News: Charged GBH – Grievous Battery Harm – Lords Of The Flies

The Battery Farm are a gutter punk band from Manchester. They are one of, it not the most hard working band on the North West scene over the last couple of years. Even a Global Pandemic has done little to hinder their progress. Now with Lockdown a distant memory and the live music handbrake fully disengaged, they are about to enter a very important phase in their careers. Formed in 2019, out of the debris of brothers Ben and Dom Corry’s previous band, with bassist Paul Worrall and drummer Sam Parkinson holding down the rhythm section, they have developed into one of the most exciting and guttural live experiences around.

We first met back in 2020, on a cold fire escape in Withington before headlining a Deco Records gig at Fuel Bar. It was a memorable encounter as Brexit had just happened and the Gang of Four’s Andy Gill had just died earlier that day, possibly the first Covid-19 attributed death in the UK, having gotten ill after a recent trip to China. I was struck by how passionate these two brothers were and intrigued by their story. How they’d been influenced by listening to their Gran’s vinyl collection on a Sunday night.

The Battery Farm – Pic Credit: Andi Callen Photography – All Rights Reserved

It’s interesting times for the boys and I caught up with Ben and Dom a few months back to discuss their plans and what they’d been up to since we last spoke,

Exciting times for the band. Now signed to Rare Vitamin Records. How long has that been in the background?

Ben: I first got in touch [with Rare Vitamin], probably February or March this year. Basically, I was canvassing and we always knew that we wanted to release this [album] through a record label. [Laughs] there was no interest in us, so I approached a few labels. We had some really good discussions with people like Louder Than War and a couple of others as well but ultimately went with Rare Vitamin or rather they went with us, I think is probably the right way round. Obviously, we’d talked to Jay before, when they put us on the Great Diversion gig, but we spoke to them about the possibility of putting a record out, which has ultimately led to the album.

And there is album to come as well?

Ben: As you know, this has been a long time coming. We’ve been planning this since before Dirty Den’s March of Suffering came out, not necessarily the whole formed idea but we knew where we wanted to go.

As anyone who listens to me will testify to, I’ve said on many occasion that I don’t know of any other band, certainly in the North West scene, who has worked harder than The Battery Farm in the last year or so and it’s well deserved. There’s a lot of bands who 2 years ago were at a similar level as you, who should really be looking at themselves and ask why they haven’t kicked on in the same way.

Ben: Yeah, I’ve certainly seen that.

A lot of bands seem to have used the pandemic to lick their wounds or reach some kind of stasis, but bands like you seem to have said “fuck it, let’s crack on. There can’t be many bands who have written as many songs as you have in the last 2 years. Some bands have come back, played a couple of gigs but it’s still the same set from before lockdown.

Ben: It is what it is I guess. Perhaps we’re a little more driven.

Dom: For me and Ben I think it stems back to when we first started in our first band and it just went to shit. This time we just thought if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it properly, we’re just going to keep going and I think that [work] ethic has gone right through (the band].

Ben: ‘cos for the first 8 years, I certainly think that’s where it comes from, we need to do it, it just drives us. We love it and we’ve got so much to say and express but also we made so many mistakes in that first band, we were just kids who didn’t have any idea what we were doing and we’ve just used that experience and learned from it. I’m not saying that we’re big shot successes or anything, very far from it but at the same time this is easily the most successful I’ve been involved in. Make no bones about it, it’s down to the amount of work we’ve all put in and the work we’ve put in is a result of the scars [laughing] we’ve got [Dom and I], for want of a better phrase, from the mistakes and idiocy we rendered on ourselves over the years. It’s nice to hear you say that about us and it’s much appreciated.

That’s something that has imprinted on me I think, since that first interview on a freezing cold fire escape in Withington!! You were never going to fail due to lack of purpose! I can always rely on The Battery Farm to release interesting music. I remember the first time I heard “Crude Oil Water” and thinking WTF! What is that guitar sound? I couldn’t even begin to work out where that sound could have come from, it sounded like Dom had put his guitar in a blender! I’ve said this to you a couple of times Ben, but it’s probably the first time Dom will have heard it, but I think he’s one of the most innovative guitarists I’ve seen in a long time, certainly in the North West scene. Not to swell his head anymore but also who else can rock a cardigan like him, and long may it last!

So know you’re signed to RV, does that mean they own your back catalogue and we’ll see those older songs re-released sometime?

Ben: No, the deal we’ve got with them means we retain ownership of everything, so we can do whatever we want with them. Ultimate freedom with the bonus of that little boost of the extra promo, the extra contacts, physical release on CD and cassette and they’re looking at putting out a vinyl [album] release. It’s been a really big boost for us and it’s exactly what we wanted. It gives us access to a bigger platform, to a wider audience if you like.

There’s a bit of a groundswell at the moment with this return to analogue, we’ve had it with vinyl but now we’re seeing bands releasing cassettes. I guess people are scouring second hand shops to find old tape players. My car doesn’t even have a CD player now, it’s all Bluetooth and streaming.

Ben: That’s what I remember from being a kid, listening to tapes in cars, Cassette players, ashtrays and those weird yellow steering locks..

They’re making a comeback too!

Ben: Paul [Worrall] our bass player just got one after his car was broken into outside our rehearsal studio. Retro back in fashion. First time I’ve seen one in 20 years.

