Under the guise of a name that evokes vampires, Bat House is made up of four easygoing kids who “happen to go to Berklee.”
The typical Berklee sound they described is jazz, blues, R&B, and funk — and yet their sound doesn’t necessarily align with that archetype. In that, they’re outsiders to the Boston scene.
“The fact that we go to Berklee isn’t really smiled upon in the [Boston] community,” says guitarist Shane Blank. “Berklee puts out great music and a lot of great musicians, but there a lot of people who feel like we’re privileged in a way. We just want to be viewed as a band and not as a Berklee band.”
Guitarist Ally Juleen explained that they feel like a lot of the Berklee community is separated “from the huge and flourishing rock scene that’s going on in Boston.” All four of the members graduate in May, and they’re all from different parts of the country. “[But] we decided to stay here, just because of the music scene in Boston, and how generous it’s been to us,” Juleen says.
Though they’ve never encountered issues personally, the two women in the band discussed the displacement they sometimes encounter.
“My biggest problem is when someone comes up to me and congratulates me for being a female drummer in a band,” says Pompy. “That really grinds my gears, because there are many other things you can say other than, ‘I’m so happy for you because you’re a girl.’”
“I don’t want gender to have anything to do with our music,” Juleen adds. “Girls rock!”
Formal education or not, Bat House knows how to rock. They just finished recording in Boston’s Converse Rubber Tracks studio — an opportunity Juleen says happened by chance. After hearing a song that caught her attention, she researched Rubber Tracks, discovered they had a studio in Boston, and applied for a session — all on a whim. Setting down the foundation for their upcoming album, the band recorded base instrumentation for about 10 songs over their three days at the studio. The band had the chance to work with Replacements guitarist David Minehan.
Naturally, working with him was the cherry on top of Bat House’s time there, taking his assistance in stride with the level of production they were newly exposed to. The conditions they usually record in? “Basement,” says Pompy. The process can take weeks given they can only use the equipment they have.
“There’s a charm to recording in the basement,” says Juleen, “and there’s a charm to recording in a high end studio.”
Vocalist and bassist Emmet Hayes describes the trial-and-error process of recording in the basement, and notes how, with the advanced production quality available to them at Converse, they weren’t sure where to go from there. “We’re used to correcting what didn’t sound good, and now we have these things that sound great,” he says. Juleen is quick to add that all the work they have left to do may be daunting, but, ultimately, it’s exciting.
“We’ve mostly been a basement band for the last year and a half, but when we played [The Middle East], half the people there were kids we’ve seen at our basement shows,” says Hayes, referring to the band’s show on January 17th. “It’s a little less stiff when you’re in a basement because it’s more casual. You’re in someone’s house.”
“A lot of people come out to the house shows, because, considering the alcohol prices in the area, you can just buy your own beer, go to a house show, and maybe pay $5 to get in,” adds Blank. “You get an entire night of entertainment, with a lot of people you may know, for way less than a legit venue.”
Stick around and you may hear some of their new songs live. The band will be releasing their inaugural LP this coming spring. (“Late April or early May,” they hinted, noting their nation-wide tour beginning in May.) In the meantime, you can listen to current single “Twist” on repeat.