ABOVE: BATTLE LINES
After playing their first shows outside of the U.K. last month at SXSW, Leeds-based Battle Lines are still riding high and hungry for more, with the release of their two-song 7-inch, Colonies, next on their agenda. Branding themselves as “dark cerebral pop,” the female-fronted four-piece, which formed in 2012, creates haunting soundscapes as the backdrop for Carly Humphries’ deeply emotive vocals.
We’re excited to premiere the band’s song “Push,” which bleeds with vulnerability. Humphries also took time to speak with us about how the song came together, playing the U.S. for the first time, and what she’s probably doing right now.
MELANIE GARDINER: “Push” sounds extremely personal. What sort of place were you coming from going into the song?
CARLY HUMPHRIES: It came out of an old relationship, specifically from our very first argument. It’s about when you invest so much time into somebody and you think it’s going somewhere, but then you kind of get pushed back a little bit and start questioning if it’s worth going ahead with.
GARDINER: What was the creative process behind turning those feelings into a song?
HUMPHRIES: Generally when we write, the sound comes together independently, and then my vocals and my lyrics come on afterwards. I try to write all of the time, obviously, but I’m not very good with words. Like if I have an argument with somebody, I’m not very good at articulating myself necessarily at the time, so I write in my book. I’ll use writing as an outlet, which helps with my songwriting, I guess.
The lyrics came straight off the argument by just trying to get it out of my system and then it evolved into the song we were writing at the time.
GARDINER: There’s an incredible amount of emotion in your voice. Is there an artist who has inspired you vocally?
HUMPHRIES: When I first started songwriting and singing, Portishead was a major influence. They’re my ultimate idols in that respect because they can just sing such simple lyrics that really convey emotion, so I have a lot of respect for that.
GARDINER: How was playing the States for the first time last month at SXSW?
HUMPHRIES: There were too many good things about it. It was like no other experience I’ve ever had before. We ate absolutely loads of things—you can’t avoid it. Even the airport smells of barbecue! We played the British Music Embassy and a showcase. There was a whole atmosphere of people being so supportive and there’s just an electric sort of feel to it. It was such a great experience. We had been so nervous, but it was really good.
GARDINER: With the 7-inch about to drop and plans to hit the road for a round of U.K. shows, what comes next?
HUMPHRIES: We are back in the studio in May. We’ve been in writing mode over the whole winter, trapped away in our studio up in York. We’re getting ready to record more and to put an LP and also to hit the road more. I just want to tour and play every single day. We’re very hungry at the moment—hungry for it all.
GARDINER: What’s one album everyone on the planet should own?
HUMPHRIES: I’m going to be a little off the wall with this one. I love the Fugees’ The Score album completely. I just think it’s exceptional from the moment it starts to the end. I can’t rap and I probably can’t relate to half the things they’re talking about, I just love it.
GARDINER: When you’re not working on music, what are you most likely doing?
HUMPHRIES: I’m very sociable. I’m actually in the process right now of throwing a party tonight so I’m currently decorating my living room with Mexican attire. So yeah—I’m probably partying, if I’m honest.
THE COLONIES 7-INCH IS OUT TODAY. TO DOWNLOAD A COPY AND FOR MORE ON BATTLE LINES, PLEASE VISIT THEIR WEBSITE.