The songs and voice of Tanya Batt are gorgeously intriguing, and will have you feeling everything. Beauty personified in sound.
Tanya Batt is a singer/songwriter from Melbourne - she moved here from the UK when she was 13 - whose singles always make waves. Working under her artist name BATTS, Tanya is reeling listeners in with her melodies, emotion and an incredibly delicate and affecting voice that will either break or warm your heart. Her latest single For Now is no exception. triple j's Zan Rowe said, "This is a stunner. It feels like I'm being enveloped in a night sky of stars and prettiness. A slow jam where all the elements - vocals, guitar, twinkles - work in such perfect harmony. Beautiful." Just the response space-obsessed Tanya would have delighted in, for she spends a lot of time with her head in the stars, flicking through images, videos and facts about space. She wrote For Now with the great expanse in mind. The endorsements from music programmers and radio announcers have been a constant with Tanya's music. Her debut single Morals reached one million plays online receiving attention from BBC's Introducing and triple j. Tanya spoke with Music Love about life in Australia, her deep love of space, and how over time she's learned how to get in touch with her emotions.
Tanya Batt performs. Above two images via Vulture Magazine, 2016
What does music mean to you?
My life is so intertwined with music it literally is my life. Even when I try to get another job completely outside of music it ends up linking strongly back to it.
What does Australia mean to you?
Home. I moved to Australia when I was 13 and it took me a really, really long time to call Australia home, but this beautiful country has taught me so much and given me so many incredible opportunities; I’d probably/more than likely be a completely different person if I hadn’t moved here when I was younger. It’s given me the most incredible friends and life, Melbourne in particular fills me with such inspiration.
Your new single For Now is off the charts! Tell us about this song.
I wrote this song when I was at home and missing my partner who was away on tour. It was a busy time of year and I guess I was just missing some quality time together, it kind of came out quite quickly, then I eventually took it into the studio to co-produce it with someone I admire and inspires me so much, Hayden Calnin. There is a certain type of magic Hayden Calnin can create that I’ve never heard anyone else do, working with him is such an incredible experience, he is a super dear friend of mine too and knows me really well so I feel he can help me get to where I want to be because he knows my brain better than most. I also had my band members Lachlan O’Kane and Ross Beaton put their magic touches on the song, I really wanted to sonically create the feeling of space and floating through it and I feel with Hayden and the boys we really got there. I am forever grateful for getting to work with musicians and humans like these guys.
What does space mean to you?
Oh golly, I love space so much. A lot of people when they find this out ask “why?” and say that space scares them because it’s so unknown. I’m a lot more terrified of the ocean than I am space. I just think it’s so beautiful and otherworldly and just does it’s thing out there with pretty much zero human interference since it’s beginnings. It’s just doing it’s thing and it can be pretty brutal out there, like black holes swallow stars, Jupiter and it’s Great Red Spot which is basically a 300 year old vortex storm which is the size of three Earth’s and Neptune had a storm the size of Earth that lasted for over five years in it’s southern hemisphere and now there is a new one in it’s northern hemisphere, and these are just small in the scale of things too. I just think the unknown within space is just what makes it so perfect and intriguing, and it’s ability to just function exactly how it is meant to, you look up and you see stars and it’s breathtaking, and so natural and that’s just what the eye can see. How exciting to know that the possibilities of what is out there and happening there is so large and that we will never really know everything, I just think its all quite magical really.
You capture such raw emotion in every word you sing, are you an emotional person? Where does that depth come from?
Haha, yeah look, I guess I can be pretty emotional. I like to think I’m pretty in tune with myself and process emotions when they come up rather than suppressing them, which I used to do a lot. I’ve had an interesting life, and I guess I can always find depth within emotion for writing when I need to. I also grew up acting, so If I need to find the emotion to sing with, I’ll just put myself right back to the moment I’m writing about and try convey it as honestly as possible to the emotions I felt at the time.
What next for you?
I’m working on my EP at the moment with Hayden and my band, I’ve been writing lots of new songs for it so I’m trying not to rush it until I feel I’ve written the ones I want. I would love more than anything to do an album right now but it’s probably not the best move; I think I’ll wait until I’ve sunk into the new sound a bit more and also have the funds to do it right. I’m currently doing a residency on Sundays in April at Some Velvet Morning and am about to tour with nyck, April 21st in Sydney at Brighton Up Bar and April 28th in Melbourne at The Workers Club. I am also in a trio with two guys from Germany called Mechanitis and we have a new song coming out too, and I am working on a few collaborations. It’s a pretty busy time at the moment, I’m also compiling footage from NASA’s archives to visually accompany the new single For Now. Been a lot of fun!
Who are your favourite Australian women in music?
This question is tough because I could name so many, I’m surrounded by the most incredible women who inspire me so much, I really love what Siobhan McGinnity is doing, she makes music under Magnets and also runs a charity called Musicians 4 Hearing which you all really need to check out, and is an Audiologist that is helping musicians in so many ways (Read Music Love's interview with Siobhan here). Also power ladies like Ella Thompson and Nkechi Anele are so great at performing and inspire me a lot when I watch them live, the Little May girls including Annie Hamilton who has started her own fashion label which is being worn by so many musicians at the moment and is incredible. I also love the younger women that are kicking arse, like E^ST and Gretta Ray (Read Music Love's interview with Gretta Ray here) and then there is Olivia McCarthy (Joy) who is literally so damn boss and an incredible producer and works so hard, really keen to hear her new material. There are seriously so many, I’m just really proud to see so many ladies breaking down industry norms and creating new ones and paving a great path for the younger generations, and that’s so important you know. Charlotte Abroms is an incredible manager too and I admire her! and all the ladies at the booking agencies Select Music have a lot of ladies and I love that! I literally could go on forever. Also the Oh Pep girls, their songwriting inspires me so much and Al Parkinson who is an incredible musician and photographer, also Ali Barter, I just love everything she is doing at the moment. Kathleen Mary Lee.....
Who do you create music with?
I write at home, create average demos with the chords and melodies and structure and then take them to my band to really bring them to life, I co-produce with Hayden Calnin like I mentioned before and having him in my band and by my side in the studio seriously makes me one of the luckiest humans ever. Lachlan O’Kane is my drummer but is one of the most talented musicians ever, everyone that knows him will agree with this, he plays most instruments and sings harmonies better than anyone, he is a genius freak and I love him, and then there is Ross Beaton who actually was just filling in as a guitarist for a while, but then transitioned into playing Modular Synth in the band and his brain is brilliant. I’m just so lucky to have them on board with this project, I learn so much from them and they are really supportive.
Best thing about Melbourne?
It’s support and love for the arts and the cafes and bars. Also the bike paths! <3 I love Melbourne
Best place in Australia?
What was the last thing you saw that blew your mind?
A Beautiful Planet at IMAX literally made me cry the whole way through! and Planet Earth 2 also! Warpaint, watching all those kick arse women on stage just absolutely slaying, it was so inspiring, they are phenomenal musicians! Also I watched Bon Iver at Vivid last year at Sydney Opera House, I’ve never seen anything that beautiful before, I cried pretty much the whole way through. Also NASA’s discovery of the new 7 planets, surely that blew everyones mind though right?
BATTS' single For Now is out now. BATTS has a residency throughout April at Some Velvet Morning in Melbourne and will be touring with nyck on 21 April in Sydney at Brighton Up Bar and 28 April in Melbourne at The Workers Club. More info, follow BATTS on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.