Willy Keer (guitar & keyboard): Our EP is out on 26th June. We’re mightily proud of this one so give it a listen. If you can’t wait that long, then we have two singles out already!
Chris Beattie (bass): We’ve also released live lockdown videos for each of the singles which we really enjoyed doing.
Tom O’Dell (guitar & vocals): Of course, live shows are very high up on our agenda for when it’s safe again! We really can’t wait to hit the road.
XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?
Willy: Writing started in the summer of 2018 but the band line-up wasn’t put together until just a few months ago. We really are a very new band!
Chris: The full lineup came about by accident! After recently joining the band, I went to see DragonForce with Charlie (Lamacraft-Perrett, drums) last year and Willy happened to be there too. I introduced them and a couple of weeks later we met up in the rehearsal room and that was that.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Willy: The motivation is simple: we want to bring the Metal back!
Chris: Getting back into playing live shows and playing music that I would enjoy listening to as a fan.
Tom: When starting out we were pretty sure that we were the only smaller power metal band in the UK, so we really wanted to kickstart a power metal movement in the country! It turns out that there are a few like-minded bands around, so hopefully we can all work together and show the people of this land that power metal is the trve way forward.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Chris: I started playing piano when I was 11. When I became a teenager, I realized that the guitarists were the most popular ones. On my 15th birthday I got my first bass, joined my first band, and never looked back!
Tom: Jack (Reynolds, vocals) and I have both had shady pasts in some black metal bands with lots of aggressive vocals; this is my first foray into the joyful cheesy land of synth-driven power metal.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Willy: Our music shows a thousand steel-clad anthropomorphic bears are coming to tear down the tyrannic leadership of the dragon overlords. If it doesn’t, then I guess we’ve got more work to do for the next album!
XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals? (Next 1 to 3 years.)
Willy: At the moment we’re totally dedicated to sharing our music with as many people as we can. Once the great scourge of world-wide pandemic has come to an end then we will get on the road and recruit new fans to our cause.
Chris: We’re using the lockdown time wisely though. We’re taking the opportunity to make contact with other power metal bands in the UK; and a fine bunch of warriors they are too!
XS ROCK: What are your long-term career goals?
Willy: World. Domination.
Chris: And once that’s done, be able to look back and be able to say ‘We did it!’
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Willy: Both? Both are good. With a sword at my throat though I’d go with playing live. Nothing beats it.
Chris: Performing live is an amazing feeling. But so is that feeling of creating a song that really resonates with you. When you have one of your own songs stuck in your head, you know you have a good one.
XS ROCK: What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Willy: Our songs are about our love for our home and our kinsmen. Our songs are about fighting for freedom and defeating our enemies in a glorious battle. We hope our rallying warcry will encourage others to make their stand with us.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Willy: Now you mention it, our very first song was written whilst on the road back from Wacken. We weren’t a band then, but that did not stop us from busting out Garageband on an iPad and beginning a journey that would culminate in bringing the Metal back.
Chris: Not necessarily an outrageous story, but you do meet some outrageous people at live shows. There was one girl at a show a few years ago who found me on Facebook and bombarded me with messages for a few days. A bit creepy.
Tom: In a previous band, I was once part of a three-band attempt to cover Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town”. Two of the bands had already finished their sets and hit the beers, so it was total pandemonium, but absolutely brilliant! There’s a video on YouTube somewhere, I believe…
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Willy: Stuffed animal. To be fair, who wouldn’t want a cuddly toy version of Battle Björn, the bear on the front cover of our EP!
Chris: Someone asked me to wipe my sweat onto their shirt after a show. Very strange, but they were very polite.
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
Willy: Yes absolutely. Perhaps they didn’t expect it to go this far into adulthood, though.
Chris: I’m the second child of four, and my parents definitely became a lot more relaxed as the number of kids increased. It’s at a point where now we’re all adults and as long as we’re happy, the parents are happy too. That being said, my dad came to quite a lot of my gigs when I was younger too so they’ve always been supportive.