………burning your legs on hot vinyl seats in the summer?

Ben: We’re not as old as you so don’t remember that! [thanks Ben!!] I’ve never owned a cassette in my life.

So how was your first Strummer Camp?

Dom: Basically, there’s been 3 or 4 gigs that stand out in my mind as being ones that have been influential for me, really successful ones like the three before Strummer Camp, the EP release at Gullivers, the first Peer Hat one, the one with Evil Blizzard, full exciting gigs. Strummer Camp was amazing. I’d not experience anything like that since first band days when I was teenager. When we first turned up [to the tent] there was no one there, and we’re like “oh, what we gonna do” so we just did what we usually do and by the end of the set, it sort of felt like we’d hypnotised people and got them on our side. I thought it was going to be shit and nobody could be arsed but it slowly built and by the end everyone seemed to be in this weird little gig universe, having a good time and listening to this weird music.

Ben: Tranced out almost! I was speaking to Phil [Fitzpatrick – festival organiser] who said they only just broke even on it, which is a reflection of what’s going on in the wider world of music at the moment. So it was a bit quieter than we were expecting [at first], we no fucker in the tent but as Dom said it grew after the first song with an influx of people. We had a really good time. It’s a lovely festival, we went back the 2nd day to see Men They Couldn’t Hang and Evil Blizzard, and Pete from Blizzard got me up on stage with them during Red Box. It was brilliant. Wonderful atmosphere and beautiful people. If we don’t get asked to play again next year, I’ll definitely be going as a punter and camp over!

Benjamin Corry – The Battery Farm
Pic Credit: Andi Callen Photography All Rights Reserved

And of course you’re supporting Evil Blizzard at Gorilla on 16th December, that should be a great night!

Ben: Yes, playing Gorilla is on my bucket list. Always wanted to play there! We’ve seen so many bands we love play there [Glasvegas, Dream Wife] it’s gonna be a biggun. Me and Dom first came across them supporting Sleaford Mods at Club Academy [turns out all 3 of us were there!] I walked in 2 songs into the set and it was like walking into a nightmare and I’ve been pretty much obsessed with them ever since, so it’ll be a privilege to share a stage with them again.

But before that you have the release of your debut LP. What can you tell me about it?

Ben: It’s called Flies and is released on 18th November

Dom: [Laughing] There’s a buzz in the air maybe!

Well it ties in nicely with “Maggot Line” [a previous single]!

Ben: Yes, I suppose it does!

Dom: Do you know what Andi, that’s a really interesting point because one of the key concepts is the past, being left to decay and going back to it, so there we go. The maggots have turned into flies these days!

Ben: Yes, its an album about decay, about societal decay, about societal break down, planetary break down….

Dom: Human breakdown….

Ben: ….human break down, in a sort of mental and physical sense, about the cacophony of noise that we’re subjected to and how we deal with it. That feeling that the world is shouting at you all the time. We’re trying to articulate someway through that.

So, no ballads then?

Dom: There might be…

Ben: …you could be surprised! I’m really excited, we’ve structured in such a way that there’s 3 title tracks. It has a poem I’ve written, called “Flies”, but different variations of it set to different tracks and the whole album pivots around them. There’s one to signal the beginning, middle and end. The whole album is almost thematically, but certainly musically structured around these three tracks. So there’s going to be some old stuff on there as well, that we’ve re-recorded. Three of the first four singles we’ve released.

Dom: Crude Oil Water might sound a bit more terrifying than it first did!

Ok, I’ll make sure I’m wearing my brown trousers when I listen!!

Dominic Corry – The Battery Farm
Pic Credit: Andi Callen Photography All Rights Reserved

Ben: We’ve been struck by how much heavier these re-records are. How much more visceral and gnarly they sound, especially as Dom says Crude Oil Water, it’s a whole different beast. It’s tighter, my vocals are better, more powerful, nastier, weirder, more disconcerting.

Dom: It’s where one of the themes for this record comes from. When we recorded it I plugged into the wrong pick up on my guitar, which is the acoustic pick up, which made it sound more like disgusting. I was saying to Ben, it’s like if we left that song to just like, fester and decay for 3 years and went back to it, that’s what it sounded like now, there’s gangrene on it, there’s moss on it. That’s what it sounds like. I was like “wooah, how have I just come up with that because I plugged into the wrong pick up.

Like many bands I’ve been lucky enough to befriend in the last couple of years, I could talk to The Battery Farm forever and still only scratch the surface. However, there’s always a point where leaving them wanting more, is the perfect place to end, and so we do.

Since this interview, there have been more exciting developments for the band, not least of all announcing that they are performing at Rebellion Festival next year, when I’m sure they’ll make loads of new fans and deservedly so.

They play a sold out Album Launch at 33 Oldham Street, Manchester on Saturday 19th November, the day after Flies is released on Rare Vitamin Records.

You can pre-order Flies here

They also support the incredible Evil Blizzard at Gorilla on 16th December. Tickets here

And if you’re looking for a post-Xmas palate cleanser before New Year’s festivities, then you can catch them for free, along with The Pagans SOH, Cassette Apes and Hazel’s Maze at The Salty Dog, Northwich, as part of Rare Vitamin Records Christmas Diversion.

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