BATRIDER aren’t a group that stay still for long. After forming in Wellington in 2002, the restless scuzz-rockers made the trip across the Tasman to settle in Melbourne and, three years ago, moved on to ol’ Blighty. While their two and a half years stationed in London allowed the band to tour Europe extensively without breaking the bank, frontwoman Sarah Mary Chadwick says that in her experience, the capital ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
“The London music scene seems pretty bullshit really,” she opines. “Competitive is a good word: there’s a feel that everyone wants to be on the cover of the NME. Not much originality at all, heaps of matching outfits. We found it nearly impossible to meet bands that were even vaguely on the same page as us, not only in terms of sound but in terms of attitude towards what they were doing.”
The move to England also saw the band lose guitarist Julia McFarlane (now of The Twerps) and later drummer Tara Wilcox, leaving Sarah the only remaining original member. While she admits they came close to calling time on the group, Batrider has managed to endure, now boasting one-time manager Sam Featherstone on bass and Steph Crase (of Adelaide’s Birth Glow and No Through Road) on drums.
“Even though there’s been three other people in the band over the years, I don’t think they would argue with me if I said that such a massive part of myself has gone into this band,” Sarah says. “I ended up feeling pretty attached to [Batrider] in that way. I put more of myself into it in different ways than what the others did, so fuck you guys, I want to keep going,” Sarah says jokingly.
“It can be quite a tough thing when people leave your band,” she continues. “It generally doesn’t happen amicably, but I feel like we’ve come out the other end. I really like the band as it is now and I’m on good terms with the other three who’ve left.”
Now back in Australia and based in Adelaide, Batrider are gearing up for a tour to belatedly launch their second LP Why We Can’t Be Together, recorded with the four piece lineup and released last year. They’ll also be touting the Bag Wine Forever 12” EP (a grab bag of unreleased tracks new and old) and a sneaky live recording from their US tour which comes packaged with a neat little book. But for how much longer they’ll remain on colonial soil, following the tour, remains to be seen.
“I feel like I haven’t got my travelling done yet,” says Sarah. “I’d like to have a more permanent base when we travel because I’m a bit sick of selling all my shit and buying all different versions of the same thing – it’s getting annoying.”
Batrider play The Phoenix on Sunday May 23 with Pets With Pets and Teddy Trouble. Entry is free.