THE BATTERY FARM.

11 10 2019

 

TBF

 

Manchester, Manchester. The greatest city in the world. A city that feels like home; it’s just the best. There are so many bands to have come from this beautiful city that I get to call home, and there a wealth of new bands emerging that, in time, will be regarded as highly as those before them.

 A band that most certainly demand your attention are The Battery Farm. They have a new single out in a couple of weeks, and this single’s subject matter is mental health. It is about lead singer, Ben’s struggle with his own mental health issues and this stigma that surrounds masculinity and speaking up about mental health. More than ever, we are embracing opening up- bands like IDLES are so encouraging with regards to speaking up. Then again, what kind of dickhead would want someone to shut up about it? Yesterday was World Mental Health Day, but that doesn’t mean that we stop talking or stop checking up on friends. We all have our own struggles; I’m open about mine but of course, hypocritically, I wish I wasn’t. I’m doing my best to write more about music, so I don’t have to “deal” with the two deaths I experienced so close to each other. One I can handle, but losing my Gran? I’ll never get a grip on that. Anyway, personal rant aside- let’s talk about music.

The Battery Farm consist of two brothers and two pals (the brothers are pals too obviously!) These 4 lads are making the kind of noisy Punk that makes you want to do something positive as well as trashing your room. They are a band to be hugely proud of, and not just because they are talking about things we tend to shy away from. They’ve been getting a fair bit of exposure, and I’ll post tour dates at the end. But what we need to discuss is their style and how they are such a bold, and vital band.

 

 

 Their debut single, 97/91 came out a couple of months ago. It’s got that beautiful heavy sound that is in bands like IDLES, The Murder Capital and Fontaines D.C. They aren’t afraid to have this openness and darkness in their sound, and I love it. I absolutely love this song. I love how you can feel every ounce of passion in Ben’s voice, and how the band just play with this infectious fury that just spurs you on. You cannot help but feel every single word- some people sing from their heart, some sing from their gut. Ben definitely sings from his gut, and that’s where this urgency is coming from. There is so much weight to their sound, and I love the dark tones and how they really are a fearless band. Their songs could easily be in some creepy Thriller film, or it could come to you in your dreams. It is frantic in the best way possible. I’d say I cannot praise this band enough, but I probably can. And will.

 Their songs are perfect for venues like our beloved Soup Kitchen, The Castle etc. but they could so very easily be blasted out in stadiums with every single person screaming along. Imagine that? Imagine everyone yelling the words to 97/91. It is such a powerful song, and although I know I should be going back to their new one, I Am A Man; this song has a ferocious grip on my ears. In fact, both songs do. So, let’s move on.

I Am A Man is a totally different sound to 97/91, and it works so well. Their new single as mentioned, is about Ben’s own struggles. It is so easy to relate to these lyrics; “I wanna talk but I don’t know how” is such a simple line, but it holds so much. It’s the way it is chanted by the band, and how it just completely sums up the whole stigma around mental health. Many do want to talk, and they have no idea where to start or even where to go. With just 2 songs, The Battery Farm have made a vital impact- and with I Am A Man the beautiful Mancunian snarl just nails it. The sheer honesty and openness in this aren’t fragile at all- it is brave. I’m aware that calling someone brave can sometimes be condescending but it is said here with the utmost respect. They just make you connect with them in ways bands that have been around for decades haven’t done yet. The words are sheer poetry, and they are merged with the most brutal drums, bass and guitar imaginable. It works so well and you cannot help but smack repeat on it. The lyrics become a mantra- we need more bands like this.

 

 

 

 

The Battery Farm have described their sound as, “frantic, visceral and violent.” It’s a pretty spot on description- but don’t let the violent part put you off. In this instance, that violent sound comes from daily frustrations and just wanting to change something, anything. It’s the vital force of their sound that makes you feel like you are pushing yourself through a wall of people to be heard. It’s a struggle, but you’ll get there.

 As someone who is obsessed with lyrics, I really love how The Battery Farm are so open to sharing their thoughts and what they see. They are showing us their world, their reality and the thing is- it’s like a lot of ours. Their songs are relatable, and if the lyrics make you feel uncomfortable- then they are doing it right, they are getting through. Their passion and dedication is something to truly admire, and with just 2 songs they have left me in awe. I really cannot praise them highly enough. Not just for touching on delicate subjects, but for being unafraid in doing so and for creating such a beautiful, and heavy sound. Hopefully they will be a band that, in the future, others are citing as them as their influence. 

