Grampians Music Festival (GMF) returns to the rolling hills of Halls Gap from Friday 15 – Sunday 17 February for its third annual instalment. Nestled in the heart of Victoria’s picturesque Grampians Mountain Ranges the anticipated 2019 Festival bill includes the likes of Sampa The Great, Angie McMahon, Wafia, Slum Sociable and BATTS amongst others. BATTS is the project of Melbourne musician and space enthusiast Tanya Batt. Honing in on her sound over the past couple of years BATTS creates a blend of dream pop/folk and rock.
What is your name and role within BATTS?
I’m Tanya and I am BATTS I guess.
Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there?
I’m based in Melbourne, the music scene here is phenomenal. It’s a beautiful community and there is a hell of a lot of talented and inspiring humans here. I think Melbourne musicians genuinely care about helping each other. It’s a hard industry, so support towards one another is vital.
How did you first start playing music?
My Dad is a singer, I grew up watching him do the pub circuit around the UK. I still don’t think I’ve seen many people perform as well as my Dad did. His stage presence is something I think I learned a lot from. We are completely different artists who do completely different things but stage presence is stage presence and watching him throughout my childhood inspired me I think. Alas, I was tone-deaf until about 13 and didn’t really pick up a guitar or start music properly until I was about 18. I grew up acting instead.
How did Batts come about?
I used to have another project just under my name Tanya Batt and kind of fell into the electronic world for a short moment and during that I created BATTS. After a while, I realised that electronic music isn’t really my thing and I went back to writing everything on my guitar. That’s made me a lot happier.
You’re playing at the Grampians Music Festival ( Feb 15 – 17, 2019 ) how do you prepare for each live show?
I am! I’m very excited for this festival. We are actually playing Grampians sans one member so I’ll be reworking a few things which will be a lot of fun and super special. I’ll probably just get my band together for a couple of rehearsals.
Who else on the line up are you looking forward to seeing play?
This line up is incredible, so pretty much everyone. I have quite a few friends playing so I’m keen to see them. I can’t wait to see Angie McMahon and her band crush it! But yeah, Sampa The Great will be amazing. I also love Planet so that will be fun to watch, Jade Imagine (I’m a big fan, she is a badass), Body Type and pretty much everyone else to be honest. I’ll be at the stage the whole time trying to not lose my voice before I play.
Please tell us about why it’s important for you to play regional shows:
When I moved to Australia from the UK I was taken from a place full of music everywhere to a rural town called Warragul that had practically zero music scene apart from the occasional expensive gig at The Arts Centre there. For me, I think it’s so important to bring music to regional towns and create that awareness and entertainment, especially for the youth to be able to watch and hopefully see and then know that’s a path they can take. Also, music is just such an important part of a community, all should have access to it.
The Grampians Festival prides itself on equality of the lineups, please tell us about the importance of this to you:
I can tell, I was overjoyed when I got sent the line up and it was literally such a nice breath of fresh air. More festivals need to be like you. I think it’s just so important to give equal opportunity.
Your debut album is due out early 2019 and will be a concept album surrounding NASA’s Voyager mission launched in 1977, please tell us more about the concept and influences behind this album:
I can’t go into too much detail at this stage but basically, I am obsessed with the Voyager missions and the original idea was sparked when I heard the sound that was captured from when Voyager 1 crossed into interstellar space in 2012. I heard it again last year and all of a sudden my brain went into overdrive of working out how I could put Voyager’s mission throughout outer space into my album. I spoke to NASA a lot who helped introduce me to the right people to give me the materials to make this happen.
How do you usually go about writing music?
Hmm, I tend to just feel like it, so I’ll pick up my guitar, play and sing and make stuff up on the spot. If it sticks and a song falls out I tend to want to keep playing it and then I realise it’s something I like, then I’ll take it to my band and add those elements.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Angelo De Augustine, Sharon Van Etten, Foxwarren, Andy Shauf, David Bazan, Canary, Nightlands and Lucy Dacus are on constant repeat right now.
What do you have planned for 2019?
Well, the release of my debut album. I’m currently just finishing up all the artwork then we send it off for vinyl pressing. Then I guess it will be release time, and then touring it etc. I’m also playing Gumball Festival in April, which will be great, and I’ll be heading to the UK at some stage too. My main goal for 2019 though is to have more fun. Making an album, especially a concept album, was an extremely isolating experience for me in 2018. I’m not complaining, because I needed to do that to learn enough about the Voyager Mission and the songs etc to execute it the way I wanted to. But now I just get to coast a little and enjoy reading books that aren’t dense science books, which is what I spent most of last year doing haha. I’m sure there are plenty of other things planned too that I’ve chosen to forget about for now or I’ll get overwhelmed.
Grampians Music Festival 2019 – Friday 15 – Sunday 17 February
Tickets on sale now via: https://grampiansmusicfestival.com/tickets/