Tom: My dad is currently one of the “Top Fans” on our Facebook page, so I guess I win!
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Willy: Battle Born has never played a live show, but I’m totally pumped to play For Our Home for the first time. I can’t wait to see an audience all holding hands and singing along to the love song of our people.
Tom: I’m going to have to go with For Our Home too; it’s my big musical moment, as I sing lead vocals on that one! It’s going to be gloriously cheesy.
Chris: The song that always gets my blood pumping in rehearsals is Bring the Metal Back. Key changes galore and it’s my big Steve Harris moment too!
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Willy: Twisted Sister! Dee Snider is an absolute genius of a frontman. First and foremost a performing artist should be entertaining. I’d love to be as entertaining as they are.
Chris: There is always one performance that sticks in your mind and for me, it’s Queen’s Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium. I’m a big fan of a lot of the bands on that bill, but Freddie stole the show for me, and it still sends chills down my spine every time I watch it.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Chris: Festival slots are great as you get a great mix of bands which is much more suited to my influences (and I get to choose more than one band!): Iron Maiden, DragonForce, Symphony X, and Dream Theater.
Tom: The rest of the band would probably disagree with me, but I’d love a support slot on a Gloryhammer-Fairyland co-headline tour; we’d be the least cheesy band there, and that’s saying something.
Willy: A spot with Judas Priest would be nice. I don’t suppose you could sort that out for us?
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Willy: People want to spend their hard earnings on our music! I still can’t believe it.
Chris: Whenever we find someone online talking positively about us online, we always share it with each other in our group chat. It’s nice to see we have such an impact on people.
Tom: It blows my mind that we’ve only got two songs out, yet they’ve been streamed over ten thousand times across various platforms. The continued support we’re receiving from the fans is crazy, and more than we ever expected at this stage, so thank you!
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Chris: Teacher. It’s the career that all the wannabe rock stars have.
Tom: I’d be able to spend more time fighting off the evil Imperials!
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Chris: I keep it simple. Yamaha bass through Boss multi-effects pedal for a bit of crunch and compression and straight into the amp. I’ve previously used Behringer amps but after a few trials with other amps, I really like the sound I get from a Peavey.
Willy: I play keyboard and guitar in the band which is not the simplest set-up. And as we use backing tracks we need to play to a metronome to stay in time. As much as I love the sound of a rich tube amp, it’s so much easier to run it all through my computer.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Willy: As with all musical eras there are good parts and bad parts. It’s great to see that interest in Power Metal has been on the rise. I can’t help but feel bands like Sabaton and Nightwish are to thank for that!
Chris: I agree with Willy. But the best thing about the diversity of the metal genre is that the good parts can be found pretty much anywhere. From the biggest to the smallest bands, the quest of finding an amazing song can be found anywhere. Music is a great leveler in that sense.
Tom: As I said above, it’s really great that the UK power metal scene is alive and well. We hope to be a big part of keeping it thriving and growing even more!
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Chris: You wouldn’t guess from looking at me, but I’m actually a fully qualified science teacher and students have come to call me ‘The Grand Wizard’.
Willy: When I’m not listening to Metal or practicing and writing music for Battle Born I’m out with my Husky – Saxon. Yes, he’s named after the band.
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Willy: Metal as hard as steel.
Chris: You know when in every RPG ever, the music changes when you go into a battle? That, but with dragons.
Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Chris: Watch the skies, travelers.
Willy: Stick to the shadows. Enemies are everywhere. The time to fight is just around the corner.
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS Rock!
Battle Born is:
Jack Reynolds – Vocals (also in Bykürius and Asira)
Will Kerr – Guitars, Keyboards
Tom O’Dell – Guitars, Vocals (Track 4) (also in Dwarrowdelf and Deavhronun)
Chris Beattie – Bass
Charles Lamacraft-Perrett – Drums