BatAAr are back in Sweden after a tour in Japan. They’re starting to make a name for themselves overseas with their unique music style ”Art Metal”. This year they will be releasing a mini-album. -”MEMORIA” is simply put, like a recollection of memories, Patrik says.
Photo: Emelie Lager
Your music sounds quite different from what I’ve heard before within the metal scene. How have you come to develop your sound and what kind of reactions do you get to the music you play?
Patrik: The evolution of our sound has happened over a very long time as BatAAr, in its earliest state as a bunch of jamming high school-buddies, started from the very beginning without any knowledge about what we were doing. Since then a few members have come and gone, until we became the current line-up. That’s when we decided that music really is what we live for. When we perform for people who have never heard us before in Sweden they become shocked over our image and all the genres we jump between in our music, and when we are performing in Japan, people get surprised over how heavy we can actually be.
Simon: We call our musical style ”Art Metal”. Art Metal is about conveying feelings from a holistic perspective! Everything counts, nothing is done without being given a thought and our urge to always be a step ahead shines through in every detail. Art is always going to be a term that is open for interpretation and creates controversy, just like our music, our style and even the meaning behind the name BatAAr. You will never hear something outdone or outdated from us. That’s for sure!
I really enjoy you style and you look damn good in the music video for your single ”THE DISTANCE” which has gotten over 35 000 views on YouTube. I read something about the ”visual kei” style in the comments. What is that and do you agree that you have influences from that style?
Patrik: "Visual kei" is a phenomenon from Japan where bands put as much focus on their image as they do on their music to create a unified overall impression. It’s been around in Sweden for some time but recently received mainstream attention thanks to the Eurovision Song Contest and Yohio. Visual kei came around at the start of the 80's as a kind of rebellion against society and gave bands a chance to express themselves in more ways than just through their music. Of course there’s a downside to this, which is that many bands get way too much credit just for how they look. We’re starting to see a trend like this in Sweden as well.
There are definitely influences of visual kei in what we do since we have at least two members in the band who adore Japanese music and aesthetics, but it’s not some kind of primary focus, it’s just a part of the whole concept, which is Art Metal. The visual aspect is very important to us, but our music will always come first in every situation. You can say that the aspects of visual kei presented in BatAAr are the original, rebellious ones, those that strive to be something different, and to express themselves in more ways than just through the music!
Where is your biggest fanbase?
Seb: Great question. It feels like we get the most support from countries in South America. They’re very passionated over there, closely followed by Japan and Central Europe, like Germany and France!
Patrik: Sometimes it feels like people here in Sweden aren’t ready for what we’re doing yet. Here you enjoy genre labels and bands that sound the same on every record and steal all their riffs from At the Gates. The younger generation seems a lot more open to fresh ideas though, and it just keeps growing.
From what I’ve understood you’ve recently returned from a tour in Japan. Could you tell us about your reception over there? What was your greatest memory from the trip?
Patrik: The reception in Japan was fantastic. Everything is on a whole ’nother level, and everyone has another mentality than in Sweden when it comes to arranging lives. If a crisis were to appear at a show in Sweden, sound tech guys usually react with a shrug and a ”It’ll be all right”. In Japan however, they’re very careful with details and do everything in their power to make sure you get what you want, no matter what level you’re playing at.
Tobias: A lot of fans came out to our shows. The kind that knows all of our lyrics even though they don’t understand the language or what we’re singing about, who gave us expensive gifts after the show and started crying because we took photos together and so on… It really boosted our confidence.
Jake: The fact that we were able to go to lots of cool parties and hang out with musicians that are legends over there was incredible to me, because I love Japan so much together with Patrik. Too bad not a lot of people in Sweden know who all these people are! (Laughs)
Seb: My best memory from Japan besides the shows and the people we met, was the food! There was a place that serves ramen (Japanese noodle soup) that we became regulars at! Extremely tasty!
Simon: We all have great memories of Japan. But I believe I’ll cherish meeting the fans the most, along with other artists both known and unknown, that we had the honor of meeting. The regular stuff like restaurants, nightlife and all the laughter too!
What does creating music mean to you? What drives you? What inspires you to write good music?
Patrik: I compose the majority of the music, with input from all the other members. We’re inspired by pretty much everything. Our own experiences, feelings, bands we enjoy, things we don’t enjoy. Vi all have a huge urge to express what’s inside of us.
Simon: Sometimes it’s the pursuit for making something better than the norm. Usually it’s just getting a hunch that we need to take our sound in a certain direction. After that we sit down and modify the basics of a song and put our personal touches upon it as well as we can! This usually results in songs that breathe ”5 separate souls” in every beat.
Patrik: Vi prioritize diversity, things we haven’t done before and sticking out, rather than playing it safe, when we tackle new material.
Who writes the lyrics? What are they about?
Seb: When it comes to writing the lyrics I do most of it. For some songs I ask about input from Simon or Patrik to see that my vision matches how they saw that the song and vocals would come together when they wrote the music. We always start with our own feelings and experiences, but we want to leave our lyrics open for interpretation. It’s always a blast and really interesting when fans tell you they perceive a lyric in an entirely different way from how you did when you wrote it.
What are you working on right now?
Tobias: We just recorded a new music video which will be followed up by another single. This is something that will be officially revealed shortly. After that single we will release our anticipated mini-album ”MEMORIA” that we’ve been working on for a very long time! We’re also working on another, VERY top secret project that most people will explode from when they find out. Sadly, we’re not allowed to say anything more about it right now.
Simon: You could say we’re in full-on production mode right now. The BatAAr Factory is set to produce material to show our different sides even more.
Could you tell us something more about the new music video you just recorded? Is it a secret or are there any hints you can give us so we’ll know what to expect?
Patrik: If you’re familiar with our latest music video ”THE DISTANCE”, I’d like to point out that the new one is going to be the complete opposite. I think, and hope that people will get a shock from both the sound and look that the new song and music video have.
Will you keep producing your own music videos in the future?
Simon: I’m actually the one responsible for a lot of the production. Everything from directing to editing and so on. It’s something I feel that I just keep improving on, and we’re already in the planning stages for yet another music video, so yes, it’s definitely something we are comfortable with doing!
Photo: Emelie Lager
If you could describe yourselves with three words each, what would it be?
Seb: Creative, ambitious, purposeful.
Patrik: Stylish, honest and intense.
Simon: Trendsetters, controversial, thought-out.
Jake: Powerful, energetic, persistent.
Tobias: Unique, superlative, immortal.
Any plans to sign to any record label?
Seb: We’ve managed ourselves quite well so far, and of course we’re listening to offers of eventual partnerships. When there’s an offer that speaks to us enough there would be no reason to decline.
Simon: We’ve already managed to do a lot of things on a level that both equals and surpasses the quality of things that a lot of signed bands do. If anyone feels like they want to help BatAAr reach even higher, we’re listening.
Any plans to release an album?
Simon: We have a mini-album fully mastered and ready. It’s waiting for release which will be sometime this year when we feel that the time is right. It’s a culmination of everything we’ve been doing since we decided to focus on music wholeheartedly.
Patrik: The title of the mini album, ”MEMORIA”, reflects that this is a collection of the absolute best stuff we’ve done. There’s for example a song on the mini-album that we’ve actively worked on refining for 5 years. "MEMORIA" is like a collection of memories, simply put. We can’t really say anything about the album artwork yet, but I believe that those who are hardcore BatAAr fans will get a nice shock when we reveal it and they also get to find out who worked on it for us.
BANDFACTS – BatAAr
Seb – Vocals
Patrik – Guitar
Simon – Guitar
Jake – Bass
Tobias – Drums