San Francisco’s Battlehooch defies the calculus of sound. By cross-pollinating elements of psychedelia with modern pop, the six piece have given birth to a mutant strain of kaleidoscopic rock and roll.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
AJ McKinley - guitar/vocals
Pat Smith - vocals
Grant Goodrich - bass
Ryan Huber - drums
Ben Juodvalkis - keys
Tom Hurlbut - horns
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Battlehooch? How long has the band been around?
We've been doing the Battlehooch thing for about 8 years now, but our roots go even further back to our early college days. So therefore, I guess we were playing in high school bands before Battlehooch. Our high school bands had names like Snugooglarang, Afroclovistein Goes to Hollywood and Gashouse Palooka.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
Battlehooch is a regional slang term from half moon bay, California. It is also our bass players old college nickname. We've always had the same name.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
We employ various approaches to composition. Some songs are products of a single band members musical mind while others are extracted out of a group improvisation/experiment. On our most recent EP, “Wink”, most of the songs were composed communally. We were drawing inspiration from psychedelic music so we explored lyrical themes that were a bit more abstract/surreal a la someone like Syd Barrett or Brian Eno.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
This is a tough one to answer succinctly. I'd say as a band, we are big fans of Ariel Pink, St Vincent, Tame impala and Of Montreal. We also love the new Kendrick Lamar and Dangelo Records.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
When we first met, we were pretty jazzed on the first Mars Volta record. Before they turned into a cheese ball prog wank fest they were the most pummeling psychedelic band in the land. Absolutely thrilling. We also all got off on the wild eclecticism of Andre 3000's The Love Below.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc…
This is top secret information. Classified. For your protection.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
So many come to mind. Most recently, I'd say playing the Treefort Music Festival in Boise was a highlight. Not only did we get to open for Of Montreal and Yacht, but we also got to take part in an experimental piece of music written by Seth from Akron/Family. It was performed by 13 rock bands simultaneously and it was super epic. Kinda sounded like Glenn Branca or The Boredoms.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Oh man. There are so many bands we'd love to play with. I think the big ones would be St Vincent, Ariel Pink, and Os Mutantes. Mostly ‘cause I cherish their music so much and it would be so awesome to get to see them do their THING every night. I'd take notes.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We love ya!