OEB’s 5 SXSW Qs – Battleme
Hometown: Portland, OR
OEB 2013 SXSW Review
Matt Drenik, frontman of Lions, will be featuring his solo project Battleme at SXSW. He explained to OEB what’s up for SXSW (full band!), the relationship between the producers of Sons of Anarchy and his music, and prepping for the next record. I’m especially excited for Matt’s energy to push Battleme beyond its softer tendencies on record into a full on rock band at SXSW.
Matt, your latest record as Battleme is excitingly adventurous. With so many musical influences on the record and in your work with Lions, what are your favorite types of songs to perform now?
Usually the ones where the band is feeling the most energy. I’ve always been a firm believer in the idea of bands giving the audience what they paid for. With that being said, my favorite bands were the ones that really took the songs to a different level live. I’ve always been more attracted to high-energy shows than ones that tend to fall on the mellower side. I’ve tried to get mellow. It just doesn’t work. I guess it’s not in my blood. If it’s a full rock band, I’m in it and I want people to leave feeling that they heard an explosive variation of the record they’ve been listening to at home. If it can be taken to a different place, I’ll play it.
Your moniker has become synonymous with Sons of Anarchy over the last year. How has this outlet affected your solo career?
I’ve been doing songs for Sons since it first came out. They’re all amazing people over there and have given me a great platform to showcase my softer side on the musical palette. It’s helped to give that side of me a voice. But sometimes people get confused that they’re going to see a kid with an acoustic guitar up there on stage. Sons has a specific sound that Bob and Kurt have crafted for the show. I love that they’ve brought me in to help explore where that sound should go, but I always have to remember that it’s about the show, not about the artist singing the song. So it’s given me a different perspective on how to approach writing songs. I did a cover of “Hey Hey, My My” that I probably would’ve never thought of doing if Bob wouldn’t have come to me and ask me. And I’m so happy he did. So I look at my collaboration with those guys as a really pure, artistic one.
What does 2013 look like for you? Any other dates or music on forefront?
Busy. I’m beginning to prep the band on a new rock record. I’m touring all of March, hitting SXSW. And then planning on tracking the new record in April. I just wrapped tracking the first record I’ve produced for another artist and we’ll be finishing that up in late February. So busy!
Any SXSW appearances lined up yet? Full Band? Anything you are looking to accomplish in Austin?
Full band! The boys and I will be hitting the road. Not exactly sure what parties we’ll be doing and where we’re showcasing though. I just want some good times in Austin. I’ve done SXSW a bunch of times before in different bands, so it’s not my first rodeo.
Any bands on the SXSW lineup you are looking forward to catching yourselves?
Foxygen, Scott Biram