Melbourne singer-songwriter BATTS‘s deep love for the intergalactic has been cemented in her latest single ‘Mars’. Full of jangly guitars and crisp harmonies, the ode to long distance relationships is the second taste of her debut album due in 2019. Naturally, BATTS secured a spot on the NASA and SciArt Exchange event ‘Project Mars’, a celebration of the winners of a global competition that allowed students, junior creators and professionals to imagine what life on Mars could look like in the future. Accompanied with photos by Michelle Grace Hunder, we asked her to give us an insight into her love for space, her music and how she thinks music will sound on Mars.
In 2012 I was hit by a car whilst I was on my way to a guitar lesson. I was in hospital for a bit and a little while after I realised I’d suffered a fair bit of memory loss. It seemed as though I’d lost over half my vocabulary, lots of memories and many other things. I spent so much time trying to read books to see words used in the right context because that seemed to help put them back into the correct place in my brain. I also got hooked on podcasts because I felt like that was really helping me learn and re-learn. In this process I became obsessed with learning, and during this time stumbled upon ‘Radiolab – Space’ episode. I have always been a huge lover of space but with everything I was going through this became something that I just held onto so much. I went down an extreme Space rabbit hole and I just haven’t come out yet. It gives me a lot of comfort and I just find it all so magical.
It took a long time for it to really start filtering into my music, but mainly because I feel only in the last couple of years I’ve really sunk into the sound and style of music I want to create. Obviously this brings the right humans into your life to help you create that sound and vibe. I feel really connected to the cosmos which I guess we all are, because essentially we are all made of the same stuff.
A lot of people keep asking me if I’ll keep up the ‘Space Theme’ and the answer is I don’t know. My debut album which will be out 2019 is a concept album about the Voyager mission launched in ’77. I worked on getting all the samples from NASA and Don Gurnett and then created Voyager 1’s mission within the album. I did this mainly because I’m fascinated by this mission, and it means so much to me, but also I really was unhappy in the music industry. So many days of the week I would wake up just really wanting to quit, but also so disappointed and guilt ridden within myself for feeling this way. So I decided to combine science and music, focusing so heavily on learning all about the Voyager mission etc. This really helped me complete the album and it’s something I’m really excited and proud of. I hope anyone that listens to it really feels the journey of the songs but also the journey of Voyager 1 from the moment it left Earth, until it crossed into Interstellar Space. I don’t know how this will be received, but honestly that’s definitely not what matters to me with this album. I’m just so grateful I got to create this and got to connect with the people I have within the science community whilst making it. I feel forever grateful to everyone involved, but if it comes out and people like it too and maybe learn something also, I guess that’s just a really nice bonus.
Last week I played a NASA sponsored event called ‘Project Mars’ in Melbourne where Cosmite Creative showcased all the winning art pieces and movies from all around the world. It was such an incredible experience to be a part of and an absolute dream come true. You’ve asked me about how I feel music will be when humans eventually inhabit Mars…Firstly, I felt slightly weird about releasing a song called ‘Mars’ and including it on the album considering Voyager didn’t go to Mars, however I felt it really fitting and a bit of an ode to Carl Sagan who was the curator of the Golden Record on both Voyager spacecrafts. Carl Sagan was a huge advocate for life on Mars and it was a big obsession of his.
However I think when humans eventually inhabit Mars not much will change within Music, I honestly feel there is a reason why there are so many songs all on similar topics and it’s because Humans all feel the same emotions. I don’t think changing planets will ever change the basic wants and needs of humankind.
Photo credit: Michelle Grace Hunder