Home: San Francisco
Musical Genre: Shape-shifting orchestral rock music, aka bohemian psychedelia
Influences: Os Mutantes, Frank Zappa, Deerhoof, Man Man
Where did the name “Battlehooch” come from?
Picking a band name is so hard. The name Battlehooch kept coming up, rolling through our stream of consciousness. We chose it because it’s a good, unique name that doesn’t sound like a typical indie-rock band, and people like to say it drunk. Early on, we sounded very eccentric, but at this point we are trying to expand the sound. You wouldn’t imagine a band called Battlehooch playing our type of music.
Explain “shape-shifting orchestral rock music.”
The shape-shifting refers to our genre influences and how we shift in between different styles. We are kind of orchestral because we have flute, sax, and keyboards. The roles in the band are changing constantly. No one song is similar—even the sax gets to lead sometimes. It’s best just to listen to it and decide for yourself. Basically, we were in San Francisco with the ambition to build the world’s largest water slide. The money ran out, so we decided to start a chemistry fiasco by forming a band to help fund-raise. Everyone knows that the best way to make money is to be a musician!
How did your tour bring you to Knoxville?
We have a booking agent that helps us learn the parts of the country we are unfamiliar with. We are learning more about the guts of the country this way. As we pass through, we have accumulated enough info to learn what venues work for us. Tennessee was a state we had never been to, and Knoxville is on the way to New Orleans!
You’re quite the stylish band. What is your fashion philosophy?
To keep an eye out for what’s cool, and get it for free (or cheap). If it doesn’t look good on you, give it to someone else in the band. This tour we have definitely learned to appreciate sandals, tank tops, and shorts. We all quit our jobs for this tour so we took T-shirts from a bike shop one of us worked at. We cut them up and created custom tank tops for ourselves. We also make custom headbands. At home we have a closet and treasure chest full of costumes, masks, and trinkets we like to throw into our stage show. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot of room in the van for a treasure chest. We also probably wouldn’t be able to handle the smell of old sweaty costumes. Being on the road can be tough and odd. In New York City we are actually considered fashionably conservative. When we leave there, we become aware of how different we look. It’s always fun going into gas stations and immediately hearing, “You’re not from here!”
What are your future ambitions?
To keep making great music! Touring is great for us because it offers us the opportunity to road test new songs. We also have a YouTube video channel that is used to broadcast a series of off-the-grid renegade performances. Iconic locations like Ponce de Leon Park in Florida, an abandoned car plant in Detroit, and soon a Halloween show in New Orleans. We release one every month.