Battlewülf: The Wavelength Interview

Purveyors of: Gnarly lo-fi riot grrl with some poppy surf bounce.
File Next To: Bikini Kill, Best Coast, Mudhoney, Bad Brains and Ty Segall.
Playing: May 15 @ Handlebar

Battlewülf is a lo-fi surf punk band started near the beginning of 2014, by vocalist and guitarist Jasmine La Grande Sauterelle, and taking its final shape with Jesse (who goes by Jersee Bollongs on their release) on bass and Kyle Tayler on drums and vocals. The band hails from the Kitchener-Waterloo-Guelph area and has an EP entitled Just Do What You Do & Never Look Around the Others, which features the songs “Captcha” and the infectiously catchy “I Don’t Wanna Touch your Dick.”

So, let’s start this off with some broad question… What would you say your main influences are for the band?

Well none of the songs sound that similar to each other, because they were all inspired by different things. Around the time I was writing most of the songs we play now, I had been listening to a lot of Best Coast, Rites of Spring and Tera Melos, and been messing around with some chill jazz chord grooves. The guitar solos are all J Mascis inspired riffs though. For sure.

How does the songwriting usually go down, do you just jam something out together and then lay down some vocals?

I usually have a skeleton of a song with the lyrics down and we kind of jam through the verses and choruses until we come up with something that feels right. All of them end up with the same song structure though. It’s a good formula!

What’s the future look like for you guys? Your two-song EP got a bit of success with “I Don’t Wanna Touch Your Dick” landing on a compilation. Do you have another EP planned?

We’re definitely going to be getting some recording done this summer! I was gone all last summer working on an organic farm up north and during the school year I’m an absolute disaster, so recording hasn’t happened yet. But we’re constantly getting inquiries about our music and the li’l EP is getting old now. We’re hoping, at the very least, to put out a 7″ with KW’s local darlings, Lifestyle Sub.

Let’s talk about the umlaut, why did you guys decided to include it? Did you want a connection to Motörhead, The Accüsed, or Mötley Crüe? Or did you just like the way it looks back at you? (Please tell me you guys have seen This Is Spinal Tap.)

HAHAHAHA yes Spinal Tap! I guess it was inspired in the same vein as that movie, very tongue-in-cheek, very “how ridiculous can we make this?” I feel like it makes our band name sound heavy, very black metal but then the music we play is nothing like that. Someone once told us the umlaut was commercial suicide, so I guess that’s why we haven’t been scouted for any car commercials yet.

5I have to be honest, I don’t know anything about the Kitchener-Waterloo-Guelph scene (except for a band called Boar), what’s the music scene like there? Is there enough of a scene there to support your band?

Boar is sick!!! My cousin Micah plays in that band and he’s probably the dopest punk in all of southern Ontario. KW and Guelph have very different musical spheres going on, but they’re also very supportive of each other’s scenes, putting on shows for each other and helping to promote. What amazed me about Guelph after moving there was that considering how small the population is, there is such a demand for shows. They are incredibly passionate about celebrating art/music/culture and their festival scene is a great reflection of that.

So how did the band form? Did you all just go to school together?

I had been playing accordion, guitar and doing back-up vocals for various projects with my ex-husband/partner Andy at the time and I reached a point where I wanted to write and perform my own material. He was doing this folk-punk thing that was really out there but really sweet at the same time and I just wanted to shred and yell about stuff! Initially Andy played the drums and we got Jesse to play bass because the stuff I was writing was right up his alley and we had both known him for years through the punk scene in KW. I moved to Guelph, me and Andy’s relationship dissolved in the most acidic way possible, so we disbanded for a while before we got Kevin to drum and now Kyle is here bringing joy, smiles and killer beats to our sets!

How did you go about recording your material? Were you able to record it from home, or did you go into a studio?

Our recordings were made in the basement of the house/venue Andy and Jesse lived in, Indigo Plateau. Andy had a condenser mic and we just used GarageBand on my Mac to throw something together. It happened pretty organically, I had no idea what I was doing but it turned out okay considering!

Also, do you want your band to get bigger? Or is this just some fun to blow off stream?

It would be fun if it got bigger. I have a lot of ideas for other multi-media projects I’d like to incorporate into Battlewülf. But just having something that you do for the love of it is rewarding enough. It doesn’t feel like an obligation and it’s really liberating in that sense. I fantasize about Drake being as big a fan of us as I am of him but these are only dreams and our reality is a pretty sweet one as is.

— Interview by Kristian Johnson