Hamilton’s Battlecat formed in 2015 when metal band The New Kill augmented their line up with guitarist Chris Vallett. Bass player Andre Hume and Vallett had met at a local punk gig and bonded over common ground with their musical influences.
“The music we listened to growing up had a punk message but was heavier. The triangle we followed was Rancid, NOFX and Pennywise,” Vallett recalls.
The band’s short songs and tongue in cheek banter highlight the influence of the style of music they model themselves on.
“The lo-fi ‘80s punk approach is what we are going for, and it is more about the message than the music.”
With a lack of venues offering regular gigs, the band find themselves performing with a wide range of acts, often at self-promoted shows.
“A lot of the time there will be a rock band, a punk band and a metal band because there just aren’t enough punk bands. If there was a metal show, there are plenty of acts to fill one billing,” explains Vallett.
“I like a diverse show and there is a definite punk resurgence in the Waikato,” adds Battlecat vocalist Mark Saunders.
“Planning your own gigs is a matter of calling Hamilton’s Nivara Lounge and working out the dates,” Saunders continues.
For practical reasons the band rehearses less frequently, but longer, as Vallett explains.
“Previous bands would have more rehearsals but finish earlier. We prefer to meet fortnightly and power through the work. With two members of the band busy raising young families we didn’t want anything too serious, but it has turned out to be the best band I’ve been in so far. Nobody has particular roles assigned to them, but everybody chips in and makes it happen.”
Since forming last year the band has written close to a dozen songs and the release of their debut recording ‘Bullshit Live EP’ showcases the first four. With some in-house ingenuity and a couple of cheap microphones, drummer Jarod Constable’s production knowledge allows the band to be as economical as they are creative.
“It is very lo-fi and very punk,” they describe.
Battlecat are excited about the future of the band, with their next release already in the planning phase.
“We have booked studio time at Hamilton’s Wintec studios in December this year when we plan on recording another six or seven tracks.”