 Here are some of their upcoming shows:

8th November 2019 – The Peer Hat, Manchester for Abattoir Blues Records

21st November 2019 – Werkhaus, London

1st December 2019 – Fab Café (acoustic)

7th December 2019 – Eagle Inn, Salford

28th December 2019 – Sound, Liverpool

22nd February 2020 – The Peer Hat, Manchester for Deco Records

18th April 2020 – Ulltra Festival, Hull

I Am A Man is released on 24th October.

*Photo by Gemma Corry

 





…vs My Brain

9 05 2017

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With it being Mental Health Awareness Week, I guess now is a good a time as any to ramble on about my past year. In fact, it was probably longer than a year- I just put off dealing with whatever my brain was telling me, and not telling me.

Last October I think I pretty much had my very own breakdown. It was at 2/3am. I remember sitting on my bed in some weird position crying, having a panic attack after panic attack. I was at war with my head. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t switch off. Nothing maintained my attention. I was starting to worry about myself. Prior, I just didn’t care. I went to the doctor and after a few minutes I was told to do a self-referral for treatment. I put this off for a few weeks, then stopped being a stubborn dick and did it.

Now I care more than I did. I went to the doctor a second time earlier this year, as my referral for CBT was going to be some time- the second stage of it. I made no improvements with the first lot. Labelled as having severe anxiety and mild depression. Labels are for foodstuffs- I’m not for consumption. Things shouldn’t define a person, just like their actions always shouldn’t. In this case, I wasn’t going to let this be something that ruled who I was and my life- enough was enough. I went to my doctor. She looked at me and asked how she could help. I cried. I broke down like a child and cried. I said “I can’t cope.” Finally admitting to myself that I couldn’t hack whatever was going on in my head.

As someone who can’t take paracetamol without assuming the worse, I had to resign myself to the fact that at this stage- I probably needed something other than talking. I agreed to take medication. Since starting the medication in late February, I am pretty sure that every side effect I had (I had them all) has been worth it. I’d rather have continuous dry mouth than have another fucking panic attack. The side effects have virtually gone. I do have days where I get this really bad pain in my stomach or the occasional headache, but I’d take that over how I was and what I was putting myself through. Or rather, what my brain was putting me through. I had my assessment for my second stage of CBT. I was being asked questions that weren’t relevant and being asked to focus on things that I really don’t need to. I felt as if I had to say what they wanted, and I didn’t want to be made to bring things up that don’t need to be. So I discharged myself. I decided rather than waste their time (and mine) I would give up my place for someone else who needs it more than me. I tried, and for me, that’s the main thing. But it just wasn’t for me.

Everyone bangs on about it, but support is key. I’ve got a handful of people that I know have my back and are there for me. Just like I am there for them. It also helps having a girlfriend who has a similar shit sleeping pattern so I have someone at 1am when I can’t sleep and everything seems too much. She’s my rock, and I try my hardest to be hers.

Music has been a massive help for me. We went to see Banks in March, and for me I think that was the point where I solidly felt okay. At one point going to gigs was just overwhelming. Going to work was overwhelming. Not because I hate my job or anything like that- far from it. But the effort of having to get out of bed and the overwhelming feeling of being on a packed train. My brain was slowly failing me. Or maybe I was failing myself for not taking better care. Music has been my other rock. Certain songs (which I’ll link below) have played a massive part in my brain healing and keeping me calm. I go the gym during the week after work to allow myself to take care of my body as well as my mind.

My bad days now don’t feel near as half as bad as they once were. I don’t have to fake being alright because I genuinely feel just fine at the moment. I’m not thinking long-term because that shit is scary. If I can get through one day without feeling terrible, I’m fine. My last panic attack was on the 2nd March. It’s been two months. I still feel a little shitty at times and certain things at the moment are fucking tough but, you can’t control everything.

I am not brave, I am not tough. All I did was reach breaking point. All I did was let myself get worse before I realised something needed to be done.

I’m alright. I’m happy with that. I’m alright.