It seems that each chapter of BATRIDER’s career – ‘Career.’ Too gauche? ‘Journey’? Too drippy. ‘Lifespan’? No. Career, then – is punctuated by a record and a relocation. From their Wellington hometown, the band moved to Melbourne, on to London, then Adelaide and are now returning to Melbourne as they release a fourth album, Piles of Lies. The album features enough scuzzy guitars and snarled vocals to keep old fans happy, but on many tracks the trio takes a more restrained approach, playing around with subdued guitar textures and vocal harmonies. At a sprawling 16 tracks, the record covers as much sonic terrain as Batrider has covered actual terrain.
“I’m quite interested in what you gain and what you lose moving around, as opposed to people who stay in one place forever,” singer, songwriter and guitarist Sarah Chadwick says of the band’s travels. “I’m not sure which is better. My dad’s lived in the same little town in New Zealand for his whole life and he’s 75,” she continues. “I guess it just comes down to the person. I think it’s sad when you see people stuck in places and they don’t want to move because it’s too hard or the idea of it’s too overwhelming. That’s a shame, because in [the second] case they’d probably get quite a lot out of it.”
While Sarah says the members have never relocated specifically for Batrider, the band has always been a motivating factor in any shift. “When we moved from Wellington to Melbourne, we did it as a band but that was a move that all of us would have probably made independently anyway. It’s been good moving places with that as a purpose, rather than just moving and getting a job. Personally, I might have been too disorganised to do it for any other reason than the band.”
Indeed, Batrider has become something of an all-consuming passion for Sarah, who now stands as the band’s only remaining original member. “The older I get, it’s not like I start thinking I’d like to be a teacher or go back to uni,” she says. “I’m more and more happy doing it – and definitely for different reasons. When we started this band when we were 20, there were conversations hoping one day we’ll make lots of money and we’ll get famous and all that kind of carry on that you feel a bit embarrassed, a bit sad and a bit amused by when you’re a bit older. Even though the motivation for it has changed, I feel like it’s getting a bit more concentrated. More than then, I just want to do it because I really enjoy it and I don’t think I’m crap at it. If I had something else that I really wanted to do I wouldn’t [sacrifice] it for this band, but the band’s always been the most important thing.”
Batrider launches Piles of Lies at The Phoenix on Sunday August 21 with Per Purpose (Brisbane) and TV Colours. Doors open at 7pm, entry is $10.