Recommended gig

Sion Russell Jones, Brigyn & Little Arrow at St John's Church, Canton, Cardiff on Saturday 10th November 7.30pm. Tickets available from:

Battle of Land and Sea

Battle of Land and Sea from Portland, Oregon, first emerged last year with their excellent debut album and have since toured with Jacob Golden. Their song ‘six days’ was one of our tracks of 2008 so we thought now would be a good time to catch up with them.

Can you give us a run down of how you both got together to form/partnership?

We’re married, so I’ll leave that to the imagination.

Where did the band name come from?

Someone else was looking for a band name and I was trying to come up with a great name that was epic and had a story within it.  They didn’t use it, so about six months later when I needed a name to record under, I used it and it became my muse for the record.

What would you say were the main influences on the bands music?

Sonically, I’d say space and patience. I wanted a sound that was patient and not about everyone playing their instrument all the time.  Since we are a duo, that wasn’t a terribly big problem.  I think sparse and patient is a beautiful sound. 

You began by doing your own sleeves and a general DIY ethic. Has signing to a record label changed things much? What are the pros and cons of being signed?

Being on a label hasn’t changed that,  for the next record we’ll have some handmade items as a limited edition run.  We’re signed to a label run by one person, so it’s very self contained and hands on.  Being on a label has been great, you have someone out there championing you, drumming up opportunities that wouldn’t be there without it.  The pros and cons aren’t relevant, because we’re on an indie label were we aren’t part of a huge corporate machine.  Our voices are heard and on our terms.

The album was produced by Jacob Golden. How did that come about? What was his approach to producing the album? 

See answer #1.  We recorded the album in our home, which is such a great way to record an album.  At that point, I was very unfamiliar with a pleasant recording process and he really new how to capture my voice and get me to perform.  We recorded it quite quickly, I played guitar and sang at the same time without a click, some songs we used the first take, some it took a few days of coming back to them till it felt right.  After the main vocal and guitars were recorded, the lead guitar was added and we did background vocals and group vocals.  He has a very meticulous, yet relaxed approch.

Six days is one of my favourite tracks on the album. What’s that song about? It mentions revenge songs so is it about Jacob?

Bravo to you for being the first to mention that!  Yes, it is.  I wrote that song after Jacob had left to Portland to record Revenge Songs for 2 weeks.  It was literally six days after he had left and that was the first or second song that I wrote for the record, I Built The Sea was the other I wrote within that weekend.

The album came out last year. How has the response been in the states?

Pretty good, I think it’s harder to feel like headway is being made over here.  I definitely feel more of  a response from Europe.  Hopefully with the next record we’ll build on what we’ve started. 

Are there any plans for the band to tour in Europe, maybe the festival circuit?

There was some speak floating around for the festival circuit this year, but it’s coming up so quick I’m not so sure.   The plan is to have another release out by then, so it may still happen.

For us indie bands, the funding is the hardest part, we’re broke that doesn’t make for freedom of where to tour and how often as we’d like.  For people to buy merch and the record helps us tour though!

What does Battle of Land and Sea hope to achieve in 2009?

For me, my main goal is to record all these new songs and have a cohesive record that I am so proud and excited about putting out.  I have about 16 album contenders, some whittling down and working things out  must take place, but at the end of all it, I want an awesome record.  I feel really good about this next batch of tunes. 

Are there any producers or artists out there that you would like to collaborate with?

I’d love to sing with Sam Beam, that’d be my dream collaboration for an artist and producer.

You supported Jacob Golden last year. Are there any bands or artist you would like to support you on your next tour?

 I’m so accustomed to supporting others that I’ve never thought about other artists actually supporting us, that’d be a nice change.  There are some great Portland artists out there, Kele Goodwin, Sallie Ford, they’d both be fun to tour with.

The best gig we have played so far was….

Lille, France summer before last.  Hands down the best hospitality and welcome we’ve ever had.

Listen to our music/come and see us live because…..

Come see us live when we’re near you because we don’t tour that much and it’ll be a special evening.  Always come say hi at the merch table, I may have brought cookies or some sweets.

If there was a film made about Battle of Land and Sea we would be played by…..  

Oh geez, I have not a clue.  Well, Jacob would have to be played by Johnny Depp because he gets that a few times a week, it’s so funny.  For me, I don’t know.  Someone funny and who has the mouth of a sailor, because I can definitely dish it out.




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