.
Buy and listen to their album Kenny’s Not Dead on their Bandcamp page.
Find more information about the Jingweir Collective on their Douban page.
Find more information about Arm Trick on their Douban page.
Find more information about Lowbow on their Douban page.
Find more information about Cloud Choir on their Douban page.
Find more informatio about Next Year’s Love on their Douban page.
Find more information about PK14 on their Douban page.