The Bats talk new LP, longevity & more in BV Q&A (watch the “Gone to the Ground” video)
New Zealand band The Bats have been together with the same four-member lineup for nearly 40 years, making charming, strummy, melodic indie rock. The band are set to release their 10th album, Foothills, on November 13 via their longtime label Flying Nun. We've got the premiere of the video for the album's melancholic new single, "Gone to the Ground." Made by directors Sports Team -- who've done The Beths' last few videos -- it's an abstract but compelling video that, among other things, sets household objects and a variety of vegetables spinning on edge and loops it so that they rotate forever. There's also a stark image of a burning guitar at sundown that fits the minor chord mood of the track. Watch that below.
We asked bassist Paul Kean a few questions via email about the new video, burnt guitars, keeping a band together for four decades, what's he's listening to, and more. You can read that Q&A below.
How did you hook up with Sports Team folks? Did they come to you with the video concept or was it more collaborative?
They had created some great unique looking videos for The Beths that we liked a lot. I sent them all of Foothills to choose a song and they picked "Gone To Ground." Most of it was completed during lockdown and we chose not to feature the band in it and gave them complete artistic control. Our (Paul and Kaye‘s) daughter Annabel and her partner Callum are a big part of Sports Team.
Whose guitar was it that gets set on fire in the video? Is The Bats' first purposefully destroyed musical instrument?
Haha...Not ours although some people may pick up that it references a very early Bats clip. 34 years ago the guitar burnt in the "North By North" video was chucked up in a small tree. We discovered this when the tree was felled a few years ago:
Foothills is The Bats' 10th album and you've been together nearly 40 years with the same lineup. What's the secret to longevity and getting along?
Apart from being good friends we made a decision to cut back on touring internationally while our children grew up which gave us a new way of working. We kept up recording and playing while living in NZ and toured there and in Australia around that period. We also occupied our time with other creative interests so our lives didn’t revolve entirely around the Bats. It’s worked well and we started touring further afield again once the kids left home but kept a diversity to our lives.
New Zealand has kept coronavirus under control better than North America has. How has it affected, if at all, the plans for 'Foothills'?
It’s certainly held us back from playing live or planning international tours. We’re able to do live shows in NZ again now. we’re engaging more with the world through social media and plan a live stream concert once the album is out. Both [Bats offshoot] Minisnap and Robert have done live stream performances during lockdown but not the Bats as yet.
What music (new or old) have you been listening to lately?
new - The Beths, Aldous Harding, Sunday Painters.
Old - Can, Beach Boys, Voom, Vivaldi